Private 13813 Leslie Westley

Killed in Action Gallipoli on Tuesday, 10th August 1915, age 20.
Commemorated on Panel 104 to 113 of Helles Memorial, Turkey.

9th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 39th Brigade of 13th Division.

Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 4th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Dudley Clock Tower Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/684244/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Richard Leslie Westley registered December quarter 1894 in Dudley.

1901 Census
15 Price Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Arthur Westley (40, Brass Founder - employer, born Dudley), his wife Mary (43, born Pensnett), and their 9 children: Minnie (20, Assistant in Business, born Dudley), Maud (16, born Dudley), Beatrice A. (15, born Dudley), Sydney (13, born Dudley), Gertrude (10, born Dudley), Catherine (9, born Dudley), Joseph Vernon (7, born Dudley), Richard Leslie (6, born Dudley), and Clarence (4, born Dudley).

1911 Census
54 Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs
Mary Westley (51, born Dudley), and 6 of her surviving 11 children of 11: Sydney (22, Brassfounder, born Dudley), Gertrude (19, Dressmaker, born Dudley), Carry (18, born Dudley), Vernon (17, Meter Reader, born Dudley), Leslie (16, Errand Boy for Tramway, born Dudley), and Clarence (14, Errand Boy for Grocer, born Dudley).

Personal Data

This man is commemorated on the Dudley Clock Tower memorial as R.L. Westley.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Battalion Worcesters were formed in August 1914, as part of the newly formed 13th (Western) Division. They first assembled at Tidworth, then to Basingstoke, and finally to Blackdown in Hampshire. In mid June the Division left for Alexandria, then to Mudros, landing at "V" Beach, Gallipoli, on the 13th July 1915. They remained here until 29th July when they were withdrawn for a few days before the battle of Sari Bair.

The battle of Sari Bair commenced on August 6th; Sari Bair is a range of hills/mountains rising to 1000 feet from sea level. There are 3 distinct peaks, Hill 971, Chanuk Bair, and Hill 'Q' between them. The 9th Worcesters were to attack and take Hill 'Q' but having first to climb the steep gully of Aghyl Dere.

They were to have neared the peak of Hill 'Q' by daybreak on the 8th to begin the final assault, but the steep narrow conditions meant it was midday before they were ready to deploy. They were then hit by heavy fire, and the 2nd in Command (the C.O. had been wounded) decided that they had no prospect of success so he cancelled the order and deployed to hold their position.

From Stacke: "The heat was intense, and the troops suffered severely from thirst and hunger. The wounded were a sad plight. Few stretchers had been brought up and it was difficult to carry even those down the precipitous ravine."

The 9th Worcesters were relived from the front line, but only a short distance back. On the 9th August, 6th South Lancs and 2nd Royal Warwicks attacked the ridge with success, but were then hit by our own naval bombardment causing severe losses. The 9th Worcesters came back into the line at this point.

At dawn on the 10th August, the Turks above the 9th Worcesters began a major attack. The Worcesters repelled wave after wave, but were forced back to the head of the Aghyl Dere ravine where they consolidated, and were relieved to reserve that night. The slopes above were thick with the dead and dying from both sides; there was little hope for the wounded.

Both Leslie Westley and Albert Baker were killed during the Turkish attack on 10th August, and unsurprisingly have no known grave and are both commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Herald April 15th 1916
Official notification has this week been received from the War Office that Private Leslie Westley, of the 9th Worcesters, has been killed in action. The date is given as August 10th, 1915. It is learnt, unofficially, that it was in Gallipoli that he met his death. Private Westley volunteered to fetch water from a stream, and on his returning to the trench for which it was intended, was killed by shell fire. He joined the army immediately after the declaration of war, and was sent out with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at the end of June 1915. Previous to joining he worked at the Brades Steel Works, Oldbury, and lived with his mother at Burnt Tree, who died on Christmas Eve last.

He was very keen to get into the firing line. Every effort has been made to find out where he was, and enquiries did not elicit the sad news from the War Office until this week. Had he lived he would have attained the age of 21 on 2nd October, 1915.

He is the son of Mr. Arthur Westley, late of Kate's Hill, and brother of Mr. A. Edgar Westley.

Birmingham Daily Gazette April 17th 1916
The week-end casualty lists show the following losses:
The death is officially reported to have occurred at Gallipoli of Private Leslie Westley. His home was at Dudley Port.