John (Jack) LESWELL

Year of Birth:  1894

Place of Birth:  Mareeba, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  31 December 1914

Date and Place of Embarkation:  2 June 1915, Brisbane, Queensland

Ship:  HMAT Borda A30

Rank:  Private/Trooper

Unit(s):  11 Light Horse Regiment

Regimental Number:  308

Died:  15 October 1916


Pte/Trooper John (Jack) Leswell – photo courtesy Our Soldiers & Volunteers


John (Jack) Leswell was born 12 February 1895 in Mareeba Qld. His mother was Mary Hannah Leswell formerly Cravino.  John had 2 siblings, Eliza born 1890 and Thomas born 1898. Mary Hannah Leswell nee Peters married John Henry Finn in 1909 and died in 1959.

Sometime in 1963 Leswell Street, Mareeba was named after Pte. John (Jack) Leswell.

On his enlistment John Leswell was living in Mareeba his age was 19 years 10 months and his occupation was a labourer.  His next of kin was his mother Mrs. Finn, Mareeba. His height was 5 feet 7 ½ inches, weighed 147 pounds with sallow complexion, light brown hair and his religion was Presbyterian.

Prior to his service in the 11th Light Horse Regiment, John served in the Far North Queensland Kennedy Regiment, known as the Dirty 500.  Members of the Dirty 500, including John, landed on Thursday Island on 16 August 1914 from the troopship “Kanowna”, to take part in the capture of German New Guinea. An incident on board the “Kanowna” involving the firemen forced the immediate return of the troops to Townsville on 18 August 1914; John was discharged the same day.

Pte.John (Jack) Leswell was killed in action on the 15 October 1916 in the Maghara Canal zone, Eqypt. Records say that John was buried 1 mile north of .1046 NW of G. in Maghara. He is commemorated on the Jerusalem War Memorial Cemetery.


HMAT Borda A30 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial


NAA: B2455

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cairns Post 16 October 1918 p4


Online Resources

Photograph of the: HMAT Borda A30, Australian War Memorial

NAA: B2455,John Leswell, National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial

Cairns Post 16 October 1918 p4

Mapping our Anzac History

Qld History


Other Resources

The First Expeditionary Force: the Thursday Island Expedition: a collection of reference documents. Denis Bird, 2015 [CDFHS Library]


If you have a photograph or further information about this soldier you would like to share and add to his biography, please add a comment or contact the Society

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *