Leon Gellert was born in Adelaide in South Australia where he embarked on a teaching career. He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces 10th Battalion on 22 August 1914 within weeks of the outbreak of the First World War and sailed for Cairo on 22 October 1914. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915, was wounded three months later and repatriated as medically unfit in June 1916.
Gellert has been singled out as
‘the only Australian poet whose work can be compared with that of the leading soldier-poets of the World War [From Gallipoli to Gaza, p.11]
His Songs of a Campaign ran to three editions in 1917 but then remained unpublished from 1922. He was the sole First World War soldier-poet to be included in the 1998 edition of Oxford University Press’s Australian Verse.
Leon Gellert’s Poems