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  • keithmroberts

    How NOT to use blogs

    By keithmroberts

    This area is not for queries but for ongoing blogs. if you want to ask for help, please go to the appropriate sub-forum in the main part of the GWF. You have been asked to make your first post in a specified location. Once you have done that, your query can be raised in the various sections of the forum. If you previously posted a request for help or information in this area, it is likely to be deleted at some point in the next few weeks or months. So if you have a reply, please make a note o

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  1. The book identifies the Frederick Newton on the Ashow plaque as Gunner 128602 Frederick NEWTON who lived in nearby Warwick and is listed on two war memorials there.

    However when composing his page we could find no evidence that he was ever in Ashow and further research led us to L/Cpl 9311 Frederick Telfare NEWTON, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards who is listed on the 1901 and 1911 Ashow Census returns and was baptised there in 1906, he has a complicated family background that we are still investigation but we have concluded his military details - he died very early in the war 9 Sep 1914 having been wounded during the First Battle of the Marne. Here is his page.

    You will also see on the plaque the name Albert Malcolm, we are still researching him. The book lists Albert Victor Sadler Malcolm but he was from Bromley in Kent and again we found nothing to link him to Ashow or Warwickshire as a whole. At this stage we believe he was added to the book because he is the only Albert Malcolm in CWGC records.

    Also the name Frederick Edward should read Frederick EdwardS who lived in Ashow


    3. Memorial Plaque.jpg

  2. Richard Birs

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    Richard Birs
    Latest Entry

    Hi guys have a really good one to test you.I have so little information to give except think a Lieutenant as-cards signed by M Dowdell

    addressed to Mrs Dowdell 8 Bellview Gardens Clapham Road London SW 9 Censor no 6892 which i believe is Ciney in France? Cards bare this out The card has lightly WW1 Railways written on it? nNot in the senders hand his only statement on both cards is spent one night here.Anyone with any ideas on how to proceed?

  3. ‘D’ Company, 53rd Battalion, 14th Brigade

    Company Commanders
    Captain Arblaster; March 1916 to July 1916 (PoW/DoW)
    Captain Ramsay MC; September 1916 to September 1917 (WiA)
    Second Lieutenant Cooper; March 1917 (Temp; KiA)
    Captain Jackson MC; September 1917 to April 1918 (WiA)
    Captain Lindsay MC; April 1918 to September 1918 (WiA)
    Lieutenant Waite MC and Bar; September 1918 (Temp)
    Lieutenant Thompson; September 1918 (WiA)
    Captain Cooke; October 1918 to November 1918

    Company Sergeant Majors
    CSM Green; February 1916 to November 1916 (revert at own req)
    CSM Loney; November 1916 to September 1917 (KiA)
    CSM Cooling MM; January 1918 to April 1918 (WiA)
    T/CSM Thompson; April 1918 to June 1918 (Cooling returned)
    CSM Cooling MM; June 1918 to September 1918 (WiA)
    T/CSM Lineham MM; September 1918 to December 1918 (Temp)

    Company Quartermaster Sergeants
    CQMS Sattler; May 1916 to July 1916 (WiA)
    CQMS Campbell; September 1916 to September 1917 (WiA)
    CQMS Madden; September 1917 to April 1918 (Gassed)
    T/CQMS Akeroyd; May 1918 to June 1918 (Temp; unconfirmed)
    CQMS Madden; August 1918 to April 1919 (RTA)

    Veterans mixed with Green
    (February 1916 to July 1916)

    The 53rd Battalion was born with the ‘doubling of the AIF’ in February 1916 following the somewhat disastrous Gallipoli Campaign. The newly-formed 53rd Battalion was composed of members from the 1st Battalion- a New South Wales Battalion. Joining the 14th Brigade in the 5th Division, the Battalion Commander was to be Lieutenant-Colonel Ignatius Norris, a former Militia Officer. At the time of formation, the Battalion was retained in the old 1st Battalion lines at Tel-El-Kebir.

    In March 1916, ‘D’ Company got its first official Company Commander; Charles Arblaster. Hailing from Melbourne, Charles had entered the Royal Military College at Duntroon in 1912, graduating shortly after war was declared in October 1914. He then enlisted in Broadmeadows in November 1914 joining the 8th Light Horse Regiment as a Subaltern. He had been a temporary Captain prior to a wounding on Gallipoli and after recuperating was unable to return to the 8th Light Horse Regiment. The fact that his Temporary-Captaincy had elapsed also made him feel neglected. Then came opportunity- the 53rd Battalion. Arblaster was accepted into the 53rd Battalion and appointed Captain, OC ‘D’ Company. Other officers who were to join the Battalion were, amongst dozens, a British Army Major Oswald Croshaw (April 12th). He was to act as Battalion Second-in-Command. The Battalion was trained in Egypt until they were transported to France, arriving there on June 27th, 1916. Captain Arblaster’s diary notes that throughout the first-half of July they inspected the ‘very simple breastwork trenches’. He was obviously not too impressed in the trenches, however they were to use this trenches in an upcoming attack near a place called Fromelles

    Captain Arblaster, whilst still a Light Horse Officer. Dated 1915

    On the eve of Fromelles, the Company was still under the command of Captain Arblaster. These were the officers in the company.

    13 Platoon OC - Lt Albert Bowman
    14 Platoon OC - 2Lt Charles Mudge
    15 Platoon OC - Lt William Noble
    16 Platoon OC - 2Lt Beresford Nelson

    At 11am on July 19th, the Battalion was under heavy enemy shelling, likewise the Germans across No Mans land. After a wait of over 6 hours, the step-off time lurched closer. At 5:43pm, a mix comprising of half of 'A' Company and half of 'B' Company went over the top in the first wave. This was closely followed by the second halves of 'A' and 'B' Company. Third and fourth waves were also half 'C' and half 'D' Company. The battalion took the first enemy lines but faced fierce counter attacks. In the initial attack, Second Lieutenant 'Bere' Nelson was struck down by a machine gun burst some 20 yards short of the German first line and mortally wounded (Nelson was subsequently 'left behind' the following day). Second Lieutenant Charlie Mudge was blown up by a bomb around the time the Battalion took the first lines, shrapnel punctured his lungs. Private Gowndrie of his platoon said later ‘he (Mudge) said “Gowndrie, I’m done”. I asked him if I could do anything for him but he said “no”’Lieutenant William Noble had also made it into the first line of trenches where he was badly wounded ‘covered in blood and dirt and never a move out of him’. Within the half hour of the fighting, Lieutenant Noble and Second Lieutenants Mudge and Nelson were dead and Lieutenant Bowman rendered unconscious by a shell; Lieutenant Colonel Norris, his Adjutant and the most senior Company Commander (Major Sampson) were also dead. Captain Arblaster apparently took command of the Battalion following the destruction of the Battalion chain of command, and over the night of July 19th/20th proved himself to be a ‘cool and brave leader’. In a counter attack, the good Captain evenly distributed bombs to the men along the line and personally led a charge into the open. During the night, Lieutenant Bowman awoke from his unconscious state and joined elements of the 55th Battalion. Captain Arblaster was on the left flank with the Battalion, fighting off small bombing parties. His right flank was being pressured which consequently blocked off any supplies he could've received. Arblaster led a charge to hold the right flank, though in vain. Arblaster fell severely wounded in that charge.

    By 4am, the 53rd Battalion was starting to give way; they were exhausted and struggling to keep ground. A wounded Captain Arblaster gave the order to charge back to the Australian lines. At 4:20am, Colonel Cass (In command of the operation) wrote to the Brigadier 'The 53rd have lost confidence temporarily and will not willingly stand their ground'.

    On the early morning of July 20th, the Germans shelled the lines once more- this consequently led to more casualties. By dawn, the Germans had a machine gun enfilading the recently-captured trenches. Lieutenant Bowman and his motely crew of the 55th Battalion were somewhat disorganized with no clear orders. Bowman sent Private Bolder to find Colonel Cass to get clear, definitive orders on what to do. Private Bolder nor Lieutenant Bowman never found Colonel Cass. 

    At 7am, the Germans managed to capture a trench on the right flank along with all the occupants. When Bowman found out about this, he went investigating once more going up and down nearby trenches for superiors. When asked the situation, he said 'We're in a hell of a mess and I don't know how we are going to get out of it!'. This confused situation was shared all along the front. At 8am, Bowman's position was surrounded. He ordered the men to burn whatever important items they may have that might be of use to the Germans. Shortly after 8am, he surrendered.

    As stated prior, Captain Arblaster was left behind. He was captured by the Germans and subsequently sent to hospital. He died of septicaemia in Douai due to his wounds a few days later. Major Hughes (32nd Battalion) shortly after the war wrote to the parents of Captain Arblaster and commented on his death.

    “The poor fellow (Arblaster) was very badly wounded. What happened before he arrived at the Hospital I cannot say, but in Hospital he was well treated and all possible was done for him. The first day, he was conscious, though suffering great pain. His wounds were dressed then, but nothing further was done. The next day his arms (both were broken) were set, under an anaesthetic. He appeared somewhat easier that night. Next morning he was again given attention, but the Surgeon told me that his case was very serious. Towards mid day he appeared to lose consciousness, and died in the early afternoon.”

    When the 53rd Battalion exited the line following Fromelles on July 20th, the strength of the Battalion stood at an eye watering 4 Officers and 222 men. All of 'D' Company's platoon commanders were put out of action indefinitely- either killed or captured.

    France. 11 November 1918. View of the concrete blockhouses in the German third line on the Fromelles-Aubers Ridge. It was towards these positions that the 14th Australian Infantry Brigade attacked in the battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916.

    Due to the manpower shortage, the 4 Companies were merged into 2 composite companies; that is, ‘A’ and ‘B’ Company under Captain Thomson, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Company under Captain Murray. The Battalion didn’t see much action for the following months; however by September 1916 they were climbing back up to an adequate strength. By this time, Major Croshaw was now a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Battalion. Croshaw was a British Army regular, attached to the Australian Imperial Force. He had seen service on the veldt with the Hussars and as a Brigade Major on Gallipoli. He was Second in Command of the 53rd Battalion at Fromelles, however was detached for Brigade duties and therefore saved from death.

    Enter Captain Robert ‘Bob’ Ramsay MC (pictured on civi street towards right);Ramsay.png.f19cc195de94c4119b11c7afae1888e5.png He had served on Gallipoli where he was commissioned in the field and won the Military Cross for actions at Lone Pine. He had been originally assigned to the 53rd Battalion, however was reassigned as Brigade Bombing Officer. Due to an accident in Egypt he was hospitalized, then he was invalided to England before he was passed as fighting fit. Reassigned to the 53rd Battalion, he joined the Battalion at Fleurbaix on September 4th. A week later at Lamotte, the Battalion went back to its traditional format with ‘D’ Company now under the command of Captain Ramsay. Ramsay was described by his Battalion Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Croshaw as ‘(the) devil, but if hell were peopled with devils of his ilk, I should ask for bi-annual leave there from the other place.’ The Battalion Chaplain, a fairly popular man by the name of Kennedy (who later authored the Whale Oil Guards which can be classed as the Battalion's history) wrote of him ‘Among the officers there was Captain Bob Ramsay. Bob, while yet a Lieutenant, had been awarded the Military Cross for bravery in Gallipoli. In the line, there was no more capable Company Commander. He was a father to every man in his company. He understood Australians thoroughly, and though he maintained strict discipline, was perhaps the most popular officer in the battalion. In the trenches he never touched alcohol. His care for the men's safety and comfort won him the regard and admiration of the Colonel. In No Man's Land he was as happy as if he were stalking kangaroos in the bush of Queensland, and was as unconcerned under a machine-gun barrage as if it were only a summer's shower-burst. In the line no officer was truer to his trust. Out of the line no officer was more irresponsible. His escapades were nightly occurrences. Many of them were laughable in the extreme. On one occasion he persuaded the driver of a motor waggon to give him a ride to Amiens. Bob's first care on arrival was to fill the unsuspecting Tommy with strong liquor and so put him out of action for at least twenty-four hours. Ramsay was perhaps the most talented officer in the old regiment. He was certainly the most interesting problem in contradictions I've tried to sole. Had Bob Ramsay, when younger, adopted soldering[sic] as a profession, had he in addition been possessed of the advantages that a liberal education bestows, I am quite sure that his military career would have been exceptionally brilliant. Even as things were, with only an ordinary education but with considerable natural ability, he was a company commander who would make his mark in any regiment. At any rate he was an asset to us. In the line he thought of nothing else but his job. Out of the line he was the most rollicking and apparently the most irresponsible officer in the Battalion. Nevertheless he was never absent from morning parade, and always appeared trim and soldierly. His laugh was a speciality, and so was his gift of winning men's affection. Captain Bob, as the men called him, could lead the way to the most dare-devil and hazardous stunts, and there was not one N.C.O., or Private, who wouldn't follow him.’

    I believe that around this time, Second Lieutenant William Waite joined ‘D’ Company from the Light Horse. Second Lieutenant Waite was raised from the ranks and an original 1914er, having joined the 4th Light Horse Regiment on Gallipoli in May 1915. Later serving with the Light Horse in France, he joined the 53rd Battalion to replenish losses, joining their ranks in mid-late September 1916. Waite was to prove his worth the following years in trench-raids and at Peronne. Second Lieutenant Waite’s arrival was followed by Second Lieutenant Reginald 'Reg' Hill, also of the Light Horse, who arrived at the battalion in October 1916 and thereupon joined ‘D’ Company. On September 4th, Corporal Sydney Campbell was appointed Sergeant, then Temporary Company Quartermaster Sergeant on the same day, replacing Sergeant Austral Hunter Burns (K 19/7/16) and CQMS Edwin Sattler (W 19/7/16) respectively. On November 12th, Company Sergeant Major John Green reverted at his own request to Sergeant.

    On October 20th, Corporal Egerton Judd was promoted to Sergeant, 16 Platoon, vice Sergeant Davis' field commission. A week later, Sergeant Judd was killed in action. Corporal Mawson would take his place as Sergeant of 16 Platoon.

    On November 17th, 'D' Company's new Company Sergeant Major was picked; Sergeant Frederick Loney was appointed Temporary Company Sergeant Major. This promotion was confirmed on December 14th after he had shown great gallantry in action. Frederick Loney was a rather odd character though- his real name was Frederick Syer and he was at Rabaul with the Royal Australian Navy on HMAS Encounter when men of the Kennedy Regiment mutinied. He deserted on June 28th, subsequently joining the AIF on the same day under the name Loney.

    It was during this time that 16 Platoon was left in the capable hands of Sergeant Mawson. He commanded the platoon from November to December 1916 during the absence of an Officer- however, he went down the line with a sickness on December 16th, with Lance Sergeant Francis Thompson assuming the rank of Temporary Sergeant for 16 Plt during Sergeant Mawson's absence.

    Bully Beef and Whale Oil
    (December 1916 to March 1917)

    During the reconstruction period of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Oswald Croshaw made the decision for the men to apply whale oil to their helmets to make them look smarter, thus earning the battalion the name ‘The Whale Oil Guards’. Also during this period, a young Private James Marshall joined ‘D’ Company as a Signaller when he was merely 18. He kept a diary on him throughout his service, describing his experiences as well as drawing them. In early 1917, he experienced his first patrol with Lieutenant Waite and the effect of the whale oil against the moon.

    ‘Well for our first night out on patrol, Mr Hill and Mr Waite tossed to see which would go out and Mr Waite won. There were twenty of us altogether, so felt pretty confident if we should meet Fritz. It was a brilliant moonlit night and with the snow on the ground, it was very bright indeed. We had hardly started out when we realised the great effect of our 'whale oiled' tin hats in the light. After wandering around for about an hour or so, we de[c]ided on a definite course of action. Mr Waite went one way with most of the party and Frank Cooling took four of us with him. We had barely gone 50yds when we saw a blaze of light in front of us and felt machine gun bullets in dozens around us. I was in a shell hole very quickly (before the bullets had time to reach us I think) and found Frank on the edge hanging on to the Germans rifle we had souvenired from a sniper earlier,; I tried to get him into the hole with me during which time our faces were about nine inches apart. Fritz firing at our radiant headgear was lobbing his missiles right between us, & it was (a) mighty unpleasant feeling too. One scratched the top of my helmet, & another went through the back of Frank's tunic. He soon opened up on the others though, who were attempting to get away, and so we took advantage of our chance, only to run into a 'flare king' about 50yds away. The rest of the patrol then saw us and we got out of a nasty position thanks to them. As the gunners saw the lot of us by the flare, we soon went home, and very quickly too.’

    A sketch drawn by Private James Marshall in France in 1917 at Le Transloy; Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

    ‘Another night we went out and found a party of men in a trench whom Mr Hill challenged, all of us thinking that at last we had some Germans at our mercy. Imagine our chagrin at getting our own password back from each one of the party. It was one of our own outposts who had started out to come home an[d] got lost. Another night though, we did bag a Germans party and left an officer & a couple of men there. The next morning as it was very misty we decided to go out and collect any papers or souvenirs on them. Tom Lucas and myself went out and found them, collecting various maps and papers, also a watch. I took an Iron Cross ribbon and on shewing it to Mr Hill was much surprised when he told me that they carried the Cross with them. He got out first and collected a brand new [Iron] Cross of the 1st class. I had to be satisfied with a helmet badge which I got later.

    MC.png.c37377723eb2511da3ac6524ff9c60e0.pngLieutenant Waite’s trench raids were noticed by the powers that be. From his Military Cross citation, ‘This officer took out strong patrols at night many times between 13th March and 5th April 1917. He performed exceptionally good work and showed great skill in the conduct of these patrols, thereby obtaining most valuable information which led to the entering of enemy lines at, and near [LE] TRANSLOY, and started the advance of the whole line. The information obtained by this officer and his patrols was also very largely responsible for the successful attack on DOIGNIES and LOUVERVAL on April 2nd. This work entailed lying out close to, and sometimes inside, the enemy's wire on several wet nights in succession’.

    By this time, a fairly older subaltern by the name of Lieutenant William Lindsay had joined the 53rd Battalion. Lindsay had been working for a cement company when he joined the Militia in Portland in early 1914. He had been promoted to Lieutenant in July 1914 and had assisted in home-defence schemes shortly after war was declared. When 1915 came about he changed his tone to recruiting, working alongside Captain Eade at Lithgow. By 1916 he had been an instructor at Bathurst Camp when he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in March 1916. He took his first patrol out in March 1917. He described it in a letter home..
    "On the night of the 16th I was detailed to take out my first patrol. I went out about midnight to some old gun pits well in front of our line and there found two other patrols; all of us under a Captain."
    "After trying to find out information in the usual way, we were all sent out in turn to make a diversion. I was the last sent out. I had orders to do a certain thing which I accomplished with my heart in my mouth. I was then ordered to push into the enemy trench, so I started off feeling very scared, but luckily for me the Germans went out as we came in, and we had the satisfaction of capturing the trench we had been pounding at all winter."
    "I found out afterwards that the other two patrols had got in about half an hour before me. I had charge of that portion of the trench for a few hours till my Coy. Commander came up with reinforcements and took over, when the Battalion advanced about a mile."

    Identified is Lieutenant Waite in the bright overcoat in the front. Possibly to Waite’s left with his cap reversed is Captain Bob Ramsay; Dated Early 1917

    During March 1917, it appears Second Lieutenant Albert Cooper had temporary command of ‘D’ Company. He was however killed when a shell blew him up on March 29th, 1917. In the Red Cross report, a soldier said ‘A couple of men (LCpl Clark, Ptes Whitton, Coe and Adams) were buried by a shell and he (Cooper) rushed out with a shovel to try and dig them out and was killed himself’. Second Lieutenant Waite erected a cross on his grave; they both had risen from the ranks of the 4th Light Horse Regiment. Speaking of shellfire, Second Lieutenant Waite made good use of the time according to Private Marshall who wrote ‘One day during a heavy bombardment by Fritz Mr Waite and I passed a very good hour or so in studying the mechanism of Germans rifles and various kinds of bombs. Though it seems rather a prevarication, we quite forgot that there was a bombardment on.’. Second Lieutenant Waite was also a souvenir hunter; Private Marshall recalls a hilarious incident involving Waite and souvenirs, ‘There was also the day when we had a 24 hours battle over a souvenir. In front of one of our bombing posts there was a big crater with several defunct Germans in it. The Adjutant, Quack, our O.C. and Mr Waite were very keen on souveniring them and at last the latter took the risk and hopped over. On looking over the other side he naturally got rather a shock to see that Fritz had a bombing post there, and he soon knew it was occupied too. He came back at the ‘toot’ followed by dozens of ‘broomstick’ bombs. He retaliated with a dozen or so of Millsies. Fritz then gave us some pineapples, which was answered by Captn. Ramsay with several rounds from the Stokes, giving one Germans a fine rise in life. As he went up about fifty feet he saw things from a very lofty aspect. We then got some of his Minnies, and had a casualty through it, which set the Captain going. After withdrawing the men from the post he got the 18pdrs. onto it and completely obliterated it.’

