No.2609 Private Leslie Richard Thomas Hassen M.M.
[a.k.a. Leslie Richard Thomas Hassan]
[a.k.a. Richard L. T. Hassen]
Leslie Richard Thomas Hassen was born in 1894 to Samuel Hassen and Georgina (Gina) Anderson, at Bathurst New South Wales. He was one of three brothers who all served in the The First World War. His parents, Samuel and Georgina married at Bathurst in 1879.
All seven children of the marriage were born at Bathurst, and were:
- Samuel Hassen - born 1881
- Henry J. Hassen - born 1883
- Ann P. Hassen - born 1860
- Elizabeth Hassen - born 1889
- Victor G. Hassen - born 1891 (A.I.F.)
- Richard L. T. Hassen - born 1894 (A.I.F.)
- Stanley E. Hassen - born 1897 (A.I.F.)
National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), 24 August 1892, p.2.
This was not the only incidence of truancy. In December of 1892, Georgina Hassen charged her husband in the Police Court at Bathurst with desertion.
National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), 29 December 1892, p.2.
She took him to court again in August 1897 charging him with abuse, and neglecting to support her and her seven children.
National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), 31 August 1897, p.2.
Leslie's father, Samuel Hassen, died at Bathurst in 1904, and at some unknown date the family moved to Benalla in Victoria. John Robert Wilson and his wife Georgina (nee Hassen, nee Anderson) appear in the 1914 Electoral Roll at Benalla. In 1916 and 1917, they were at 200 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, and in 1919, they appear at 77 Alexander Street, West Footscray. Georgina’s youngest son Stanley Edward Wilson was living with them.
Leslie took the Oath for the A.I.F. at Brisbane on 4 August 1915. He was 21 years and 2 months old. A comment on his medical form recorded that he had 12 false teeth in his top jaw. At this time the spelling of his surname was recorded as Hassan.
Private Leslie Richard Thomas Hassan embarked at Brisbane on 21 October 1915 per HMAT Seang Bee A48, with the 7th Infantry Brigade, 6th Reinforcements for the 26th Battalion. He nominated Benalla in Victoria as his home town, and the address of his next of kin.
There is a gap in the records, from when he disembarked in Egypt, until 1 March 1916. It is possible he trained to go to Gallipoli, but was never sent. After the war he applied to the Army for a Gallipoli badge, but was rejected.
On 1 March 1916, Private Hassan of the 7th Training Battalion was allocated to join 12th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, at Zeitown, Egypt. He arrived at the 12th Battalion’s Railhead Camp, in Egypt on 4 March 1916.
A short time later, on 29 March 1916, the 12th Battalion proceeded to the port of Alexandria, to join B.E.F. They embarked per H.M.T. Corsican, on the same day, and disembarked at Marseilles in France on 5 April 1916. They then made their way to their first base in France, at Sailly-sur-la-Lys.
During the fighting south of Pozieres on 24 July 1916, Private Hassan was wounded in action, and became one of the "heavy casualties" on that day. He was treated for shell shock by the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station who sent him to A.T. 22. He was then sent to the 1st Australian General Hospital at the Commonwealth Camp, at Rouen.
[Early medical opinion of "shell shock" in World War 1, was that damage was related to the severe concussive motion of the shaken brain in the soldier’s skull. Shell shock was deemed to be a physical injury, and the shell shocked soldiers could be discharged with a war pension.]
On 5 August 1916, Private Hassan had recovered, and was taken on strength at 1st A.D.B.D. at Etaples in France. He remained with them until 3 September 1916. Almost three weeks after being wounded, his mother, Mrs G. Hassen of Benalla was advised by telegram (dated 13 August 1916) that her son Leslie had been wounded. It is unclear if she received or read the telegram.
Two weeks after the telegram had been sent, his mother wrote to the army on 26 August 1916, seeking information on the location of her son Leslie. She had seen his name in the Casualty List of that day’s The Age newspaper. She said that another son, Stanley E. Wilson had previously been wounded, and that another son Victor G. Hassen was on his way to the front.
On 3 September 1916, Private Hassan marched in to Machine Gun Corps Base at Etaples, France, and was taken on strength. He was medically Cat B2A. (Not fully recovered).
Then on 2 February 1917, Private Hassan was taken on strength with the 12th Battalion. They were resting, before they relieved the 4th Battalion in the lines at Eaucourt L’Abbaye section, several days later.
The 12th Battalion had been fighting at Dernancourt for about two weeks, when Private Hassan was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery in the field. There is no mention in the Unit War Diary of the action in which they were engaged, of his specific deed, which occurred on 19 March 1917. His mother was officially advised of this award, in a letter, dated 6 September 1917.
Two months later, on 6 May 1917, Leslie was fighting with the 12th Battalion in the trenches around Sunken Road, in the Norieul – Longatte area (Bullecourt, France,) when a bomb exploded close to him. He received a serious injury on his right arm, and lost a large section of muscle in that area. He was immediately treated by the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station before being moved to the 1st Commonwealth General Hospital at Etaples on the following day.
On 9 May 1917, three days after being wounded, Private Hassan was transferred to England via Calais, per the Hospital Ship, Princess Elizabeth. He was immediately admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham, England.
