Leo St John Vardy
Serial No. 37927
13th Field Artillery Brigade
Leo St John Vardy - Information
The Vardy family lived in Ivy Cottage in Campbelltown. Leo was a son of Michael and Mary Ellen Vardy, and was born in Campbelltown c1898. In September 1915, the Vardys were to experience the effects of the far-reaching war, when Leo's older brother, William, enlisted in the AIF and was sent overseas. At this time, Leo was still living in Ivy Cottage with his family and worked as a bank clerk. Watching his brother serve his country inspired Leo, wishing to wear a uniform. When he finally turned 18, he travelled into Sydney on the 18th of April 1917, to the Central No. 2 Recruiting Depot at the Royal Naval House on Grosvenor St to enlist. Leo then commenced his training at the Royal Showground Camp, and then at Liverpool and was assigned as a Gunner to the Field Artillery (just like his brother). Leo was shipped out from Sydney Harbour on the 5th of November 1917 onboard the HMAT Port Sydney.
Arriving in Suez, Egypt in mid December, he was then taken to Southampton in January 1918. By the end of March, Leo was in France with the 13th Field Artillery Brigade. Unfortunately, his timing could not have been worse. On the 21st of March, the Germans unleashed their Spring Offensive, rushing the Allied line and breaking through. Ordered to hold their ground, the Australian Corps were tasked with stopping the Germans in their tracks. In doing so, Leo was wounded in action on the 24th of April at Villers-Bretonneux. He received a gun shot wound to his right knee. He was rushed to hospital in Rouen, and in early May was invalided to England. He was treated at the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford and then the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. Leo's wound was very severe, and he was classed as unfit for combat duty, and was sent home for a medical discharge. He was transported back to Australia on the 2nd of January 1919 onboard the Karmala. As fate would have it, he had special company on his voyage home, bunking with his brother, William, on the ship. Leo and William returned to their grateful family in Campbelltown, sadly, many other local families weren't so lucky.