    A drawing by Private James Marshall, ‘D’ Company, 53rd Battalion of the Somme; Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

    On March 13th, Temporary Sergeant Francis Thompson was promoted to substantive Sergeant for 16 Platoon. Originally he was filling in for Sergeant Mawson who had gone sick on December 16th, 1916 however Mawson was subsequently invalided home. On March 14th, Captain Ramsay had a lucky escape. He had been near Captain Trevor Francis of ‘B’ Company when a shell blew him and ‘B’ Coy’s CSM to bits, however leaving Captain Ramsay unscathed by some luck. An OR was killed by accident when a bomb went off near them on March 23rd whilst in the line, else it was mostly smooth sailing at Le Transloy.

    ‘Toots’ and ‘Broomstick’ bombs
    (April 1917 to August 1918)

    For the first half of April the Battalion was poised at Thilloy. On April 15th, both Second Lieutenants William Waite and Reginald Hill were promoted to two-pip Lieutenant. A week later on April 22nd, the Battalion was transported to Becourt Camp, spending their ANZAC Day there. From the 1st to 6th of May, the Battalion trained and took part in sports at Becourt. They moved off to the Reserve Line on May 7th at Beugny-Ypres line, the following day moving up to the frontline occupying a point near Beugnatre. This location was near a location known as Bullecourt where plenty of Australians had fallen fighting over less than 5 days prior. Their location was plastered with gas shells upon their arrival. On May 10th, Lieutenant Hill got a Blighty wound- a gunshot wound in the left hand, leg and foot. The following day saw 3 Other Ranks killed as well as 16 wounded by artillery fire. The day after that saw heavier artillery, 2 Other Ranks killed and 17 wounded. The following day had lighter artillery, and they were relieved on the night of May 13th/14th by the 54th Battalion in the line. The relief was complete by 2:15am on May 14th. Upon daylight breaking, they took up the Support Line near Noreuil. Compared to the previous line, the artillery was a lot less active, however, gas shells were fired on the evening of May 14th, wounding 2 Other Ranks. On the night of May 18th/19th, the Battalion moved to the frontline to relieve the 54th Battalion. The relief was complete by 1:45am. During that same period, a few reinforcements joined the Battalion. On May 22nd, the Battalion saw movement out in No Man's Land, moving towards their line. Upon the unknown object moving closer, it turned out it was a pair of 16th Battalion men who had escaped their captors. The Battalion was relieved once more on May 25th by the 12th R.R.R. By the end of the month, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Company were training at a place called Bealencourt.

    RoyLee.PNG.4b6876b7fc4737e8330d3d543dae72eb.PNGThe first half of June 1917 was spent training at Bealencourt, until June 15th when they were transported to Bouzincourt via a train ride from Varennes and a route march to Bouzincourt. A few shells were dropped, however they arrived safely at Bouzincourt at 4:30pm. The rest of the month was spent training once more. During their training there, Sergeant George Mitchell of ‘C’ Company died in a fire. On June 27th, Second Lieutenant Robert ‘Roy’ Lee (pictured right) joined the Battalion and was appointed Platoon Commander in 'D' Company. Roy, a native New South Welshman, had served in the New South Wales Lancers in peacetime and was commissioned into the AIF in January 1917 when he was 23. On July 3rd, Lieutenant Lindsay got a pip-up to Captain, making him the second-in-command to Captain Ramsay. On July 3rd, the Battalion marched to Bolton Camp. On the 18th, they were in Rubempre. The youthful Second Lieutenant Robert Lee then was sent to the ANZAC Corps School for an Infantry Course on July 22nd. Shortly before Polygon Wood, Lieutenant Hill was marked ‘P.B’, as was Private Marshall as he recounts in his diary..
    ‘Mr Hill was marked P.B. and could not get up the Battalion as he wished, so I did not forget to jib him about it. There was naturally a little excitement on the day when he was orderly officer and could not at first be found. The R.S.M. was in my tent discussing it when he (Mr Hill) found that he could not stay under the table any longer so he had to come out and do his duty. Rather rough on him as he was no soldier. Just before the Polygon Wood stunt came off he went up with a draft to see the Battalion but they would not let him stay as he wished to do. So he had to come back and moan with me. We both detested the place and the crowd that infested it and would have been glad to get away from it. Eventually he did while I was in hospital.’

    On September 1st, Lieutenant Colonel Oswald Croshaw reassumed command of the 53rd Battalion at Lynde, having been wounded by a shell some 6 months earlier. 2 weeks later the whole Battalion route marched to Reninghest. On the 22nd they were recorded at ‘Halfway House’. On the night of September 24th/25th, they moved to the support line in front of Glencorse Wood. At midnight on the night of 25th/26th, the Battalion moved up to take its position at the assembly line. At Zero Hour, 5:50am on September 26th, the barrage opened up on No Man’s land and the Battalion rose out of their trenches, to the barrage. 2 Companies of the 53rd led the attack and advanced towards the Butte whilst remaining 60 yards short of the barrage to avoid shrapnel. 2 Platoons captured the Butte after short hand-to-hand fighting. They captured the main objective by around 6:25am, however Lieutenant-Colonel Croshaw was missing and command had fallen to Captain Roberts. On the morning of September 26th, ‘D’ Company's Company Sergeant Major Frederick Loney was tending to 'A' Coy CSM Harry Brewer after the latter had been paralyzed by a burst of bullets in the spine. Whilst he treated him, a sniper shot Loney through the neck- he died instantly, near ANZAC Redoubt. The following day, Captain Ramsay suffered a Blighty wound with a bullet fracturing his left tibia and was carried out by a Company Runner (Pte John Rowley). Despite Captain Lindsay being Ramsay's Second-in-Command and obvious successor, it appears that Captain Albert Edward Jackson MC took over command of the Company. Also, 'D' Coy's CQMS Sydney Campbell was wounded and was subsequently replaced by Corporal Daniel Madden, who assumed the rank of CQMS on September 29th. Total Battalion casualties for the action stood at 8 officers and 342 other ranks killed, wounded or missing. Amongst them was 'A' Coy CSM Harry Brewer, who was carried out alive at 4pm and treated in a pillbox. During the night, a shell landed directly on the pillbox- blown to bits.

    A drawing by Private James Marshall, ‘D’ Company, 53rd Battalion of 'on the road at night on the Somme'; Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

    On October 1st, the 53rd Battalion was given a new commanding officer- Lieutenant Colonel W.J.R Cheeseman MC, late 30th Battalion. The following day, the battalion was transported to Reningheist Staging Camp arriving there on October 3rd. On October 10th, Lance Corporal Jim O'Rourke and Private Reg Edgeworth and two others were playing cards in a dugout in the supports at Zonnebeke when a shell exploded ontop of them. The two other unnamed men escaped, however O'Rourke and Edgeworth were half-buried and badly wounded. Private William Walmsley wrote in the Red Cross report-
    'When we ran up to them we found O'Rourke and Edgeworth half buried and both dying. O'Rourke died in my arms. Both men died when I was there..'
    Lieutenant John Ridley (Lewis Gun Officer) presided over the burial service for both men. 

    After a short spell of re-training, the Battalion re-entered the line with their CO on October 17th, entering the support line on ANZAC Ridge near Zillebeke. They remained in the support line until the 21st when they were relieved by the 30th Battalion. They were then transported to a place called Dickebusch, then onto Wippenhoek Area where they remained from October 25th to November 4th when they were transported to Neuf Berquin Area. On November 10th they were transported to the Locre Area, and the following day to the Kemmel Area, then the day after that to the support line at Wytschaete Area. On the night of November 13th/14th the Battalion assumed a position in the front line, relieving the 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment; ‘D’ Company 53rd was to relieve ‘B’ Company Wiltshires in the Left Support Line. On the night of November 15th/16th the 54th Battalion relieved the 53rd Battalion’s left and as a result, ‘D’ Company relieved ‘B’ Company in the Right Support Line. The Battalion held the front line until the night of November 28th/29th when they were relieved by the 60th Battalion. From there, the Battalion was transported back to the Kemmel Area. On December 1st, the Battalion was bivouacked at Ramillies Camp and just under 2 weeks later the Battalion was transported to Desvres, then on the 14th to Menty. For the rest of December 1917 the Battalion was entrained with little else occurring of note.

    In January 1918, Captain Jackson appointed his new Company Sergeant Major- Samuel ‘Frank’ Cooling. He had proved himself at Polygon Wood where he was recommended for the MM (which was promulgated in the London Gazette on January 14th 1918 on page 845). During this time, the Battalion was settled in Menty. On January 31st, the Battalion would wind up in the reserve line at Wyschaete. They moved up into the frontline nearly 3 weeks later on February 20th relieving the 56th Battalion; ‘D’ Company 53rd relieved ‘D’ Coy 56th. On the night of March 1st whilst still in the line, the ‘D’ Company was in support near the line near Hollebeke. A party was sent out on a wiring expedition, containing 1 Officer, 10 men. From what can be pieced together, a minenwerfer landed in between the party at around 10pm and this was the result.

    Officer Commanding the party is unknown [Possibly Lt Anslow]
    Lance Corporal Keith Comb was blown to bits by the shell
    Private Stan Mears was killed by the shell
    Private Ralph Pendleton was mortally wounded in the body and thigh
    Private Hill was mortally wounded and apparently killed from concussion
    Private Fred Kafer was wounded in the head and buttocks
    Private Johnston was wounded
    Private Joe Taylor returned unwounded
    Private James McDonald returned unwounded
    Private Arthur Whiteford returned unwounded
    Private Nathaniel Wheatley returned unwounded

    Private Walmsley said after the fact that ‘(they) were so badly blown about that we could not even find their paybooks’. A temporary cross was erected on the point and the bodies were reburied after the war in the Somer Farm Cemetery. Comb and Pendleton and buried together as are Hill and Mears. On March 21st and 3 weeks in the front line, a barrage fell on the 53rd Battalion’s forward posts in the line. After a few casualties had been taken, they were relieved by the 56th Battalion on the same day. They were transported to the Wippenhoek area on March 26th, then the Louvencourt on the 28th followed by the Harponville area on March 31st and remained there for nearly a week. 

    Members of ‘C’ Company, 53rd Battalion in the reserve line. Dated April 1st, 1918

    On the night of April 5th/6th, the 53rd Battalion relieved the 17th Lancers in the Front Line near Villers-Bretonneux. ‘D’ Company was to be held in reserve, ‘C’ Coy in the support line and ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys to take up a position in the frontline; a total of 20 officers and 498 other ranks entered the line. At dusk on April 6th, Lance Corporal Harry Kelly and Private John Christie both of 15 Platoon were sent out on a rations fatigue. Whilst on this fatigue, a HE Shell landed quite near to the both of them, killing them. Their causes of death are subjective-
    Private Mick Lennon stated '..with the exception of a slight scratch on Christie's forehead (there were) no wounds on either of them, so came to the conclusion that they had been killed by the concussion of the explosion'
    Private Fines Godding stated 'One (was killed) by bullet and the other with HE shell'
    Either way, a shell ended both of their lives atleast indirectly or indeed directly.

    On April 8th, two lighting patrol were sent out containing 30 men from ‘D’ Company each under two Subalterns from another company. They patrolled no man's land during the night and reported no enemy movement upon their return. On April 9th, Captain Lindsay was seconded to the 175th [or 174th] Brigade as a Liaison Officer leaving D Company down an officer.. The following day saw Sergeant Jack Croker rejoining the Company in the field, assuming command of the Lewis Gun Section attached to D Company- all these Lewis Gun Sections were overseen by an Officer, Lieutenant John Ridley [Later MC]. On the morning of April 11th, Captain Jackson was slightly wounded. He was not moved down the line and remained at his post. On April 17th at 4:30am, the company was badly shelled with gas. Casualties included the Battalion Commander (Cheeseman), ‘D’ Coys Lt Roy Anslow, CSM Cooling and CQMS Madden; all of whom were ‘gassed’ in the shelling. CQMS Madden's replacement would be Corporal Tom Akeroyd, however he would be promoted to substantive Sergeant the following month. CSM Cooling's replacement would be Sergeant Francis Thompson

    On April 28th, Lieutenant Robert Lee along with 3 other subalterns and 62 other ranks reported to the Battalion Headquarters to be taken onto strength. Lieutenant Lee was assigned to ‘D’ Company. Captain Lindsay took over command of the Company on May 3rd after returning from his secondment. Shortly after Captain Lindsay returned, it is noted that Lieutenant Robert Lee was the OC 14 Platoon in a report. Speaking of which, it is in this period that a few fieldbook excerpts from Captain Lindsay survive. Below are the surviving pages which record promotions, recommendations, reports and plenty of information on a company level.


    On the night of May 4th/5th, the 53rd Battalion moved from the reserve line to the front line, relieving the 54th Battalion. ‘D’ Company 53rd relieved ‘D’ Company 54th Battalion in the line on the right. At 11pm on May 6th, Lieutenant Hill (‘D’ Coy) took a patrol of 10 men out into no mans land. Voices were heard however no enemy sighted and they returned without incident at 1am on May 7th. On the night of May 8th/9th, the 54th Battalion relieved the 53rd Battalion and the former moved down to the reserve line. A week later in the late evening of May 16th, the Battalion relieved the 30th Battalion in the Hamel Sector. ‘D’ Company 53rd relieved ‘B’ Company 30th in the Right Reserve. At 12:10am on May 18th, Lieutenant Hill took out a patrol with 11 men; They found the location of a forward post with atleast 12 enemies, a wiring party was heard before the patrol returned at 1:40am. On the afternoon of May 18th, 18 pounders fired accidentally onto the 53rd Battalion’s front line. One of the shells badly wounded an other rank who nearly had his whole leg severed off by a shell. At 12am on May 23rd/24th, Lieutenant Hill took out another patrol with 4 men. They moved up the Vaire-Hamel road and reconnoitered the area. An enemy trench was found full of men but else nothing of note was found. They returned to the friendly lines at 1:15am. On the night of May 28th/29th, the 53rd Battalion was relieved by the 55th Battalion and the Battalion moved down to the reserve line. On the night of May 31st/June 1st, the 53rd Battalion was relieved in the reserve line by the 13th Battalion; they proceeded to settle in the Querrieu area. Whilst out of the line, new uniforms were issued, boots fixed, barbers at work and so on. On June 7th, Lieutenant Waite MC arrived back at the battalion, following a bullet in the buttocks at Polygon Wood during September last. He had an interesting time in England - moreover, losing his seniority after using a forged railway ticket and presenting said ticket to a Railway Transport Officer. An altercation and he loses seniority, though he still remains a Lieutenant and platoon commander. On June 11th, the ‘Kookaburras’, otherwise the 5th Division Concert Party supplied the Battalion with ample entertainment, performing for them in Querrieu. On June 15th, Lieutenant Hill and Major Roberts DSO were marched out to form a nucleus alongside 63 other ranks, depriving ‘D’ Company of atleast 1 officer. That same day, the Battalion moved up to the reserve line at the Franvillers System. They were to remain there until the night of June 26th/27th when they relieved the 30th Battalion in the front line. ‘D’ Company 53rd relieved ‘B’ Company 30th in the reserve. On June 30th, Lieutenant Waite (‘D’ Coy) took out a patrol and returned with an enemy machine gun, 2 belts, containers, pack, rifle and greatcoat. After quite the spell in the front line, the Battalion was relieved by the 55th Battalion on the night of July 10th/11th, and thereon moved to the support line. On the night of July 17th/18th the 53rd Battalion relieved the 54th Battalion in the front line, however moved back down to the reserve line after being relieved by the 54th Battalion on the night of July 19th/20th. By this time it was evident that there was a stunt planned in the air. 

    A photograph of Lieutenant Waite taken whilst in England. His Military Cross is pinned up. Dated 1918

    On July 27th, the Battalion moved from the reserve line to the Front Line in preparation for the stunt. By nightfall, the battalion stood at 23 officers and 543 Other Ranks. By the morning of July 28th, ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Company were in the line whilst ‘D’ Company was in support. The 53rd Battalion was to participate in an action at Morlancourt on July 29th, 1918. ‘D’ Company had the pure luck to be a carrying party for the action. At 1.25am, the attack began. Information into what ‘D’ Company did throughout the day is not mentioned in the War Diary, however a recommendation for the Military Cross was written up for Captain Lindsay, explaining what the Company was doing. This recommendation didn’t lead to anything, however it read in part..MC.png.c37377723eb2511da3ac6524ff9c60e0.png

    This Officer was incharge of 2 platoons who acted as carrying parties for the attacking troops in the attack on the enemy trenches near Morlancourt. 
    It was owing to his excellent judgment and personal direction and supervision that the carrying parties (strength 45) were able to cross and re-cross “No Mans Land” in the open although subjected to Artillery and Machine Gun fire with the loss of 1 man.
    Great quantities of stores, rations and water were carried by these parties and dumps established in the captured enemy line. During the night following the attack(,) ration parties carrying hot food to the men in the front line were caught in a severe enemy artillery ‘strafe’ lasting from 10.15pm to 5.am next morning.
    Captain LINDSAY personally led these parties to their destination in doing so exposing himself to very great danger and although on one occasion he was badly shaken by a shell he still continued his work.

    On July 30th, the Battalion came out of the line and was moved to Vaux-en-Amiénois, to which they arrived at on July 31st at 6am. August 1st saw the whole Battalion getting haircuts and company inspections across the Battalion. The next few days passed without notoriety. On the night of August 4th, the Battalion marched to the bivouacs at Querrieu, arriving at said location at 2am. The following day on the 6th, battle orders were received from the brass and the whole of the battalion was overcome by a wave of excitement for the upcoming stunt. They remained at Querrieu until the morning of August 8th, 1918..

    The Last Hundred Days
    (August 1918 to November 1918)

    On August 8th, 1918 at 1.45am, the Battalion moved from Querrieu to the start line for the forth-coming advance. The strength of the 53rd stood at 24 officers at 432 Other Ranks. After 2 hours of waiting for Zero Hour, the trench whistles blew at 4.20am. The Battalion advanced into the morning mist. After 5 minutes of stumbling around at dawn, elements of the brigade captured the trenches near Villers-Bretonneux. By 7am, the 53rd Battalion consolidated on the recently-captured trenches in preparation for another advance. By midday, the Battalion was at Cerisy Valley. At 4pm the Battalion was advancing onto Bayonvillers where they halted and fully consolidated. During the advances on August 8th, Captain Lindsay was riding a horse when a shell landed next to the horse; the horse was blown to bits and two men wounded, however it left Captain Lindsay unscathed. These casualties would be the only ones suffered by the 53rd Battalion on that day. By the end of the day, the men were exhausted from the 12 mile advance, however the men were galvanized when they heard of the successes along the line. Private Marshall who had served in D Company before a transfer to Headquarters Company recorded the actions at Morlancourt in his diary ‘We stayed near Corbie till the barrage started, then we began to advance. The trip to our starting point was not without it’s excitement. Fritz planes were very busy and at one halt, when the troops were all smoking, he came in our direction at a great pace. But nothing extraordinary happened. We stayed on the right of the village of Villers Brettonneux(sic) for a few hours, and moved on again. We knew that it was going successfully as there were no enemy guns firing, and that was a great comfort to us too. Our big guns had been brought right up under the Germans’ noses on the night before so they had no need to move forward then. There were crowds of prisoners everywhere, and the troops spent a good deal of time in souveniring them. All of the prisoners were sure that they had lost the war, and that we would go right on to Berlin. Just before we moved off, there was a little excitement. We were all sitting about talking, when there was a terrific explosion just behind us. A big shell of a new ‘toute suite’ variety had landed about 20 yards off. There had been absolutely no sound of it’s approach at all. Naturally we all had the wind up about some more coming unannounced, but the next went further off and we heard the report of the gun first, then the shell hurtling overhead. They were fired [at] long intervals and all over the country. So we knew that he had one gun still.’ The following day, the Battalion remained in the positions captured the previous day. Strength was increased to 28 Officers and 552 Other Ranks. On August 17th, Lieutenant Reg Hill proceeded to England for a few weeks leave. 

