Bert Leahy (1891 - 1962)



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Bert Leahy also used the alias Albert Neil so he could enlist in the Australian Army for WW1.As the son of a German immigrant, he would have been watched carefully when WW1 started as Germans in Australia were seen as threats and thousands were sent to internment camps until the end of the war. His identity as Hugo Ludolff was discovered and he was discharged from the Army. He changed his name to Bert Leahy (possibly as his step mothers surname was Leahy and then re-enlisted at Adelaide, stating there was no next of kin, only a friend, Mrs Cook. This Mrs Cook was Frances Cooke who married one of the Ludolff family members , so she was actually a relative not a friend. Perhaps once again , it was felt that to protect his true identity he couldn't have any next of kin listed with the Ludolff surname. It is a shame that his life was full of secrets. He married Lena Penney and they did not have any children together, but he did have a daughter in 1955 who was also kept secret and was a forced adoption . Her birth name was Jennifer Wilson.Her name was changed to Susan File by her adoptive parents.

Bert Leahy Biography & Family History

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Sydney , Australia

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Bert.

Burial / Funeral

at Rookwood Cemetery,
Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood, NSW Australia


Last Known Residence

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Average Age

Life Expectancy


Father: Jean Max Ludolff
Mother: Alice Maria (Sullivan) Pearce
Siblings: Hugo Ludolff, Robert Frederick Ludolff, and Max Ludolff

Children: Jennifer Wilson

Wife: Lena Penney


unknown where he grew up as he moved between states in Australia.


labourer, farm hand, bricklaying, steeplejack


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Military Service

Fought in World War 1, AIF service number 111. Was a prisoner of war after being wounded in the arm at Bullecourt.

Middle name

Unknown. Add middle name



German father, Irish grandmother




Church of England



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1891 - In the year that Bert Leahy was born, James Naismith, at the Springfield Massachusetts YMCA, invented the game of basketball. Originally using two peach baskets and a soccer ball, he created the game to keep his students active during the long, harsh New England winters.

1906 - At the age of merely 15 years old, Bert was alive when abolitionist and suffragette leader Susan B. Anthony died, before women's right to vote nationally was realized (in 1920). She, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founded the National American Woman Suffrage Association which later became the League of Women Voters. She died at the age of 86 of heart failure and pneumonia in her home in New York.

1908 - By the time he was 17 years old, unemployment in the U.S. was at 8.0% and the cost of a first-class stamp was 2 cents while the population in the United States was 88,710,000. The world population was almost 4.4 billion.

1953 - He was 62 years old when on July 27th, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. The Armistice was to last until "a final peaceful settlement is achieved". No peaceful settlement has ever been agreed upon.

1962 - In the year of Bert Leahy's passing, on February 20th, Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. The Friendship 7 flew three times around the earth in 4 hours and 55 minutes. At age 77, Glenn returned to space - the oldest person to fly in space.

Bert Leahy Family Tree

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Bert Leahy & Lena Penney

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This obit of Bert Leahy is updated by the community. Edit this biography to contribute to his obituary. Include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Died 25th August, 1962 at the Lady Davidson Hospital, Turramurra , Sydney. Cremated at Rookwood crematorium under the name Bert Leahy...Church of England.His father and mother were not listed on death certificate or WW1 records as he had hidden his true identity for most of his life.He was born as Hugo Ludolff 26th May, 1891, parents Max (Jean) Ludolff and Alice Pearce nee Sullivan..


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He moved around between states in Australia as a labourer but started as a steeplejack around 1912 , a few years before he enlisted in WWI in the AIF, service number 111. He was wounded in the arm and captured at Bullecourt . He was held by the Germans in the POW camps of Dulmen and Minden. When he returned to Australia he was repatriated in 1919. He returned to work as a steeplejack and also constructed and demolished large chimney stacks including the old Sydney Royal Mint chimney.It seems he travelled interstate before settling in Sydney in the inner city area of Petersham. Census records show him living with Eleanor Christina Leahy but I have been unable to locate marriage records or records of next of kin. He was living at 72 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham in the 1950s and 1960s..
May 01, 2014 · Reply
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