George Bryant AYLIFFE

AYLIFFE, George Bryant

Service Number: 1811
Enlisted: 18 May 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 10 March 1897
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St. Peter's College, SA
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 29 June 1916, aged 19 years
Cemetery: La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery, Wallonie, Belgium
Plot I, Row C, Grave 6
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour Book, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, St Peters All Souls Anglican Church Honour Board WW1, St Peters Heroes War Memorial, Walkerville St Andrew's Anglican Church WW1 Memorial Plaque, Walkerville St. Andrew's Anglican Church Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

18 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1811, 27th Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
19 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1811, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1811, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Kanowna embarkation_ship_number: A61 public_note: ''
12 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1811, 27th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli

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Son of Henry Charles Hamilton AYLIFFE and Lenora Mary nee BRYANT

Employed with the Bank of Adelaide from 09 May 1914

Killed in Action during a Trench Raid on the night of the 28/29th of June 1916. The action took place near Ontario Farm in the Messines Ridge sector of the Ypres / Flanders front line. 

The Battalion diary summaries the events that occurred that night: "During night our raiding party entered enemy trenches at Ontario Farm under Artillery Barrage and did some damage. Killing 17 enemy and taking 4 prisoners. retaliation by Bosche Artillery severe. Our casualties Wounded Lts Sommerville JR and Gooden SR. Other Ranks Killed 4, Wounded 26." Although it was only a relatively small trench raid carried out that night, the Germans inflicted more damage on the raiders than the 27th did to the Germans.


From the book Fallen Saints

George Bryant Ayliffe of North Adelaide was born at Glenelg South Australia. While at St Peter's College, he served four year in the cadets and before the war was a clerk with the Adelaide branch of the Bank of NSW. He enlisted in May 1915 and while at Mitcham Camp joined the 2nd quota of reinforcements for the 27th Battalion, which with the 25th, 26th and 28th Battalions formed the 7th Infantry Brigade.

In his speech at the Battalion’s farewell, the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Dollman told the crowd, the officers and men of his battalion were aware dark days and hard times lay ahead of them.

The memorable landing on Gallipoli has been made, the first casualty lists have been published, and the men of the 27th fully recognize that the task before them is a dinkum soldier’s job. [i]

On 23 June 1915, Private Ayliffe at only 18 years of age sailed from Adelaide aboard HMAT Kanowna. During the month of October while the 27th Battalion continued to garrison the Cheshire Ridge line, they suffered 5 KIA, 30 WIA and 136 Sick to Hospital. Among the WIA was George Ayliffe, shot through the right thigh on 8 October. He was evacuated and admitted to St Elmo Hospital Malta on 13 October but little over a week later was well enough to move so was transferred to Ghain Tuffieha Convalescent Camp, Malta.

At the end of the month, Base Records staff wrote to advise his mother he had been slightly wounded and was convalescing in Malta. Shortly after receiving the letter, an Adelaide newspaper published an article incorrectly listing George Ayliffe as killed and his mother went into a state of shock.

On 20 November, his distressed father sent an urgent telegram to the OIC Base Records informing he had received a letter of sympathy from the Salvation Army regarding the death of his son and asked if there was any truth in it. Following a number of unsuccessful attempts to ascertain the true nature of his son’s injuries Mr Ayliffe  requested access to the free cable concession specifically organised for that purpose; his request was denied on the grounds his son was only ‘slightly’ wounded.

On 20 December, Private Ayliffe boarded the Transport Bornu bound for Alexandria and rejoined the battalion at Ismailia in March. Towards the end of March, George’s brother in Australia wrote to Base Records informing the office in charge that his mother was seriously ill after the recent loss of her husband and the ongoing anxiety about the welfare of her two sons still at the front. He requested the OIC channel all future correspondence regarding his brothers through him, as he believed bad news of any description would cause his mother to lapse into a state of deep despair. [ii]

When killed in action on 29 June 1916 Private G. B. Ayliffe was 19 years of age.

Robert, his older brother, had enlisted in August 1915, was gassed in France but returned to Australia after the war.

[i] ibid., p. 15
[ii] National Archives of Australia: B 2455, Ayliffe George Bryant / 3042276, viewed 14 March 2006