    On August 22nd, Second Lieutenant Rupert Dent joined ‘D’ Company as a Platoon Commander. He was a new boy, however a Duntroon man (Dec 1916) making him very desirable, considering that most Duntroon men had been repurposed into sandbags or rear-echelon duties. He had applied for a commission in 1915 but only arrived in England in May 1918. After a spell of training, he was on his way to France with the 53rd Battalion. Despite his higher education, Second Lieutenant Dent was still the new boy and the officer with the least seniority in ‘D’ Company, however still better educated. He was to be in a stunt after nearly a week at the front. As an addition, on August 28th, CQMS Madden rejoined the Battalion after having been in England after being gassed in April 1918.

    Second Lieutenant Rupert Dent. Date unknown

    At 1am on September 1st, the Battalion was treated to a hot meal- for some, it would be their last. At 3.30am, the battalion moved into ‘Florine’ and ‘Prague’ Trench. As ‘C’ Company was taking up their position they were met with the most interesting sight- Germans in their trench. A quick fight ensued, with the Germans firing an SOS flare leading to a barrage falling very nearby with ‘C’ Company coming out ontop. At 6am, the whistle blew and the Battalion began their attack. The positions of the companies were ‘A’ Company - Right ; ‘B’ Company - Right Support ; ‘C’ Company - Left ; ‘D’ Company - Left Support. 

    In the initial advance, the Battalion was met by a heavy wire belt which was supposed to be cleared in an earlier artillery barrage. Despite heavy fire raining down on them, soldiers from Lt Waite’s platoon started to cut the wire with the motivational support of their Lewis Gunners. After what felt like an eternity, a passage was forged through the wire, allowing the attack to continue.

    The ‘heavy wire belt’ that the 53rd Battalion had to cut through. This particular photograph was taken on September 2nd, 1918; Only a day after the fact with the bodies still remaining

    The Company broke through the heavy wire belt and advanced to the objectives. Shortly after breaking through the wire, 'D' Company's CSM Samuel 'Frank' Cooling was shot through the calf in the left leg. Despite the wound, he continued to push on with Lt Roy Anslow's 16 Platoon. On the other side of the advance through Anvil Wood performed by ‘A’ and ‘B’ Company, a 77mm Field Gun was spotted nearby and manned by the enemy. Private Currey from ‘B’ Company didn’t hesitate and taking a Lewis Gun firing from the hip either dispersed or killed all the enemy manning the gun. Not too long afterwards, Major Murray sent an urgent message to ‘D’ Company to inform them that his left flank was in the air. Captain Lindsay moved his company to the flank of ‘C’ Company with the aim of providing support due to the absence of the 23rd Battalion. ‘D’ Company provided splendid support however sustained severe casualties via machine guns. At 11am, Lieutenant Anslow was with his 16 Platoon in an entrenched machine gun position. They were all bunched up in the trench when a barrage of 5.9inch shells landed around their position. A shell landed in the middle of the platoon, killing Lieutenant Anslow, Sergeant Taylor, Corporal Hayward, Lance Corporals Upton and Barrie as well as Privates Masson and Ries. The shell also wounded 3 others, but either way 16 Platoon was severely hindered by the loss of their senior NCOs and their officer. A wounded CSM Cooling took the initiative and commanded what remained of 16 Platoon to the objective.

    Burial marker for the Anslow and his men killed by the shell. Dated 1918

    At some point not too long after Anslow’s death, Lieutenant Waite had spotted an unmanned German 77mm Field Gun that had been recently liberated by Private Currey. He sent Signaller Hopkins to get it ready for action. When Hopkins arrived there he was assisted by Private Crank. The pair loaded and fired the gun to great effect on the enemy despite no knowledge about firing a field gun. They began firing on the enemies amassing on the left flank despite heavy machine gun fire. After a great many shells were fired, the enemy dispersed and both men returned to their companies.

    At around 4:40pm, Captain Lindsay had suffered a gunshot wound; a bullet that fractured his left tibia. Despite his wound, he led an attack, supervised consolidation of a new position further forwards before allowing stretcher bearers to take him back to the RAP. Lieutenant Dent also was wounded by a burst of machine gun bullets which found its mark in his left shoulder. By 5pm, Lieutenant Waite was the last officer of ‘D’ Company still in the fight. He led the company with vigor towards St Denis [62c.I.22] via the St Denis-Mont St Quentin Road, killing 12 Germans along the way, settling in a location known as the Sugar Factory, with the object of making it a forward post. Waite, with his 20 men was greatly assisted by Sergeant Cuthbert Lineham who by now was commanding one of the platoons. Also of assistance was Corporal Charlie Smith who helped in collecting bombs, ammunition and other items to resupply the men; when they reached the Sugar Factory, Smith volunteered to keep a casting eye over the enemy, reporting their movement to Waite. Whilst holding the Sugar Factory, the Company wiped out a machine gun nest some 200 yards away to his front. However, unbeknownst to Waite, he had lost contact with his own Battalion and was under threat of being completely cut off and therefore risked capture.

    Above is the rough ground that Waite and his Company advanced through on September 1st, 1918 towards the Sugar Factory. Infact, towards the centre-left of the photograph in the distance following along the mini-rise on the right, you can see what remains of the Sugar Factory- 3 corner pillars. Dated September 15th, 1918.

    Messengers were sent out to try and tell him to fall back, yet no one found him. Shortly after midnight, a certain Private Currey (‘B’ Company) volunteered to find Waite in the dark to tell him to withdraw. He went out for the first time, not running into any Germans by some luck. When he came back to friendly lines, he went out again to no avail. The third time his Company Commander said it had to be done, to which Currey said ‘If I can’t find Mr Waite, I will stand up and shout to him’. Currey went out to find Lieutenant Waite and his party once more at 3am. When 8am rolled around and he still hadn’t found Waite, Currey yelled out ‘Waitsey, Come Back!’. A reply was met with machine guns, bolt actions, the whole kitchen sink. Luckily for everyone involved, Lieutenant Waite heard the message from Currey and quickly began bringing his company out of the Sugar Factory back to friendly lines. Private Patrick Allan, a machine gunner, was the last to leave the Sugar Factory position. Waite withdrew the Company under a smoke screen to the crossroad near Saint-Denis (62c.I.22.a.7.6) under the cover of a bank. He remained there until told to fall back by Major Murray. Peronne was a success by all accounts, with Mont St Quentin and Peronne falling over the next day or two. ‘D’ Company had gone into the line with 4 Officers and 90 other ranks - the whole battalion suffered 11 officers and 241 Other Ranks as casualties - of whom 4 officers and 47 other ranks of the Battalion were killed (11 other ranks to DoW). Captain Lindsay suffered a Blighty wound; fractured tibia on the left leg, similar to his previous Company Commander some 11 months previous. He also was to score a Military Cross at Peronne. ‘D’ Company was only left with 1 officer who had survived unwounded.. Dent had also got a Blighty wound (GSW right shoulder) and Anslow was killed with his men, leaving Lieutenant William Waite MC, as last officer standing from ‘D’ Company and by default took command of ‘D’ Company after Captain Lindsay. Coy Sgt Major Cooling had also copped it and was evacuated to hospital, making Sergeant Lineham the acting CSM until Cooling returned shortly after the wars end. Oddly enough, Waite also scored a decoration, earning a Bar to his Military Cross. Lieutenant Waite assumed command of ‘D’ Company shortly after Peronne, presumably the day after on September 2nd. It is unknown how long he was in temporary command, however whilst Waite was Company Commander he had time to write up a recommendation to the Commanding Officer. It read..

    53rd BATTALION A.I.F
    I wish to bring before your notice the conspicuous gallantry and bravery in action of NO.2153 PRIVATE CRANK during the recent operations at PERONNE.
    During the early stages of the attack, a 77mm Field gun was captured with about 70 rounds of ammunition. Private Crank in company with another man*, at once set to work to find out how to detonate the shell and fire the gun. Having ascertained this, he at once brought the gun to bear on the enemy who were massing, apparently for a counter attack on the left flank of the Battalion.
    Immediately upon the 77mm gun opening fire, the enemy brought intense artillery and Machine Gun fire to bear on the gun; notwithstanding this, Private Crank and his comrade continued to fire with great rapidity, causing heavy casualties, and finally compelling the enemy to disperse. He then rejoined his Company.
    Later in the day noticing the enemy again massing on the left flank, he, in company with another man**, remanned the captured gun and continued firing it until all the ammunition was exhausted, despite renewed enemy artillery and Machine Gun activity, and despite the fact, that there being no way of cleaning the gun there was grave risk of the barrel bursting.
    (Signed) W.Waite Lieut.
    O.C “D” Company 53rd Battalion A.I.F

    *The other man was Lance Corporal Cec Weatherby; later a DCM
    **Cec was wounded shortly after the first gun instance, the other man was Private Arthur Hopkins; later an MM

    Thanks to Lieutenant Waite’s recommendation, Crank was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal despite an original recommendation for a Victoria Cross. There were many recommendations made to men of the 53rd Battalion relating to the Peronne stunt. Below are ones from 'D' Company.

    Capt William Frederic Lindsay. Recommended for the MC (Awarded)
    'During the attack on PERONNE on 1st September, 1918, Captain LINDSAY led his Company with the utmost gallantry in the attack.
    During the advance, the left flank of the Battalion was imperilled and Captain LINDSAY under terrific Machine Gun FIre got his Company in position in the open, and brought fire to bear on the enemy massing, inflicting casualties and causing them to disperse. His action undoubtedly allowed the advance to continue and removed a serious menace to that flank of the Battalion. Throughout the action he set a fine example, and much of the success of the Battalion was due to the skillful handling of his Company.
    Later on during the action, he again led an attack and although wounded, established a line with his Company and supervising the consolidation before permitting the stretcher bearers to carry him to the R.A.P'

    Lt William Waite MC. Recommended for a Bar for his MC (Awarded)
    'For most conspicuous gallantry an devotion to duty in action. During the attack on PERONNE on 1st September 1918 despite strong Enemy wire entanglements and Machine Gun and Artillery Barrage, Lieut. WAITE with his platoon forced a passage through the wire and moved forward to the attack. While the advance was in progress, the enemy was observed to be massing on the left which was an exposed flank, and Lieut. Waite despite heavy casualties brought his Platoon into action in the open and inflicted so many casualties in the enemies ranks that he was forced to disperse and allow the advance to continue.
    In the second attack all the Officers of his Company became casualties, and he assumed command, and established posts well forward, which he successfully held until ordered to withdraw by the Commanding Officer [Lieutenant Colonel Cheeseman].
    He displayed the utmost gallantry, and such disregard of personal safety throughout, that he won the admiration of all ranks.'

    3261 CSM (WO.II) Samuel Frank Cooling MM. Recommended for a Bar to his MM (Never Awarded)
    'This NCO has been with the Battalion since its formation and has at all times displayed the utmost gallantry, initiative and constant good work both in and out of the line.
    He did valuable work on patrols on the SOMME 1916-17 and was badly wounded at BULLECOURT in May 1917
    In POLYGON WOOD in September 1917 he showed great dash, courage and initiative. Although wounded on the tapes he went forward, urging his men on, showing utter disregard for his own personal safety, his conduct helping greatly towards the success of the operation.
    At PERONNE in September 1918, CSM Cooling again set a fine example to his men, being wounded at the beginning of the operation he carried on, and when his platoon officer (Lt Anslow) was killed he took command till the objective was reached.'

    3582 Sgt James Patrick Joseph Sullivan. Recommended for the MM (Never Awarded)
    'In the attack on PERONNE on the morning of the 1st September, Sergeant Sullivan took his platoon into action and remained in command throughout the attack. He displayed very high powers of leadership and maintained complete control of his command throughout. He took every opportunity of reorganizing his platoon as casualties occurred and by utter disregard for his own personal safety set a splendid example to his men, into whom he infused a spirit of absolute confidence in their leader.
    On reaching the final objective he rendered very valuable assistance to his Company Commander during the organization of his Company.'

    5474 LCpl Amos John Turner. Recommended for the MM (Awarded)
    'In the recent attack on PERONNE on the 1st September 1918, this N.C.O. showed great coolness and daring in working his Lewis Gun. Throughout the action he kept up a constant fire although he himself was subjected to heavy machine gun and artillery fire, and inflicted a large number of casualties on the enemy. In the latter part of the advance he was severely wounded in the shoulder and also had the Butt blown off his gun. However, he still continued in action until loss of blood and weakness forced him leave the line for medical attention.'

    2474 LCpl Richard Quantrill. Recommended for the MM (Awarded)
    'In the attack on PERONNE on 1st September 1918 this N.C.O. rendered the greatest assistance to his Company Commander in controlling and reorganising his section. When the objective was reached he took charge of an isolated post on the Left Flank displaying splendid powers of leadership and control. Under heavy artillery and machine gun fire he assisted in digging out several men who had been buried by shells and helped attending to the wounded.
    At all times he set a splendid example to the men of his Platoon.'

    4852 LCpl Albert Edward Lonsdale Smith. Recommended for the MM (Awarded)
    'For conspicuous courage and coolness in action during the attack on PERONNE on 1st September 1918. This N.C.O. when in Charge of a Lewis Gun displayed great initiative in the early part of the advance in supplying covering fire for his Platoon. During the greater part of the advance he used his gun from the hip and was successful in gaining superiority of fire thus enabling his platoon to advance. Later while covering the consolidation of his Company he was almost surrounded by the enemy; however he brought his gun into action and was successful in beating them off. He kept his gun firing until it was put out of action by a direct hit. Smith at once returned to his Company, procured another gun and brought it into action inflicting great losses on the enemy and silencing two enemy Machine Guns.'

    2247 LCpl Oscar William Smith. Recommended for the DCM (Awarded)
    'For conspicuous gallantry and determination in action at Peronne, 1 September, 1918. He was sent to get in touch with the brigade on the left, and had to cross open ground swept by machine gun fire. On the way he was held up by a machine gun post, which opened fire. He at once shot the observer, killed the crew of six, and captured the gun.'

    5380 Signaller Arthur John Hopkins. Recommended for a DCM (Awarded MM)
    'For conspicuous gallantry during the attack on PERONNE on 1st September 1918. During the early stages of the attack an Enemy 77.mm. gun was captured with a large supply of ammunition. He helped another man to work this gun having first ascertained how to detonate the shells, and fire the gun, despite the fact that the enemy immediately opened up with heavy artillery and machine gun fire directed against them, and despite the fact that owing to their being no method of cleaning the gun there was great danger of the barrel bursting. The fire from this gun was brought to bear on a quarry on the left flank of the Battalion, where the enemy were assembling, apparently with a view to a counter attack, and such heavy casualties were caused that they were forced to disperse. The action of this man contributed largely to the success of the operation as the Left Flank of the Battalion at that time was in a very exposed position, and if a counter attack had been launched there would have been grave risk of the Battalion being cut off.'

    In a Special Order posted by Lieutenant-Colonel Cheeseman on December 13th, 1918, it announced all the awards for the Peronne stunt. There was a VC, DSO, 2 bars to MC, 6 MCs, 7 DCMs, 2 bars to MM and 19 MMs. Of these, members of D Coy were awarded..
    1 Bar to MC - Lieutenant Waite MC
    1 MC - Captain Lindsay
    1 DCM - Pte Oscar Smith
    4 MMs - Coy Sgt Maj Lineham, Sgt Croker, LCpl Brickie Smith, Sig Hopkins, 

    In the days following Peronne, Lieutenant Hill would return from his leave, assuming command of his platoon once more. On September 4th at the bivouacs at Herrecourt, the General Officer Commanding 5th Division, with Brigadier-General 14th Brigade inspected and addressed the men of the 53rd Battalion with great praise in respect of the actions at Morlancourt and Peronne. The following day saw a thunderstorm roll onto them whilst they moved their bivouacs. By this time, the Battalion stood at 23 officers and 281 men. On September 7th whilst the Battalion was camped at Le Mesnil, Major Lucas and Lieutenant Waite went back to Peronne to check that all battalion dead were buried. It had turned out that the 1st Brigade had been bivouacked at Peronne and had buried all the dead. On September 12th, a few German planes were spotted overhead- 2 were shot down and 3 turned tail and ran. On that same day, some machine gun practice took place during which time 'D' Coy's 5343 Private Beech was accidentally killed by a live bullet mixed in a machine gun belt. On September 26th, some 2 weeks after the aerial attack, Lieutenant-Colonel Cheeseman called a conference of all Company Commanders. During this conference, the Colonel outlined an upcoming stunt to come in the following days. At 7:30pm the following day, the Battalion marched out of Le Mesnil and moved towards a place near Hervilly.

    On September 30th, Colonel Cheeseman was sent away to a conference at 3am on an upcoming attack that was to occur later that day. With zero hour fixed for 6am, they were expected to step off at below adequate fighting strength. The Battalion’s Companies were instead to work in conjunction- 'A' and 'B' Company would work together on one objective whilst 'C' and 'D' Company would take on another. Captain Wilson would take 'C' and 'D' Company into the attack whilst Captain Jhonson MC took 'A' and 'B'. A certain Lieutenant Arthur Thompson would assume command of 'D' Company. Little is known of his service, mainly due to the fact that his record consists of virtually 3 pages. What is known is that he was 18 when he enlisted in 1915, and was granted a commission the following year.

    The Battalion passed the jump-off point just a few minutes past 6am; the role of ‘C' and 'D’ Company was ‘that of mopping up the (Bellicourt) Tunnel and vicinity’. On the advance to the tunnel, the company came under intense machine gun and artillery fire. Captain Wilson ably led the two Companies past the first line of trenches at 9am, before he was shot through the neck (severing his windpipe) with a machine gun bullet. He fell, his death almost instantaneous.

    Around this time, Lieutenant Thompson was severely wounded leading 'D' Company along a canal. Lieutenant Hill was leading his 15 Platoon the far flung left flank of the company, but due to heavy casualties being taken he was eventually separated from the company, leaving himself and 6 of his men isolated on that flank of the line. It is said that he continued the advance with merely Sergeants Smith, Callaghan and Quantrill, a Corporal and 2 other men to avoid the flank of the battalion collapsing. After a short advance they were met with a most unusual sight- a machine gun strong post which was pouring enfilading fire on the battalion. Lieutenant Hill didn’t hesitate; he personally led a skeleton charge against the post, killing 20 Germans and capturing 3 machine guns. It was only a very short time before he became a double entrance dugout which had machine guns on each entrance.. Lieutenant Hill, assisted by Sergeant Charlie Smith, collected a few stick grenades and gallantly ran towards the bunker with revolver in hand, shooting 3 men along the way and lobbing grenades all the while. When the smoke cleared, he had killed 15 along the way basically singlehandedly, also capturing 2 machine guns. He then received immediate orders to assist ‘A/B’ Company at the Le Catalet Trench System at around 2pm. Upon reaching said location, he ‘commenced bombing up the trench, and cleared it for a distance of 600 yards’ with Private Charlie Baker leading as the 'bayonet man'. He and five men in that bombing party had killed 20 odd and captured 7 machine guns, however was obliged to withdraw 200 yards when he was too far from the line. Upon falling back, he established a vital bomb block at around 3pm with the valuable assistance of Sergeants Smith and Dick Callaghan whilst Corporal Reg Lyons watched from afar, providing support along with Sergeant William Smith. The bomb block is listed at location A.22.d.45.65. The bomb block was held until midnight. During the action, Lieutenant Hill is also listed to have captured 2 German 77mm field guns.

