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Overheu, Leopold Rupert    Create Anzac Certificate
Place of Birth: Millicent, SA, Australia

Service Number: 3067

Place of Enlistment: Blackboy Hill, WA, Australia

Next of Kin: Overheu, F (father)



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First generation Australian from German immigrants
Submitted by: Tim Overheu

Leopold Rupert Overheu together with his brother William Paul Overheu enlisted together on the same day in early February 1914. Prior to enlisting, they were both part of a local Light Horse Regiment and farming in the Pingelly district of WA. (after leaving farming in Millicent in SA). Story has it that at the point of enlisting, they both agreed to turn the 'u' upside down on their surname (enlisting as Overhen), out of concern that their unusual surname name sounded or appeared too Germanic.
With many other Western Australians of the 11th Battalion, and some of the 12th Battalion, Leo and his brother Bill marched out of Blackboy Hill training camp, travelled by train to Fremantle and embarked on the HMAT Medic A7 (31 October 1914) to set sail for a life threatening and life changing event. 
A number mistakingly believe that the HMAT Medic sailed from Fremantle with troops and supplies to join the first convoy in Albany (leaving as one large convoy group).  In fact, the HMAT Medic and some other transport ships, sailed from Fremantle to a secret location in the Indian Ocean somewhere off the WA Coastline, anchored for two days waiting for the first convoy from Albany to join before continuing on (2nd November 1914).
Leo (3067) and Bill (3066) were stationed in Egypt, served in Galipoli together, both spent time on Lemnos Island hospital for various conditions. Leo applied for Flying Officer training in England but his training was discontinued due to ill health, he was transferred to France and later served in an Australian records office. Promoted twice over his service and discharged in 1919 as Staff Sargent. Leo, his brother Bill, together with an older brother (Frank Robert Overheu - who enlisted in 1915) all survived to return home to continue farming in WA. 
Some have suggested that Leo or Bill's descendants should apply to have the surname corrected, but I think it's appropriate to leave as is because it is part of the history of how first generation Australians from German immigrants joined to serve their new country of origin - while acknowledging that they may well have been fighting against cousins and extended family.
Leo was regarded as a quietly spoken but determined gentleman with a strong community spirit. Post war, he suffered further challenges with a war service settlement block, walking off that for various reasons. If ever asked about the surname, family would often say it was Danish.  Leopold Rupert Overheu died relatively prematurely at the age of 54.

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