BASSETT, Leslie John

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Army
Conflict
World War I
Date of Enlistment
20/12/1915
Place of Enlistment
Royal Miltary College, Duntroon ACT

Personal Details

Gender
Male
Other Name(s)
Also known as 'Jack'
Place of Birth
London, England
Address (at enlistment)
Duntroon ACT
School(s) Attended
London Council School, England
Occupation
Steward
Next of Kin
Son of Henry James and Sarah Bassett of 180 Bishopsgate, London; brother of Ernest Henry Bassett, Palmers Green, London.
Burial Place

Middlesex 82 Harefield (St Mary) Churchyard: grave Aust. 91.

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
4312
Final Rank
Private
Final Unit
32 Battalion AIF

Fate

Died of illness at the Australian General Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex, England, on 10 January 1919 aged 37 years

Commemoration

AWM Roll of Honour Memorial Panel 119, Canberra ACT

Notes

Born in around latte 1882 or early 1883 in Hackney in London, England, Bassett worked in the family tailoring business (according to the 1901 census) before joining the mercantile marine as a captain's steward, sailing around Asia for several years. He arrived in Australia as a 31 year old and began working as a steward at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in August 1914 finally enlisting on 20 December 1915, reportedly on his fifth attempt. Bassett served for most of the war as batman to Brigadier General C.Stewart Davies (formerly of RMC Duntroon), commanding officer of the 8th Brigade of the AIF. He fought at Albert, Fromelles, Messines, Corbie, Armentieres, Ypres and Polygon Wood. On one occasion Bassett was buried for several hours up to his armpits in the mud on the Somme battlefield before being rescued. Later, on requesting to rejoin the front line fighting in September 1917, Davies said to Bassett; "if you could live through Polygon Wood you can live through anything". He died on 10 January 1919 of tubercule of the lung and meningitis at the Australian General Hospital, Harefield and was buried at the Harefield Parish Churchyard of St. Mary's in Hillingdon, England. Davies left a glowing testimony for Bassett, writing that "as a soldier a more fearless and splendid boy never came to France."

Description - height 5 feet 4½ inches, weight 118 pounds, chest 33 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, Church of England.

Sources

AWM Roll of Honour Database
AWM Roll of Honour Circular
First World War Unit Embarkation Rolls
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Debt of Honour Register
Ross Howarth, 'Civilians employed at the Royal Military College of Australia, Duntroon, from 1911 to 1931', Royal Military College Duntroon, November 2000
NAA RecordSearch - Series B2455 (First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920)

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