184 Trooper Richard Leslie ROADS – died of wounds on 21 June 1915
Richard Leslie ROADS was born on 7 January 1893 at Yankalilla, he was the second of five children to Sydney ROADS and Edith ROADS (nee Aveling). He was a labourer when he enlisted in the 1st Australian Imperial Force (AIF) at Morphettville on 19 August 1914.
Richard was posted to No. 2 Troop, ‘A’ Squadron of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment. Major Fulton the Regiment’s Commanding Officer stated in The Advertiser of 27 August:
“…the complement was practically complete. One or two men have yet to come from the country, and there may be a couple of failures as a result of the musketry and riding tests.”
With their initial training completed, the Regiment embarked at Adelaide on transport A17 Port Lincoln. Richard was among 395 officers and men, with 376 horses, aboard the ship when it sailed for Albany on the 20 October 1914. There it joined the first Australian and New Zealand Army convoy assembling for the voyage to the Middle East.
The convoy, with its four escort warships, sailed on 1 November for Egypt. On 9 November HMAS Sydney was detached from the convoy to investigate a suspicious ship reported near the Cocos Islands. In the ensuring battle, Sydney drove the German cruiser Emden ashore and destroyed it, then rejoined the convoy. They proceeded via Colombo and Aden before Port Lincoln landed its passengers and cargo at Alexandria on 9 December 1914. In late January 1915, the Regiment moved to Heliopolis for further training, remaining there until sailing without their horses for Gallipoli on 9 May.
Landing at Gallipoli on 12 May 1915, the 3rd Light Horse was employed in Monash Valley building defences and barricading the road along the Valley to protect men from snipers. It also dug fire and communication trenches at Pope’s Hill and Quinn’s Post. The period 20- 26 May the Regiment defended Pope’s Hill from Turkish attacks. Casualties for May 1915 were 9 killed, 66 wounded, with 18 sick from a fighting strength of 461. Compared with later years, the Regiment was lightly armed with rifles and only 2 machine guns.
In early June 1915 it manned Pope’s Hill, with ‘A’ squadron holding the line from 2 – 9 June, before the Regiment moved back to Reserve in Monash Valley. It is most likely Richard was hit by a sniper’s bullet on 21 June while in the Valley, and is listed among the wounded in the unit War Diary.
Seriously wounded in the abdomen, he was evacuated to the hospital ship HS Gascon, anchored off the coast, but died the same day and was buried at sea near Gaba Tepe on 22 June 1915.
After the war his father received a Memorial Scroll and Richard’s Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Trooper Richard Leslie ROADS is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula and is now commemorated on the Victor Harbor War Memorial.
Service file of 184 Richard Leslie ROADS downloaded from the National Archives of Australia
Australian War Memorial database ( www.awm.gov.au )
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team, January 2015.