WHITE, David

Service Number: 284
Enlisted: 1 March 1916, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Violet Town, 1885
Home Town: Violet Town, Strathbogie, Victoria
Schooling: Violet Town State School; Upotipotpon South State School
Occupation: Drover
Died: Natural causes, Parkville, Victoria, 28 November 1938
Cemetery: Fawkner Memorial Park Cemetery, Victoria
Memorials: Euroa Telegraph Park, Violet Town Honour Roll WW1, Violet Town Primary School Honour Roll, Violet Town St Dunstan's Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

1 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 284, Melbourne, Victoria
4 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 284, 15th Machine Gun Company, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '21' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Port Lincoln embarkation_ship_number: A17 public_note: ''
4 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 284, 15th Machine Gun Company, HMAT Port Lincoln, Melbourne
4 Oct 1917: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, Broodseinde Ridge
24 Mar 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 284, 5th Machine Gun Battalion

Help us honour David White's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Elsa Reuter

284 Pte. David WHITE, 15th Machine Gun Coy - 1885-1938

On 1 March 1916, a week after his younger brother Bert had enlisted Dave followed suit. They would have been called up together, and after preliminary training at Geelong they embarked on HMAT Port Lincoln in May. They were on their way to England via the Suez Canal, where in June, Dave fell ill with bronchitis and had to break his journey for hospitalisation. 

When he had recovered, he continued his journey to England to the Parkhouse Machine Gun Training Camp. From there he was posted to France and joined the 15th Machine Gun Company in March 1917.

Dave’s service records are scanty, but there is evidence of active service on the Somme during 1917 and of a furlough which he enjoyed during most of February 1918. A trip to Ireland was particularly enjoyable. Letters to his sister Maude kept the family at home informed, usually with good news. In May 1918, while in hospital with an injured foot he tells of brother Bert’s visit whom he hadn’t seen for eight months.

On 1 October 1918 he was wounded in action with a shrapnel wound to his right shoulder. For this he was invalided to hospital in the UK where he stayed until granted 14 days leave in November and December. Ten days later he left England for Australia aboard HS Bakara.

It was reported in the Violet Town Sentinel dated 28 January 1919 that ‘a record crowd gathered at the railway station on Friday evening to welcome PTE Dave White of Violet Town who gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in the field’. The following month another article in the Sentinel reported that Dave had received a certificate from His Majesty King George V in connection with his decoration.

Florence Amelia Hume and David White married on 31 August 1921. Settled on a farm at Nalinga and raised three sons and two daughters.


Memorials:  Violet Town State School Honour Board
                    Upotipotpon South State School Honour Board
                     Main Honour Board, Memorial Hall, Violet Town
                     Copper Plaque affixed to exterior wall, Memorial Hall, Violet Town
                     St Dunstan’s Anglican Church, Violet Town

In 2013 a Ceratonia siliqua - Carob - was planted by Dave’s niece Joan Webb

© 2016 Sheila Burnell


Biography contributed by Helen Fry

Corrections from Granddaughter

David's DCM was recommended by Major General Pompey Elliott, commanding 15th Infantry Brigade, the record on Army Form 3141 gives more information about the reommendation and states:

"During the period 22 September 1917 to 25 February 1918, Private White has done exceptionally good work. This was especially so during the operations east of Ypres and particularly at BROODSEINDE RIDGE in October 1917. On one occasion his gun team was blown out and the No. 2 gunner and himself buried. Extricating himself, he dug his companion out and carried him through heavy gunfire to medial aid. Then, although severely shaken and injured, he returned, recovered his gun, etc., mounted the gun in shell hole and carried on at the gun until relieved some hours later.

On another occasion, when a whizz bang entered the gun shelter and killed the gun commander outright, he received head and face wounds and was almost blinded, but he had to be ordered to leave his post to receive medical attention. His devotion to duty has constantly come to notice.

David died on 20 November 1938. Earlier that year David and his family had left the farm at Nalinga for one near Mooroopna, Victoria.

When Dave died, Florence took over the running of their farm in Ardmona Rd, Mooroopna and raised her five children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, including my father.

Florence died on 10 May 1966 at Mooroopna and was buried with her husband at Fawkner Cemetery.

Joan Webb who planted the carob tree in Violet Town in 2013 is David and Florence's youngest child.