Leonard Pitt Ardill (MM BAR)
Serial No. 4732
Leonard Pitt Ardill (MM BAR) - Information
The Ardills came from Parramatta, and eventually settled down in the Campbelltown area. Here, Leonard was born in Minto in 1892 to proud parents Joshua and Mary Jane Ardill. Joshua and Mary added to their family, before leaving Campbelltown to relocate to Rockdale, Queensland in the 1910s. Leonard soon made a life for himself in Jondaryan, near Toowoomba, working as a farm hand. While the boys were still at Gallipoli, Leonard decided to do his bit. He enlisted in the AIF in Toowoomba on the 1st of October 1915, aged 22. During training, Leonard was assigned to the 15th Reinforcements, 15th Battalion as a Private. He was then shipped overseas from Brisbane upon the HMAT Commonwealth on the 28th of March 1916.
Leonard disembarked in England and was then despatched to the Western Front in late September. At the beginning of October, he was marched out to his unit from the 4th Australian Division Base Depot. Enduring the bitter winter, a renewed assault on the Somme was ordered. The 15th Battalion attacked the Germans across the frozen snow covered battlefield at Stormy Trench near Guedecourt. Here, on the 1st of February 1917, Leonard was wounded, hit in the leg. He received treatment at hospital in Rouen, and was back with his unit at the end of March. Unfortunately, shortly after he returned, he was wounded again during the Battle of Bullecourt. On the 11th of April, he received a nasty gun shot wound to his left hand. On the 20th he was evacuated to England, admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital. In mid August, he was sent back to France, rejoining his unit a month later. Leonard was an inspiration to the men in his unit. On the 2nd of October, he was appointed Lance Corporal. At the time, the 15th Battalion was fighting during the Third Battle of Ypres at Polygon Wood and Passchendaele. He then spent another dreadful winter with his mates, as the heavy rainfall bogged down the frontlines.
In March 1918, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, an attempt to break the Allies before the bulk of American forces arrived in France. This led to intense fighting with attacks and counter attacks, in which Leonard demonstrated true courage and devotion to duty. For his heroic actions, he was recommended for the Military Medal for gallantry at Hebuturne on the 27th of March. He was then recommended for a Bar to the Military Medal for his actions in July. On the 4th of July, he and his unit were fighting near Hamel Wood east of Corbie. Taking charge of his section, he successfully led them to their objective. He then consolidated this new position under heavy machine gun fire, before organising an assault on the German forward post. They took the post, bringing back two machine guns and five prisoners while sustaining no casualties. He was singled out for superb gallantry and leadership. Leonard continued to prove himself, being promoted to Temporary Corporal on the 15th of July. His efforts were rewarded, presented with the Military Medal on the 30th of August, and promoted Corporal three days later. Leonard and his unit continued to push the Germans back. Then while resting out of the lines, he was awarded Bar to the Military Medal on the 22nd of October. The war was soon over with the announcement of the Armistice on the 11th of November. Leonard remained with his unit, until he was sent back to Australia in April 1919. He sailed onboard the very same ship he left on, the Commonwealth, returning home to a proud and honoured family.