An Anzac in the Family - Sherryl McAlpine
From the classrooms and playgrounds of early 1900s New Zealand to the battlefields of Gallipoli, the tragedy of the Marquette, and the trenches of France, this is the story of Private Leslie McAlpine.
Many families in New Zealand have an Anzac who served in the First World War. Leslie is the Anzac in our family. He is a fit, healthy young man who never completely loses hope that he will get back home. His story shows how decisions made in the wider world affect our lives and our opportunities.
Leslie leaves New Zealand as one of the 2235 men in the 4th Reinforcements and the story follows their lives and deaths. In 1914, as New Zealand goes to war, Leslie is in the navy, on the Torch, and loving it. But he wants to see a bit more action. He reads the accounts in the papers describing what the New Zealand and Australian soldiers are doing as they travel across the world in convoy and he wants to be part of that. So in January 1915 he enlists in the army in the 4th Reinforcements. He is just 18. With an adventure before him that everyone in New Zealand approves of and celebrates, what can possibly go wrong?
The Allied forces and politicians plan strategies and make decisions. Leslie and the 4th Reinforcements follow orders and do their very best. Surviving Gallipoli and the Marquette disaster, Leslie is killed in action on the Western Front. He is just 19.