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Remembered Today:

45th Battalion AIF at Dernacourt 5th April 1918


tankengine888
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I'm looking for info on 
George Edward Begg Bruce 
No.4495, 45th Battalion, 1/AIF.
Killed in Action 5th April 1918.
I'm looking for info about his death among other things, maybe even personal stuff. I've looked through his NAA record already, knew his personal effects were at the bottom of the sea.
appreciate any help
VWMA:
https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/256173

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31 minutes ago, rksimpson said:

Hi

No Red Cross information.

The only other thing I can think to look at is the battalion war diaries - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1339184

Look around the time he died and the end of that month.

 

regards

 

Robert

G'day, cheers for the response
Your reference of the war diaries inspired me to look on Trove, where I found a reference to his death. 
(an officer was calling for help, also paraphrasing)
"..two men had charged out, and were killed. George Bruce charged out, made it about 10 yards before being hit with a hail of (machine gun) bullets."
Also I looked through the war diaries to see what company he was in, and because I can't read cursive, no luck. I looked on his record, no hints to it.
Thanks anyways!

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Item details (naa.gov.au) Having a look on his service record it appears his personal belongings being returned to his family  were lost at sea due to ship they were on being sunk. Again not seeing a reference to which company he was in. May be worth looking at the other Battalion casualties for that day (about 36). There are a couple of officers - one of whom may be the officer mentioned in the war diary. If you can identify him maybe narrow down the company.

Also note the ship he left Australia on Beltana | Passengers in History

 

 

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9 hours ago, david murdoch said:

note the ship he left Australia on Beltana |

Same ship as transported 22 Motor Machine Gun Battery from Devonport to Bombay in 1916. See 

 

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Hello!
I had a topic on Private Bruce of the 45th Battalion, Killed in Action on the day listed at the top (5th April 1918) And was wondering if anyone has a trench map or something on the 45th on that day, as I do not know where to start looking.


SIDENOTE:
If anyone has an idea where the man (George Bruce SN 4495) fell, I'd be greatful.
Cheers if you do!

Best description of his death you'll ever get. He has no other information referring to his death (not on his record or red cross)
image.png.6658023be06f4fb3bc9c0fbba112f953.png

Edited by tankengine888
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22 minutes ago, tankengine888 said:

I had a topic on Private Bruce of the 45th Battalion

Hi, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to have 2 topics on the same man, as it can be confusing to people replying.  Appreciate you are recently joined and we are trying to make you feel welcome!

The Australian unit war diaries are very helpful and you are in luck.  There is a very clear trench map of Dernancourt for 29 March on page 53 and the same location on 5 April on page 54.  (You might want to edit the thread title to spell Dernacourt as Dernancourt, by the way).

To download this trench map, visit the Australian War Memorial web site and find the unit war diary for the parent formation for 45th Battalion.  This was the 12th Brigade.  Download the PDF and navigate to pages 53 to 54.

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1 hour ago, WhiteStarLine said:

Hi, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to have 2 topics on the same man, as it can be confusing to people replying.  Appreciate you are recently joined and we are trying to make you feel welcome!

The Australian unit war diaries are very helpful and you are in luck.  There is a very clear trench map of Dernancourt for 29 March on page 53 and the same location on 5 April on page 54.  (You might want to edit the thread title to spell Dernacourt as Dernancourt, by the way).

To download this trench map, visit the Australian War Memorial web site and find the unit war diary for the parent formation for 45th Battalion.  This was the 12th Brigade.  Download the PDF and navigate to pages 53 to 54.

Sorry if this sends twice, internet is bad

Thank you for this map, really helpful. I wish there was a.. how to speak.. complete accurate trench layout for this.. definitely impossible though. Cheers for this map and that.

 

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38 minutes ago, helpjpl said:

Brilliant work mate, absolutely near the top of the class. I assume the Bruce fella was killed in this advance over the open field (and digging in) when they went over to save the officer.. an assumption of course. Cheers for all the work you did here though!

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18 hours ago, helpjpl said:

out of curiousity, do you have information (like that book/booklet) based around Noreuil, April 2nd 1917, I lost 2 relatives in the same battalion on that day.
I'd appreciate it alot.

Edited by tankengine888
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  • Admin

Both threads merged. 

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9 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

Both threads merged. 

Cheers. Quite new to this and still learning this stuff.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This may be of interest:

(Newspapers & Gazettes-Trove    https://trove.nla.gov.au › newspaper  )

The Mercury (Hobart,Tasmania), 28 June 1918    

BATTLE OF DERNANCOURT

ALL DAY BATTLE IN THE MIST

VALOUR OF ÀUSTRALIAN INFANTRY

TERRIFIC CARNAGE

Assistant Official War Correspondent F. M. Cutlack

WAR CORRESPONDENTS' HEADQUARTERS, FRANCE, April 7.

