Benjamin Francis ESPOSITO MM

ESPOSITO, Benjamin Francis

Service Number: 368
Enlisted: 23 January 1915, Enlists at Bendigo
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Eaglehawk, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia , 15 May 1959, cause of death not yet discovered, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Eaglehawk Civil Cemetery
Memorials: Eaglehawk Mechanics Institute Roll of Honour, Eaglehawk Presbyterian Sunday School Roll of Honour, Eaglehawk Uniting Church Honour Board and Memorial Windows
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World War 1 Service

23 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 368, 21st Infantry Battalion, Enlists at Bendigo
10 May 1915: Involvement Private, SN 368, 24th Infantry Battalion
10 May 1915: Embarked Private, SN 368, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
26 Aug 1916: Honoured Military Medal, Mouquet Farm, 'For conspicuous gallantry and good leading in command of a bombing attack on point 54 at MOUQUET FARM on 26th August, 1916. On encountering greatly superior hostile numbers he succeeded in holding up their attack until he had established the remainder of his party in a fresh position which he then held.'

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Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Benjamin Francis ESPOSITO (Ben)

Military Medal Recommedation -

'For conspicuous gallantry and good leading in command of a bombing attack on point 54 at MOUQUET FARM on 26th August, 1916. On encountering greatly superior hostile numbers he succeeded in holding up their attack until he had established the remainder of his party in a fresh position which he then held.'

The Bendigo Advertiser published the report on Ben Esposito’s service on May 16, 1917: - AWARDED MILITARY MEDAL.               Mr. F. Esposito, licensee of the Town Hall Hotel, Eaglehawk, has received a communication from the Defence department, in which is enclosed the following copy of an extract from the supplement to the ''London Gazette," relating to conspicuous services rendered by his son, Lance-Corporal (now Sergeant) Ben. F. Esposito:- "Awarded the Military Medal. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field to the undermentioned non-commissioned officer:— No. 368. Lance-Corporal Benjamin Francis Esposito." Sergeant Esposito's bravery has on a number of former occasions, been commented upon by his comrades in the field when writing home to their friends, and one of them, referring to the deed which earned for him recognition from the military authorities, says:—"He (Sergeant Esposito) had bombed a German dugout after we had charged them and passed by an entrance out into the next one. He turned round in the trench, and saw a German officer behind him, cutting him off. 'Spud,' as we call him, promptly told him to 'Heunt oaf,' meaning hands up. The Hun put his mits up, but 'Spud's' rifle had jammed, and Fritz jerried and backed towards the dugout. He (Fritz) grabbed a 'squirt' (revolver) out of his 'sky' and let go a couple of shots. 'Spud' dropped from the skyline and strafed him. This is only one of his doings. I could fill a book with them. He topped off a lot before that, with bombs.

Prior to enlisting with the A.I.F., Sergeant Esposito, who is 26 years of age, followed the occupation of a carpenter in
Eaglehawk, Elmore, Barham, and other
country centres. He served his apprenticeship with the late Mr. W. E. Brown, of Eaglehawk. He is well known, and held in high esteem by a large circle of friends in the borough, and whilst residing there was a member of the Eaglehawk Mechanics' Institute, and during its existence took an active interest in the A.N.A. Debating Society, in which he was a very successful debater. He played with the Eaglehawk Football Club, and was also a member of the Elmore Football Club. He embarked with the 21st Battalion, A.I.F., about two years ago, and after serving at Gallipoli for some time, was one of the last to leave the peninsula on the occasion of the evacuation. He was subsequently transferred to France, and on the 17th February, during the Somme engagement, was wounded. He was struck on the face and hands by a piece of shell, and only recently recovered, in a letter to his mother, he says that a piece of bone had been removed from his right hand, whilst six pieces of a bomb had been extracted from his left hand. He has, however, almost recovered from his injuries.[1]

The Esposito’s of Eaglehawk gave three sons to the Great War. Mervyn, the first to enlist died in Egypt hospital in July 1915 of Enteric (Typhoid) fever after two months fighting on the Gallipoli peninsula. Frank the youngest of the three wrote home to his parents in March 1917 that he had been wounded and that he seen his brother Ben coming out of the Somme when he was going in. The Esposito’s hotel in Eaglehawk would have been epicentre of news from the front in Eaglehawk. Fortunately Ben and Frank would both return in 1919.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

SERVICE DETAILS:  

Service No. 368                                                                         Born: Eaglehawk, 2 December 1889

Religion Roman Catholic
Occupation: Carpenter
Address: Cricketers Arms Hotel, Eaglehawk
Marital status: Single
Age at enlistment:  25
Next of kin: Mother, Mrs Frances Esposito, Cricketers Arms
Enlistment date: 23 January 1915, Rockhampton, Queensland
Unit names: 21st Battalion
Embarked: HMAT A38 Ulysses on 10 May 1915
Final Rank: Lieutenant
Fate:  Returned to Australia 15 May 1919

Died: May 15, 1959 Age 69 Buried: Eaglehawk

Medal Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62

Date: 19 April 1917

 

 

BATTLE OF MOUQUET FARM-

Was a part of a long series of bloody battles known as Pozières. Barring the right approach to Thiepval was a battered and broken complex, which before the war had consisted of a homestead, courtyard, and dairy; this was Mouquet Farm or as the Anzacs called it ‘Moo Cow Farm.’ The Germans had earlier identified the ground the farm sat on as tactically significant and in addition to fortifying it, had built a network of interconnecting rooms and bunkers beneath the farm. On 5 September, the 4th Division after suffering more than 2400 casualties during this their second unsuccessful attempt to take Mouquet Farm were relieved by the Canadians.[2]



[1] Bendigo Advertiser, May 16, 1917.  P.7
[2] Virtual War Museum Australia – Mouquet Farm https://vwma.org.au/explore/campaigns/103

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