Robert Alexander GERDTS MM


GERDTS, Robert Alexander

Service Number: 1836
Enlisted: 4 April 1916, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 39th Infantry Battalion
Born: Murtoa, Victoria, January 1889
Home Town: Murtoa, Yarriambiack, Victoria
Schooling: Not known
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 6 December 1917
Cemetery: Berks Cemetery Extension
Plot II, Row B, Grave No. I, Ploegsteert, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Murtoa Memorial Gates
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World War 1 Service

4 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1836, Melbourne, Victoria
16 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1836, 39th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
16 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1836, 39th Infantry Battalion, RMS Orontes, Melbourne
4 Oct 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Broodseinde Ridge, displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during action near Ypres, Belgium, on 4 October 1917
6 Dec 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1836, 39th Infantry Battalion

Newspaper article

Dunmunkle Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), Friday 21 December 1917, page 2

Another of our brave boys has made the supreme sacrifice, word hav-ing been received on Tuesday evening that Corporal Robert A. Gerdts, son of Mr. Fred Gerdts, farmer, Murtoa, had been killed in action on 6th December. The sad news was conveyed by Rev. Fell to the father and brothers. Bob was a fine manly young fellow, 27 years of age, and was employed by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission when he enlisted in April 1916. He was amongst the large contingent who mustered from Murtoa, Minyip and Rupanyup, and departed by special train from Murtoa. Corporal Gerdts was wounded on the Somme by shell fire in the face and eye, returned to the firing line and was engaged in many fierce battles, finally sacrificing his life in the Empire's cause.

Deep sympathy is felt for the father, brothers and sisters of the valiant lad, from whom Xmas cards had just been received.

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"...1836 Private Robert Alexander Gerdts, 39th Battalion, of Murtoa, Vic. A labourer prior to enlisting in April 1916, Pte Gerdts embarked from Melbourne with the 2nd Reinforcements on board RMS Orontes on 16 August 1916. He arrived in France for service on the Western Front in November 1916 and was wounded in action the following January. He was appointed Temporary Corporal from June to August 1917. Pte Gerdts was killed in action in France on 6 December 1917, aged 28. On 1 December 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for displaying "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty" during action near Ypres, Belgium, on 4 October 1917." - SOURCE (