Courtesy of Doug Lloyd
Driver Leslie Barton Wade
Pakenham & District War Memorial & Pakenham Upper Roll of Honour
Born: 24 May 1888 - Romsey, near Lancefield Victoria
Enlisted: 2 September 1914 aged 26 years
Unit: 3rd Field Artillery Brigade Ammunition Column (SERN: 2200)
Served: Western Front
Died: 10 December 1954 - Pakenham, Victoria
Also known as “Les”, Leslie was an older brother of Herbert Wade who also served during WWI. When Les was born, the family was living at Romsey near Seymour, but later returned to Gembrook West (now known as Mount Burnett), where they had the post office and general store. Les attended the Cockatoo State School (1) and became a fitter and turner by trade (2), but was working as a stock and station agent when he enlisted on 2 September 1914 (3). He was assigned to the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade Ammunition Column as a gunner, and later served as a driver. After some time in Egypt, Les proceeded to Gallipoli in April 1915, but was later sent back to Egypt with the horses, which his brother Bert did not think he would like (3a). Les was subsequently transferred to the 9th Battery and sent to the Western Front.
On 26 October 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres, Les was wounded in action in Belgium, sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. After convalescing in France, he returned his unit in December 1917. At the start of the new year, Les was given a couple of weeks’ leave in England. In October 1918, with the bulk of Australian forces on the Western Front being rested away from the front lines, he was sent back to Australia for special “1914 Leave”. This was arranged for those Anzacs who had enlisted back in 1914. By the time Les arrived home, the War was over, but he remained with the Army until August 1919, when he was discharged in Melbourne (4). His war service was honoured on the Pakenham Upper Roll of Honour (1917), the Pakenham & District Soldiers’ Memorial (1921) and on memorials and rolls of honour at Cockatoo and Gembrook (5).
Les returned to Mount Burnett, where he was listed on the electoral roll as a labourer. In the mid 1920s, he was working at the Pakenham Upper saw mill operated by the Wilson brothers (6). Indeed, Les was married to their sister, Ruby Florence Wilson. Les and Ruby had one son (7). Their property was located on the corner of Pakenham and Paternoster Roads (8). Les was well known locally as a good amateur mechanic, which was said to have made him a “very handy neighbour amongst the local farmers”. He was also known as good shot and keen duck hunter (9). Les died at Pakenham in December 1954 aged 66. In 1967, Ruby applied for the official Anzac medallion, which honoured the Diggers who fought at Gallipoli (10).
The assistance of Les’s grandson John Wade; great-granddaughter Amber Wade; relatives Doug Lloyd and Ann McKenzie; Jan Shaw & Wally Nye is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) & (5) Information provided by Jan Shaw
(2) & (9) PG 24/12/1954 p. 7
(3) (4) & (10) NAA B2455 WADE LESLIE BARTON
(3a) Letter from Bert Wade to Alice Wade dated 8th September 1914 [actually 1915]
(6) PG 3/4/1925 p. 3
(7) DJ 15/12/1954 p. 26
(8) Information provided by Wally Nye