An ANZAC in the FAMILY
Private Leslie McAlpine is my uncle. My father told me stories about his beloved eldest brother, who teased him, shouted him lollies, then went off to war and never came back. At family gatherings my uncles and aunts would talk about Leslie, wondering what happened and where his medals were. They found Anzac Day very painful. When the Commonwealth War Graves Commission released their records online, working with a cousin, I found Leslie’s grave – in France, not in Gallipoli as we expected. For the next three years, I slowly pieced the story together. To understand Leslie’s life, I also began to research the lives of the 2,235 men in the 4th Reinforcements and this book follows their lives and deaths. The 4th Reinforcements don’t feature in many accounts of the First World War but they have a proud tradition. They fought at Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika, and the Western Front. They did it all. Based on three years of research, An ANZAC in the FAMILY includes a complete listing of the men of the 4ths: name, rank, next of kin, where they came from and, if they were killed, where they are buried. Leslie’s story shows how decisions, made in the wider world, affect our lives and our opportunities. Using stories passed down by Leslie’s brothers and sisters, An ANZAC in the FAMILY shows the pride, the worry and the painful loss felt by them and Leslie’s parents.