Private Leslie Purdon
20th Battalion, AIF
Service Number: 5393
Born: 7 November 1878, O’Connell, NSW
Died: 18 March 1917, Warlencourt, France
Leslie Frederick Purdon was born at O’Connell near Bathurst on 7 November 1878 to Henry and Mary Ann Purdon. The family, who originated from Ireland had lived on their property ‘Hillford’ since the 1860s. Purdon married widow Annie Christina Neal (formerly Mackie) in 1911 in Granville. By 1913, they were living in Penrith in Riley Street where Purdon recorded his occupation as a farmer. By the time of his enlistment in 1916, Purdon and his wife and her children were living in Carlton Terrace, High Street Penrith.
Purdon enlisted at Bathurst on 8 March 1916 listing his occupation as a fettler on the railways. He was 39 years old and had been deemed fit for service by Dr Higgins at Penrith on 22 February 1916. Purdon was allocated to 14th Reinforcements, 20th Battalion. He left Sydney on the HMAT Wiltshire arriving in Plymouth on 13 October 1916. By December he was in France.
On 18 March 1917 Purdon was accidently wounded with a rifle grenade to the abdomen. A grenade prematurely exploded killing two men and wounded seven others. He was taken to the 6th Australian Field Ambulance but died of his wounds. His father died a few days later in O’Connell, never knowing of his son’s death. Two other brothers were also fighting on the Western Front.
In 1922 the Australian Graves Services could find no trace of his grave site. By 1923 Annie had moved to Burwood and later Kogarah. She died in 1947.
- Honor Roll, Villers-Bretonneaux, France
- Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
- Honor Roll, Presbyterian Church, Penrith
- Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School
National Archives of Australia: B2455, PURDON F L