Biography

Birth date: 1890
Birth place: Australia: South Australia, Adelaide
Death date: 10 April 1917
Death place: France
Final rank: Major
Service number: 3 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 48 Battalion
  • Imperial Camel Corps
  • 10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 48th Australian Infantry Battalion

Benjamin Bennett Leane was born at Prospect in South Australia on 3 June 1889. His family would become famous for their wartime service. After attending school in Prospect Benjamin trained in engineering and was working as a clerk and warehouseman when he enlisted for service in the First World War. At 25 Benjamin enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 19 August 1914, having already spent four years with the 10th Infantry Regiment of the part-time Citizens' Forces. Out of the six Leane brothers, he was one of the five that enlisted for service. Leane departed Adelaide with the 10th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Ascanius on 20 October 1914.

In the early hours of 25 April 1915 Leane landed on Gallipoli. That day he was wounded by a gunshot wound to his left forearm and was soon after evacuated to England for convalescence. After returning to the peninsula in August, Leane was Mentioned in Despatches, promoted to lieutenant, and temporarily made adjutant of the unit. During this time Leane adopted the approach of writing detailed diary entries as though he were talking to his wife, Phylllis, something that he was not able to do in his letters home.

The following March the newly promoted captain was made adjutant of the 48th Infantry Battalion. It became known as the "Joan of Arc" (the Maid of Orleans) battalion because it was "made of all Leanes": it was commanded by Leane's brother Raymond, Leane himself was adjutant, and several of his nephews were scattered throughout the battalion. The battalion was sent to the Western Front where its first major action was at Pozières in August 1916. Leane continued to distinguish himself that year, promoted to major and awarded of the Serbian Order of the White Eagle.

On the eve of the first battle of Bullecourt on 10 April 1917, Benjamin Leane was killed in action by an artillery shell. He is buried at Queant Road Cemetery, France. The war would also take the lives of two of his nephews and his brother Allan. During the inter-war years Leane's mother passed away. His brothers Raymond and Norman went on to serve in the Second World War with the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Major
  • Date of Death: 10 April 1917
  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Orderly Room Sergeant
  • Date of embarkation: 20 October 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Adelaide

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Major
  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Serbian Order of the White Eagle, Fifth Class with swords

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Serbian Order of the White Eagle with swords

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Serbian Order of the White Eagle, Third Class

  • Unit: 48th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

P02136.001

Studio portrait of five of the six Leane brothers, sons of Thomas and Alice Leane of Prospect, SA. Left to right: standing: Major Benjamin Bennett Leane (1889-1917), 48th Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Lionel Leane MC (1878-1962), 11th Battalion and 373 Warrant Officer 1 Ernest Albert Leane...

P02136.001

P10688.029.009

The grave of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 48th Battalion, immediately beside a railway line. Major Leane, of Adelaide, SA, was killed in action on 10 April 1917 and is now buried at Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy, France. One of a series of images in an album relating to the wartime service of...

P10688.029.009

P05772.004

Informal group portrait of 17 officers of the 48th Battalion. Identified, left to right, back row: Lieutenant (Lt) Dudley Grinlinton [alias Dudley Grinlington], later died of wounds on 17 October 1917; Lt George Freeman Evans, later Captain and killed in action on 14 August 1916; Lt F W Roberts; Lt...

P05772.004

Film

The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 48th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial every 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...

PAFU/863.01

Private Record

Leane, Benjamin Bennett (Major, b.1890 - d.1917)

Collection relating to the service of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 48 Battalion, AIF, Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front, 1914-1917. Collection consists of one letter [typescript carbon copy] and photostat copies of personal diaries, bound into two volumes by AWM. Diaries are written in the form of... Maker: Leane, Benjamin Bennett

1DRL/0412 (With records)

Leane, Allan Edwin (Captain)

Collection relating to the service of Captain Allan Edwin Leane, 48 Battalion, AIF, Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front, 1915-1917. Collection consists chiefly of 24 letters written by Captain Leane to either his mother, his father, or his sister. Maker: Leane, Allan Edwin

1DRL/0411

Digitised Collection

Letters relating to Benjamin Bennett Leane, 1914-1927

Letters relating to the First World War service of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 48th Infantry Battalion. Included is the transcript of a letter in which Leane details a portion of his journey from Australia to Egypt on the troopship Ascanius. He describes the stop in Colombo as well as a major...

RCDIG0001005

Photostat copy of diaries of Benjamin Bennett Leane, 1915

Photostat copy of diaries relating to the First World War service of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 10th Infantry Battalion. This bound volume consists of three sequential diaries kept between 2 March 1915 and 25 December 1915 and written in the form of letters to his wife. The diaries detail...

RCDIG0001006

Photostat copy of diaries of Benjamin Bennett Leane, 1915-1916

Photostat copy of diaries relating to the First World War service of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane, 48th Infantry Battalion. This bound volume consists of three sequential diaries written in the form of letters to his wife and kept between 26 December 1915 and 27 November 1916. The diaries detail...

RCDIG0001007

Timeline

Date of birth 1890
Date of embarkation 1914-10-20
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-09-11
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-05
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-08
Date of death 1917-04-10