George William SELFE

Badge Number: S49931, Sub Branch: Yankalilla

SELFE, George William

Service Number: 6096
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Norwich, England, United Kingdom, 1883
Home Town: Norwood, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Draper
Died: 1973, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board, Blackwood War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

12 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, SN 6096, 10th Infantry Battalion
12 Aug 1916: Embarked Private, SN 6096, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
16 Nov 1916: Transferred 10th Infantry Battalion, Taken on strength, transferred from the 3rd Training Batallion to the 10th Batallion.
11 Apr 1917: Wounded 10th Infantry Battalion, Sent to the hospital 'sick'.
11 May 1918: Transferred 10th Infantry Battalion, Invalided to Brighton, UK.
4 Jan 1919: Embarked 10th Infantry Battalion, Left the UK and returned to Australia, still with gunshot/severed left leg.

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

George William Selfe was born in 1883 in Norwich, England. George was a Draper previous to the war. At 33 years old, a 5 ft. 8-inch George William Selfe signed up, on June 14th, 1916 for World War 1. He enrolled in Adelaide, which may have been motived by the propaganda, his parents/family or his home country of Britain. His parents, Elizabeth and Edgar Selfe, both lived in Diss, Norfolk but George was living in Norwood, Adelaide at the time of his enlistment. He was single at the time with no children and part of the Church of England. George was a tall man with brown eyes and dark hair.

George William Selfe embarked from Adelaide on the 12th August 1916, commencing his journey leaving on the HMAT A70 ‘Ballarat’, which later sunk in April 1917. He was assigned the service number 6906, ranked private and placed in the 10th Infantry Battalion. At the time, the world had never had a war as great as this, some countries like America were wondering whether they should become involved, but like others, America decided to side with Britain due to propaganda and the fear of losing their freedom to Germany. Australia, where George was living, joined the war due to their alliances with our countries.

George’s mother was originally listed as his next of kin, but this was changed to his father. Strangely, Elizabeth and Edgar lived very close to each other in Diss, but not together. The reasons for this are unknown.

George marched with the 3rd training battalion from overseas and was taken on strength. He was sent to the Battle of the Somme on the 16th November 1916, for the last two days of this fight. George would have most likely stayed in France or on the western front for the next 5 months until he was sent to hospital with a sickness. Selfe re-joined the battalion on 10th June 1917, he most likely went to the Third Battle of Ypes. Throughout the 2 years and 2 months that George William Selfe was at war, away from Australia, he was faced with a horrible injury, a gunshot wound which was severe. This happened on the 9h May 1918. George was invalided to the United Kingdom. Here, he was taken to Kitchener Military Hospital in Brighton, UK. This was the end of George’s fighting in the war. It is assumed that he stayed here for the rest of his time in the United Kingdom.

George returned from World War 1 in January 1919, from England, with the same wound to his left leg that happened almost a year before. Upon arrival in Australia, Selfe visited the Repatriation Hospital for World War 1 patients, most likely due to his leg injury. George possessed a victory medal, a British war medal and a star medal subsequent to the war. Four years later, George married Martha Louise Hillman in 1923 at North Adelaide, whom he had one child with.

George William Selfe was a courageous and persistent soldier who demonstrated the ANZAC spirit. George was faced with challenges just like many soldiers during the war but managed to show endurance and loyalty to his country. George demonstrated the qualities of an ANZAC during the war by fighting for over a year, as well overcoming adversity in the form of injury. 416,809 ANZAC men went to war and suffered through the horrible trench and war conditions that include flies, lice, a poor diet, sleep deprivation, disease and the constant fear or death. Australia should be extremely proud and grateful of all the soldiers, including George, that gathered the courage and generosity to enrol, train and fight for Australia.

George tragically died in 1973, aged 90, most likely due to old age. 



AIF WEBSITE: 2018. Details. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2018].

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL: 10th Australian Infantry Battalion | The Australian War Memorial. 2018. 10th Australian Infantry Battalion | The Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 27 March 2018].

MY HERITAGE: George Selfe - Historical records and family trees - MyHeritage. 2018. George Selfe - Historical records and family trees - MyHeritage. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2018].

NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA: SELFE George William: Service Number - 6096 Discovering Anzacs | National Archives of Australia and Archives NZ. 2018. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2018].

RSL VIRTUAL WAR MEMORIAL: RSL Virtual War Memorial | Australian Soldiers, Memorials and Military History. 2018. RSL Virtual War Memorial | Australian Soldiers, Memorials and Military History. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2018].