Leon Gellert

Leon Gellert: 1892-1977
Leon Gellert: 1892-1977
Leon Gellert, the grandson of Hungarian settlers, enlisted as a private in 10th AIF.

On October 22 1914, Gellert and the 10th Battalion set off for Egypt. Corporal Gellert became drunk for the first time in his life, on Melbourne Bitter whilst sailing on the Indian Ocean. Gellert resumed writing poetry after arriving in Cairo; his output grew once the 10th set off for the Dardanelles. For seven weeks, his battalion was kept in reserve on their troop ship before being ordered to land at Ari Burnu beach at dawn on April 25. Gellert survived nine weeks on Gallipoli before coming down with dysentery. He had to be evacuated to Malta, where he contracted typhoid and was sent to England to convalesce. This is where most of his poems were written, including The Last to Leave.

After collapsing into a coma that doctors suspected was epileptic, Gellert was discharged as medically unfit on June 30, 1916. Amazingly, he re-enlisted in November, only to be discharged four days later when his medical record was uncovered.

Index of Writings