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BACKWELL, Albert Leslie OBE (1896-1983)

BACKWELL, Albert Leslie OBE (1896-1983)

Born on 3 March 1896, the son of Albert Ernest Backwell and Elizabeth Clare nee Abel, he was living at Buckland Avenue, Newtown at the time of his enrolment at Geelong College. He was educated at Flinders School and admitted to the College as a day student on 13 March 1911. He left at the end of that year in December.

He served in 69th Infantry Battalion (Militia) before he enlisted (3478) in the AIF on 9 July, 1915 in 22 Battalion (8th Reinforcement Group) embarking on HMAT A19 Afric on 5 January, 1916. He transferred as a motor driver to 5 Motor Transport Company in France, and returned to Australia attached to the 1st Divisional Supply Column, embarking on 21 March, 1919, on HMT Kildonian Castle.

As a grandson of the founder, 'Les' worked at the family firm of Backwell IXL Pty. Ltd., which has manufactured metal products in Geelong continuously since 1858, becoming a director in 1938. He was Executive Chairman for 34 of the 37 years he held Directorship of the Company. In World War II, the company supplied the Australian Army with cooking stoves.

He became Mayor of Geelong from 1956 to 1959. He died on 10 April 1983.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck p133 (citing Pegasus; National Archives); Innovation and Enterprise A History of Backwell IXL 1858-2008, G A McLean.)
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