There have been two battles at Dernancourt during the past eight days - the first and less serious engagement on March 28, was more in the nature of a trial effort by the enemy against the Australians' position on the hills south-west of Albert; the second, two days ago, was a massed assault, and the story of it is one of those great soldiers' battles which you may find scattered about the wars of British history-a story of the feats of heroic men against tremendous odds. How great a force the Germans threw against our line on Friday is not yet known, but they were certainly three divisions strong, and possibly four; and a line of three battalions held them for half the day. It bent and swayed, but never broke; and when at the end of the day it was reinforced, and the Australians counter-attacked, they practically recovered the main line they had held at the beginning and the enemy was beaten to a standstill.

It is worthwhile to describe the ground. The hilly country west and south-west of Albert looks down on the railway and the River Ancre, which curves around it east and south in a perfect boomerang curve. In this valley the village of Buire lies on the right, Dernancourt is at the elbow, and Albert on the left, and Dernancourt is at about the centre of this line. From Buire to Dernancourt the railway runs along a high embankment; thence to Albert there is a series of small banks and cuttings.Several small spurs jut out on to the railway on the eastern side, separated by fairly narrow gullies; on the south there is a flat, and then a more regular slope up to the Lavieville hilltop. Roads run down the hill from Lavieville to both Dernancourt and Buire, and the main Albert-Amiens road cuts obliquely across and passes Lavieville on the south. Our outpost position lined the railway. The main position encircled the hill roughly half way up the slope.

THE ARTILLERY PREAMBLE

Our line was held on the left by South Australians, together with West Australians, and elsewhere by Queenslanders. They belong to a division with a great fighting name, which it has carried over nearly every field on the British front in France. The morning was misty, and nothing was visible more than three hundred yards away; the latter part of the day was drizzling rain. To that extent our position was deprived of much of its advantage. But there had been warning of the attack. It was said indeed, to be one of the arms of a great converging attack on Amiens.

At four in the morning the battalions sent back news that there were signs of the enemy massing. They were thick on a road running parallel beyond the railway on the eastern side, and an officer crawled out with a Lewis gun and fired several drums into them. Unusual transport and sounds of tramping feet were heard through the misty darkness beyond Dernancourt. The Australian gunners opened bursts of fire into those localities, searching and sweeping all the gullies and road centres, and these had been well registered beforehand. The little copses beyond the river, the villages of Meaulte and Dernancourt, and Ville-sur-Ancre were raked and splashed with shrapnel and high explosives, and the batteries shot salvos into every shrouded corner where the Boches could hide.      

For two hours this lasted in heavy bursts of fire, and the enemy gathering for  the storm must have had much of the heart taken out of him. Then at seven o'clock his bombardment began. It was a terrific welter of shellfire. From seven till nine-thirty he deluged the whole hill with it - every trench and niche on the forward slopes, where the infantry lay, the villages in rear, smoking with breakfast fires, and particularly the batteries, which had been annoying him. Australian officers, who have some first-hand knowledge of German bombardments, say that it was the worst fire they had to stand, except the shellfire at Pozieres. The Australian field batteries had to stand and serve their guns under the full blast of the storm, and gallantly they did it. Two support companies behind the centre of the lines suffered severely. Eight machine-guns about a quarry just below these companies must have been deluged in the same shellfire; some of them and their crews probably lived to meet the German infantry, but nothing was ever heard of them again.

THE CARNAGE ABOVE DERNANCOURT

Then at about nine-thirty a hurricane fire from artillery and trench mortars broke over the Australian outpost positions along the railway, and shortly afterwards the German masses were loosed behind it. They came at a rush along the whole line on the eastern side, and at the elbow above Dernancourt, where there is a level crossing, but thickest at that crossing. Signal rockets could not be seen; all telephone lines were long destroyed; there was nothing for it in the front line but to fight tooth and and nail, and only a few of the runners got back with messages. On the right flank of the attack the Queenslanders hauled machine-guns over the railway embankment and swept Dernancourt and its exits with a hail of bullets which made hell of the German left flank. The road north from the village runs under the railway through a high bridge culvert; two Stokes mortar crews in a little niche in the hillside fired into the enemy debouching from Dernancourt their whole stock of ammunition - three hundred and seventy rounds - and then destroyed their guns and joined the infantry.   

Dernancourt became such a charnel house that the attack withered away there. But half a mile further north at the level crossing it came on in a mad surging mass. No man can describe the slaughter of it. The few Queensland men who came back said the enemy dead were in walls, and the mobs behind who still came on had to scramble up over the bloody heaps, and then fell dead in their turn. Occasionally Australians reached out and dragged in some of our own rifles and machine-guns (captured, doubtless, in the retreat), which were jerked over the heaps as the Germans fell there. For every four of our men firing there was one down behind loading spare rifles and machine guns as fast as he could do it. At one place the machine-guns were firing into the Boches at ten yards range. At another they said there were four hundred enemy dead in front of one alone. In the end the enemy broke through - for what were a couple of companies against such hordes - but there was a full, hard, continuous hour of this slaughter before they did.

THE FIGHT UP THE HILLSIDE.

