Andrew John McArthur (Jack) WADDELL

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WADDELL, Andrew John McArthur

Service Number: 16134
Enlisted: 7 March 1916, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Field Ambulance
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 3 September 1897
Home Town: Wickham, Newcastle, New South Wales
Schooling: Wickham Public School
Occupation: Locomotive Engine Cleaner
Died: Died of wounds (shell), Pont d'Achelles, France, 7 June 1917, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Pont d'Achelles Military Cemetery, France
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Haymarket NSW Government Railway and Tramway Honour Board, N.S.W.G.R. Loco Depot Port Waratah HR
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World War 1 Service

7 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Liverpool, New South Wales
11 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 16134, Army Medical Corps (AIF)
11 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 16134, Army Medical Corps (AIF), HMAT Suevic, Sydney
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 16134, 9th Field Ambulance, Messines

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Biography

Andrew John McArthur Waddell was the oldest child of  David Ross and Kate Waddell. He was my grand-fathers's oldest brother. Jack was given permission to enlist by his widowed mother; under the condition that he did not bear arms. This is why he was a stretcher bearer. Unfortunately it did not keep him safe as his mother had hoped.

He left his widowed mother and 5 siblings to mourn for him, the youngest of whom, my grandfather, was only 5. - Sharyn East

"LATE PRIVATE WADDELL.  A GALLANT STRETCHER BEARER.

Mrs. Waddell of Henry Street, Wickham, has received the following letters concerning the death of her son Private Jack Waddell:—

"Dear Mrs. Waddell.— Without having made your acquaintance, I feel it a duty and an honour to write to you concerning the death, in action, of your dear son, Jack. For creditable military reasons I have not been free to write till now. I knew your son only from the time he joined this unit, but was then rather closely associated with him in our billets and in our work as stretcher-bearers. During the attack in which he was killed we would have been working as mates, only he was temporarily attached to the nursing section. However, when the fatal high explosives landed, I was stationed at the same post, and was standing about six or seven yards away. I can assure you we were rendering what assistance we could before even the smoke had cleared away. Within half an hour he had been dressed by the senior medical officer and conveyed to the next station, where he again received the very best of surgical attention. Then he passed out of my hands. "I will tell you how I knew your address, which I have verified at the orderly room. After he had been struck he was quite conscious, and as sharp-witted as ever and called out for someone to write to his mother, giving the address even. He was allowing wounded men into the dressing station when the shells landed almost beside him upon the road. "Mrs. Waddell, as a civilian son you could easily be proud of him whom I found to be of sterling worth, fine nature, and exceptional ability. I can speak not only for myself, but for all his associates by whom he was esteemed and very well liked indeed. As a soldier son how much more must you feel proud of him, who gave his life in the great sacrifice for justice and right, saving hundreds of millions of people from the misery we know would have been theirs; for this cause, to stand fearlessly in a place known to be dangerous, in order to aid others. Such a son any mother might be proud of, and such an end. I must close now Mrs. Waddell, expressing my sincerest sympathy with you and yours in this sad but glorious bereavement. I am, yours sincerely, Pte. HECTOR M. McLEAN.

The officer commanding the Field Ambulance Company to which Private Waddell belonged, has also written to Mrs. Waddell:—

"It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, who was killed in action in the battle of Messines on June 7, 1917. Your son did gallant work as a stretcher-bearer and was very popular among his comrades. He was struck by the fragments of a big shell which hurst near him, wounding him very severely in the legs. The wounded were brought to the main dressing station at once, but in spite of all we could do, your son died of his wounds. We buried Private Waddell in the military cemetery with military honours. His comrades are taking steps to erect a good cross over his grave. The graves are carefully and well looked after by the grave regulation unit I can assure you that all is done as you would wish. Your boy died a hero's death in the field of battle, doing his duty faithfully and well; his work was always excellent; he was always cheerful and bright, and his comrades will miss him very much. He had won the confidence of his officers and non-commissioned officers, and his loss is a loss to their unit. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your loss, and that of all the officers and N.C.O's. and men of the Field Ambulance. You will have every reason to be proud of the memory of your gallant lad, for he has died a soldier's death at the time when great work was being done. I sincerely hope that the pride you and your family must feel in him will help to comfort you in your bereavement." - from the Newcastle Northern Times 27 Nov 1917 (nla.gov.au)

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