Leslie Frederick Astley
Serial No. 4430
4th Battalion & 10th Field Artillery Brigade
Leslie Frederick Astley - Information
Leslie Frederick was born in Camden in 1891 to Thomas and Bessy Astley. When the guns began firing in Europe, Leslie was living in Dubbo with his family, residing on Bishop Street. He supported himself working as a plumber, before enlisting in the AIF in Dubbo on the 16th of August 1915, aged 24. Leslie was posted to various units at Dubbo, Holsworthy and Liverpool Bases. He was finally stationed as a Private to the 14th Reinforcements, 4th Battalion. He then departed Sydney on the 3rd of February 1916 on the HMAT Wandilla.
Leslie disembarked in Egypt in March. With the men going to the Western Front, High Command realised the shortage of artillery units. Transferred from the 4th Battalion, Leslie was marched out to the 4th Division Artillery in Zeitoun. From here, he was assigned as a Gunner to the 110th Battery, 24th Howitzer Artillery Brigade, meeting them in Serapeum. After training, Leslie was shipped from Alexandria to Marseilles, France in mid June. Leslie was then introduced to the devastation of modern warfare. The amount of artillery shells fired on the Western Front throughout the war and the damage they made was incredible. On the 25th of January 1917, Leslie was transferred to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, where he continued to provide artillery support for the troops. On the 1st of May, he was wounded by shellfire. Receiving a gash to his face, he was rushed to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station. Other than his wound, Leslie also had difficulty with his hearing. As a result, he was taken to an ear specialist in Rouen on the 9th of May. No doubt, the incident and working in the artillery exacerbated his hearing loss. In mid June, he was transported from the Australian General Base Depot in Havre to England. A medical examination revealed that Leslie was now suffering acute and most likely permanent deafness. Consequently, he was given travel orders to return to Australia for a medical discharge. He commenced his voyage back home on the 27th of September 1917.