The Germans drove straight up the gully and over the spur to the right of it - the spur on which two German companies had been annihilated to a man in a minor attack a few days earlier. By reason of the cloaking mist there was little warning for either the machine guns just the other side or for the flank of the other Queenslanders on the embankment by Dernancourt below. The infantry only knew from the sounds in the mist that the machine-gunners fought to the death. And by about ten forty five the men on the embankment had the Huns right round at their backs. The gallant company had sustained furious minenwerfer fire for the last twenty minutes. They swung back from the railway and the bridge to an old hospital on the western side of the Dernancourt gully, where another company came up to reinforce them. The Australian and the German lines then ran up each side of the gully here, and the Queenslanders' line on the right bent back at right angles from the railway halfway between Dernancourt and Buire.

Meanwhile two field guns, which the Germans had brought up behind their infantry, opened fire at point blank range up the hillside from emplacements made of their own bloody masses of dead at the level crossing. While the infantry wedge had been driving in the Queensland right centre, the Australians' left centre had also been rolling up in a northerly direction on the other side of the Hun's drive. The brave retirement of the Queenslanders of the left centre inevitably compromised the South Australians further left, who had till this moment - about noon - maintained even their outpost line intact, and smashed rush after rush of the enemy from Albert and the wood just south of Albert. The South Australians' position had better advantages than the ground at the centre, and they made the most of it. They came back only when the enemy were right on the slopes behind them, and they left the road in front of the railway littered with German dead. The stand of their supporting company enabled their right to fall back, fighting with extraordinarily few losses, and their left-most company, in the ravine by the Amiens-road, continued to fight there, back to back, for three hours after the remainder of the line had retired, and came in only on direct order to make the line straight for the counter-attack. There are some gallant tales of this company which must be told in another article.

THE COUNTER-ATTACK OF THE QUEENSLANDERS

By about three o'clock the line, reinforced by some Victorians and New South Wales men, was reorganised and straightened out on the top of the hill about the Amiens high road, and some new Queenslanders had come In at the danger point on the right of the Dernancourt road, facing south-east. This line was about a mile at the greatest depth in the rear of the railway position in the morning. At 5.15 the signal was given, and the whole line, the companies who had been through the fight and the fresh, went forward over the dips of the crest with magnificent enthusiasm. They caught in the flank, at its very beginning, a new Boche attack on the Australians who were entrenched near the hospital at right angles to the advance. These Germans halted, wavered, and fled without waiting to meet the bayonet. There were some brave German machine-gunners who faced it out, as our own machine-gunners had in the morning, and who were wiped out. The counter-attack regained the whole of the crest of the hill, but the Germans were in too strong a force to be driven down the forward slopes as well. The Australians entrenched where they were, about 200 yards in rear of their main front line of the morning and at the cost of losses which left them beaten to a standstill that was all the Germans won. The exhaustion of the enemy was shown by the fact that the battle died down immediately after our counter-attack, and the night following was uncannily quiet.

Note:  By official war correspondent Frederic Morley Cutlack.

JP

Edited by helpjpl
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello!
Probably in the wrong section, pity if so.
Putting this simply, I am looking for a soldier, killed at Dernacourt. on April 5th, 1918. I probably should've just replied to my old post on him. His name was 4495 Private George Edward Begg Bruce. If I should be using the Soldiers tab, replying to my original one, then I shall try delete or "mute" the post.
Cheers if anything.

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5 minutes ago, BarbaraG said:

 Have you seen this...

 

(One of the Admin Team will advise and possibly move your enquiry.)

90B0EED2-5657-4EE7-B218-074EF68C24A6.jpeg

Hello Barbara!
Yes I have seen that. But there is only the standard "Killed 5th April 1918" "Personal effects lost at sea October 1918"
I have a news article that says he was killed after volunteering to go out to a wounded officer. He was cut down within 20 yards from where he started. I'm currently trying to figure out which officer it was, anything prior to that (his G.S.W from September 1917) and anything else I can find that is relevant. 

Only reason I'm trying here is because I had another relative, Private Rathmann of [the] 2nd Pioneer Battalion, and there was only "shell wound to certain areas" and I did not know what the reason was for him to be there among other things. quoted from the actual post

"On 17th September, 'D' Company constructed an extension of the duckboard track east of Gordon House, during which another two men were wounded.  On the following day, a 'C' Company working party (under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Smith) was shelled, with disastrous results when a shell exploded amongst them.  Private Arthur Rathmann (farm labourer from Mannum in South Australia) was killed and Lieutenant Smith and eleven men were wounded."

So I thought it'd be worth while trying.


Cheers for the idea of looking at his record/dossier regardless. 

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1 hour ago, tankengine888 said:

Hello!
Probably in the wrong section, pity if so.
Putting this simply, I am looking for a soldier, killed at Dernacourt. on April 5th, 1918. I probably should've just replied to my old post on him. His name was 4495 Private George Edward Begg Bruce. If I should be using the Soldiers tab, replying to my original one, then I shall try delete or "mute" the post.
Cheers if anything.

Threads merged. 

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