    The men of that party were-
    Lt Reginald Hill [Officer Commanding; awarded DSO]
    Sgt Charlie Smith [awarded DCM]
    Sgt Dick Callaghan [awarded DCM]
    Sgt Richard Quantrill [awarded MM]
    T/Cpl Charlie Taylor [awarded MM]
    LCpl William Borserio [recommended MM]
    Pte Charlie Baker [recommended MM]
    *It is confusing as to how many men were involved due to confliction of stories, however I believe it was only 1 officer and 6 men that were involved in that 'charge', per citations.

    On October 1st, Lieutenant Hill, Sergeant Quantrill and a handful of other ranks went out on patrol to find the German line. They were successful in this, also locating some German machine gun posts in the process; in that daylight patrol, no one was wounded despite coming under machine gun fire. At 9:30pm on October 2nd, the Battalion was relieved by the 6th Inniskilling in the line. At the end of it, Lieutenant Hill was the subject of many letters. Lieutenant Cooke, Sergeants Quantrill, Charlie Smith and one of the Corporals involved all sent in recommendations to Colonel Cheeseman. As a result of his exemplary gallantry, Lieutenant Hill was awarded a DSO for his actions, and the others involved duly decorated.

    Then-Second Lieutenant Hill. Dated perhaps 1916-17. 

    On October 3rd, the Battalion buried Captain Wilson MC, Lieutenant Althouse and Second Lieutenant Ralph MM at Tincourt. Also, Captain Jhonson MC, OC of ‘A/B’ Company was to die of wounds sustained in the action on October 2nd, 1918. Despite the casualties, spirits were apparently high whilst the battalion billeted at Villeret. The following day, Lieutenant-Colonel Cheeseman MC addressed the troops, thanking them for their effort in the battle just a few days prior. Reorganization is said to have taken place during this time. On October 5th, they winded up at Le Mesnil then onto St Maxent on October 7th. Upon arrival at St Maxent, the Battalion stood at 24 Officers and 306 Other Ranks. For nearly a week it rained on the Battalion in varying strength until the clouds cleared on October 13th. Around this time, Lieutenant Justin Cooke, 53rd Battalion was appointed Captain which coincided with his taking command of ‘D’ Company, 53rd Battalion in October 1918. He had started out as a recently-married Second Lieutenant in 1915 with the 8th Battalion in Victoria and had worked his way up to Captain with only one wound stripe on his sleeve for a gas attack in April 1918.

    The then-Lieutenant Justin Cooke, whilst with a Training Battalion in England.

    For the rest of October 1918, inter-battalion competitions took place with men from each company representing their companies. Decides from that, the war diary states ‘(St Maxent) is mostly without extraordinary incident’. This is a bit of an understatement- On October 5th, Sergeant Croker was admitted to hospital with Broncho-Pneumonia. He succumbed some 9 days later. He was later awarded an MM and Bar for actions at Peronne and Bellicourt. He was the last wartime casualty for D Company before the armistice.

    On October 22nd, the strength of the Battalion was depleted and stood at 27 Officers and 289 Other Ranks. Lieutenant-Colonel Cheeseman saw the positives of the depleted numbers by stating ‘it is possible to train every man (on) the Lewis Gun, and the Battalion in consequence is becoming a Battalion of Lewis Gunners, which is most useful knowledge to have in case of emergency’. By the turn of the month the battalion had only risen to 29 Officers and 328 Other Ranks. On November 8th the ‘Miss Lina Ashwells Concert Party’ performed a few sketches for the Battalion in St Maxent. On November the 11th, 1918, Colonel Cheeseman paraded the battalion under unknown pretenses. He began reading parts of Prince Litchnowsky’s disclosures showing why Germany was to blame for the war, and commented at the end as a side note “By the way, hostilities will cease at 11am today”. Everyone was rejoicing, less a few who didn’t believe that it was actually over. When the whole village found out, ‘the village immediately became almost festive with bunting’.

    The surviving members of ‘D’ Company, 53rd Battalion were photographed with merely 5 officers* and 42 men with their appropriate webbing on. At the end of the war, soldiers of the Company returned home and were subsequently discharged in 1919/20, returning to civilian life.
    *One of the officers may be Temporary Company Sergeant Major Lineham

    Identified is Lieutenant William Waite MC (Later Bar); second from front, sixth from left. Also identified is Lieutenant Justin Cooke who is on Waite’s left shoulder with a tall posture.

    It is worth noting that Lieutenant Rupert Dent, who had been wounded at Peronne on September 1st was getting acquainted with Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon; later known as the Queen Mother to most. He met her whilst he was recuperating at Glamis Castle in Scotland and they became good friends and very fond of eachother. They took walks in the garden and taught Elizabeth a thing or two. When Rupert was to be Returned to Australia, Elizabeth's mother wrote in a letter ‘I want to thank you for the good advice you gave my Elizabeth. I profited by it even more than she did. I needed it more than she does. Do let us hear from you from time to time. We shall never forget you’. Dent destroyed the letters to avoid embarrassment however his family still knew about it all. When he was asked by his children about how close they were, Rupert responded ‘Well, we took lots of long walks together. A gentleman doesn't tell’. In 2013, surviving letters of the affair were found in an old drawer and later sold for the large sum of $3600 AUD.

    A final bit worth mentioning; Company Sergeant Major Samuel Cooling MM had joined the 53rd Battalion in Egypt in 1916. He then served at Fromelles where he was wounded; later wounded at Polygon Wood; then wounded on April 17th during an attack; then finally wounded at Peronne. He had been wounded at every major attack committed by the 53rd Battalion with the exceptions of the quiet period at Le Transloy, the battle near Bellicourt and actions on August 8th 1918. He finished the war with 4 wound stripes to his name.

    At wars end, the officers and men of the 53rd Battalion had 1 VC, 5 DSO’s, 24 MCs and 3 bars, 28 DCMs, 76 MMs and 4 bars, 4 MSMs, 20 MiDs per the AWM Of these numbers, atleast 1 DSO, 2 MCs [1 bar], 5 DCMs and 15 MMs [1 bar] are known to have been awarded to the officers and men of ‘D’ Company. The Battalion had also suffered a total of 657 dead- either from Killed in Action, sickness, missing, etc. Of that number, atleast 86 can be accounted for from ‘D’ Company.

    Honours known to be awarded to the officers and men of 'D' Company

    Distinguished Service Order
    Lieutenant Reginald Valentine Hill D.S.O, MiD

    Military Cross
    Captain William Frederic Lindsay M.C
    Lieutenant William Waite M.C and Bar

    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    C.Q.M.S Daniel Madden D.C.M
    Sergeant Charles Smith D.C.M
    Sergeant Richard Leslie Callaghan D.C.M
    Corporal Henry Hubbert D.C.M
    Corporal Oscar William Smith D.C.M

    Military Medal
    C.S.M Samuel Frank Cooling M.M
    T/C.S.M Cuthbert Claude Lineham M.M
    Sergeant Jack Everard Burns Croker M.M and Bar
    Sergeant James Joseph Fox M.M
    Sergeant Reginald Armand Lyons M.M
    Sergeant Vincent John Scully M.M
    Sergeant Richard Quantrill M.M
    L/Sergeant James William Haines M.M
    Corporal James Henry Harrop M.M
    Corporal Charles Taylor M.M
    LCpl Amos John Leslie Turner M.M
    LCpl Albert Edward Lonsdale Smith M.M
    Signaller Arthur John Hopkins M.M
    Private James Donald Black M.M, MiD
    Private John Semple M.M

    Survivors of ‘D’ Company

    Below are the names of those who served in the Company throughout the war who survived the war. Ofcourse this list may not be completely accurate but it paints a perspective.

    Note: This list is those who I have confirmed to have served in ‘D’ Company at one point or another.

    Captain Robert Ramsay MC, MiD (1888-1965) - A few misgivings in the interwar period. Rejoined in the Second World War, becoming a Major. He was involved in the Cowra Breakout and shortly thereafter resigned his commission. Died May 23rd 1976

    Captain William Frederic Lindsay MC, ED (1880-1940) - stayed in the Militia, gaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and an ED. His men respected him greatly. Died June 11th 1940

    Captain Justin Sidney Cooke (1888-1949) - Born in England however immigrated when he was a baby. He married in 1915 and was a Victorian. Gassed in April 1918 and rose to command the Company. Died July 25th 1949.

    Captain Albert Edward Jackson MC (1894-1955) - Started out as a Private soldier, rising to the rank of Captain. Served in the Second War at home as a Major. Died July 25th 1955.

    Lieutenant William Waite MC and Bar (1888-1976) - Became a farmer and suffered many hardships with the terrible land. Rejoined in the Second World War as a Lieutenant in ‘C’ Company, 8th Garrison Battalion; his divisional commander was General Murray- a former 53rd Battalion officer. Died August 28th 1976

    Lieutenant Rupert Octavius Dent (1890-1982) - Whilst recuperating in England met the Queen’s Mother and made friends with her. CMF Captain during the Second World War, serving at home. Died December 31st 1982.

    Lieutenant Arthur Oswald Thompson (1897-1980) - Little is really known. He married in Lewisham in 1927. Died March 13th 1980

    [15 Plt] Lieutenant Reginald Valentine Hill DSO, MiD (1892-1928) - Being gassed and wounded led to his early death. Died August 15th 1928

    Lieutenant James Patrick Joseph Sullivan (1893-1965) - Recommended for Officer Training and also for an MM at Peronne. Given the King's Commission 5/1/1919. Died August 16th 1965

    [14 Plt] Lieutenant Robert Arthur ‘Roy’ Lee (1893-1956) - Joined the Battalion in June ‘17, spending the best (latter) half of 1918 at schools. Died September 8th 1956.

    Second Lieutenant Edwin Thomas Sattler (1887-1949) - Wounded as CQMS at Fromelles. Commissioned July 1917 and probably reassigned to a different Company. Died July 6th 1949

    Company Sergeant Major Samuel Frank Cooling MM (1890-1977) - CSM from 15/1/1918 after the death of CSM Loney at Polygon Wood. Wounded 4 times, probably more than anyone else in the Company. Later Second World War VDC Lieutenant. Died July 9th 1977

    Temporary Company Sergeant Major Cuthbert Claude Lineham MM (1892-1971) - T/CSM after CSM Cooling wounded at Peronne, also scored the MM at Peronne. Settled in Canberra; Died May 29th 1971

    Company Quartermaster Sergeant Daniel Madden DCM (1888-1934) - Settled in Wellington and then Dubbo as a Barman after the war. Died September 20th 1934

    Company Quartermaster Sergeant Sydney Denison Campbell MiD (c.1880-a.1954) - Experienced soldier by the time of the war. Died after 1954

    Private Harley Augustus Rudd (1882-1960) - Died in 1960.

    Sergeant James Joseph Fox MM (1891-1941) - MM for Morlancourt. Died October 2nd, 1941

    Private James Marshall (1899-1959) - Diarist; was only 17 when he enlisted in 1916. Enlisted into the AFC in 1920, then RAAF in 1921, discharged 1928. Enlisted as a Flying Officer in a Second World War RAAF; Home Service. Died July 10th 1959

    [15 Plt] Private John/Joseph Samuel Carlisle (1893-1961) - Died April 12th 1961

    Private George St Clair Griffin (1893-1950) - Diarist. Found work as Boatshed Proprietor. Died July 23rd 1950

    [16 Plt] Sergeant Francis William Thompson (1885-1940) - T/CSM after CSM Cooling gassed on 17/4/1918. Died 1940

    Sergeant John Laing (1875-1947) - RAN Officer 39-45. Died in 1947

    [15 Plt] Sergeant Charles Smith DCM (1895-?) - Recommended for a DCM and MM for actions in late 1918. Unsure on fate.

    Sergeant Norman Cresswell Ruddel Condell (1895-1972) - Former Light Horseman; in 1954 he was a Farmer in Wagga Wagga. Died October 10th 1972

    [14 Plt] Private Herbert George Delaney (1895-1961) - Originally 1st Pioneer Battalion and a '17 man. Died sometime in 1961.

    Company Sergeant Major (or Sergeant) Frank Charles Linaker (1897-1955) - AWL at Durban on 10/9/1919 and was tried by Court Martial whilst on RTA. Acquitted. Found work as a Police Constable. Died June 22nd 1955

    Sergeant Reginald Armand Lyons MM (?-?) - MM for Bellicourt.

    Sergeant John Timothy Doherty (1886-1955) - Worked as Labourer prior to the war. Died June 14th 1955

    Sergeant David William Levy (1894-1956) - Served in the Second World War. Died January 10th 1956

    Corporal Charles Taylor MM (1894/1897-?) - MM at Bellicourt on 30/9/1918 to 2/10/1918. Died sometime after 1960.

    [15 Plt] Corporal Thomas Rawson (1889 - 1966) - Wounded in Action 26/3/1918 and invalided home. Died November 11th 1966

    Sergeant Richard Quantrill MM (1892-?) - Later found work at the Civil Transport Office at Dar-as-Salaam in Tanganyika. Last recorded at said location in October 1920. Unsure when he died.

    Corporal James Henry Harrop MM (1894-1944) - Won the MM at Bullecourt. Died May 30th or June 1st 1944

    Lance Corporal Erle Russell Ewin (1896-1959) - Settled in Blayney after the war. Died April 22nd 1959

    [HQ Plt] Signaller Arthur John Hopkins MM (1886-1945) - MM for Peronne, manning a field gun with Crank DCM. Died May 20th 1945

    [HQ Plt] Private Clive Barberie (1899-1974) - Stretcher Bearer with 'D' Coy. Died 1974

    Lance Corporal Albert Victor Stimson (1890-1979) - Lived in Cabramatta/Canley Vale in the interwar period. Died December 10th 1979

    [HQ Plt?] Lance Corporal Albert Edward Lonsdale ‘Brickie’ Smith MM (1888-1964) - Recommended for a DCM at Peronne however got an MM instead for manning a Lewis Gun. Re-enlisted for the Second World War, retired to Bega. D Coy Machine Gun Section. Died December 8th 1964

    [HQ Plt] Private Hector Allan Ingram (1891-1969) - Died November 14th 1969

    Temporary Corporal John Charles Varcoe (1897-1986) - After the war he became a drover, breaking horses. Settled in Boggabri, NSW. Died September 18th 1986

    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal Stewart Gideon McGlashan (1897-1964) - Found work as a carpenter after the war. Died June 5th 1964

    Private John James Baker (1891-1971) - Postwar Timberworker. Died December 22nd 1971

    Lance Corporal Eli Bramall (1889-1973) - Carpenter postwar; Died February 8th 1973

    [13 Plt] Second Corporal Leonard Robert Fookes (1896-1949) - Wounded in April 1918 and transferred to Provosts. Died August 4th 1949

    Private Alfred Abbiss (1882-1968) - Horse Driver. Enlisted for the Second World War. Died August 20th 1968

    Lance Sergeant Arthur Lawrence Harrison (1893-1970) - Captured at Fromelles 19/7/1916. Died July 19th 1970

    [13 Plt] Private John Robinson Wylie (1898-?) - Died after 1932 

    [HQ Plt?] Private Robert James Bassett (1880-1924) - Pioneer with D Coy. Died of War Injuries (Gassed) February 11th 1924

    [14 Plt] Private Frederick Arthur Hollands (1899-1927) - Underaged. Died in 1927

    Private Henry John Walter Phillips (1894-1962) - Died August 2nd 1962

    [15 Plt] Private George James Fyvie (1891-1940) - Died September 29th 1940

    Private William John Gillman (1896-1963) - Died March 11th 1963.

    [16 Plt] Private James Stephen Johnson (1885-1947) - Died October 10th 1947

    Lance Sergeant James William Haines MM (1890-1960) - MM for Morlancourt. Died August 31st 1960

    Private Robert Sinclair Fitzsimmons (1899-1985) - Transferred to AMC. Served in the Second War. Died December 13th 1985

    Sergeant Richard Leslie ‘Dick’ Callaghan DCM (1893-1937) - DCM for Bellicourt. Died October 30th 1937

    Private James Alfred Amey (1896-1971) - Later transferred to the 3rd Battalion. Died July 18th 1971

    [14 Plt] Private John Thomas Black (1891-?) - Untraceable.

    [16 Plt] Private Herbert George Radford (1891-1962) - Served in the Second War in the 11th Garrison Battalion. Died July 1st 1962

    Driver Frederick Francis Riley (1892-?) - Untraceable

    Corporal Thomas Charles Akeroyd (1881-1942) - Died in 1942

    Private John Bateman (1891-?) - Untraceable

    Private Patrick O’Malley (1885-1938) - Died February 5th 1938

    Lance Corporal William Keith ‘Bill’ Wilson (1895-1965) - Died May 20th 1965

    [15 Plt] Private Jack Temp (1898-?) - Fate Unknown

    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal James Denston (1890-1942) - Died October 5th 1942

    Private Joseph Essex Hodges (1881-1958) - Died November 1st 1958

    Private Harry George Walker (1885-1932) - Died in 1932

    Private Alexander Wright (1881-?) - Untraceable

    Lance Corporal Edward Clarence Skelley (1890-1950) - Charged with Manslaughter in 1909 (bail). Died January 4th 1950

    Private Edward Wallace Waites (1894-1968) - Married in England in 1918. Died April 13th 1968

    [15 Plt] Private William John Simmons (1876-?) - Tram Conductor and a Kiwi.

    Corporal Henry James Rumbelow (1891-1979) - Died in 1979

    Private Henry William ‘Bill’ Ough (1892-1973) - Died February 20th 1973

    Sergeant John O’Driscoll (1881-?) - Died after 1935

    [16 Plt] Lance Corporal Arthur Ernest Stonestreet (1896-1990) - Probably last surviving ‘D’ Company digger. Died March 22nd 1990

    Corporal Claude William Harris (1899-?) - Died after 1960

    Lance Corporal Robert Steele Miller (1881-?) - Died after 1924

    Private Carl Magnus Thorston Synnerdahl (1893-1956) - Died March 16th 1956

    [15 Plt] Private William Walter Jarman (1898-1950) - Died June 17th 1950

    Private Cecil Henry Blane (1896-1928) - Died July 18th 1928

    Lance Corporal Amos John Leslie Turner MM (1893-1981) - MM at Peronne manning a Lewis Gun whilst badly shot up. D Coy Machine Gun Section. Died May 23rd 1971

    [15 Plt] Private Bernard Aloysius Daly (1897-1971) - Died March 17th 1971

    Private James Donald Black MM, MiD (1892-?) - MM at Bellicourt. Second World War WO2; Pacific theatre and MiD. Died after 1946

    [15 Plt] Corporal George Watson (1888-1935) - Died August 22nd 1935 

    Private Charles Melton (1868-1945) - Died October 5th 1945

    [15 Plt] Private William Walmsley (1891-1963) - Died November 16th 1963

    Private Harris Page (1891-1951) - Died March 12th 1951

    Private James Henry Wigginton (1897-1944) - Died in 1944

    Private Albert Victor Payne (1895-1932) - Invalided 1917. Died September 22nd 1932

    Private Walter Sealy Joseph Welsh (1896-1978) - Invalided 1917. Died in 1978

    Private Joseph Henry Goodman (1894-1970) - Died May 5th 1970

    Private Harry Walker Rigby Knight (1892-1953) - A British-born soldier. Was in the Second War as CMF. Died August 18th 1953

    [14 Plt] Private Joseph Owen Duffecy (1888-1956) - Died May 10th 1956

    [HQ Plt] Private Sidney Francis Griffiths (1879-1958) - Company Runner. Died March 5th 1958

    Private Frederick George Smith (1899-1956) - Died in 1956

    [16 Plt] Sergeant Norman Leonard Mawson (1888-1949) - Commanded 16 Plt during Nov 1916. Invalided 1917. Died April 12th 1949

    [16 Plt] Private Jack Bass (1895-?) - Died after 1945

    [16 Plt] Private John Semple MM (1888-1953) - Died August 24th 1953

    Private Michael Lennon (1875-1934) - Died September 18th 1934

    Private Patrick Joseph O’Brien (1892-1964) - Died June 8th 1964

    Private George Henry Kingsmill (1897-1974) - Later 5th MG Btn. Died May 19th 1974

    [16 Plt] Lance Corporal Frank Weitzel (1886-1971) - Invalided 1918. Died September 21st 1971

    [14 Plt] Private John Claude McGrogan (1896-1971) - Recommended for an MM at Peronne. Died June 6th 1971

    Private Patrick Seymour Allan (1897-?) - Recommended for an MM at Peronne. Instead given CiC Congratulations card. D Coy Machine Gun Section. Possibly died 1978.

