Leo Paul Little

July 20, 2015

LITTLE, Leo Paul- – – – SPC 1906-1910

DoB:- – 22 February 1892, Bacchus Marsh, VIC

Father:- – David Armstrong Little

Mother:- – Annie Margaret, nee Hanigan

All five brothers from the Little family were boarders from Bacchus Marsh: Tom, David, Jack, Leo and Gerald.

In the College Annual of 1910, it was reported that Leo Little passed his Junior Public Service exam in the following subjects: Geography, Latin, French, arithmetic, geometry, history, English and French. In his final year at the College, Leo was also the handball champion.

Three years after leaving St Pat’s, the Annual noted that,

– -‘-¦ Leo Little is doing well. He is in the Department of Home Affairs -¦ Leo is getting big physically: in fact is -‘little’ only in name. In the recent handball tournament in Adelaide between Victoria and South Australia, he was the only one who beat his opponent. The Adelaide -‘Register’ attributed the victory to the -‘superior physique’ of the Victorian champion. Which is as superfluous as saying that intellectual eminence is due to superior brains. Well done, Leo!

Service No:- 317

Rank:- – Sergeant, later Lieutenant

Unit:- – 37th Battalion, later 5th Squadron AFC

Leo Paul Little enlisted on 8 January 1916. He was 23 years and 11 months of age, five feet, ten and quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He was an unmarried man, who worked as a clerk in the Public Service.

On 3 June 1916, he embarked from Melbourne aboard the Persic, disembarking at Plymouth, England on 25 July. After some months training in England, he proceeded overseas to France on 22 November 1916.

On the night of 6 June 1917, his unit marched through the gas-saturated Ploegsteert Wood to be in position as part of the second wave attacking along the Douve valley near Messines. Leo was badly gassed and received a gunshot wound to the arm. He recovered to take part in the battles at Broodseinde (for which he was awarded the Military Cross) and Passchendaele.

In April 1918, Lieutenant Little received the Military Cross for -“

-‘Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action east of Ypres on 4th October 1917. This officer selected and supervised the preparation of approach route and assembly line for the assault and carried out his work in a most satisfactory way. The necessary reconnaissance involved a considerable amount of difficult and dangerous work under heavy enemy fire. At the commencement of the attack, when, on account of the difficult country, carrying parties in the forward area reorganized the parties and by his efforts put the whole scheme on a satisfactory footing. After that, he made several important reconnaissances under heavy fire and brought back very valuable information.’

In December 1917 he was seconded for training with the Australian Flying Corps. In July, he was admitted to hospital, having been injured in an -‘Aero’ accident. It was discovered that he was suffering from traumatic synovitis of his right shoulder, a condition where the muscles around the joint waste away. Lieutenant Leo Little was returned to Australia on 19 October 1918.

Leo’s appointment with the AIF was terminated on 19 August 1919, after which he lived in Melbourne.

He studied law at Melbourne University and became a barrister, played Australian Rules in the VFL for the Melbourne Football Club and in 1943 became a Crown Prosecutor. He married Doris, and they had seven children. The family lived at 10 Birdwood Avenue, Elwood.

Leo Little died in Melbourne on 19 November 1956. He was buried at the Springvale Cemetery, Victoria.