Wilfrid Oswald JOSE

JOSE, Wilfrid Oswald

Service Number: 38
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Ningpo, China , 25 March 1895
Home Town: North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide South Australia
Occupation: Student
Died: Killed In Action, Noreuil, France, 3 April 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Noreuil Australian Cemetery, Picardie
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, North Adelaide Christ Church Honour Board, North Adelaide Queens School Honour Board, North Adelaide St Peter's Cathedral WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 38, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 38, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: "10\r" embarkation_place: "Adelaide\r" embarkation_ship: "HMAT Ascanius\r" embarkation_ship_number: "A11\r" public_note: ''

20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 38, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 38, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
26 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Corporal, 50th Infantry Battalion
17 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion
3 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion, 'The Winter Offensive' - Flers/Gueudecourt winter of 1916/17
2 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion, Noreuil, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 50 Battalion awm_rank: Lieutenant awm_died_date: 1917-04-03

AUFC & AUCC - Anzac Day 2015

Extract from the Adelaide University Football Club and Adelaide University Cricket Club document honouring "The Fallen" Anzac Day 2015.

Wilfred played Intervarsity Football in 1914. He also played for AUFC in 1913 and 1914 and for AUCC in the 1913/14 season. He was an Applied Science student.

Wilfred enlisted on 19th August 1914 and joined the 10th Battalion and landed at Gallipoli. During the establishment of the 4th Division in March 1916, he and half of the 10th were transferred to the new 50th Battalion. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 17th February 1916 and then Lieutenant on 25th July 1916. On 2nd April 1917 during the 50th’s advance on Noreuil, the barrage had failed to silence the garrison holding the town. As a result, a platoon of enemy with a machine-gun enfiladed the members of the 50th causing many casualties including Jose who was killed.


Young Exhibition

Wilfrid Jose was the Young Exhibitioner at St Peter's College in 1913, this being the prize awarded to the outstanding student, academically, of that year. Less than a year later he was on his way to war.

Jose is an extremely common surname at St Peter's College. There have been very many boys with that surname go through the School over the years. It would be a fascinating, but probably very lengthy, exercise to try and discover how, and if, they are all related!

One also wonders why his name was spelt withan 'i' as opposed to the more usual Wilfred. A family matter, no doubt.

C. Roe
Manager AMOSA


Letter from Major Harry Seager (50th Battalion) to Mr Armitage.

Extract from Dr Roger Freeman's book "Hurcombe's Hungry Half Hundred"

Harry Seager, pp 94-97 'outlines the circumstances and context of Wilfrid Jose's death.

The battle on the 2nd of April was not only carried out in Noreuil, but other Divisions took part and it resulted in the capture of several villages. Noreuil is a village lying some miles north-east of Bapaume....

In front and to the south of the village ran a low ridge almost east and west of the village of Queant is a valley – a dismantled railway track ran along this valley. On the north of the village and valley is a plateau running away to the north towards Bullecourt and the Hindenberg Line. Longatte is almost a mile to the west, slightly north of of Noreuil. Lagnicourt was less than a mile to the south-east of Noreuil, and just behind the ridge about three miles to the south-west lay Vaulx. Out outpost line through Lagnicourt on the east, along the reserve slope or crest of the ridge in front of Noreuil, around Longatte, and then north-west to Arras. The village of Noreuil formed a slight salient into our line.

The Germans were slowly falling back upon the Hindenberg Line, destroying villages, etc., as they went. They defended their line by a system of rearguards and outposts, comprised of their best troops. Most of Noreuil had been destroyed or mined. Its evacuation was forestalled, by our attack, for twelve days. The Germans defended Noreuil with the 119th and 120th Regiments (3rd Guard Division). ......

The Attack

At zero hour the guns flashed out and the German Very Lights and S.O.S. signals lit up the sky, making a pretty awe-inspiring sight. All the troops sprang up from the tapes and followed the barrage closely. The Germans were taken completely by surprise, and in the middle of the relief, so were about eight minutes getting their barrage going along the southern ridge. Once over the crest the German machine guns began to rattle out and their own troops came under a deadly fire. On the left of the Battalion the leading wave were mowed down by machine guns concealed in the houses and a piquet in the sunken road. Here the gallant Lieutenant Hoggarth fell. Also that equally gallant gentleman, Lieutenant Bidstrup. His body was found surrounded by a number of dead Germans.

By this time the 51st Battalion began to attack from the left and some of our own men had worked around to the right of the cemetery; thus, the Germans found themselves practically surrounded. With a cheer, both Battalions joined and swept into the village to victory. In the centre of the Battalion they had also suffered machine gun fire before entering the village and here also the gallant and lovable Lieutenant Jose fell.

