Leslie John Collins
Serial No. 2876
Leslie John Collins - Information
Leslie John Collins was born in Camden c1891. Just before the war began, he was living on Prince St in Goulburn with his wife, Jane. Leslie and Jane tied the knot at the Saint Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Goulburn in early 1914. Leslie was working as a carter, when he decided to enlist in the AIF. He signed up to serve on the 5th of September 1916 in Goulburn, aged 25. Saying goodbye to his young wife, he headed off to camp. In early October, he was assigned as a Private to D Company, 55th Battalion, and then the 7th reinforcements, 60th Battalion later that month. He was then sent abroad from Sydney on the HMAT Afric on the 3rd of November 1916.
The Afric sailed into Plymouth Harbour in early January 1917. Leslie hopped off and was taken to the 15th Training Battalion at Hurdcott. After learning new Western Front tactics, (harsh lessons learnt from the Somme Campaign), he left Folkestone for the trenches in late March. He joined the 60th Battalion in the lines shortly after arriving. Leslie was shocked by the brutality of modern warfare as his unit defended gains made against the Hindenburg Line during the Battle of Bullecourt. Towards the end of the year, the Battalion was moved for operations within the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium. Just before the 60th attacked Polygon Wood, Leslie reported sick, remaining out of the lines for two weeks. Fighting at Ypres was a nightmare. Heavy rainfall and the destruction of drainage systems by artillery; turned the battleground into a swamp. After the campaign, he was granted leave in early 1918. In March, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive. They broke through the lines, with intense fighting erupting as a war of movement returned. The 60th Battalion participated in operations at Villers-Bretonneux stopping the advance. The Allies began pushing forward culminating in the successful Battle of Amiens in August. Then, on the 25th of September, Leslie was transferred to the 59th Battalion, serving with them until the war ended. In 1919, he was transported back to England. While at Westham in April, Leslie went absent without leave for over ten days, however, no charges were laid. The following month, Leslie was sent back to Australia, and discharged in July. He reunited with Jane in Goulburn. Living a life of peace, they remained in the area until his death in 1965.