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.

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