DICK, Archie

Service Numbers: Officer, S2700
Enlisted: 21 August 1914
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 25th/33rd Garrison Battalion
Born: Yacka, South Australia, 1 May 1890
Home Town: Mount Templeton, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Wheat Farmer
Died: Natural causes , Balaklava, South Australia , 17 July 1950, aged 60 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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21 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1

World War 1 Service

22 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Port Lincoln, Adelaide

World War 2 Service

19 May 1941: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, SN S2700, 25th/33rd Garrison Battalion, Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces

Distinguished Conduct Medal Recommendation

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On the morning of the 14th July, 1918 when the enemy attacked ABU TELLUL, JORDAN Defences, in almost overwhelming force, his tenacity in handling two posts under his Command was largely responsible for the enemy being repulsed with heavy casualties. His coolness under very trying circumstances was remarkable. The information that he gave from the time the enemy were first heard at 0130 and all through the battle, of the position of the enemy, their exact dispositions and their progress was most valuable, and enabled fire from the batteries to be brought on the enemy exactly where it was wanted.


Otto Wilhelm Anton Rubitschung

Otto Wilhelm Anton Rubitschung was born in Pforzheim, in South West Germany.

He began studying as a Doctor, however, he never completed his study as World War One erupted and he joined the German Imperial Army circa the 1st of November 1914. It is unknown exactly what German unit he was posted to, however, he could have been part of the 702nd (Infantry) Battalion, the 11th Jäger Battalion (Light Infantry) or an unknown cavalry unit. Of these, however, the most likely is the 702nd Battalion as various sources would suggest this. His service prior to 1918 is also shrouded in mystery, however, it is believed that by the time the German’s moved several infantry, light infantry and cavalry units to Palestine in mid 1917 he had been in the army already for three years. Otto Rubitschung would have continued to serve in his unit in Palestine throughout late 1917 and early 1918.

On the 13th of July 1918, the Battle of Abu Tellul (otherwise known as the Affair of Abu Tellul) occurred in Palestine. During the 13th of July various German and Turkish units would attack the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade (1st LHB.) The attack was a disaster with the 1st LHB counter-atacking. During the ‘affair’, Otto Rubitschung was wounded. By the 14th of July 1918, the Germans had lost 105 officers and men killed and another 358 captured, including 10 officers. Otto would be one of the 358 officers and men captured and upon his capture an Australian officer, named Major Archie Dick who served with the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, confiscated his cigarette case, field glasses and case for his pistol, which fortuitously contained Rubitschung's pre-war address in Germany. Rubitschung was later interned at a prisoner of war camp in Cairo.

For his actions at Abu Tellul, Major Dick was recommended for, and awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Archie Dick survived the war and returned to his home at Mount Templeton and once again took up wheat farming. As for Otto, sometime during the war he would be awarded the Iron Cross, in both the First and Second Class. The survived the war in the Cairo POW camp.

After the war Otto Rubitschung was released from Cairo and returned to Germany for a period of time to finish his medical training as a doctor. Upon completion he relocated his family to Palestine to practice as a medical doctor in the German Hospital at Jaffa. Here, Otto would write his first book which would be published in 1928: ‘Das Deutsche Krankenhaus in Jaffa 1869 bis 1927’ (‘The Formation of the German Hospital in Jaffa 1869-1927.’) He would later join the Jaffa branch of the German Nazi Party, however, joining date, or membership number was ever recorded.

Amazingly, during this time, Archie Dick managed to tract down the whereabouts of Otto Rubitschung using his old address in Germany. He contacted him and soon the two World War One veterans started up a correspondence and regularly communicated with each other.

In 1941, during the Second World War, the Rubitschung family was transported from Palestine to Australia along with numerous other German families, to be interned at Tatura, German Camp 3, in Victoria. Archie Dick, meanwhile had temporarily given up running his wheat farm near Port Augusta and had re-enlisted for service in 1941. He had allocated to the 25/33rd Garrison Battalion tasked with guarding the internees at Loveday Internment Camp near Barmera. A few months later, Major Dick took time off and went to Tatura where he was able to personal meet Otto Rubitschung and his family when they arrived there. The then intervened on behalf of the Rubitschung family with the camp commandant and secured them improved accommodation facilities.

The family remained at Tatura for the remainder of the war, with Rubitschung working as the doctor in charge of Compound C. After the war, the family were unable to return to either Germany or Palestine and as such settled down in Australia and eventually became naturalised in Australia in 1948. Unfortunately, Otto Rubitschung was unable to practice medicine in Australia due to undertaking his training in Germany. The government, however, did offered him the opportunity to work in Papua New Guinea for a period of time, which would in turn entitle him to practice in Australia. The catch was he could only work there if he went by himself. Not wanting to be separated from his family, Otto declined the offer and instead found work as an orderly at Wentworth Hospital. In time he also helped conduct post-mortems at the hospital. In 1958 Otto wrote he second book, ‘Palestine – As I saw it’, however, it remained an unpublished manuscript, never printed.

By 1948, he and his family were living in Nuriootpa, South Australia. Between the years 1958 and 1963 they were known to have been living in Darling, New South Wales, whilst in 1968 it is recorded that they were living in Mitchell, New South Wales. The last address for the Rubitschung family was recorded as Chifley, New South Wales in 1980.

Otto’s death date is currently unknown.

Rubitschung family members:
- Otto Wilhelm Anton Rubitschung
- Rosa Rubitschung (wife)
- Paul Rubitschung (eldest son)
- Gisela Rubitschung (eldest daughter)
- Walter Robitschung (youngest son)
- Magdalene Rubitschung (youngest daughter)

Nathan Rohrlach, January 2015. Researched and adapted from AWM, trove and other sources.

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Archie Dick married Connie Doreen Badenoch on 14 August 1920 at St Jude's Anglican Church, Brighton, South Australia by Rev. C J Whitfield. 


More to follow...