Gassed bush poet kept home informed
LEOPOLD DOUGLAS TIGELL Great-great-uncle of Jack and Sophie Truscott
A talented blacksmith and keen bush poet, Queenslander Leopold
(Leo) Tigell was born on Christmas
Day 1889 in Pittsworth, Queensland and lived and worked as a farmer at
Jones Gully prior to enlisting. He joined the AIF on October 23, 1916, and arrived in Plymouth on March 3, 1917, to become one of the reinforcements for the 41st Battalion in the 11th Brigade of the 3rd Division.
According to the Australian War Memorial, at the end of June 1917 the 11th Brigade was ordered to establish a new front line west of Warneton in Belgium, in full view of the Germans. “Work carried on night and day under heavy shellfire and the period became known to the battalion as ‘the 18 days’. The start of August found the 41st holding ground captured by two of its sister battalions in a feint attack on 31 July. Enduring continual rain, flooded trenches and heavy shelling, many of the battalion’s platoons dwindled from 35 men to less than 10.”
Tigell’s foot was crushed on the Western Front on October 11 and he was sent to England to recover, returning to his battalion on January 19 before being gassed in May. He was discharged in August 1919.
Tigell wrote many letters home to his mother, filled with news of his daily tasks, his thoughts and poems, some of which were published in the Darling Downs Gazette. He married Mary Quirey when he was 37 and they had three daughters. He died at the age of 83.