McLEOD, Lester, Kenneth and Hubert

Lester was born in South Australia in 1896. When he enlisted in October 1915 he was a nineteen year old farmer at Delungra NSW. His parents, John and Mary McLeod, signed his enlistment papers giving consent to their son going to War.  Lester joined other district volunteers who left Inverell together with the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs on 12 January 1916.

After becoming a member of the 33rd Battalion, C Company, Lester trained at Armidale and Rutherford prior to sailing from Australia on 4 May 1916.  His Battalion arrived in England after nine weeks at sea, and further training was undertaken at Salisbury Plain before they were sent to France in November.  Lester’s time at the Front was short as he was Killed In Action on 24 February 1917 and buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. His few remaining personal effects which included an electric torch, belt, metal watch, locket, fountain pen and wallet were returned to his Father.

Private Lester McLeod is remembered at Inverell where his name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph. In 1916 his name was also placed on the Honor Roll at the Methodist Church, which is now Inverell's Uniting Church. In 1919, he was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade. At Delungra his name is inscribed on the Roll of Honor and on the new Memorial Gate at Anzac Park. 

Lester's brother Kenneth also enlisted in 1916 and served with the 33rd Battalion. He was twenty two when he left Australia in August 1916 on HMAT A68. He served in France and Belgium and retunred to Australia in June 1919. He eventually obtained a Soldiers block near Mt. Russell. Kenneth died in 1935. His name is recorded on the Delungra Roll of Honor and on the new Memorial at Anzac Park..

A third brother, Hubert, enlisted at Inverell on 10 January 1916, the same day as his medical examination. Although he passed this examination, it was noted that he had a speech impediment. Hubert was then rejected at the Narrabri camp three weeks later. Undeterred, he enlisted again in August 1917 at Inverell stating he was a twenty four year old Farmer at Delungra. He had put himself forward again at a recruiting rally held at Delungra the previous month. Sadly he was rejected a second time due to his speech difficulties.  Hubert died in 1926.

Mrs. McLeod, Mother of Lester, Kenneth and Hubert, was given the honour of unveiling the Delungra Roll of Honor in November 1917.