    [HQ Plt] Corporal Henry Hubbert DCM (1883/1887-1958) - DCM for Polygon Wood. One of 'D' Coy's Stretcher Bearer. Died August 25th 1958

    Private Oliver John Jones (1890-1958) - Died March 16th 1958

    Private Charles Arthur Jones (1893-1955) - Invalided out after Bullecourt wounding. Died August 7th 1955

    Private Claude Evans (1893-1972) - Later served in the Second World War at home. Died November 24th 1972

    Private Forbes George White (1887-1958) - Later served in the Second War at home. Died June 16th 1958

    Lance Sergeant Andrew Alfred Porter (1896-1977) - Died May 3rd 1977

    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal Frederick Alfred Baber (1892-1959) - Died May 13th 1959

    Private Joseph Taylor (1884-?) - Before enlisting he was a Miner. Died after 1920

    Private Arthur George Whiteford (1884-1959) - Served in the Second War at home. Died October 9th 1959

    [16 Plt] Private Thomas Arthur 'Art' White (1890-1971) - Died April 22nd 1971

    Private Reginald Andrew Hamilton (1891-1935) - Died November 7th 1935

    [16 Plt] Private George Thomas Ellison (1893-1924) - Died November 15th 1924

    Lance Corporal Charles Joseph Roberts (1893-?) - Invalided 1917. Died after 1963

    [14 Plt] Corporal Arthur Oxley Crassingham (1894-1980) - Commanded 6 Section of 14 Platoon at Fromelles. Died March 21st 1980

    [HQ Plt] Private William Henry Haile (1894-1942) - Signaller, Coy HQ. Died July 28th 1942

    Private Arthur Rupert Pike (1891-1934) - Court martialled twice over. Died November 19th 1934

    Corporal James Sylvester Lewis McDonald (1891-1935) - Invalided 1918. Settled in Hornsby Died September 7th 1935

    Private Nathaniel Thomas Wheatley (1893-1977) - Died January 30th 1977

    Corporal Oscar William Smith DCM (1891-1967) - DCM for Peronne as a runner, later served in the Second War. Died July 31st 1967

    [14 Plt] Private Daniel Michael Regan (1900-1968) - Born 1900 (Claimed 1897) Enlisted 1915 and discharged Underaged 1917. Died April 15th 1968

    Private Stanley Alick Dalton (1894-1968) - Shell shocked. Died April 30th 1958

    Sergeant Gilbert Alderton (1894-?) - Invalided 1918 after being wounded in May ‘18. Died after discharge.

    Corporal Dougald Fittar Stanton (1889-1975) - Captured at Fromelles. Died September 1st 1975

    Lance Corporal Thomas Kilroy (c.1890-?) - Untraced

    Private Cecil Ernest Vircoe (1899-1966) - Died November 10th 1966.

    [16 Plt] Private Raymond Lyness Cameron (1894-1967) - Original 1914 man [7LHR]. Died November 10th 1967



    Honor Roll for ‘D’ Company

    Burial party for those of the 53rd Battalion Killed in Action at Peronne on September 1st, 1918. Dated September 21st, 1918.

    Note: This list is those who I have confirmed to have served in ‘D’ Company at one point or another.

    Captain Charles Arblaster (OC Coy); Died of Wounds July 24th 1916 (PoW)
    [16 Plt] Lieutenant Roy Anslow (OC 16Plt); Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [15 Plt] Lieutenant William Edward Noble (OC 15Plt); Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Second Lieutenant Charles Edward Mudge (OC 14Plt); Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Second Lieutenant Beresford Joseph Nelson (OC 16Plt); Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Second Lieutenant Albert Edward Cooper (Acting OC Coy); Killed in Action March 29th 1917
    Coy Sgt Major Frederick William Loney; Killed in Action September 26th 1917
    Sergeant Austral Hunter Burns; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Sergeant William Stephen Taylor; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [13 Plt] Sergeant John William Camp; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [HQ Plt] Sergeant Jack Everard Burns Croker MM and Bar; Died of Illness October 14th 1918
    Sergeant Charles Stevens Hill; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Sergeant Roy Gordon Barrack; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Corporal Wilfred James Rose; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [16 Plt] Corporal Archie Ferdinand Hayward; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    Corporal James Gilroy Wilcox; Killed in Action September 27th 1917
    [15 Plt] Corporal Joseph Lahiff; Died of Illness/Wounds October 23rd 1918
    Corporal John Beresford Bryson; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [15 Plt] Lance Corporal Harry Kelly; Killed in Action April 6th 1918
    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal Peter Alexander Thompson; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal John Frederick Keith Comb; Killed in Action March 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal Charles Thomas Clarke; Died of Wounds March 31st 1917
    Lance Corporal William John Grove; Died of Wounds October 1st 1918
    [16 Plt] Lance Corporal Clarence Lancelot Upton; Died of Wounds September 1st 1918
    [16 Plt] Lance Corporal William Picken Barrie; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Lance Corporal Joseph O’Rourke; Killed in Action October 20th 1917
    [14 Plt] Private James Albert Ahern; Died of Wounds April 27th 1918
    [16 Plt] Private William Maitland Douglas Masson; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [16 Plt] Private Henry Masson; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Percy Gladstone Moate; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Private Percy Edward Sowter; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Private George Craig; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Private Sylvester James Gollan; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Private Hector Adams; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [13 Plt] Private James Edward Adams; Killed in Action March 29th 1917
    Private David Roylstone Leslie Abbott; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [13 Plt] Private James Lawrence; Killed in Action September 27th 1917
    Private Robert Henry Scott; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [16 Plt] Private Robert Thomas Logan; Killed in Action September 23rd 1917
    Private Hector Francis Bowen Trevena; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    Private Harry Turner; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Private Sidney Richard Pratt; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Private Alfred Ernest Main; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Private Arthur Turner; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Private Stanley Johnson Mears; Killed in Action March 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Private George Roland James Hill; Killed in Action March 1st 1918
    [13 Plt] Private Ralph Pendleton; Killed in Action March 1st 1918
    Private Nicholas Mainger; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Private William Bernard Tier (att. HQ Coy); Killed in Action December 20th 1916
    Private James Youman; Killed in Action September 30th 1918
    [14 Plt] Private Sydney Alexander Meloy; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Private/Signaller John Victor Wright; Killed in Action September 26th 1917
    Private Frederick William Alexander Smith; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Private Thomas Henry Kidd; Killed in Action November 1st 1916
    Private William Howard Birch; Killed in Action September 24th 1917
    Private Claude George Coote; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [14 Plt] Private William Crossman; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Private Norman Charles Edgely; Died of Wounds July 7th 1918
    [15 Plt] Private Reginald Ignatius Edgeworth; Killed in Action October 20th 1917
    [14 Plt] Private Eric Manning Baker; Killed in Action September 27th, 1917
    Private Archibald Patrick Lannen; Killed in Action September 23rd 1917
    [14 Plt] Private Charles Hollingshead Fryer; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [15 Plt] Private Fines Henry Godding; Killed in Action September 30th 1918
    Private Frederick William Beech; Accidentally Killed September 12th 1918
    Private John Henry Alfred Coe; Killed in Action March 29th 1917
    Private Cecil Grant; Killed in Action March 29th 1917
    [14 Plt] Private Patrick Joseph Carey; Killed in Action September 23rd 1917
    Private Frederick Alonza Fuller; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [15 Plt] Private John Clarence Christie; Killed in Action April 6th 1918
    Private Patrick Kelly; Captured 6/4/1918; Died September 6th 1918
    [16 Plt] Private Charles George Ries; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Private Bertram Stanley Grice; Died of Wounds October 2nd 1918
    [16 Plt] Private William Hewit; Killed in Action September 23rd 1917
    [14 Plt] Private Ernest William Bradley; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Private Frederick Kafer; Died of Wounds September 1st 1918
    [14 Plt] Private William Herbert Hilbourne; Died of Wounds September 26th 1917
    [16 Plt] Private Joshua Ismay; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    Private Frank Hill; Killed in Action September 26th, 1917
    Private Thomas Henry Kidd; Killed in Action November 1st 1916
    Private Charles John Baker; Died of Influenza March 2nd 1919
    Private Nicholas Mainger; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    Private William Wallace John Pruss; Killed in Action March 13th 1917
    Private Cyril Herbert Read; Killed in Action January 2nd 1917
    Private Ernest Wilkinson Ashton; Killed in Action July 19th 1916
    [16 Plt] Private Joseph Brough Littleton; Killed in Action September 1st 1918
    [HQ Plt] Private (Signaller) William Frederick Ingle; Killed in Action October 19th 1917

  4. PikeLaffin.JPG.fbde454fea76bbc222ce79ded6311db9.JPG

    Over 2,200 Nurses served overseas in the Australian Army Nursing Service, AIF during WW1, and of these nurses at least 158 married whilst still overseas. Unlike their male counterparts, AANS guidelines stipulated that a nurse had to resign from service once she married. The majority did, but a few kept their marriages secret until such a time as they wished to resign.


    Photo: The 1917 marriage of Sister Nellie Pike and Cpl Charles Laffin  [AWM photo P07678.002] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1226503


    ADAMS, Edith Mary Rawson, Staff Nurse
    Married Rev Sidney Fremlyn STREATFIELD (Royal Army Chaplain’s Dept) on Tuesday the 24th of September 1918 at St Mary’s Church, Belgaum, India

    ALFRED, Ellen, Staff Nurse
    Married Archibald Duncan Campbell LINN (Pte 296, Indian Defence Force) on the 9th February 1919 in Bombay, India

    ALLAN, Elsie May, Staff Nurse
    Married Major (Dr) James Alexander SMEAL (AAMC, AIF) on the 14th of February 1917 at Holy Trinity Church, Southall, Middlesex, England

    ALMOND, Gertrude Mary, Sister
    Married Capt Percy Douglas BRIGHT, (1st Aust Remount Unit, AIF), on the 29th of August 1917 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt

    ANDREWS, Jessie Mary Busby, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Gerald Gustave MASSON (MID), (9th LH, AIF) on the 8th of March 1919 at St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem

    ASHDOWN, Maud, Staff Nurse
    Married James Septimus MANN (Merchant Seaman) on the 7th of March 1917 England

    ATHERTON, Rosamund Brenda, Sister (MID)
    Married George Vincent RANSON, (CQMS 2382, 41st Bn, AIF) on the 19th of February 1919 at the Church of S. Anselm and S. Cecilia, St Giles, London, England

    BAILEY, Ethel Ridgway, Staff Nurse
    Married Major John Bernard Francis McKENZIE, (AAMC, AIF) on the 14th of February 1918 at St Albans, England

    BAIN, Harriet Mary Hazel, Staff Nurse
    Married Alan Eugene Cecil McGAVIN (Capt, Indian Army Res) on the 9th of March 1919 in Deolali, India

    BAKER, Maud Isabel, Sister
    Married Lt Col Roy William CHAMBERS, (AAMC, AIF) on the 24th of September 1917 at St George Hanover Square, England

    BEGG, Rosa Marion Elise / Elsie, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Bertrand COMBES, (1st LH Bde, AIF) on the 15th of April 1916 (or 13th ?) at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt, by Capt the Rev. Edward Makeham, Chaplain, No 3 General Hospital, AIF

    BENNETT, Miriam Adelaide, Staff Nurse
    Married Adolph August Carl (aka Rex) OEHLMANN, (Dvr 14439, AASC, AIF) on the 6th of December 1918 at the Parish Church, Southall, England

    BETT, Mary Ann Latto, Sister
    Married Lieut William Paul BOLAND, (14th Bn, AIF) on the 2nd of October 1918 at Marylebone Presbyterian Church, St Marylebone, London, England

    BLACK, Stella Irene Janet Denison, Sister
    Married William Fred SARGISSON (Capt, Indian Army Reserve of Officers) on the 15th of March 1919 at St Andrew’s Church, West Kensington, Fulham, England

    BLAKE, Henrietta Eyre Maunsell, Staff Nurse
    Married Albert Oscar Vincent TYMMS, (AAMC, AIF) on the 8th of January 1917 at Durban, Sth Africa – during the voyage of the Berrima from Australia to England

    BROOKS, Constance Jessie – Sister, AANS
    Married Major Charles John Emile CLERICI, (Postal Department / Royal Engineers) on the 7th of March 1919 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Bombay, India – with Sister Ada Hodson (AANS) as bridesmaid

    BRUUN, Alice D’Arcy, Staff Nurse
    Married Gordon Holdsworth MUSGRAVE, (3rd AGH, AIF) on the 31st of January 1917 at the Registrars Office in Brighton, England

    BURKITT, Dorothea Mary Agnes, Staff Nurse
    Married Lt Col Norman Maxwell GIBSON, (AAMC, AIF) on the 16th of September 1916 in the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Southall, Uxbridge, England
    [Dorothea’s brother Herbert was one of the Witnesses to their marriage]

    CAMERON, Jessie McCall (McColl), Staff Nurse
    Married George Frederick HURST, (Capt, RAMC) on the 12th October 1918 at Colaba, Bombay, India

    CAREY, Mary (Mollie) Veronica, Staff Nurse
    Married Major George Seaborne ROBINSON, MC&Bar, (AAMC, AIF) on the 28th of August 1918 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Ashley Place, St George Hanover Sq, London, England

    CARMICHAEL, Mary Elizabeth, Staff Nurse
    Married Edward Burton GUNSON, (Maj, RAMC) on the 10th of September 1918 in Salonika

    CARTER, Edith, Staff Nurse
    Married John Crampton POTTER (Lieut, Royal Irish Regt) on the 11th of March 1919 in Rangoon, India

    CHENERY, Hilda Frances, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Charles James Frank Walter DANIELS (6th East Surrey Regiment, attached to the Ghurka Rifles, Indian Army) on the 1st of March 1918, first at the British Consulate and again at St Mark’s Church, Alexandria, Egypt – she was given away by Matron Jessie Gemmell, with Staff Nurse Florence Rail acting as her bridesmaid

    CHENNELL, Frances Margery, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Donald Ian Robertson SMITH, (AAMC, AIF) on the 25th of July 1918 at the Parish Church in Harefield, England

    CHIDGEY, Ellen, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Henry Edmund BUTLER, (AIF HQ) on the 9th of December 1916 at Brompton Oratory, South Kensington, London, England

    CLAPP, Hilda Winifred, Staff Nurse
    Married Major Paul Lucien GOLDENSTEDT, (15th ALH, AIF) on the 15th of March 1919 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt

    CONDON, Helen Mary, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Cecil John HOWELL (1/4th Buffs, East Kent Reg) on the 12th of February 1919 in St Patrick’s Church, Deolali, India

    CONNOLLY, Cusha Syria Mary, Staff Nurse
    Married William Wells Charles WEALE (Capt, Intel Dept) on the 9th of September 1918 at the Convent Chapel of St Mark’s, Cairo, Egypt

    COOK, Florence Beatrice, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Albert McLEOD, (16th Bn, AIF) on the 3rd of March 1916 at the Garrison Chapel at Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt

    CRAWLEY, Dorothy Emma, Staff Nurse
    Married (secretly) 2nd Lieut Charles Maxwell BOWDEN, (6th MG Coy / 22nd Bn, AIF) in December 1917 in Romford, England (whilst on leave) Only declared the marriage after Charles was KIA in 1918

    CROUCH, Elsie Isabel, Staff Nurse
    Married Major Denis Joseph GLISSAN, (1st ACCS, AIF) on the 23rd of November 1916 at the Servite Church, Kensington, England

    CURTAIN, Harriette Honora (Addie), Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Aldous Campbell ARNOLD, (AAMC, AIF) on the 7th of April 1916 at St Mark’s Church, Choubrah, Cairo, Egypt

    DALEY, Clarice Jessie, Staff Nurse
    Married Ernest Alfred LAWRENCE, (1st LH Bde, AIF) on the 21st of October 1915 at the Church Camp, Mudros on the Isle of Lemnos

    DAVIS, Stella Emily, Staff Nurse
    Married Maj Gerald George HOGAN, (1st Div Fld Arty, AIF) on the 2nd of March 1917 at Brighton, England

    DAWSON, Catrina (real name Alice Isabel) – Sister
    Married Lieut John Cade MURRAY, (47th Bn, AIF) on 27th of October 1917 St Giles, London, England (kept secret)

    DE LISLE, Maie St Clair, Staff Nurse
    Married Edwin DE LISLE in September 1919 at Hampstead Emmanuel, England – after being discharged in England in the May

    DE VEAUX, Beatrice, Staff Nurse
    Married Edward John RADFORD (Lieut, Rifle Brigade) on the 4th of March 1919 in the All Saints’ Church, Kirkee, Poona, India

    DEVINE, Maysie, Staff Nurse
    Married William Laurence O’NEILL (Dr, Capt, RGMC) on the 16th of November 1918 in the Holy Name Church, Bombay, India

    DOUGLASS, Anne, Staff Nurse
    Married Arthur William UPFIELD, (Dvr 143, 17th ASC, AIF) on the 3rd of November 1915 at the British Consulate, Alexandria, Egypt

    DOWELL, Mary Sutherland, Staff Nurse
    Married Ernest John Alfred COOK (Capt, Indian Army) on the 6th of September 1919 in Bombay, India

    DUBRULLE, Emilienne Amelie. Staff Nurse
    Married Harold Cecil LEVITT (Sgt 2114, Lancashire Fusiliers) on the 8th of May 1918 in Bombay, India

    DUGGAN, Mary – Sister
    Married Charles Leslie DAVY (2nd Lieut, 9th Royal Warwickshire Regt) on the 11th of February 1918 in Belgaum, India

    DURAND, Florence Lily – Staff Nurse
    Married Fred LEACH (Lieut, 1st/8th Bn Manchester Regt / RAF) on the 14th of January
    1917 at the Brighton Register Office,England – he died on the 16/6/1918, and is
    commemorated on the Kirkee Memorial, India. She kept her marriage a secret.

