Topic: Bombardier Leonard Talbot Russell

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds.

Bombardier Leonard Talbot Russell - 7/1889    

Leonard was born at Brookside on 10th September 1892, youngest son of Alfred and Mary Russell. He was brought up in the Brookside district and received his primary education at Brookside School, subsequently attending the Southbridge District High School. At the time of enlisting he was managing his mother's farm. He was a very keen footballer and for several seasons played half-back for the Irwell Club and also took part in representative matches, being a very smart and consistent exponent of the Rugby game. He played in the sevenaside tournaments and was a member of the team which won the senior competition the last season before his departure for the front. He was a quiet, unassuming lad and enjoyed much popularity. He had no previous military experience having been exempted as he was unable to attended drills. He was 5ft 8in tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He also had a large scar on his right arm.        

Leonard enlisted on 25 August 1915 and was assigned to 8th Reinforcements, Canterbury Mounted Rifles. After training at Trentham, he embarked on 13 November 1915 for Suez arriving just before Christmas on 20th December 1915. At Zeitoun on 11 January 1916 he was transferred from the Canterbury Mounted Rifles to CMR Base Details on 23rd January and posted to the strength at Zeitoun on 29th January. Base Details were small units charged with maintaining and improving camp areas.  On 25th March 1916 he was transferred from the Canterbury Mounted Rifles at Moascar to the 12 Battery, NZ Field Artillery. Along with many others he was sent to join the war in Europe and embarked on board the Menominee from Alexandria to France on 7th April. His arrival in France is not recorded but he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, New Zealand Field Artillery and the next notation records his leave in England from 30th June until 12 July 1917. The following year he had further leave from 7th February until 22nd February 1918. On 1st April 1918 he was appointed acting bombardier evidently a dangerous position for a few days later on 6th he was wounded, although he remained with his unit. On 6th August he was detached to the 3rd Army Rest Camp in the field for a short time from 6th to 20th of August. He was promoted to Bombardier to complete the establishment not long after his return on 28th August. Two months later he was wounded in action on 20 October, suffering a gunshot wound to his head and fractured skull.At the time the Artillery were firing in support of the 42nd Division, which attacked from Briastre as part of the ongoing attack on the Hindenberg Line. He was taken by the no 13 Field Ambulance to 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station but he died the same day and was buried nearby with the co-ordinates recorded. After the war he was gathered in and now lies in the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. In New Zealand Leonard is remembered on the Ellesmere County War Memorial.                

 Researched and written by L M Seaton

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Bombardier Leonard Talbot Russell

First Names:Leonard Talbot
Last Name:Russell
Date of Birth:10 september 1892
Place of Birth:Brookside
Date of Death:21 October 1918
Place of Death:France
Memorial or Cemetery:Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt
Age at death:27
User Name:L. M. Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Single
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Field Artillery
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:25 August 1915
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Alfred and Mary Russell, of Brookside, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Service Number:7/1889
Rank last held:Bombardier
Embarkation:13 November 1915
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Willochra or Tofua
Theatres of War:Egypt, Western Front
Cause of Death:Died of wounds
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Bombardier Leonard Talbot Russell by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License