Leslie Cornwell Sippel
Serial No. 6570
3rd Battalion & 5th Machine Gun Battalion
Leslie Cornwell Sippel - Information
Leslie Cornwell was born in Glenfield c1896. Sadly, tragic circumstances led him and his siblings to be raised by their grandmother, Mary Sippel. Mary resided on the property of Wandon on Rocky Point Rd in Kogarah. When the war began, Leslie was still living with his grandmother and working as a grocer. In January 1916, he watched his older brother, Albert, join the colours and sail off to war. Leslie then decided to follow suit. He and his other older brother, Harold, travelled into Sydney to enlist in the AIF. They signed up at the Royal Showground Camp on the 27th of March 1916. Commencing their training at Cootamundra and Liverpool, they were posted to the 3rd Battalion as Privates. When they were ready, they boarded the HMAT Ceramic in Sydney, leaving for war on the 7th of October 1916.
Leslie and Harold disembarked in Plymouth in late November, and were marched out for further training. In January 1917, they departed Folkestone for France, and soon met up with the 3rd Battalion. At the time, German forces were preparing to withdraw to a series of defence fortifications, known as the Hindenburg Line. This resulted in heavy fighting. Sadly in early March, Leslie's brother, Albert, was killed in action. Then, on the 4th of May, during the Second Battle of Bullecourt, both Leslie and Harold were wounded in action. Leslie was hit in the right shoulder. Two weeks later, he was evacuated from Havre to England, admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford. While recovering, Leslie went AWL at Hurdcott for three days but soon returned to training. At the end of October, he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps Details in Grantham. In April 1918, Leslie was shipped back to France, joining the 5th Machine Gun Battalion in May. Leslie and his unit provided vital fire coverage for operations throughout 1918. This dangerous worked helped push the Germans back during the months of peaceful penetration and throughout the Allied Offensive in August. Leslie remained with his unit after the war ended. In April 1919, he was attached to the Australian Base Depot. He then departed London upon the Port Melbourne for his journey back home. He returned to Kogarah, reuniting with Harold. Sadly, his poor family continued to mourn the lost Albert to the war.