The company on the right, although coming under fire, met with better luck. The machine gun situated on the sunken road leading from Lagnicourt to Noreuil was destroyed by the first shot from a trench mortar. Advancing over these positions the company was held up by the belt of wire. For a few moments the positions was critical; however, the wire was crossed with a rush. The company entered the valley and then swung to the right, but they had gone too far before wheeling, consequently losing touch with the 52nd Battalion just to the right of the road mentioned. Here Lance Corporal (then Private) Jensen won his V.C. by capturing about 60 Germans.

Showing 3 of 3 stories

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

JOSE Wilfrid Olswald : Service Number - Lieutenant/38 : Place of Birth - Ningpo China : Place of Enlistment - Morphettville SA : Next of Kin - (Father) JOSE G H Rev

Brother of (Sir) Ivan Bede JOSE, MC

Brother of  Gilbert Edgar JOSE 

Wilfrid Jose was a 19 year old student when War broke out in August 1914, and was one of the earliest enlistees into the 10th Battalion, his service number of 38 attesting to his 'position' in the enlistment queue. He had two older brothers both of whom enlisted.

He was assigned to A Company of the 10th Battalion and joined the 'Scouts'.  He ended up in 1 Section with Arthur Blackburn and Guy Fisher, both law students, Tom Whyte, a champion rower, Eric Meldrum, John Gordon, Francis Stokes, Malcolm Teasedale-Smith and Phil Robin, a noted Australian Rules player from the Norwood football club.

After basic training at Morphettville Racecourse, he and his colleagues embarked for overseas service from Adelaide on 20 October 1914 aboard HMAT Ascanius.

After training in Egypt, Wilfid and his mates embarked on the Ionian for the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea.  From here the landing at Gallipoli was to be mounted.  The 10th Battalion Scouts were among the first ashore at Gallipoli, but the toll exacted on them was severe.  Tom Whyte, who had volunteered to row his mates ashore, didn't even get out of the boat - he was wounded through the hips and died at sea whilst being evacuated.  Within the next few days Francis Stokes, Phil Robin and Malcolm Teasedale-Smith were each killed.  Wilfrid survived the initial onslaught and served throughout the rest of the campaign.  He was promoted temporary Corporal late in the campaign in between suffering bouts of illness.

After the withdrawal from ANZAC and on return to Egypt Wilfrid was promoted to Corporal on 24 January 1916. He transferred to the 50th Battalion during the "Doubling of the  AIF" to raise the 4th and 5th Divisions on 26 February 1916 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 17 March 1916.  Wilfrid and his men of the 50th Battalion then deployed to France in June 1916.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 10 July 1916.

Wilfrid Jose missed the fighting at Pozieres  / Mouquet Farm, as he had been evacuated to Britain with an eye condition.  The 50th Battalion did not get committed to a major action until the second phase of the fighting near Mouquet Farm.  The Battalion suffered heavy casualties at this time, so Wilfrid would have felt the loss of so many of his colleagues when he returned to the Battalion.

He endured the winter of 1916/17 in winter quarters near Guedecourt.

In March April 1917, the Allies mounted the Arras Offensive but were surprised by the withdrawal of the German front line south of Arras in order to remove a salient (a projection of land into the enemy’s lines which risked being outflanked and cut off).

The 50th Battalion mounted an attack on the village of Moreuil on 2 April, and Lt Wilfrid Jose was killed in action during its course.  He is buried in the Noreuil Australian Cemetery.

The circumstances of his death are described in a number of letters, an extract of which appears as an attached Story.

Wilfrid Jose had two brothers.  The eldest, (Sir) Ivan Bede Jose, was a medical student at the outbreak of war.  He enisted and was appointed Sergeant in 1 Australian Stationary Hospital.  He was discharged to complete his studies and later rejoined as as a Captain and served with distinction as a Regimental Medical Officer, winning a Military Cross along the way. He survived the war and went on to complete a distinguished medical career.  He is one of 200 South Australian medical personnel whose service is addressed in "Blood Sweat and Fears" published in 2014.

The other brother, Gilbert Edgar, served as a soldier in WW1 and later completed his medical studies in 1924.  He later died during WW2 as a prisoner of the Japanese in Changi Prison in Singapore.

