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Adamstown's Youthful Soldier WW1, Harold Leslie McLeish
contributed by FredThompson, taken on 16 September 1917
(contact FredThompson about this picture)
on right of picture
A YOUTHFUL SOLDIER.
Extract from "Newcastle Chronicle."
Private Harold McLeish received a wélcome home at his parents' residence, Thomas-street, Adamstown, on I Saturday evening. He was met at Newcastle railway station by the Mayor (Alderman Cameron) and the Town Clerk (Mr. W. Brown). The welcome was clouded by the death of the young soldier's mother while he was away, and the news that came to hand the previous evening that his nephew, Private Kirk, of Weston, had been killed in action in France.
At his home, the Mayor, on behalf of the citizens and patriotic committee, gave Private McLeish a cordial welcome. His remarks were supported by Aldermen Saunders and Thompson, and Messrs. Brown. McMaster, and Bloomfield. . Mr. A. McLeish thanked the gathering for the cordial welcome, extended to his son. A large number of friends partook of refreshments, provided by the family.
Private McLeish can lay claim to being one of the youngest if not the youngest soldier who has left Australia. Private McLeish was born in Thomas-street, Adamstown, in February, 1902. He was a big boy, and looked more than his age. At the age of 13 years he enlisted, but his parents I would not sign his papers to allow him to go to the front. At 14. years of age he tried to get away on a transport, and did not succeed. Six months later his brother. Private A. McLeish, of the 3Oth Battalion, returned from Egypt, sick, and was laid up in Randwick Military Hospital. The boy went to Sydney to see his brother, and said to him. "Alex, I'll go and enlist and take your place." His brother told him not to, as he was too young. He was. however, determined to go and do his bit. He gave his age in as, 18 years, and other matters the boy arranged himself. He was accepted, and his parents were not aware of it until the day previous to him stepping aboard the troopship. The parents thought it judicious to place no further obstacles in his way, as they feared he might clear out and enlist in another State. He was accepted when he was 14 years of age, and celebrated his 15th birthday on Salisbury Plain. Shortly after he went into the thick of the fighting wih the Australians. He was twice wounded. While lying in hospital in England. the young fellow told some of his right age. It got to the ears of the military authorities, with the result that.his father was communicated with and the lad's birth certificate sent to England, and he was sent home as soon as he was able to leave the hospital, Private McLeish is now 16 years of age, and weighs about 12st. He looks well, and has almost recovered from his wounds. He is a member of a .widely-known and respected family. His father. Mr. Alex. McLeish; Was undermanager at Minmi Colliery for a number of years and subsequently filled the same position at NewLambton Colliery. - His eldest brother, Mr John McLeish, is manager of-the State coalmine, in Victoria. This plucky lad has a brother, Mr. D. McLeish, and a number of friends at Peeramon.
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This picture was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Locality 'Adamstown'.
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