Sloan (Scotty) BOLTON DCM

BOLTON, Sloan

Service Numbers: 166, 858
Enlisted: 10 September 1914, Geelong, Victoria
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Kilrea, Ireland, May 1893
Home Town: Geelong, Greater Geelong, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Locomotive Engine driver
Died: Natural causes (prolonged illness), Geelong, Victoria, 24 December 1947
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

10 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 166, 14th Infantry Battalion, Geelong, Victoria
13 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 858, 4th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
13 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 858, 4th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Wiltshire, Melbourne
4 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 858, 4th Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC Gallipoli
31 Oct 1917: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, Battle of Beersheba
20 Apr 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 858, 4th Light Horse Regiment

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

Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Trooper Sloan ‘Scotty’ Bolton, DCM
 
The Beersheba Charger - Adapted from a story by Darryl Kelly in Just Soldiers.

In the frenzied patriotic fervour that greeted the outbreak of World War I, the cream of Australia’s youth rushed the recruiting depots across the nation. In the Victorian city of Geelong, a fresh-faced 21-year-old engine driver with a distinct Irish accent took the oath to serve his adopted country. His name was Sloan Bolton, although he preferred to be known by his quirky nickname, ‘Scotty’. Allocated initially to the 14th Infantry Battalion, Scotty Bolton was sent to the vast training camp that sprawled like a small city over most of the Broadmeadows area. On their arrival, Scotty and the other new recruits were tasked to rig their tents. They were a bell-shaped design, meant to sleep four men, but to their amazement they were to be the sleeping quarters for ten men. Sleeping on the cold hard ground proved difficult for the recruits on their first night. Scotty was initially allocated to B Company, but the day after his arrival, he was, to his surprise, assigned to the military police (MPs). He was even more astounded to learn this posting was for 14 weeks. Note 1. A Dream of the Past, Diary of Trooper Sloan Bolton DCM, privately printed by the family.

The primary role of the MPs was to watch the hotels and discourage the Diggers from becoming drunk. Secretly, Scotty would have preferred to be one of those being watched. He despised his role as a policeman and applied to return to B Company but it was too late as the battalion had a new commander. In an adjacent camp, within sight of the infantry soldiers, were the light horse regiments. Scotty noted with deepening interest the cocky swagger of the troopers and the spit and polish of their leather as they rode their Walers over the grassy paddocks. Eventually, driven by envy and inspired by the sight that greeted him daily, Scotty applied for a transfer to the 4th Light Horse Regiment, which was designated as Divisional Cavalry. His request granted, Scotty became a member of a unit that saw itself as one of Victoria’s finest.

Bolton soon received his first taste of the grand overseas adventure for which he had volunteered. The 4th Light Horse went into training in a makeshift camp spread across the shifting sands of Egypt, in the shadows of the pyramids. Here the light horsemen sharpened their skills and refined that fighting prowess later to make them famous. In their off-duty hours the troopers indulged in the sights, sounds and various forms of entertainment that nearby Cairo had to offer. No sooner had the sands of Egypt acquired a familiar feel than there was a stirring within the Division. The camp was awash with rumours of impending action. Stores were packed, orders were despatched, the soldiers were on the move. Just as the excitement reached fever pitch, the troopers of the light horse were told they were to remain in Egypt. Their disappointment was tangible. Irritated by the jeers of the departing infantry, Scotty pondered his decision to transfer to the light horse—had he relinquished his only chance of taking part in this war? But the infantry had not faired well at Gallipoli and urgent reinforcements were needed. The light horsemen were to get their chance, but as infantry—the horses were unsuited to the terrain of the Gallipoli Peninsula so would stay behind in Egypt..." - READ MORE LINK (anzacday.org.au)

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