Jacobs, Leonard (Len) Thomas

Date of Birth/Death:


Leonard Thomas Jacobs was born in McLaren Vale on 5 April 1892, the second son of Jacob Sydney Jacobs and Mary Jacobs (nee Annis) who had married in June 1889. They had four children:

  • Sydney Arthur, born 19 August 1890.
  • Leonard Thomas, born 5 April 1892.
  • Winifred, born 6 October 1893, married William Male.
  • Cora May, born 9 May 1895.

Len’s father was a blacksmith in McLaren Vale, but he died in 1898, aged only 32. Len’s mother Mary died in 1910 aged 47. Len was a cousin to Connie Jacobs (formerly Dunstan). Len went to school in Willunga and then worked as an engine driver.

He enlisted in the Army in August 1914 and received a Willunga Cheer Up Society farewell on his embarkation for Egypt. He initially served as a gunner and later as a driver. He was posted to Gallipoli, Egypt, France and Belgium and was promoted to Corporal in July 1918. His brother Sydney also enlisted but died of wounds while fighting in Egypt in 1916. Len Jacobs was away for four and a half years, returning just before Christmas, on 23 December 1918, to a most enthusiastic welcome from the Willunga Cheer Up Society and residents. The members of the Cheer-up Society, in uniform, formed a guard of honour. The National Anthem, and ”Home, sweet home” were sung, and the Rev T Wood gave an address, after which Mr S Blecker [Blacker?], in his decorated motor, conveyed the Anzac to his home. Later a welcome home social was held in the beautifully decorated Agricultural Hall with a crowded audience. Len was cheered as he proceeded to the platform through the guard of honour formed by Boy Scouts and Cheer-up girls. Several speeches followed, then the President of the Cheer-up Society, Mrs. Longbottom presented Len with a gold medal. Then followed a musical programme given by Mrs M I Oldam, Misses Richards, Jacobs, J Webb, Hambridge, and Boy Scouts. The singing of the popular song ”Anzac” by Misses Richards, Jacobs, Foreman, and Sibly Hailstone, was much appreciated. The accompanist was Mrs F Aldam. Supper was provided by the Cheer-up girls, and a dance followed.

Len married Lillian Wall in 1921. They had three children:

  • Sydney David (1922-?) (named after Len’s older brother who was killed in the War)
  • Cyril Durham (1924-?)
  • Kelvin James (1927-2014)

The family moved to Waikerie where Len died on 13 September 1939, aged 47. His widow died on 19 June 1972, aged 74. They are both buried in the Waikerie Cemetery.


Genealogy SA, https://genealogysa.org.au/

1914 ‘ALEXANDRA NEWS.’, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, 18 September, p. 1., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146295339

1919 ‘HONORING SOLDIERS.’, The Express and Telegraph, 6 January, p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210584641

1919 ‘WILLUNGA.’, The Victor Harbor Times and Encounter Bay and Lower Murray Pilot, 17 January, p. 4., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163027924

1922 ‘Family Notices’, Chronicle, 18 February, p. 31., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87417160

1939 ‘OBITUARY MR. LEN JACOBS Another Prominent Waikerie “Digger” Passes’, Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record, 21 September, p. 11., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109248065

Chris Horsman,  A Picture of Fortitude: Honouring Willunga’s Cheer-Up ‘Girls’ and the soldiers they supported,  Willunga, Willunga Recreation Park, 2016, page 215.

FlickrID=50325338213 – Jacobs, Leonard Thomas. Courtesy Brian Kowald in Chris Horsman A Picture of Fortitude, 2016, page 214.

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