    EADIE, Leonora Maude, Staff Nurse
    Married Charles Evan LLOYD, (Capt, Gen List Dental) on the 6th of March 1919 at the Parish Church, St George, Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England

    EDDIE, Ida Agnes Mary, Staff Nurse
    Married David MANSON (Dr, of Scotland) on the 12th of December 1917 in Bombay, India

    EDWARDS, Ethel, Staff Nurse
    Married WO Stanley Eyre GIDERSON, (1st DAC, AIF) on the 2nd of November 1916 at the Emmanuel Church in West Dulwich, London, England

    EGLINTON, Elsie Annie, Sister
    Married George McBeth MACKAY (2nd Engineer, HMT Ionian, Mercantile Marine) on the 10th of August 1917 at Whalley, Lancashire, England

    EVERETT, Iris, Staff Nurse
    Married HENSLEY HENSON on the 12th of December 1917 in India

    FAULKNER, Edith Emily, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Philip Patrick Terence Edward Ernest O’DOHERTY, (L.A.R., Federated Malay States) on the 26th of December 1918 at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London, England

    FERRIER, Mary Middlemiss, Staff Nurse
    Married James William NORRIS (1st Dragoon Guards & 14th Lancers) on the 13th of April 1919 in India

    FLOWER, Vera Emily, Staff Nurse
    Married Foxton William HAYLEY, (Capt, 12th Fld Amb, AIF), on the 8th of August 1917 at the Parish Church of St Peter, Bayswater, England – with Sister Dickson of the AANS as bridesmaid

    FOREMAN, Kate Alice, Staff Nurse
    Married Beaufort GREGG, (S/Sgt 1437 Dental Corps, AIF) on the 3rd of September 1918 in Salisbury, England

    FREETAG (Freitag), Mary Margaret, Sister
    Married Lieut James MORRISON, (1st Scottish Rifles) on the 28th of March 1919 at the Holy Name Church, Bombay, India (but didn’t resign until 24/8/19)

    GALLEN, Kate Isobel, Staff Nurse
    Married Walter Harold HEAD, (Pte 6057 7th Fld Amb, AIF) on the 15th of June 1917 at St Albans, England

    GILES, Bridget Teresa, Staff Nurse
    Married Norman McConnell BOYCE, (Lieut, RAMC) in the Oct-Dec Qtr of 1917 at Dartford, Kent, England, but didn’t resign her appointment in consequence until 21/2/1918

    GORDON, Cecil Imogen Keith, Staff Nurse
    Married Lieutenant Roger Horace ANSELL, (Royal Indian Marine) on the 15th of October 1918 at Ahmednagar, Bombay, India

    HARPER, Annie Agnes, Sister
    Married Maj Bertie Charles HANDLEY, (1st FAB, AIF) on the 18th of September 1917 in the Parish Church, St George, Bloomsbury, England

    HARVEY, Ada Irene, Staff Nurse
    Married Rev (Dr) Ernest Denny Logie DANSON, (Chap, Malay States Vol Rifles), on the 6th of February 1918 in Cairo, Egypt

    HAYNES, Olive Lilian Creswell, Sister
    Married Lieut Norval Henry DOOLEY (Pat), (22nd Bn, AIF) on the 11th of December 1917 in Bournemouth, England

    HILLS, Agnes Florence, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Clement Wallington HARRIS (1st LH, AIF) on the 17th of July 1918 at the Church of Epiphany, Port Said, Egypt

    HOLLOWAY, Evangeline Estelle (Eva), Sister
    Married Robert DAVIDSON, (1st MG Sq, AIF) on the 30th of November 1916 at St Andrew’s, Fulham, England

    HOLMES, Annie, Staff Nurse
    Married Sgt-Maj Gilbert Grant INNES, (Lancashire Fusiliers, T.F.) on the 23rd of March 1916 at St George’s Church, Alexandria, Egypt

    HOOD, Ina Muriel, Staff Nurse
    Married Alfred Charles ELLIOTT (Lieut, 11th Bn, AIF) on the 17th of March 1916 at the Garrison Church, Kasr-el-nil, Cairo Egypt

    HOUGH, Edith Evelyn, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Otto Ludwig VETTER, (RAF, Australian) 10th of January 1919 at St Andrew’s, Wells Street, London, England

    HOWARTH, Laura, Staff Nurse
    Married John Henry MURCH (Capt, Mercantile Marine) on the 20th of September 1917 at St Thomas's Cathedral, Bombay, India

    HUDSON, Pamela Burgoyne, Staff Nurse
    Married Noel HEPWORTH on the 15th July 1918 in Bombay, India

    HUON, Ada Eveline, Sister
    Married (Dr) Frank Bertram MacCASKIE (Capt, RAMC) on the 31st of March 1919 in Ahmednagar, India.

    JACOBSON, Alice Augusta, Staff Nurse
    Married William Kinglake DE BOOS (Sgt 363/Lieut, 22nd Bn, AIF) on the 28th of March 1917 at the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Southall, Middlesex, England

    JEFFERSON, Ida Gladys, Sister
    Married William Thomas GRIFFITHS on the 24th of July 1918 at St Stephen’s Church, Bandra (Bombay), India

    JOLIFFE, Bertha Elsie, Sister
    Married Major Eric St Leger LEWIS, (3rd LH, AIF) on the 4th of September 1916 at Christchurch, Westminster, London, England

    JONES, Edith, Sister
    Married Lieut Harry Thomas WRAIGHT, DCM, MM (7th Bn, AIF) on the 26th of December 1917 at St Giles, London, England

    KENDALL, Constance Elizabeth, Staff Nurse
    Married Dr Cecil Stanley MOLESWORTH (Capt, AAMC, AIF) in June 1919 in Cairo, Egypt

    KENDELL, Charlotte Eva, Staff Nurse
    Married Lieut James Mark KENNEDY, (26th Bn, AIF) on the 29th of February 1916 at the British Consulate, Cairo, Egypt

    KENNEDY, Mary Christina, Staff Nurse
    Married Maj Alfred Fay MacLURE, (AAMC, AIF) on the 9th of July 1915 at the Presbyterian Church, Regent Square, Gray’s Inn Rd, St Pancras, London, England
    Marriage kept secret until Dec 1918 when she declared it for discharge

    KENT, Bertha Mary, Sister
    Married Charles CAMERON on the 1st of April 1919 at St George’s Church, Southport, Lancashire, England

    KEYS, Lilian Constance, Sister
    Married Alfred George Harrison (Fred) CARRUTHERS (Deputy-Commissioner, Chinese Customs Service) on the 30th of December 1918 in Vancouver, Canada
    She had been on transport duty on the hospital ship Madras between Vladivostok and Vancouver.

    KILLICOAT, Frances Madge, Staff Nurse
    Married Capt Stewart Osburn COWEN, (AAMC, AIF) on the 18th of November 1918 in Ayr, Scotland

    KILSBY, Blanche Catherine, Staff Nurse
    Married Charles Thomas WHITTENBURY on the 4th of August 1919 at Rawalpindi, India
    [Possibly 1763 2/25 London Cyc Regt & Pte 275035 1F.S.G. Bn Somerset Light Infantry – Disembodied 1/1/20 – entitled to BWM only. 1st Garrison Battalion moved to India Feb 1917. Joined Rawalpindi Brigade in 2nd Div.]

    KING, Alice Gordon, Sister
    Married Lieut-Col Charles Hazell ELLIOTT, DSO & Bar, CMG, (12th Bn, AIF) on the 20th of December 1917 at Marylebone, England

    KING, Lydia Kate, Sister
    Married Lt Col Herbert Gordon CARTER (5th Pioneers, AIF) on the 31st of January 1917 at the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Southall, England

    KIRK, Myrtle Lynda, Sister
    Married Arthur Joseph O’MEARA (Lieut, RASC) on the 12th of June 1918 in Salonika

    LAMB, Mary Catherine, Staff Nurse
    Married Francois Brousse de GERSIGNY (Lieut, 75th DAC – 270th Bde RFA) on the 3rd of March 1919 at the Garrison R.C. Chapel, 14th AGH, Cairo, Egypt

    LANGWORTHY, Gertrude Henderson, Sister
    Married Oliver Edward LUKE (Lieut, 1/53rd Punjabis, ex AIF) on the 2nd of August 1918 at St Thomas' Cathedral, Bombay, India [didn’t resign until 14/4/1919]

    LEWIS, Florence Laura, Staff Nurse
    Married Major Michael FITZGERALD, (18th Bn, AIF) on the 9th of September 1916 in Dublin, Ireland

    LITTLE, Marjorie (Margery) Grace, Staff Nurse
    Married Lieut Charles Robert DUKE, MC, (5th Pioneers, AIF) on the 14th of January 1918 at Toftwood, Murtle, Aberdeen, Scotland

    LLEWELLYN, Daisie Mary, Staff Nurse
    Married Herbert Charles LUDBROOK, (WO1 3197, 12th Fld Amb, AIF) on the 3rd of January 1918 at the Wesleyan Church, Horseferry Rd, London, England

    LLOYD, Maud Margaret, Staff Nurse
    Married Raoul Julian Toreau de MARNEY (Capt, Brit Army) on the 29th of November 1918 in Salonika

    LOGAN, Hilda Olive, Staff Nurse
    Married Samuel Reginald PRALL (Lt Col, Ind Med Serv) on the 28th of December 1918 in Bombay, India

    LOWE, Elma Constance Apsley, Staff Nurse
    Married Lieut William Leith Gardiner LAMROCK, (3rd Bn, AIF) on the 7th of July 1917 at Dartford, Kent, England

    MACKAY, Maud Mary, Sister
    Married Lieut Lancelot Mervyn REDGRAVE (18th Bn, AIF) on the 28th of June 1919 at The Chapel Royal, St Martin, England

    MAHONEY, Mary Agnes, Sister
    Married Major Edward Theodore PASCOE (AAMC, AIF) on the 25th of March 1919 in the British Consulate, Cairo, Egypt

    MAHONEY, Nora Evelyn, Sister
    Married Alfred Haldane HICKS (Lieut, Royal Navy) on the 2nd of June 1919 at the Church of the Holy Name, Bombay, India

    MANNING, Florence Agnes, Staff Nurse
    Married Captain Hugh William Fancourt MITCHELL, MC (AAMC, AIF) on the 23rd of April 1917 at Mill Hill, London, England

    MARTIN, Alice Maud, Staff Nurse
    Married Frederick William Warden PICKANCE (Capt, Royal Engineers) on the 25th of March 1918 at Aldershot, England

    MASON, Dorothy, Staff Nurse
    Married Harold John WILLIAMS (RQMS, 1st AAH, AIF) on the 5th of May 1919 at St Marylebone parish church, Portman Square, London, England

    McDONALD, Cordelia Rosa (Corrie), Sister
    Married (Dr) Arthur Madgwick DAVIDSON (Capt, AAMC, AIF) on the 27th of October 1917 in the Garrison Church, Abbassia, Egypt

    McGUIRK, Lillie, Staff Nurse
    Married George Freeman EVANS, (Capt, 48th Bn, AIF) on the 22nd of May 1916 in Egypt

    McKENDRICK, Rhoda Mary Ann, Staff Nurse
    Married Henry Denton HOLDEN (Lieut, 1st Bn, Manchester Regt) on the 14th of June 1917 by special license at the English Church, Bombay, India

    McKENNA, Nellie (Ellen), Sister
    Married (Dr) Henry George LEAHY (Capt, 14th AGH, AIF) on the 24th of October 1919 at the Church of our Lady of Victories, Kensington, England

    McKENZIE, Mary Elizabeth, Staff Nurse (Temp Sister)
    Married Capt Reginald Alfred BRAY (of the P&O Coy) on the (27th or) 28th of May 1918 at the British Consulate and afterwards at the Church of Epiphany, Port Said, Egypt

    MEADER, Ruby, Staff Nurse
    Married Duncan MacGREGOR (of the Nat Bank of India, Aden) on the 7th August, 1919, at the Scotch Church, Aden

    MILLER, Phyllis Edith, Staff Nurse
    Married Robert Leontine Scott MURPHY (Lieut, 6th Bn, AIF) on the 17th of February 1917 in Kensington, London, England

    MONCKTON, Nonie (Honora), Sister
    Married Robert WOODSIDE (Capt, RAMC) on the 15th of April 1919 in Weymouth, England

    MOORE, Edith Eleanor, Sister
    Married George Arthur Lloyd POLLEY (Lieut, R.N.R) on the 8th of March 1918 at St Michael’s Church, in St Albans, England

    MOXHAM, Hilda, Sister
    Married Harry Fitzgerald HARLOCK (Lieut, 4th Bn, AIF) on the 7th of August 1915 in the Abbassieh Garrison Chapel, Egypt
    The marriage was kept quiet until 25/2/1916, at which time she resigned

    MULLIGAN, Gladys Gray, Sister
    Married Spencer SHELLEY on the 17th of March 1917 in Rawalpindi, Bengal, India

    MURPHY, Esther (real name: Agnes Mary), Sister
    Married John Joseph BOYERS (Lieut, AAMC, AIF) on the 14th of September 1918 at St Joseph’s RC Church, Islington, England

    MURRAY, Christina Dunmore, Staff Nurse
    Married William Walter McLAREN, (Major, 1st LH Fld Amb, AIF) on the 17th of March 1917 in Regent Square, Pancras, England, by Rev Robertson

    NEWTON, Margaret, Staff Nurse
    Married Piers Bonham-Carter EVELEGH (Capt, R.E.) in September 1917 in the RC Cathedral, Bombay, India

    O’HANLON, Elizabeth Frances, Sister
    Married (Dr) Arthur Raphael STEVEN, (Capt, RAMC) on the 1st of January 1919 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Bangalore, India

    O’NEILL, Annie Emily (known as Nance) – Sister
    Married Reginald George DOWNING, MC&Bar, (Capt, 54th Bn, AIF) on the 4th of July 1918 at the RC Church, Finchley Rd, Golders Green, London, England

    PARISH, Emily Cornelia, Sister
    Married George Guyatt GARDINER, (Capt, 13th Bn, AIF) on the 13th of January 1919 at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London, England

    PARKINSON, Olga Gwendoline (married as Olive), Sister
    Demobbed UK 26/9/19 to await marriage – fiancé due for leave at end of year
    Married Herbert Ludlow DAVIS, (Royal Indian Marine) in August 1920 in Bayswater, England

    PENNEFATHER, Mary Elizabeth, Sister
    Married William J.B. ROOPE, (Lieut, Chinese Labour Co), on the 26th December 1918 at St Margaret’s, Westminster, London, England

    PETERS, Ethel Alice (Pete), Sister
    Married Norman Francis WILKINSON, (Pte 7382, AAMC / Lieut, 2nd MG Bn, AIF), on the 1st of October 1917 in Cambridge, England [Sisters Ella Tucker and Kate Foreman were bridesmaids]

    PHILLIPS, Violet May, Staff Nurse
    Married Neil Hamilton FAIRLEY, (Maj, AAMC, AIF) on the 12th of February 1919 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt

    PIKE, Nellie Alfreda, Sister
    Married Charles George Edward John LAFFIN (Cpl 4414, 3rd AGH, AIF) on the 28th of September 1917 in St Albans, England

    PORTER, Katherine Minnie – Sister
    Married John Ebenezer DONALDSON, (Capt 19th Bn, AIF) on the 8th of July 1916 in France. Following John’s death in August 1916, Katherine returned to Australia. She re-enlisted again in 1917 (under her married name as a widow).

    PRICE, Mary Clare, Sister
    Married Cyril Norman HARVEY (L/Cpl 19591, 1st AGH, AIF) in the Apr-Jun Qtr of 1919 in Warminster, England.

    RICHARDS, Doris Gertrude Peterson, Staff Nurse
    Married Eric Vansittart Ernest NEILL, (Capt, A Prov C, AIF) on the 8th of June 1916 in the Presbyterian chapel attached to the 3rd Australian General Hospital in Cairo, Egypt

    RIDDOCH, Maggie Valetta – Staff Nurse
    Married (Dr) Dermid MAXWELL ROSS (Major, R.A.M.C.) on the 3rd of March 1919 in Edinburgh, Scotland

    RIGBY, Julia Lyllis, Staff Nurse
    Married Sydney Henry WOOLF (Capt, 19th Punjaubis, Indian Army) on the 10th of July 1918 in Bombay, India

    ROBERTS, Evelyn Mary, Sister
    Married Frank Roland BUCKLEY on the 2nd of July 1919 in Windsor, England

    ROBSON, Ruth Maughan, Staff Nurse
    Married Lesley Alexander WILKIE (2nd Lieut, 4th LH, AIF) on the 20th January 1917 at the C of E Garrison Chapel, 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, Egypt

    ROSE, Dorothy Ann, Staff Nurse
    Married James Henry WHYTE (Lt Col, Wellington Mtd Rifles, NZEF), on the 4th of April 1916 at The Pines, Ghezireh, Cairo, Egypt

    SANDERS, Constance Dalmorton, Staff Nurse
    Married Leonard Collins William FRADD (Capt, 6th Sth Lancashire Regt) on the 12th of October 1918 at St Thomas' Cathedral, Bombay, India

    SAUNDERS, Muriel Mary, Staff Nurse
    Married William John CONIBEAR (Capt, Indian Army) on the 11th December, 1918, at St Paul’s Church, Poona, India

    SCOTT, Nita (Florence Nita), Staff Nurse (ex QAIMNSR)
    Married (Dr) Max YUILLE (Maj, 4th LH Fld Amb, AIF) in January 1918 St Columbia’s Church of Scotland, Chelsea, England

    SCOTT, Susan(Susie) Elizabeth, Sister
    Married Percy EDMUNDS on the 1st of May 1918 at Marylebone, England

    SHEPHERD, Lily Harriette – Staff Nurse
    Married Alexander Hersey TAIT (Pte 4th LH, AIF) on the 15th of February 1916 in Egypt

    SIMPSON, Eleanor Rose – Sister
    Married Lawrence Vernon JAMES (Capt, Merchant Marine) on the 17th of December 1917 at Kensington, England

    SMITH, Emily Hilyard – Staff Nurse
    Married Hubert Richard Joseph HARRIS (Maj, AAMC, AIF) on the 27th of March 1918 in the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Southall, England

    SMITH, May Duncan, Staff Nurse
    Married Harry Morgan WOOLLAM (Lieut, Manchester Regiment) on the 4th of September 1918 at the GHQ Chapel, Salonika

    SMITH, Myra Lillian, Sister
    Married James Henry THOM (Lt Comm, Royal Navy) on the 30th of July 1919 at Bishopstrow, Wiltshire, England

    SMITH, Winifred Jane, Sister
    Married William Abbott WATSON (Sgt 2470, 11th Bn, AIF) on the 8th of December 1917 in London, England

    SPROULE, Florence St George, Staff Nurse
    Married Ivor Frederick Steele HEWETT (L/Sgt 870A, 2nd LH, AIF) on the 27th of March 1916 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt

    THOMPSON, Alice Jane, Staff Nurse
    Married Dr Theophilus George ALLEN (Capt, AAMC, AIF) on the 16th of January 1919 at the St Peter and St Edward Church, 43 Palace St, Pimlico, London, England

    THOMPSON, Grace Horwood, Sister
    Married Dr Piero Francis Bruno FIASCHI, (Lieut-Col, AAMC, AIF) on the 31st of January 1917 at Marylebone, England

    TREYVAUD, Lilian Kirkland, Staff Nurse
    Married Dr George Edward COLE (Maj, 24th Bn, AIF) on Thursday the 19th August 1915 at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cairo, Egypt – (after signing the legal documents at the British Consulate) – she was escorted by her brother Hector

    TUXWORTH, Edith Annie, Staff Nurse
    Married Harry Gladwyn HARCOURT (Maj, 51st MG Corps, Brit Army) on the 25th of January 1919 at Maidstone, England

    TYERS, Lilian Rose, Staff Nurse
    Married Crawford Cleland MARSHALL, (Capt, 8th Fld Amb, AAMC, AIF) on the 9th of October 1918 in St. Albans, Hertford, England

    WAKEFORD, Muriel Leontine Sara, Sister
    Married Raymond Gustave SARGEANT (Merchant Seaman, Sub-Lt, HS Gascon) on the 28th of June 1916 in Poplar, England

    WALLACE, Bertha Watson, Sister
    Married John PRITCHARD (Capt, 12th Bn, AIF) on the 14th of June 1917 in Berkhampstead, England

    WALLER, Louisa, Staff Nurse
    Married Horace Percival CONYERS BROWN (Capt, Kashmir Lancers) on the 22nd of February 1919 in Bombay, India

    WALSH, Frana Doone, Sister
    Married Alfred Edward DEARN (Pte, 3rd AGH, AIF) on the 2nd of March 1917 at St Joseph’s Church, Brighton, England

    WATSON, Rose, Staff Nurse
    Married Frank William Overton ROBINSON (Capt, 29th Lancers) on the 12th of July 1919 at St Mary's Church, Poona, India

    WEARNE, Daisy, Sister
    Married Karl Frank THOMPSON (Sgt 6685, 3rd AGH, AIF) on the 25th of February 1919 in the parish church of St James, West Hampstead, England

    WELLMENS, Hilda Florence, Staff Nurse
    Married Myles Osborne O’HARA (Lieut, 4th LH, AIF) on the 4th of April 1918 in Cairo, Egypt – first by special license at the British Consulate, and then in a full military wedding at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church

    WESTON, Mary Ethel, Sister
    Married John Govett GEARY (Capt, 13th Bn, AIF) on the 19th of September 1916 at the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Southall, Uxbridge, England

    WHITEMAN, Clarissa Muriel, Sister
    Married Dr Edgar Horatio Milner STEPHEN (Maj, AAMC, AIF) on the 18th of July 1918 at Hampstead, England

    WILKINS, Ethel Beatrice May, Staff Nurse
    Married Frederick James BEASLEY (S/Sgt 3526, 27th ASC, AIF) on the 6th of November 1917 in Wandsworth, England

    WILLANS, Una Evelyn, Sister
    Married Frederick Percy Herbert FEWTRELL (Capt, 6th FCE, AIF) in August 1918 at St Martin, London, England

    WILLIAMS, Harriet Cecilia Hordern (Lalla), Staff Nurse
    Married Edward Percy LYNDON (Lt-Comm, R.N.R. Australian) on the 24th of April 1919 in Maidenhead, England

    WORDSWORTH, Martha Jane (Patty), Staff Nurse
    Married Robert CARVEL (Sgt, 10th Lovat Scouts Bn, Cameron Highlanders) on the 15th of January 1919 at Abbey Green, U.F. Manse, Lesmahagow, Scotland

    WYSE, Myra Septima, Sister
    Married Edmund Osborn MILNE (Maj, 1st Rly Sup Det, AIF) on the 2nd of November 1917 at the Harefield Church, in Uxbridge, England

    YUILLE, Marjorie Cross, Sister
    Married (Dr) Henry Hume David TURNBULL, (Maj, 1st AGH, AAMC, AIF) on the 6th of February 1917 in the Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London, England


    Note: This list was originally attached to the now defunct NAA "Discovering Anzacs" website - and linked to the individual profiles of the nurses listed, many of whom had a full biography attached.  Hopefully one day I'll get around to resubmitting them to the "Virtual War Memorial" website, as per Marjorie YUILLE (see above link).