See the Campaign entry "Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages"           


1914/15 Star             2927

British War Medal     4672

Victory Medal           4671

Commemorative Plaque     356145


The story of the men with whom Wildrid landed at Gallipoli is described in an article held in th SA State Library entitled "The Flowers of the Forest"; the men of this group were as follows:

Arthur BLACKBURN (/explore/people/930)

Guy FISHER (/explore/people/373586)

John GORDON (/explore/people/198723)

Wilfrid JOSE (/explore/people/173634)

Eric MELDRUM (/explore/people/55797)

Philip ROBIN (/explore/people/9135)

Francis STOKES (/explore/people/60171)

Malcolm TEASEDALE-SMITH (/explore/people/190689)

Thomas WHYTE (/explore/people/170704)

Steve Larkins May 2014


From the book Fallen Saints 


Wilfrid Oswald Jose of North Adelaide South Australia was born on 25 March 1895 in Ningpo, China. He came to Australia as an eight year old when his father returned as the Anglican Dean of Adelaide.

Wilfrid (listed as Wilfred) received his education at a private school in Oxford, England, Queens School North Adelaide and the Collegiate School of St Peter (1905-1913).

While at the School, he gained honours in almost every examination he undertook and for his achievements won numerous scholarships and trophies. He was a member of the cadets and served on the library, games, and magazine committees; in 1912, he was a prefect and academic dux of the School. [i]

In 1913 he was School Captain, played intercollegiate tennis, was vice captain of the inter-collegiate football team and captain of the cricket team. He entered Adelaide University in 1914 to study engineering while there found time to follow is sporting interests as well as serve part time as a lieutenant in the 79th Infantry.

 At the University he has already shown his cricketing prowess in the cricket eleven. He bids fair to hold a position equal to that of A.G. Moyes and C.E. Pellew, who were his predecessors as captain of the school cricket team, and are now members of the University eleven. [ii]

He enlisted at Morphettville on 19 August 1914 and was posted to A Company 10th Battalion. Private Jose landed at Anzac as a member of the covering force on 25 April and remained on the front line until admitted to 1st Field Ambulance on 26 August with severe diarrhoea. Within a week, he rejoined the battalion in the field and was made temporary Corporal but was reverted to lance corporal when evacuated to Alexandria with jaundice in December.

When the battalion was split in 1916, he was promoted to corporal and posted to the 50th Battalion where on 17 March he was appointed to second lieutenant and proceeded to France with the 50th Battalion on 5 June.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in early July but soon after was diagnosed with Opthalmitis and evacuated to England for treatment.

During his absence from the battalion the 50th suffered heavy casualties at Mouquet Farm and when he rejoined the unit in early December he must have been shocked to find so many of his old friends had been killed or wounded.

After the attack at Noreuil Lieutenant Wilfrid Oswald Jose was listed as missing but this was changed when on 3 April it was reported he had been killed in action; he was 22 years of age.

Writing about Noreuil after the war, Charles Bean, specifically mentioned Jose in the official history.

... a platoon of the enemy with a machine gun, protected by a barricade, a steep bank, and some wire, enfiladed the advance and caused many casualties. Lieutenants Jose and Bidstrup – the latter after emptying his revolver into the Germans were killed, … [iii]

Justifiably proud of his son’s actions at Noreuil, Wilfrid’s father, when completing the circular for the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour, wrote that his son had been in charge of the first wave of the 50th Battalion during the attack. He was also certain his son was the  ‘young officer’ Bean had mentioned in his dispatch about Noreuil ‘as found lying between 2 machinegun positions with only 1 cartridge unfired in his revolver’. [iv]

In a letter to the father of Captain Harold Armitage who was also killed at Noreuil, the OC of B Company Major Harry Seager, referred to Wilfrid as ‘the gallant and loveable Lieutenant Jose.’ [v]

Wilfrid’s brother, Captain Ivan Bede Jose (OS) was recommended for the Military Cross and the Silver Medal for Military Valour (Italian). [vi]

He was awarded the Military Cross and mentioned in despatches. [vii]

During WWII, Wilfrid and Ivan’s younger brother Major Gilbert Edgar Jose died of illness while being held prisoner by the Japanese in Changi Camp, Singapore.

[i] Adelaide Advertiser, 13 April 1917
[ii] St Peter’s School Magazine - W K Thomas & Co, Adelaide, 1914
[iii] Bean, C E W, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, Vol IV, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1933, p. 213
[iv] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour Cards 145, 1914-1918 War, Army - Jose, Wilfrid Oswald, viewed 29 October 2005
[v] Freeman, R R, Hurcombe’s Hungry Half Hundred, Peacock Publications 1991, p. 96
[vi] Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards (Recommendations: First World War) - Jose, Ivan Bede, viewed 30 October 2005
[vii] ibid,  (Gazetted) Database - Jose, Ivan Bede, viewed 30 October 2005


Biography contributed

Biography written by Sheryas Khanna, St Peter's College, SA attached as a document. Winning entry for 2019 Premier's Anzac Spirit School Prize.