APPLEYARD, Sydney Vere

Service Number: Captain
Enlisted: 7 March 1916, Sydney, NSW
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 9th Field Ambulance
Born: London, England, 8 June 1882
Home Town: Lindfield, Ku-ring-gai, New South Wales
Schooling: Buxton College; Medical School at Saint Thomas’s Hospital, London and in 1910 was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Occupation: Medical Officer
Died: Uraema, Devonside, Owen St, Lindfield NSW, 28 August 1926, aged 44 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

7 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sydney, NSW
1 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Captain, 9th Field Ambulance, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, SN Captain, 9th Field Ambulance, HMAT Benalla, Sydney

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Born 6 June 1882,  London, England.

The son of Walter Appleyard, living in London, England.

He was educated at Buxton College, and soon gave evidence of his metal ability.  He played football for his school and was fond of outdoor sports. 

His parents intended for him to enter the Navy, and with that end in view sent him to the Training Ship Conway to study for his entrance to that service.  He discovered when he was sitting for his entrance examination that by an unfortunate mistake he had left it too long, and that he was just one month too ole.  He was determined, however, not to give up the sea, and entered the service of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.  In the service of this company he advanced to the rank of Third Officer. 

At the time of the South African War, he was anxious to serve, and when at length he was free and was on his way to the Cape, the Boer War ended.  

After this he gave up the sea and determined to study medicine.  He entered the Medical School at Saint Thomas’s Hospital, London and in 1910 was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London.  He registered as a member of the British Medical Association on 11/11/1910, and for some time resided at Eversfield, New Balderton, Nottinghamshire.  He then proceeded to Dublin, and acted as external Maternity Assistant at the Coombe Hospital.  Returning to London he became Casualty Assistant at Saint Thomas’s Hospital in 1911 and 1912.  From this post he went as House Physician to Bethlem Royal Hospital, and later in 1912 became Medical Officer in charge of a British Red Cross Society unit in Turkey in the Balkan War.  In 1913 he was Senior Medical Officer in Turkey for the British Red Cross Society.   Here he did a great deal of hard work and shouldered much responsibility.   Major C H M Doughty-Whyte, the Director of the British Red Cross Society in Turkey wrote in the terms of highest praise of his work and of his devotion to duty in the hardest times that were experienced in that campaign.  On relinquishing the post he received a medal in recognition of his services from Queen Alexandra.  At this time he became co-author with C M Page of two articles published in The Lancet, in which were reviewed the medical and surgical experiences of that campaign.  Perusal of these articles will show that their findings coincided in many instances with conclusions which were later reached in the Great War.   It was then that he turned to Australia, and en route broke the journey at Singapore, where he was appointed Medical Officer to the Eastern Extension Cable Company. 

In 1914 he arrived in Australia and took up practice at Elderslee, Crows Nest, North Sydney. 

He had only been in practice a short time when war broke out.  He offered his services immediately, and on 18 August 1914 received his first commission in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC), being appointed Captain.   He remained in Australia for over a year on home service.

On 1 March 1916 joined the AIF with rank of Captain AAMC.  He subsequently proceeded overseas and arrived in France on 29 October 1916 and was attached to the 4th Field Ambulance. 

He was promoted to the rank of Major on 20 June 1917 and was transferred to the 10th Battalion as Medical Officer on 3 September 1917.  He was not content until he was right in the thick of fighting with the Battalion, and it was in the second “stunt” at Polygon Wood (19-22 September 1917) that his work attracted most attention.  It was here that he won his Distinguished Service Order (DSO), which was promulgated in the London Gazette on 19 November 1917 and the details on 23 March 1918.  He was  Mentioned In Despatches (MID), vide London Gazette 25 December 1917.  He remained with the 10th Battalion until 1 March 1918 when he was transferred to a Field Ambulance unit.  

On 28 September 1918 he was forced to leave France owing to a sever attack of trench fever which laid the foundation of the illness from which he subsequently died.  His condition caused his medical advisers some concern, and he was seen by the late Clifford Allbutt.  (Allbutt wrote to him under 15 October 1918 and told him that he regarded trench fever as being in all probability the cause of his illness.  He was also advised that he should not in future engage in practice of too active a nature.) 

He subsequently returned to Australia and took up practice in Glebe NSW, and tried to go gently.  He was not to do so, for influenza began a rage; doctors were smitten with the complaint, and the populace had to be treated. He could not sit still while work was waiting to be done.   This did his health no good, and finally he was compelled to relinquish practice.

In 1920, he was appointed an Honorary Major, 2nd Military District and on 1 January 1922 was appointed to the Senior Executive Staff, AAMC Reserve, with rank of Major.   He did some work at the Repatriation Department until his failing health made him give up altogether.

In 1923 he changed his residence to “The Straths”, Killara, Sydney NSW and in 1924 removed to Devonside, Owen Street, Lindfield NSW.

Broken in health as a direct result of his war service ad after a long and trying illness he died at Lindfield on 28 August 1926 of uraemia.  He bore his long illness with wonderful patience and The Medical Journal of Australia on 2 October 1926 paid him the following tribute:

“Sydney Vere Appleyard was a man of boundless enthusiasm.  He was quiet and unobtrusive, but knew how to strive for and attain an objective.  What he did he did with all his heart.  His sense of humour was keen, and must have been a great asset to him.  To his wife the sympathy of the medical profession and of his former comrades in the AIF is wholeheartedly given.”

This extract from “The Fighting 10th”, Adelaide, Webb & Son, 1936 by C.B.L. Lock; kindly supplied courtesy of the 10th Bn AIF Association Committee, April 2015.