Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Henley, Frank Le Leu (1888–1941)

by Cris Anstey

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Frank Le Leu Henley (1888-1941), soldier, secretary and sales manager, was born on 7 December 1888 at Dandenong, Victoria, first child of James Robert Henley, bricklayer and later contractor, and his wife Emma, née Le Leu; both were born in South Australia. Soon afterwards, James and Emma Henley returned to Adelaide where Frank attended Pulteney Street School. He was working as a clerk when he married Elizabeth Elder Wisdom at St Paul's Church, Port Adelaide, on 16 January 1908.

Henley's military career began in December 1911 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Australian Army Service Corps (militia). When war broke out in 1914 he joined the Australian Imperial Force on 20 August as a lieutenant and was attached to the 4th Company, 1st Divisional Train. Promotion for Henley was rapid and he left for Egypt in October as a captain. By May 1915 he was serving at Gallipoli and in October was promoted major and appointed senior supply officer, 1st Division. By that time he had been mentioned in dispatches and in January 1917 received the Distinguished Service Order for his exemplary performance as senior supply officer. Throughout his tenure there were practically no complaints from unit commanders regarding logistical support and at no time were troops forced to rely on short rations.

Henley was present at the evacuation of Gallipoli and before being sent to France in March 1916 spent three months in Egypt. He served in France and Belgium with the 1st Divisional Train until January 1917 when he briefly took charge of the 4th Divisional Train. From 24 March 1917 until the end of the war he commanded the 3rd Divisional Train in the rank of lieutenant-colonel and was mentioned in dispatches four times in 1917-18 and appointed O.B.E. in the New Year honours of 1919. He returned to Australia in November 1918 and his appointment with the A.I.F. ended next March.

Henley rejoined the Australian Military Forces (militia) as a captain in the A.A.S.C. in 1919. After various appointments in South Australia he was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration in 1928 and given command of the 4th Divisional Australian Army Service Corps as a lieutenant-colonel. He relinquished this position in 1939 after four extensions and joined the unattached list. In civilian life he worked in the 1920s as a secretary for W. C. Harrison & Co., flour millers and wheat merchants of Port Adelaide, and by 1931 had settled in Melbourne as a sales manager.

On the outbreak of World War II he was sent to Hobart as assistant director of supply and transport, 6th Division, although his conspicuous ability soon led to his recall to Melbourne as A.D.S.T. for the 3rd Military District. His final appointment was deputy director of supply and transport, Southern Command, in July 1941 with the rank of colonel. Survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, he died of septicaemia in Heidelberg Military Hospital, Melbourne, on 25 December 1941 and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate at £3846.

Select Bibliography

  • London Gazette, 11 July, 29 Dec 1916, 2 Jan, 1 June, 25 Dec 1917, 31 Dec 1918, 1 Jan 1919
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Dec 1941
  • records (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

Cris Anstey, 'Henley, Frank Le Leu (1888–1941)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/henley-frank-le-leu-6636/text11431, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 21 November 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

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