Leslie Malcolm Newlove

Leslie Malcolm Newlove, No. 31530

2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment

Killed in action, 12 October 1917 

Born in 1895 in Tākaka, Golden Bay, Leslie Newlove was the youngest of Mary Ann and Leonard Newlove’s eight sons. The family farmed at Tākaka and were regular exhibitors at local A & P shows, often placing in the top three in competitions. Tall, with blue eyes and brown hair, Leslie continued to farm as an adult, working land at Tākaka alongside several of his brothers.

In 1916 Leslie enlisted for service in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Three of his brothers – George (then living in Auckland), Charles and Edwin – also volunteered. In November 1916 Leslie departed New Zealand for final training in England and then to fight on the Western Front, leaving behind his new wife, Maude, whom he had married one month earlier at Tākaka.

Leslie became a private in the Canterbury Infantry Regiment and at the end of May 1917 joined his battalion in Belgium as they prepared to assault Messines Ridge. He survived his first experience of battle and settled into the routines of army life. At the end of September, Leslie and the rest of the New Zealand Division rejoined the Allied offensive around Ypres after a period out of the front line. The battles that followed proved costly for the Newlove family.

On 12 October 1917 the New Zealand Division launched a disastrous attack on Bellevue Spur, the ridge leading to the village of Passchendaele. Twenty-two-year-old Leslie Newlove was one of 843 New Zealand men killed in the day’s fighting. He disappeared into the mud of Passchendaele while under heavy enemy fire and was later deemed to have been killed in action. Describing the circumstances of Leslie’s death, Lance-Corporal George Bell simply stated: ‘I saw no more of him’.

Tragically for the Newloves, Leslie’s brothers Charles and Edwin were also killed in the battles of 4 and 12 October. George was the only Newlove to return home from the war. Like that of many New Zealand men who died at Passchendaele, Leslie’s body was never found. His name is listed with those of his brothers on the New Zealand memorial to the missing at Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium. All three men are also remembered together on the war memorial in their home town, Tākaka.

Further information

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph record - Leslie Newlove

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record - Leslie Newlove

The Newlove brothers

Takaka war memorial

Takaka war memorial library

Leslie and Maude Newlove's wedding portrait

'Personal', Colonist, 23 October 1917, p. 4

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