The A.I.F. wrote to Private Hassen’s mother on 23 May 1917, advising that her son had been admitted to hospital, suffering with a severe gunshot wound to his right arm. His wounding was also reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 1917, p.10.
After two months treatment, he was admitted to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford England. He was with this hospital between 19 July 1917 and 28 July 1917, when he was granted leave.
At the completion of his leave on 11 August 1917, Leslie was discharged from the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital to the No. 2 Commonwealth Depot at Weymouth. He stayed there until 24 September 1917 when he embarked to Australia per H.T. Suevic A29, for discharge. His next of kin was advised on 31 October 1917, that he would soon be returning to Australia.
The Suevic disembarked its passengers at Melbourne on 18 November 1917, and the Queensland troops were then sent overland by train to Brisbane.
On the same day, 18 November 1917, his mother (now Mrs G. Wilson) wrote to the Department of Defence, asking for an admittance card to the docks, so that she could meet her son, as he came ashore. She also asked if he could be granted two days leave with her, as she hadn’t seen him for over 10 years. She also mentioned that she "had never been in previously to welcome the returned soldiers home, as it made her think of her own poor boys that were at the war, and she was anxious not to miss him, in case he might have come by the boat that arrived Tuesday". The reply from the Defence Dept was dated 20 November 1917, and advised that her son had landed on Sunday the 18th, and had entrained for Brisbane at 1.20 p.m. the following day.
Private L. R. T. Hassen was discharged from the No. 1 Military District in Brisbane as medically unfit, on 20 December 1917.
Leslie Robert Thomas Hassen M.M. applied to re-enlist in the A.I.F. at Sydney on 25 March 1918, and was accepted on 14 April 1918. He nominated a different date of birth (17 April 1895), and was given a new service number of 227. Leslie said that he was now almost 23 years old, and was working as a shunter. He was living with a Mrs Oliver at 316 Abercrombie Street, Redfern, Sydney. His file states that War precaution regulation 41.c. had been complied with.
A second copy of his attestation form states that he was now married, and that his wife was Mrs Myrtle Hassen of Beatrix Street, Lidcombe. They were married at Auburn in Sydney in 1918, and her maiden name was Myrtle Recordia Victoria Schnalke.
Private Hassen was appointed to the 1st Infantry Depot Battalion at Liverpool, on 7 May 1918 for two days. He was not suited to the role, and was discharged from that position as medically unfit on 13 May 1918.
He was then appointed as a Driver with the A.S.C. between 14 May 1918 and 7 November 1918, when he was discharged on his "Own Request".
Driver Leslie Richard Thomas HASSEN re-enlisted in the A.I.F. at Sydney on 2 December 1919. He was considered fit for Home Service, and was given a new number of 518. Leslie served as a driver with the A.S.C. at Victoria Barracks in Sydney between 2 December 1919 and 3 February 1920, when he applied for a discharge on his "Own Request".
On 14 January 1920, Leslie Hassen applied to the War Service Homes Commission for assistance, under the Act. He was then living at Beatrice Street, Lidcombe, Sydney. The Sands Directory then lists him at Beatrice St, Lidcombe between 1920 and 1927.
From 1930, Leslie was a labourer, living at George's Avenue, Lidcombe. His wife Myrtle was recorded as home duties. In 1949 their daughter Joyce was first recorded as living with them at Lidcombe. The family were still complete in 1972, with Leslie, Myrtle Recordia Victoria and Joyce Henrietta still living at 3 George's Rd, Lidcombe.
His daughter Joyce wrote to the Defence Department in 1967, asking if her father was entitled to receive an Anzac Day Commemorative Badge. She received a reply stating that his service did not meet the criteria.
The 1980 Electoral Roll still recorded the family of three, living together at 234 Auburn Road, Auburn, Sydney.
Leslie Hassen died in New South Wales in 1980, aged 86 years.
Medals & Entitlements:
- Military Medal
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
1. On his Attestation paper, dated 4 August 1915, Leslie wrote his name as Hassan, and signed it as Hassen.
2. The Names Hassen L.R., and Hassen V. L., first appeared in The Werribee Shire Banner’s Roll of Honor, 13 February 1919, p.3. This is after the Great War had ended.
3. The "T" for Thomas was omitted from his listing on the Werribee Shire Oak Honour Board.
4. He is one of three sons from the same family that enlisted in the Great War.
5. After living together since before the Great War, Georgina (Gina) Hassan married John Robert Wilson in Victoria, in 1917. No location was given.
6. 1st Division Base Depot. Formed at Etaples in March 1916. Moved to Harfleur, near Le Havre in June 1917. It disbanded 15 December 1917.
7. A.I.F. Medical Categories –
(Category A was for men who were fit for Active Service;
Category B - men fit for certain kinds of service;
Category C – men fit for service in England;
Category D – temporarily unfit but likely to become fit after treatment &
Category E – those who should be discharged.
B1A2 was fit for overseas training camp in three to four weeks.
B1A - fit for light duty only – 4 weeks.)
Family - https://familyhistory.bdm.nsw.gov.au/lifelink/familyhistory/search/result?8
Personal - http://trees.ancestrylibrary.com
Service - http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/
Embarkation - http://static.awm.gov.au
CD - Great War Index Victoria 1914-1920