Cyril Talbot DOCKER MBE

Badge Number: 32760, Sub Branch: State

DOCKER, Cyril Talbot

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 11 August 1915, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: AIF Headquarters
Born: Ryde, New South Wales, 3 March 1884
Home Town: Homebush, Strathfield, New South Wales
Schooling: Burwood Public School
Occupation: Bank Accountant
Died: Natural causes, Double Bay, New South Wales, 26 March 1975, aged 91 years
Cemetery: Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, NSW
North-East Terrace Section: Wall 20
Memorials: Strathfield WWI Honour Roll, Sydney (ANZ) English, Scottish and Australian Bank Great War Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

11 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, Sydney, New South Wales
30 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 18th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
30 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
9 Jun 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 18th Infantry Battalion
27 Jun 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 18th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , Shell Shock
1 Apr 1919: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain
3 Jun 1919: Honoured Member of the Order of the British Empire, For valuable services rendered in connection with the War.
10 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, AIF Headquarters

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Cyril Talbot Docker was a banker by profession and New South Wales first class cricketer who enlisted in August 1915 and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant prior to embarking with the 18th Battalion from Sydney in the HMAT 'Argylshire' on 30 September, 1915.

Lieutenant Docker was thrust into the thick of the Somme Battle at Pozieres. The War Diary of the 18th Battalion records the events of 26 July 1916 in Munster Alley near Poziers in graphic detail. Throughout the day the Battalion had suffered under a heavy enemy bombardment.

The War Diary notes ...."During the evening the 17th Battalion was engaged in a bombing battle in Munster Alley. We sent A Coy, 1 platoon of C Coy under Lt Woods and the bombing platoon under Lt Docker to their assistance.  During the night the whole of available men were used as bomb, ammunition and water carriers for the 17th Battalion. Lt Docker was wounded and only 7 bombers out of 54 were left after the battle."

Leiutenant Cyril Docker suffered shell shock, a condition which plague him for the balance of the war. He also suffered ongoing issues with his eyes that resulted in his transfer to AIF Depots in England as Staff Captain in 1917. He was a made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Military Division for 'most valuable services rendered in the War' in the King's Birthday Honours in 1919. 

Cyril Docker started his first-class cricket career by taking nine for 132 for New South Wales v. Queensland in 1909, but New South Wales then had future Test fast bowler Albert 'Tibby' Cotter (KIA 31 October 1917) and there was no regular place for him in the Sheffield Shield side.

Following the cessation of hostiliies the AIF Sports Control Board was formed to support entertaining the thousands of servicemen waiting to be sent home. Supported by the Australian Board of (Cricket) Control, trials were held in February 1919 to select the AIF XI. Cyril Docker played a pivotal role in the establishment of the AIF Cricket XI. A talented Sydney grade cricketer and having played one first class match for New South Wales before the war, he was one of the 17 players selected to represent the AIF Cricket XI in its tour of  England and South Africa and in three matches upon its return to Australia.

Before the tour began he was listed in the press as the team's fast bowler, future Test player Jack Gregory being strangely put down as fast medium. In their first match, v. Lionel Robinson's side at Attleborough, Docker opened the bowling in the first innings with Charlie Kelleway and took five for 34, while Gregory did not bowl at all. A week later he took five for 41 and made 52 not out against Cambridge, but by now it was apparent that Gregory was far the more formidable proposition and Docker's opportunities became fewer and fewer: after mid-July he did not play at all. He reappeared for the side in South Africa, where he took five for 20 against the Transvaal, and in their matches in Australia.

Returning to Australia, he went back to his position as a bank accountant and never played first class cricket again. Overall he appeared in 24 first-class matches as a right-handed batsman who bowled right arm fast medium pace. He scored 371 runs with a highest score of 52* and took 58 wickets with a best performance of five for 20.

Cyril Docker enjoyed a highly successful banking career with the English Scottish & Australian Bank Limited both in Australia and overseas.

In 1951 he married Hazel May Pearse (nee Sly) in Sydney.

Although he didn't played any big cricket after the Great War he retained his interest in the game till the end. 

Captain Cyril Talbot Docker MBE died in 1975 at the age of 91.

Credit: D. McCallum