edwin-laurence-landsler-image1.JPG
Pte Edwin L. LANDSLER 1895-1916
Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 16

Edwin Laurence LANDSLER

Regimental Number
3336
Rank
Private
War Service
Egypt and Western Front
Prior Military Service
Jewish Lads’ Brigade
Enlistment
05 Aug 1915 at Sydney
Embarkation
02 Nov 1915 from Sydney, NSW, on the HMAT A14 Euripides
Next of Kin
Father – A. Landsler, 17 Belgrave Road, Ilford, London, England
Date & Place of Birth
1895, London, England
Parents
Hannah (nee COHEN) and Alfred LANDSLER
Marital Status
Single
Siblings
Youngest of three brothers – Both brothers (Jack & Arthur)served with UK forces in WW1
Occupation
Salesman
Physical Description
5 feet 8 3/4 inches, 130 pounds (174.6cm, 59.0kg)
Eyes hazel, Hair black, Complexion dark
Religion
Jewish
Fate
Killed in Action, 19 Jul 1916, Fromelles, France - aged 20
Place of Burial
No known grave
Commemorated
V.C. Corner, (Panel 8), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Positively Identified
No

London-born Edwin Landsler

Story text (with minor edits and additions) is reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, the Australian Jewish Historical Society on behalf of Peter M. Allen.

london-born-edwin-landsler-image1.JPG
A young Edwin Laurence LANDSLER 1895-1916. When enlisting in 1915, he added 2 years to his age, perhaps to avoid the need for parental consent.
source Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 16.

Edwin Laurence Landsler was born in Hampstead, London England, in 1895 to Hannah (nee Cohen or Cowen) and Alfred Landsler - one of three brothers. He attended Upton Lane School, Forest Gate, Essex and – like many young Jewish boys in Britain - was a member of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade. In 1914, Edwin came to Australia, having an aunt, Mrs Minnie Cowan, living in Ashfield, Sydney.

Edwin was a salesman living in Stanmore when he enlisted in the AIF on 5 August 1915 as No. 3336 Private Edwin Landsler. He embarked with the 11th Reinforcement of the 2nd Battalion on HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November.

Egypt and France


After arriving in Egypt, Edwin transferred to the new 53rd Battalion, 14th Brigade on 16 February 1916, and continued training. On 19 June, they sailed to Marseilles and entrained to the north of France. On 8 July he left a march “without permission” and was awarded “168 hours F.P. No.2” and two days later the battalion entered the frontline trenches with the 5th Australian Division. Despite being the most inexperienced, the 53rd adjoined Britain’s 61st Division in the AIF’s first major battle on the Western Front, at Fleurbaix. There, in a flawed tactic, British Lt General Sir Richard Haking, decided to create a diversion to the main fighting against the entrenched German forces further south in the Somme with disastrous results.

On 19 July 1916, just after Edwin’s one-week Field Punishment expired, the 53rd Battalion was part of the initial assault at Fromelles. It suffered grievously with many killed by artillery fire before leaving their trenches. The battalion’s 625 casualties amounted to over three-quarters of its attacking strength and included Commanding Officer Lt Col Ignatius Bertram Norris.

Like 1800 other Australians, Edwin was listed as ‘Missing in Action’, and his family hoped he was one of the 500-odd Prisoners of War. His father made many enquiries of the authorities to learn more about his son’s fate.

london-born-edwin-landsler-image2.jpeg
Men of the 53rd Battalion waiting to don their equipment for the attack at Fromelles. Only three of the men shown here came out of the action alive, and those three were wounded.
source Photo AWM A03042
london-born-edwin-landsler-image3.png
One of the letters from Edwin’s father, Alfred, to the Red Cross. Note Alfred’s beautiful handwriting – he was employed as a commercial clerk.
source AWM: Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files, LANDSLER, Edwin Laurence, page 4

A year later, an enquiry found that Edwin was ‘Killed in Action on 19 July 1916’. In 1919, his father, Alfred Landsler received a report via the Red Cross from a POW repatriated after the war, Pte 3536 Charles J. McCue, who had seen Edwin:

"in our own trench before we charged. Shell burst near him, the last I saw of him, he was lying unconscious, in the trench, but I could not examine him. Do not know where he was hit."

Source AWM, Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files, LANDSLER, Edwin Laurence, pp 7 & 2
london-born-edwin-landsler-image4.JPG
VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial at Fromelles. Photo: courtesy of Ann Watson
Panel 8 on which Pte Edwin Landsler’s name is inscribed along with his 53rd Battalion comrades.
source Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Inc

As he has no known grave, Pte Edwin Landsler’s name is inscribed on Panel 8 of VC Corner Australian Memorial, Fromelles. He was one of ten Jews amongst the 2,000 diggers killed at the Battle of Fromelles: Australia’s – and Australian Jewry’s - worst-ever 24 hours. Just two of those have identified graves: Joseph Hart, reburied in 1921, and Berrol Mendelsohn, one of the 250 ‘Lost Diggers of Fromelles’ reinterred in 2010. By 2019, 166 of them had been identified and the quest to identify the remainder continues.

Y DNA is still being sought for family connections to

SoldierEdwin Laurence LANDSLER 1895-1916
ParentsAlfred LANDSLER 1861-1927, London, England
Hannah COHEN / COWEN 1865-1931, London, England
SiblingsJack Bernard LANDSLER 1889-1979
Arthur Samuel LANDSLER 1891-1952

While most donors have been located, we are still seeking one further DNA donation from those family members who share Y DNA.
More information on Edwin’s paternal grandparents would also be very welcome

Links to Unofficial Records

Australian Jewish Historical Society: LANDSLER, Edwin

NLA Call No FERG/4003: Australian Jewry Book of Honour: The Great War, 1914-1918, Harold Boas, 1923

Seeking DNA Donors

Fromelles Association of Australia

Contacts

The Fromelles Association welcomes all contact regarding this soldier.
(Contact: royce@fromelles.info or geoffrey@fromelles.info).
We also urge any family members to contact and register with the Australian Army
(Contact: army.uwc@defence.gov.au or phone 1800 019 090).

Donations

The Fromelles Association maintains this web site, purely by donations received.
If you are able, please contribute to the upkeep of this resource.
(Contact: bill@fromelles.info ).