Topic: Leslie Hill Rose

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Leslie Hill Rose (Service Number 6/3146) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

Born in Christchurch to English parents Arthur Charles and Ellen, Leslie was the third eldest of six sons. Leslie gave his year of birth on enlistment as 1895. He was actually born on the 9th of June 1898, some three years later.

His parents lived for many years on Peterborough, first at 42 Peterborough Street and later at 182 Peterborough Street. Arthur worked as a stableman.

Black haired and blue eyed, Leslie was educated at the Normal School on Cranmer Square, St Albans School and later at Christchurch East. Leslie was a keen soccer player and was well-known in football association circles.

On leaving school he became a motor mechanic at Hawke’s Garage on Durham Street.

Both Leslie and his elder brother Huia enlisted in May 1915 with Leslie's service dated from 14th of June 1915 just days after his 17th birthday. Leslie joined the Canterbury Infantry as part of the 7th Reinforcements and was allocated to the 1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment (1st Company).

Leslie left Christchurch for training at Trentham, near Wellington on the evening of the 14th of June following an official farewell. A large crowd of family and well-wishers listened to the Christchurch Major Henry Holland wish the soldiers the best of luck and tell them that “if they wore out the feet of their socks let them send them back, and the ladies would see that they were mended (laughter and cheers)”. Colonel Chaffey, Officer Commanding the Canterbury Military District told them “they were privileged indeed to be able to go out and fight the battles of the Empire”.

The 7th Reinforcements then marched off to catch their train to Lyttelton and then onto Wellington and Trentham.

Trentham was gaining notoriety as an unhealthy spot: damp, “evil-smelling” mud and slush, with poor water supply and a persistent mist. The food was also considered atrocious and further there had been a poorly supervised outbreak of measles involving some 200 cases.

Leslie would have spent 3-4 months at Trentham before departing for overseas service in October 1915.

He arrived at Suez on the 18th of November and saw several months’ action in Egypt. He embarked for France on the Franconia from Port Said in April 1916.

By June 1917 the allied offensive had moved to Belgium. As a prelude to the allied assault on the Ypres Salient, the Messines Ridge held by German forces needed to be taken. The New Zealand Division including the Canterbury Infantry were selected for the attack. Networks of tunnels under the German lines had been filled with explosives by allied sappers and then successfully detonated. In the ensuing chaos New Zealand troops left their positions and attacked the ridge. Amongst these soldiers was Leslie. The ridge was quickly captured but the Germans bombarded the newly captured territory killing many allied and New Zealand troops.

Leslie was killed in action on the 7th of June 1917, one of some 700 New Zealanders who lost their life at Messines.

He was 19 years old.

He left “all my real and personal estate” to his Mother and was awarded 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.


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Leslie Hill Rose

First Names:Leslie Hill
Last Name:Rose
Place of Birth:Christchurch