|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||24 November 2020|
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi, 6th Battalion, AIF
KIA: 8 May 1915
Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi.
Leonard Pozzi was born on 28 January 1892 to Valerio and Elizabeth Pozzi of the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. He was named for his grandfather, Leonardo Pozzi, who had been born in Canton Ticino in Switzerland. Leonardo had come to Australia in 1855, and worked to establish a silk-growing industry in Australia and New Zealand. His grandson Leonard grew up in Bendigo, where he attended the Gravel Hill State School. The family later moved back to Fitzroy, where Leonard’s father ran a bicycle-building workshop. After completing his education, Leonard undertook an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer in Fitzroy. He went on to work at the Newport Workshops as a turner, and was a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers.
Leonard Pozzi’s abiding passion was the military. He served with the No. 1 Battalion of Senior Cadets in Melbourne, and once the compulsory service scheme came in, he became a lieutenant in the Collingwood-Fitzroy military district. In 1914 he passed an examination for his captaincy and, it was recorded, “he devoted practically all of his spare time to his military duties.”
Leonard Pozzi’s career as a captain in the senior cadets was cut short by the declaration of war in Europe in August 1914. Less than two weeks later he enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force and was posted to the 6th Battalion. He left for active service overseas with the rank of sergeant two months later, stopping briefly in Albany, Western Australia, before sailing on to Egypt.
Sergeant Pozzi spent his 23rd birthday training in Egypt. In one of his last letters home he sent a photograph of himself sporting a new moustache. With clear indications that he would soon be in action, he wrote in his last letter home, “I wonder how the men under my care will act and how I will act?” He added that he was “still alive and kicking, and enjoying myself, but might be a long time away … I may not send you another card for a long time.”
On 25 April 1915, the 6th Battalion landed on Gallipoli as part of the second wave. Private Gordon Craig, originally of Hawthorn, later wrote to Pozzi’s parents to say “on the day of our landing your son did such good work, and showed so much bravery”. As a result, within days Pozzi was commissioned in the field. In early May, the 6th Battalion was withdrawn with the rest of the 2nd Australian Brigade and the New Zealand Brigade and sent south to Cape Helles to assist British and French troops in an attack on the village of Krithia.
Krithia had already been attacked on 28 April, but the operation had quickly broken down in the face of a strong defence and poor planning. This renewed assault was launched on 6 May, and over subsequent days more and more waves of infantry were sent into a battlefield that was swept by Turkish fire. The second battle of Krithia failed to capture its objectives, and the attackers suffered heavy casualties.
After reaching a series of advanced English trenches, the order came, “Australians, prepare to advance.” Private Goodall recalled, “there was a moment’s silence, then the Australians as one man sprang forward.” The men became scattered, with many left behind as casualties, but Lieutenant Pozzi pushed on to the foremost English-held trench before mustering his men into another advance. Private Goodall was with this group, and recalled
Mr. Pozzi was leading us, but I am sorry to say that it was here in this rush that Lieutenant Pozzi fell. It was quite the worst part of the advance, and it is simply a miracle how any of us got through at all. When we stopped again and realised that Mr. Pozzi had fallen I went back with the intention of getting him under cover. When I reached him he was lying on his face, so I turned him over and loosened his equipment. He had a wound in his chest, and as I was bandaging him up he said to me, “It is no good, Goodall, I am done. Will you carry on?” I said I would, as I could see he only had a few minutes to live. He was then contented, and spent his last moments in prayer with his God. I distinctly heard him ask God to bless his people and all the boys … Needless to say, we lost a terrible lot of our best men, amongst them Lieutenant Pozzi
Private Gordon Craig wrote to Leonard’s parents to say “we buried him on a hill facing the sea, and put a cross over his grave [with] the words ‘in loving memory of Lieutenant Pozzi, who was killed in action on May 8’.” He added, “Although we knew it must be a terrible shock to you, yet we also know that you have every reason to be proud of your son, whom everyone that knew him loved and respected. He met his death as every honourable man might wish; that is, fighting for his king and country.”
Lieutenant Pozzi’s grave was lost in later fighting, and today he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, not far from where he was killed. He was 23 years old.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Leonard Lambert Pozzi, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)