The Leese brothers lived at Arrawatta Estate near Inverell where their father was Manager.
Edwin was a twenty two year old Engine Driver when he enlisted in August 1914. Born in Essex, England, he was a champion swimmer at school and had served six months with the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots. At the time of enlistment, Edwin had been living in Australia for six years and was involved in the agricultural industry.
As a member of the 1st Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron, he sailed from Australia on the ship HMAT A16 Star of Victoria, in October 1914. He fought at Gallipoli and by May 1916 had been promoted to Lance Corporal. Later that year he was awarded a Silver Medal by the King of Serbia for distinguished service in Egypt.
Lance Corporal Edwin Leese was killed in action on 9 January 1917 at Rafa, Egypt, and buried at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery. He was regarded as ... 'a fine young chap and well liked in the regiment.'
A younger brother, Driver Arthur J. Leese also enlisted in 1915. He served in Egypt with the 17th Battalion A Company until March 1916 when he was sent to France. He transferred to the 6th Field Engineers and after receiving a gunshot wound to his thigh was evacuated to hospital in England. Arthur returned to Australia in November 1918.
The Inverell Honor Roll and the Cenotaph record the names of the Leese brothers. A Kurrajong tree was planted in Edwin's memory in Kurrajong Parade on the Glen Innes Road. His photograph is on display at the Inverell Pioneer Village.