    Heather (Frev) Ford









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    Around six million men served in the British Army during the First World War. Over 800,000 lost their lives. The wounded, blinded, crippled and insane numbered over two million. Geoffrey Caiger-Watson, my daughter-in-law’s grandfather, was a twenty-year-old second lieutenant when he transferred to the First Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 25th October 1916. Andy Symington, my grandfather, was a twenty-four-year-old private who had survived four months on the Somme and had effectively seen it through to its stalemate conclusion. That they served in the same battalion defies probability. They fought together for two months until Geoffrey returned to England at the end of that year on sick leave. During these closing weeks of 1916, the First Battalion headcount was so depleted, they must have known each other. From then, the fates of these two warriors overlapped and intertwined. Geoffrey returned to the First Battalion on May 17th, 1917, too late to re-unite him with Andy who was on the Casualty List at the end of March, prior to his discharge in August. It is unlikely they ever met after that. Yet, over a century later, their lineages would converge in a miracle called Findlay.   

    Andy’s great grandson, Ronan James Ferguson, had married Geoffrey’s granddaughter, Stephanie, on Friday 13th July 2018, the Cupidian destination of a chance meeting on a train. Their first born, Findlay, was not a man to be rushed and duly entered the world on March 7th, 2022. In some celestial Elysium, a dashing lieutenant and a seasoned fighter would have been high fiveing! Wait, no…I see it clearer now…they are charging their glasses! They are toasting the Miracle of Life, uniquely dependent on them BOTH surviving the trenches. Had either of them succumbed, Findlay would not be. No matter how challenged your beliefs, there are occasions in life when one can sense the Hand of God.

    For now, let us turn our attention to Findlay’s maternal great grandfather. Geoffrey Caiger- Watson was a remarkable man. Absolutely remarkable. He was born in Brighton on May 13, 1896. After studying art and figure drawing at the Brighton School of Arts in 1912-13, he joined the Inland Revenue as a clerk. At the outbreak of war, he enrolled in the Sussex Yeomanry (a territorial unit) but was quickly identified and sent to the Inns of Court OTC (Officer Training Corps) for officer training. Hardly surprising, as Geoffrey had come from a family with a military tradition. His older brother, Aubrey, was a lieutenant (and eventually captain) in Russell’s Infantry, an Indian regiment where he spent six years before demobilisation in 1920. His grandfather, James Caiger- Watson, was born in 1828 in Athlone. As Athlone was a garrison town for the British army since its construction in 1691, it is highly likely that his father (Geoffrey’s great grandfather) was stationed there in the same Custume Barracks where almost one hundred years later, Captain Andy Symington would march into in 1922 on the creation of the Irish Free State.

     Geoffrey’s officer training saw him spend two months in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire with other potential officers where they would dig trenches on the Common (some of which are still visible to this day.) Geoffrey was one of the first of almost 12,000 recruits to pass through the Berkhamsted process: by 1918, over 2,000 were dead and almost half suffered serious wounds. Confirmed as a second lieutenant in late September 1915, which earned him a posting to France in early July 1916, he transferred to my grandfather’s First Battalion in late October. He joined a threadbare battalion, which had incurred brutal losses earlier that month.

    On the 12th, High Command ordered them over the top in a typically ill-considered assault on enemy strongholds between Le Transloy and Les Boeufs. Lacking any coherent planning, the operation was a monument to incompetence and cover up. Brigadier General A R Burrowes, who gave the order to attack, noted in his diary that there had been “considerable work in removing the wounded left from previous fighting”. He confirmed the arrangements were finally in place at 4am on the morning of the attack. No consideration was given to whether the men were ready for battle. The Regimental Diary also reveals that the attack order was only issued at 9.30pm. After a fine dinner, a good claret and a few whiskies, perchance? One can only conclude, in the light of what followed, that this was a rushed and reckless operation. At 2.05pm, the Faughs left the trenches simultaneously as the artillery launched a creeping barrage, both following the plan of High Command. The undisputed fact is that the infantrymen were decimated by their own shells. Added to that, the machine guns in the German front lines, which were supposed to have been taken out by an earlier bombardment, remained unscathed and ruthlessly operational.

    The results were devastating. One week earlier, battalion strength was recorded at 24 officers and 825 other ranks. On October 13th, only 5 officers and 209 other ranks remained. Of the four companies, “A” company had no officers and only 39 other ranks. That was all that was left. Yet Andy Symington still stood! Somehow, he had survived. This was the beleaguered crew that Geoffrey joined as they billeted in Corbie in the pouring rain of a miserable late October day. The mood will have been indescribably heavy, like the bedraggled in a waiting room for Hell.

    The cover up in the Battalion’s diary defies belief. The official line blamed the men! At 2.5pm, they had left the trenches “in great style”. Such was their enthusiasm to engage that they caught up with the creeping barrage, which inflicted losses!! This forced them to pause, and, in that delay, the Germans returned to their trenches with their machine guns. Three hundred and eighty-five casualties, but no fault of the generals.

    Fortunately for Geoffrey and Andy, November was a quiet month, spent mainly in training. It teemed with rain and turned cold towards the end of the month, a harbinger of the hard winter that followed. The Battle of the Somme was over. News coverage had moved on to the death of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. Sept 25,1915

    We have referred elsewhere to the story of Andy lying injured in No-Mans-Land and owing his life to the order of a wounded officer that his stretcher bearers also pick up Symington–“he’s a good ‘un.” There is material to suggest that the officer was none other than Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Caiger- Watson!    

    Consider the evidence:

    1.     Both were in that wretched half mile of trench at the time in question;

    2.     Geoffrey suffered gunshot wounds around Dec 12th, which resulted in him being invalided to England for almost three months- confirmed by hospital records;

    3.        Battalion records show a total presence of six officers and 243 other ranks;

    4.     Geoffrey was one of six officers, but the fact that he was wounded (not killed or unharmed) reduces the subset further …to a subset of one??

    While it may not pass the legal test of reasonable doubt, I find it incredulous that what started out as a relationship between two men in an army of 6 million, has boiled down to two men in less than one handful. I again sense the Hand of God and return my thoughts to the miracle that is Findlay.

    Geoffrey returned to the Faughs on May 17, 1917, remaining with the battalion until the 9th of June 1918 when he took a post in the nascent Royal Air Force. Before he left, however, he won the Military Cross for gallantry in February 1918. Employed as an intelligence officer, his job was to report to High Command on the state and deployment of our troops. In the chaos of battle with communication lines destroyed, the only way to understand what was going on was to visit the remote trenches and look for yourself! This “intelligence gathering” was a highly precarious occupation. One could easily be shot by your own side or leap into a trench that had fallen to the Germans. As customary, the London Gazette published his citation for the Military Cross. It read:
    “2nd Lieut Geoffrey Caiger-Watson, R.Ir.Fus
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as an intelligence officer during operations. He carried out his duties with great success under the most difficult conditions. On one occasion, he went over the top under heavy machine gun fire to get into touch with isolated positions. His accurate reports and untiring energy were of the greatest value to the battalion.”

    On joining the Royal Air Force, Geoffrey undertook a series of training courses over a three-month period. He studied Aeronautics at Reading; Aerial Gunnery at Hythe and New Romney before graduating from Wireless and Observation school in Uxbridge and Winchester. Qualified as a RAF Observer (for the uninitiated, the observer is the guy in the back seat behind the pilot), his new role returned him to France in late September 1918, in the dying embers of the war. Seeing things out quietly was never in his script and at the very end of the war, he was involved in an incident caused by an error of judgement borne of inexperience. The incident almost cost him his life and killed his 18-year-old pilot.

    I am indebted to Monsieur Jacques de Ceuninck, a Belgian national, for providing me with the details and materials on the case we are about to relate. Mr de Ceuninck’s father-in-law was a seven-year-old boy who had a ringside seat as the action unfolded. It was about 10.30am on November 9th, 1918. World War One would end within two days.

    Geoffrey was flying in an RE8, a single-engine, two-seater plane with a top speed of 150 kmh. Developed for the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, this represented cutting-edge technology and offered considerable versatility: if the rear machine gun was removed, two 50kg bombs could be loaded in its place! His pilot was John George Leckenby, by all accounts a highly talented 18-year-old who had just come through aeronautic school “with flying colours”. Born in Hull but resident in Norwich, he was tipped to have a very bright future. The duties of an observer doubled up to include rear machine gunner and so it was that our crew decided to engage with a party of six German hussars on horseback, near the village of Escanaffles, northeast of Celles. Leckenby flew low over the farm of the Depoorter family to commence the engagement, allowing Geoffrey to fire a noisy opening salvo, etched forever in the memory of the seven-year-old witness. As they wheeled to re-engage, a wing clipped a tree, causing the plane to crash and burst into flames in a field across the road from the farmhouse. John Leckenby was killed instantly. A bright future snuffed like a candle. Geoffrey suffered a fractured skull, broken leg and was badly burned. He owed his life to a local couple, Michel and Lequenne Tonneau who bravely pulled him from the burning wreckage, despite the flames and the roar of exploding machine gun cartridges. Fortunately, the Hussars continued on their way without a backward glance. Sadly, they would all die the following day in another machine gun attack. The RE8 was completely destroyed in the inferno.

    There were no hospitals, doctors, nor medicine, so the Depoorter family could only take Geoffrey in and make him as comfortable as possible. Marie Depoorter, the 16-year-old daughter, gave a statement in which she recalled how handsome the injured airman was, with shining dark hair and white teeth. They found his wallet amid the strewn debris, which showed that he was due to be married. (In fact, Geoffrey had married Phyllis Rebecca Peters earlier that year while recuperating in Brighton). The Depoorter family gave Leckenby as decent a burial as they could, using a plank and draping the body in a tarpaulin. The family then cared for Geoffrey for two days until the British army came and picked him up, taking him back to their field hospital for much needed medication and treatment. John Leckenby’s body was exhumed the following year and re-buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in the cemetery at Escanaffles. By the thinnest of margins, Caiger-Watson lived, and Leckenby died, thanks to the bravery of the Tonneaux.

    Geoffrey was repatriated to England on December 7th, where he spent eighteen months recovering from his injuries. His spirit was indomitable and after a brief period in the Records Office at York (long enough to learn that such work was not for him), this adrenaline junkie joined the West African Frontier Force and so began a lifelong love affair with Africa. That period of his life is outside our scope, though worthy of a book and indeed a film on its own merits. Highlights include becoming fluent in Hausa (one of the major Nigerian languages) and several other African languages; marrying a Nigerian princess and receiving the OBE for services to Anglo- Nigerian relations in the New Years Honours List of 1978. At the outbreak of World War 2, aged forty-three, he signed up again and was posted as adjutant to the infantry training centre of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. The training role was too sedentary for his metabolism and before the end of 1940, he had returned to Africa where he served as a captain in the Nigeria regiment. By any standards, in any era of history, Geoffrey Caiger- Watson was a remarkable human being, a force of nature. He died in Australia in 1983.

  5. The Draft

    This is the story of a group of seventy men who fought as Infantry in France during the First World War. Their experience is not exceptional, rather their journey echoes one that most young men had with the Infantry from 1916 onwards. They arrived together in France in early October 1916 as draft replacements, as most men after 1915 did, into a battle proven and bruised Infantry Battalion.  My great uncle was amongst these 70 men. At War’s end some twenty-five months later less than a handful would remain. This is their story.   

    Most of the men came from the towns North of Manchester: Radcliffe, Oldham, Blackpool, Accrington, Burnley and such.  A number came from further afield such as Durham, Birmingham, Stoke, Cardiff or the suburbs of Manchester itself. In the main they were Lancashire men. They were labourers, farmers, mill workers, printers, miners, clerks, butchers, a schoolteacher and a solitary glass polisher.

    There is no comprehensive history for these men.  I have used their medal roll to identify and confirm them as a group.  Surviving service records, Unit war diaries, pension cards, newspaper archives, casualty reports and a variety of archive documents have been considered. There are still gaps. I have attempted to be factual and have tried to avoid any conjecture but in some cases I have made some reasonable assumptions.   

    Their shared experience began with Infantry training at Press Health in Shropshire. This was initially with the 21st Reserve Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Their journeys to basic training were mixed.  In the main they appear to have been volunteers but a number comprised some of the first mobilised conscripts of the campaign.  Those conscripted were sent direct to the 21st from civilian life.   

    Many others had volunteered in December 1915 under the Derby Scheme and were mobilised at Preston in May 1916 into the Royal Field Artillery (RFA). A handful of men from the Northeast of England were equally briefly in the RFA but found their Unit transferred to Preston alongside the others and into the 8th Reserve Battery, 2a Reserve Brigade. Other men found themselves conscripted into the RFA equally briefly. After a month or so all the RFA men were sent en-masse on the 17th of June to the Lancashire Fusiliers for Infantry training, at the time the Army needed more infantrymen than gunners so there was little choice or science involved.

    For a few men, their journey was different.  One man was a territorial solider who had finished his period of engagement but then was rapidly returned to the Colours via conscription. Other men had volunteered, but following unknown but not unusual delays were conscripted straight into the 21st.   

    They were not necessarily all together or in the same training platoons at Press Heath but they would have been going through training at the same time.  When they arrived in Shropshire, the battles of 1914 and 1915 were long past.  The pre-war regular army was largely gone, the originals very few and the impact of the Battles of the Somme from July 1916 would be being realised whilst they sweated through their four months of Infantry training in Shropshire.

    A further administrative change  occurred on the 1st of September towards the end of their course when the Army re-organised all the Infantry training units. The bespoke regimental system was deemed too inefficient and more generic Training Reserve Battalions (TRBs) would now be formed.  Our men became part of  the 72nd TRB.  It’s likely they didn’t notice any difference.

    Pte Tom Cunliffe 27561 from Blackburn almost didn’t get accepted at all as he was just 5ft tall.  The Lancashire Fusiliers didn’t want him, but the Army insisted, and he stayed. Pte Robert Collier 27562 from Stockport kept going absent without leave with punishments of increasingly severity.  He was absent for 24 days over five occasions.  Why he kept receiving leave as he never seemed keen or able to return on time remains unknown. Both would be dead in less than a year. In fact, from surviving service records a theme of men being 24 or 48 hours back from leave was quite common.  They appear to have received pre deployment leave in the middle of September and many took advantage of an extra day or two with family before returning to face a minor punishment. No doubt it was deemed worth the small fine and confinement to barracks give what they knew was coming. 

    On Friday 6th October 1916, training complete, they left for France. On the Saturday they arrived at No 30 Infantry Base Depot (IBD) at Etaples.  This was the wrong Depot for men joining the Lancashire Fusiliers but the recent reorganisations in the Army meant the rules were changing.  At some point back in the UK it had been decided that these men were needed in the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment and as such they would go to 30 IBD for kitting and preparation and not 23 IBD, the Lancashire Fusilier Depot.  For the first time these 70 men all certainly came together. This arrangement lasted all of a week before it was again decided that another Lancashire Regiment was in need; the 8th Battalion the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment (KORLR) it was to be. With new service numbers and cap badges they were sent to join their new Regiment on the 14th of October.  Like so many, they were now just another replacement Draft.   

    The 8th

    The 8th Battalion was formed in Lancaster in October 1914 and after training landed in France on the 26th and 27th of September 1915 with 859 officers and men. They formed one of the four infantry battalions in 76 Brigade which was under the command of firstly the 25th Division and a year later in October 1915, the 3rd Division.  They were in the front lines from the start with regular low-level casualties between large offensive or defensive operations.  Their first significant battle occurred on the 2nd and 3rd of March 1916 at Loos with a successful counterattack against recently captured trenches. The Battalion had a strength of 814 on the 2nd of March before the battle. Initial casualties after the battle were 57 killed, 66 missing  and 216 wounded - 41% casualties.  Most of the missing were killed with at least 113 in total being killed or having succumbed to wounds. They remained in regular action with replacements periodically posted-in.  A further action on the 4th April resulting in 20 killed and 45 wounded. The Battalion remained busy until July. The next offensive at the Somme on 18th July resulted in 37 killed, 263 wounded and 53 missing.  The 16th to 18th of August saw further heavy casualties of 35 killed, 82 missing and 154 wounded.  So set the scene for the arrival of our Draft.

    The Battalion was recovering out of the line in billets at a place called Bertrancourt as part of the Divisional Reserve in October. From the 16th they began providing working parties to the front line and the war for the 70 began.

    On the 13th of November they faced their first significant engagement - one of the last Somme battles at Serre.  The Battalion would go over the top, and after the 2nd Battalion the Suffolk Regiment had captured initial trenches, the 8th would advance past them and take the village of Serre itself.  This was a frontal assault involving all four Rifle Companies. The weather was cold with thick fog.  No man’s land was a quagmire of thick mud. The attack commenced at 0545. The Suffolks failed to take the initial trenches as the German positions were simply too strong.  Only D Company of the 8th got anywhere near the enemy positions and the attack was a complete failure with the Battalion left in the front line under heavy German artillery fire.  The Battalion remained in the front line until the evening of the 19th of November.  Casualties for the attack on the 13th were 23 killed and 88 wounded.  

    Of the Draft Pte Percy Godson 27573 from Stockport and Pte Thomas Metcalfe 27600 from Sunderland were killed and 14 others wounded. The wounds received, that were recorded, were gunshot wounds to arms, legs, chests and heads.

    Of those wounded both Pte Joseph Jeffers 27595 from Manchester and Pte George Robinson 27620 from Blackpool, would be discharged from the Army a few months later as too badly wounded to remain.  Pte John Horrocks 27577 from Bury, Pte Joseph Henderson 27584 from Middlesborough and Pte Gerald Miller 27601 from Fence Houses near Sunderland were sent to the UK for recovery before being medically downgrading and transferred to the Labour Corps. Pte Wilfred Davies 27565 from Ebbw Vale was sent to the UK to recover from his injured hand, which he did.  He returned to France in 1917 and was killed with the 1st Battalion in November 1917.

    Pte James Musk 27605 from Rawntenstall, with shrapnel wounds to his hand and knee also went back to the UK before later being sent to the 13th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in late 1918.  He would go on to serve in Northern Russia in 1919 and win the Military Medal.  The seven other men from the Draft listed as wounded it seems were able to return to the Battalion after recovering from their wounds. The Draft of 70 was down to 61.

    Although they didn’t know it at the time they would not face another offensive battle until the Spring of 1917.  The Winter was spent between the front line, support trenches and periods of training. Casualties still occurred:   

    Pte Frank Evans 27567 from Stoke was wounded in the neck on the 25th of October 1916.  He returned to the Battalion in November but was eventually sent back to the UK sick in January.  He later joined the 1/4 Battalion, returned to France and was taken prisoner in July 1917 thus spending the rest of the war as a POW.  Pte Albert Cowin 27563 from Bigrigg Cumbria was wounded, likely by an artillery shell, on the 20th of December, he died three days later.

    Pte Thomas Pomfret 27613 was Court Martialled in February for at least one self-inflicted wound. He was sent to hospital with a gunshot wound to the hand.  The punishment for such an offence was death, but throughout the war this was never carried out. Many men who were found guilty of the same offence were sent to prison. This soldier was fortunate as he left the Battalion and later in 1917 was posted into the Labour Corps.

    1917 Arras

    In March the Battalion began its move from Wanquetin to the Leincourt and Arras areas. This was to prepare for the upcoming series of Allied Spring offensives. From the 6th of April they spent the nights in the cellars of Arras as the British bombardment and German counter fire crossed overhead.  By the 8th they were starting to take casualties as they moved into the forward trenches.  The Battalion went into action on the 9th moving forward from their positions and remaining in heavy action until the 12th.  Over the four days the Battalion suffered 43 killed, 28 missing and 172 wounded.  Amongst those killed were Pte Aloysius Laithwaite 27598 from Wigan, Pte Arthur Ashbridge 27553 from Blackpool and Pte Frank Nicholson 27609 from Aston. Pte James Hudson 27579 from Tottington was shot in the leg and sent back to the UK.  He recovered and came back to France with the 1/4 Battalion; he would be killed in action with them on 20th September 1917.

    Pte John Green 27574 from Oldham was wounded in the thigh on 11th of April, he was sent back to the UK before serving with the RAMC for a period, he was later latterly medically discharged from the Army.  He was the odd soldier out in the Draft of 70 in that he had previous military experience as he was a Territorial Force (TF) soldier who served in the 1/10th Manchester Regiment before discharge and rapid conscription back into service. 

    On the night of the 24th the Battalion began to take up positions in the front line East of Monchy.  It was a difficult handover as they were under regular enemy fire.  Communication between the Companies and with Brigade HQ was extremely difficult due to shell and machine gun fire.  By the morning all four Rifle Companies were in the front line.  On the evening of the 26th the enemy attacked.  It was C Company that bore the brunt of the infantry assault, although all the trenches were well shelled. The attack was repulsed with close quarters fighting.  Pte James Felstead 27572 from Melton Mowberry, Pte John Henry Royle 27615 from Manchester and Pte Robert Collier 27562 from Stockport were killed, and Pte Frank Pulbrook 27614 from Manchester was wounded, dying the next day. Pte Percy Broderick 27556 from Accrington was also wounded in both legs being sent back to the UK.  He was discharged due to wounds in the September.  The attacks resulted in at least 70 men being killed. And no doubt a much greater number wounded. 

    Enemy activity remained high with the men spending their time either in the front line or occasionally in support trenches. Pte Norman Armstrong 27552 from Durham was killed on the 30th of April and Pte Nolan Ratcliffe 27619 from Middleton was badly wounded in the leg, possibly the same day. He was evacuated to the UK and soon after medically discharged from the Army.  

    Pte Lincoln Moore 27603 from Birmingham  left on the 6th of May with bad trench foot. He lost two toes, was sent back to the UK and eventually served in the Labour Corps after being medically downgraded. On the 7th James Hunter 27578 from Accrington was wounded. He he was blown out of one trench and latterly buried in a dugout, whilst also receiving a bullet wound to the leg.  He was sent back to the UK and compassionately discharged in September suffering from shell shock. Enemy activity was high during this period in the front line and Pte Fred Armytage 27554 from Manchester was killed on the 10th of May.

    On the 12th three of the four Rifle Companies attacked Devils Trench. There were heavy casualties and the attack was not successful. The survivors were pinned down in no-mans land and had to wait until dark to return to their own lines.  Pte Tom Hadfield 27576 from Shaw and Pte Tom Cunliffe 27561 from Blackburn were killed. Pte Nathan Heaton 27583 from Middletown was wounded in the arm, he returned to the UK where his arm was amputated, he was then discharged from the Army. The attack resulted in 40 men being killed and a further 60 wounded.  The remains of the Battalion were relieved from the front lines on the 15th of May. 

    The Battalion recovered, trained and re-equipped in Arras until the 12th of June before again moving up to the front lines.

    After four days in the front line the enemy attacked after a heavy bombardment.  These attacks continued for two days up until the 18th. Pte Henry Cowell 27564 from Blackburn was killed on the 16th.  He had recently returned to duty after being wounded on 30th April. Pte Henry Hampson 27587 from Birmingham was wounded and sent to the UK, he later served with the 1/5 KORL Battalion.  L/Cpl Rupert Bevington 27560 from Leigh was also likely wounded as he was sent back to the UK on the 16th.  He later joined the 1st Battalion in Salonica.  He died of phenomena when he returned finally to the UK.   Pte Henry Ingleson 27589 from Clethorpes was sent home on the 26th suffering from gas poisoning.  This probably occurred a few weeks previously during a short enemy gas attack. He was discharged as medically unfit from the Army after returning to his shipbuilding civilian role.   

    The Battalion came out of the line on the 20th of June and recovered until the 10th of July. The rest of July and August was spent in rotation between front line and support areas, there was very little action.  The only soldier to win the Military Medal whilst serving with this group of men left the Battalion on the 20th of August, Pte Christopher Kenyon 27597,  a schoolteacher from Accrington.  He won the award in the May 1917 fighting at Arras.  He left the Battalion for officer training and subsequent Commissioning, joining the 3rd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant. He survived the war. 

    September started with a period of training; range work, fighting and attack skills and physical training.  This included practising attacks at Company and Battalion level. On the 26th of September the attack for which they had been training took place.  The Battalion attacked Polygon Wood.  With the Gordan Highlanders on the left and the Australians on the right they attacked at 0550. The attacks were successful after over a day of heavy fighting and shelling, including gas.  They came out of the line on the 29th. Casualties in the Draft were L/Cpl George Moss 27604 from Formby and Pte William Mathison 27599 from Hull killed, Pte Fred Watson 27621 from Levin was shot in the head and died on the 29th. Pte Joseph Railton 27618 from Liverpool was wounded in the arm and sent back to the UK.  He would later return to France with the 1st Battalion being wounded again in November 1918.

    Over the period its known other men were wounded and left the Battalion. Formal casualty lists were temporarily not published for the early summer of 1917 so a full picture of casualties cannot easily be reconstructed.  However, it is known the following men left the Battalion, in the main because they were wounded in the Arras fighting:    

    Pte Herbert Moyers 27608 from St.Helens was wounded early in April he returned to the UK and eventually joined the Machine Gun Corps and returned to France.   

    Pte Albert Maden 27606 from Rochdale was wounded in the neck and medically discharged from the Army in September.

    Pte Herbert Harrison 27585 from Burnley was badly wounded in the leg he was medically discharged from the Army in November.   

    Pte Albert Evans 27568 from Middletown was medically discharged from the Army in November.   

    Pte Thomas Fisher 27569 was medically downgraded and joining the Labour Corps in December.

    Pte Evan John Rowlands 27616 from Penygraig was evacuated sick with a kidney condition. He was also medically discharged from the Army in September.   

    Finally, Pte Ernest Ratcliff 27617 from Sudley was medically discharged from the Army in December.

    So ended an intense period of fighting for the 8th Battalion. Whilst they remained in or near the front lines until the end of 1917 and continued to take casualties, these were much less than those suffered during the spring/summer period.

    The Draft of 70 men had had a brutal 11 months. There was at best 24 of them left, almost certainly less, my great uncle was still among them. The others had either been killed, wounded or categorised sick enough to be evacuated.

    Christmas and on into 1918

    The Battalion spent Christmas Day 1917 in the trenches, they were shelled throughout.  On 30th December another member of our draft left,  Pte Frank Hargreaves 27582 from Middletown. He had been wounded in the head and arm in December 1916 and again in the legs during the Arras fighting.  A bad case of Tonsilitis saw him evacuated to the UK. He later joined the 1st Battalion and returned to France being captured during the German Spring Offensive in April 1918. He died as a POW in October 1918.        

    The Winter remained quiet, both because of the weather and the need for both sides to reconstitute and recover from the fighting of 1917.  Pte Ernest Jay 27592 from Littleborough was found unfit for further Infantry service and transferred to the Labour Corps in early January 1918.

    By February the Army had been forced to re-organise its Infantry units to bolster unit manpower. The result being Brigades would now contain three and not four Infantry Battalions.  For 76 Brigade this meant the 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers were disbanded and the men sent elsewhere from the 2nd of February.  Alongside the 8th KORL the 2nd Battalion the Suffolk’s and 1st Gordon Highlanders remained.  In return the Battalion received 227 experienced reinforcements from the disbanding 11th Battalion of the KORL.  England was running out of men. 

    The Battalion remained in and out of the front lines and Pte Frederick Butterworth 27557 from Shaw was wounded and evacuated in February, being medically discharged from the Army in September. There were now 21 men of the Draft left at best.

    German Spring Offensive

    From the 12th of March there was a growing awareness of an impending German attack - extra rations and great vigilance exercised. Artillery was fired on enemy rear positions to disrupt any German build ups.  Nervousness continued and the Battalion was in Brigade support from the 18th.  On the 21st of March at 0500 the Germans opened a heavy barrage on Wincourt and the British support areas.  Shells of all calibres including gas. From 10am the enemy attacked on a Divisional wide front. The Battalion was in close support throughout the 22nd and a withdrawal took place on the 23rd to straighten the line after retreats elsewhere. By now the Battalion was in the front line and the Germans advanced on their positions at 0800 following a barrage.  Fighting was severe with the Germans taking heavy casualties. The fighting and casualties remained heavy with the Germans continuing their assault,  the Battalion eventually moving back to Neuville Vitasse as best they could, at one point withdrawing in sixes over open ground and creating numerous blocks whilst under substantial German infantry attacks.  The Battalion were eventually relieved overnight on the 29th by the Canadians.

    The Battalion reported 490 casualties. likely well over half their strength.  At least 80 of those were killed and a large number taken prisoner. The dead also included their Commanding Officer. Pte James Hutton 27586 from Tottington and Pte Thomas Jennings 27593 from Manchester were among those taken prisoner. Sgt Arthur Jones 27594 from Manchester was wounded. As was Pte Tom Allen 27555 from Ramsbottom, he had been shot in the arm in Nov 1916 and this time was wounded in the leg and shoulder.     

    L/Cpl John Houghton 27581 from St.Anne’s was also captured in April although not with the 8th.  At some point, probably following wounding in 1917 he moved to the 1st Battalion and was captured with them.

    Early April saw the Battalion attempting to recover. Fifty six new men arrived on the 3rd, another 193 on the 6th, 40 more on the 7th. The chaos meant the Battalion would for a short time come under the command of the 8th Brigade.  On the 12th they deployed to ad-hoc defences as part of the Avelette bridgehead.  Again, fighting was desperate and a further 155 men were reported killed, wounded or missing.  The rest of the month was mostly in the support trenches.  On the 27th they again went into the front line and on the 30th of April Pte Walter Perry 27612 from Preston was killed.

    May continued in the front lines or support trenches. Casualties continued to occur at low levels with draft replacements arriving; 125 on the 18th for example.  The Division suffered 1000 casualties from mustard gas on the 21st, the 8th Battalion was lucky and got away without any gas casualties.

    June and July followed a similar pattern to May.  A mix of trenches and Brigade support.  A large trench raid on enemy positions on the 2nd of June brought back prisoners but cost one dead and eight wounded. A similar raid on the 10th of July saw Sgt White who led the attack later die of wounds.  Later in July the Battalion was put in Divisional reserve which allowed for proper rest, training, showers, rifle ranges and attack practice.  Enemy artillery hit their bivouacs on the night of the 16th of July killing 2 and injuring 9, even in the rear areas there was danger.  They returned to the line on the 24th of July for a four-day spell before more time in reserve into August. On the 21st of August the Battalion was in the front lines and carried out an attack with a follow up attack on the 23rd.  34 men killed and 109 wounded. The wounded included Pte Robert Patterson 27611 from Cardiff. Both these attacks proved successful.   

    The full story of some men in the Draft is unclear especially as to when they left the Battalion as they now appear elsewhere:

    Pte George Molyneux 27602  from Bolton was wounded on the 25th July 1918 with the 9th Battalion in Salonica.  At some point he left the 8th Battalion for sickness or wounding and was posted to fight in Greece.

    Pte John Devane 27566 now appears with him being with the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment.  We know he was at some point wounded with the 8th Battalion and after recovery joined this unit.  When he left the 8th is unknown but he was fighting with the Cheshire’s from 26 August.   

    Pte Arthur Broadbent 27559 was also transferred to the Cheshire Regiment in August after recovering from a gunshot wound with the 8th.  He was back in France with the Cheshire’s in October.

    100 Day Offensive - end game

    There were now 11 men of the Draft left at best – my great uncle being one of them.  The 100 Day Allied Offensive had begun on the 8th of August and some of the heaviest offensive fighting now lay ahead.

    Pte Bernard Fahy 27571 from Heywood was wounded on the 30th of August during an attack.  He was wounded in the foot.  This was the third and final time he would be wounded and he was sent back to the UK for good.  He had previously been wounded  in the arm in Nov 1916 and then in the thigh in April 1917.  Each time he had returned to the 8th after recovering from his wounds.

    Pte Thomas Grime 27575 from Accrington is now found to be with the Labour Corps. He was wounded by a grenade in January 1917 but he was also the oldest man being aged 40. Pte Ernest Howarth 27580 from Bury is also now with the Labour Corps, he was shot in the arm in November 1916.  They both likely left the Battalion some time ago but dates cannot be established.  

    From September the Battalion was increasingly active with offensive patrols mixed with intense training whilst in reserve. On the 27th an attack near Flesquieres took place.  The Battalion went in at 0500 with all Rifle Companies attacking. The Battalion took over 800 prisoners in a successful advance, partially due to the bravery of L/Sergeant Tom Neely MM, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.  64 other men were casualties, one of these was Pte Thomas Jennings 27591 from Manchester.  He had been wounded on the 9th of April 1917 during the Arras fighting but had returned to the Battalion after recovery. Seven left. 

    The next attack was planned for the 1st of October at Rumilly. The Battalion moved into position overnight from the 30th September. It was a cold very wet and dark night. After a 45-minute barrage the Battalion attacked at 0645.  All objectives had been taken by 0915. That evening the Battalion were relieved and they returned to their lines. The Battalion suffered 134 casualties at least 28 being killed.  L/Sergeant Tom Neely VC MM was one of those who lost his life.  From the Draft, Cpl Harry Burgess 27558 from Radcliffe was wounded, probably by a german artillery round, he died of wounds 10 days later. He had previously been wounded when the bivouacs were shelled on the 16th of July. 

    With the weather remaining wet and cold a further successful attack occurred on the 9th near Masnieres.  On the 11th, 240 replacements arrived.  These were almost entirely men from non combat units such as the Army Service Corps, Labour Corps and even the Veterinary Corps.  With a month of the war left to run, they found themselves transferred and in the front lines in less than a week. On the afternoon of the 23rd the entire Battalion attacked near Romiers.  The attack was successful but resulted in 23 killed and over 100 wounded. Amongst the dead was Pte Fred Oldham 27610 from Ardwick.  He had previously been wounded in the arm during the Battle of the Serre on 13 Nov 1916.

    This was the final large engagement for the 8th Battalion the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. They spent a further 48 hours manning the front lines from the 27th to the 29th and suffered a few casualties from shelling.  Of the Draft, evidence now suggests five men remained.

    Of these, L/Cpl Edward Farrelly 27570 was wounded at the Somme Battle of the Serre, 13 Nov 1916 and again during attack on Polygon Wood on 26 Sept 1917.  L/Cpl Charles Johnston 27590 was also wounded following the attack on Polygon Wood.  It’s not known if these men returned to the Battalion following their wounding.

    That leaves three men.  Pte Edgar Mason 27607 who was wounded in 1916, Pte Frank Kelly 27596 and Pte Edward Hitchen 27588.  These three men were there at the end when at 1100 on morning of the 11th November the Battalion band played in the town square at La Longueville.   

    Of the 70 men, 25 died. All the rest bar three are confirmed as being wounded at least once or removed from the Battalion as being too sick to continue.

    Cpl Harry Burgess 


    Footnote: The three men reported as being present at the end  are accounted as such because of an absence of information rather than an abundance. They were not killed, didn’t receive a pension, did not change units after their transfer into the  8th KORL Battalion at the Depot and were not listed as wounded, or at least I could find no records of such. There is very little on them apart from medal roll and medal index card.  I know Pte Hitchen survived and came from Burnley but that is it. I have named the home town of all the men where I have been able to discover it.  I have also used their KORL service number for each man.  They all had at least four service numbers and many had more than that. 


  6. DMcNay
    Latest Entry

    This might be a question that someone reading this might think of.

    "Why not check the banks archives? Surely they have some info."

    Well...yes and no. There is an archive (in fact they gave me the original lists of names), BUT...all staff records are kept locked to the public for 100 years due to sensitive information.

    I'm reluctant to query this and try and get access as they've been very patient and helpful with me so far and I don't want to overdo the amount of pestering done.

    I do know that they can give me information: they told me the years of employment for a man who died in WW2 who had worked for the Union Bank but wasn't on the plaque (left the banks employment before commencement of hostilities, so that explained that) but I don;t think they'd appreciate me emailing them a big list of names and saying "find them for me".

    However, I do need to make enquiries with them in case there were staff magazines or some such information which is a little more freely available.

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    This is my first attempt at Blogging so forgive me if it's rubbish.

    I have been researching the Great War for many years, and have visited many battlefields, but Saturday just gone prooved something of a turning point in visits.

    My Great Uncle Lance Corporal William Thompson was a Lance Corporal in the 9th Lancers and died of wounds in November 1914 at the age of 28. For some time I have wanted to visit the site of the charge of the 9th Lancers at Audregnies, where the charge to the sugar factory came to an abrupt halt courtesy of a barbed wire fence.

    After many months of research and consulting maps, PRO checks etc, I headed off to Mons early on Saturday morning. A beautiful sunny day certainly helped matters and I arrived in mid morning. Having checked the map, I could see where I wanted to go, and duly set off along what looked to be a good road. Zut Alors! Not 50 yards down the road, the tarmac vanished, to be replaced by potholes and rubble. Fearing for my tyres I abandoned the car and set off on foot. Arriving at a cross roads I turned right and headed into what I am certain was the 15 foot deep road, mentionned in the records, as being where the C troop formed up. With some difficulty I scrambled up the bank, and discovered that Belgian stinging nettles hurt just as much as British ones. Finally making it to the top of the bank, I was somewhat peeved to find that I had managed to leave my camera and binoculars at the bottom of the bank! 5 minutes, some swearing and three patches of stinging nettles later I was back on top of the bank, looking like a rotund and slightly balding meercat.

    The view was stunning. Flat rolling leek fields stretching across to buildings some 600-700 meters distant, sent shudders down my spine. One could quite clearly see how even the slightest rise in the ground afforded a magnificent view. At the mid point of the gentle slope I could see two wooded mounds, which I deduced to be the remains of the 2 slag heaps the survivors of the charge hid behind, and in the far distance I could see what must have been the sugar factory.

    I set off up the track, trying to avoid permenantly crippling myself by going over on the rubble. It was hot and dusty, but I was rewarded by banks of wild flowers, butterflies and the scent of lavender. I stopped level with the slag heaps and watched, wondering, had Uncle Will been there? I arrived at the top of the track and stopped opposite the old building that had been the sugar factory. It has now been changed into a farm and modern house, but the original building can quite clearly be seen. Looking back down the gently rolling fields, the madness of it all came home to me. How did anyone stand a chance? A young puss cat from the farm yard wandered over and sat in the road a few feet from me, and yawned. He rolled over in the road and let me scratch his tummy, and it was then that it hit me. This small cat, a living creature, lying in the road where probably so many of the horses and friends of the Great Uncle may well have lain. We haven't learnt, we are still making the same mistakes and will continue to do so.

    I probably haven't expressed this well, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life and I found myself, although I wasn't aware this had happened, wiping tears away. This was not just any battle field, this was my family battlefield, where my family had fought.

    May you rest in peace Will, you died in my eyes at least, a hero.

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