James Murdoch Archer DURRANT CMG, DSO, MiD

DURRANT, James Murdoch Archer

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 20 November 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 13th Infantry Battalion
Born: Glenelg, South Australia, 17 March 1885
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Goodwood Public School & Frome Road Agricultural School
Occupation: Army Officer
Died: Natural causes, Concord, New South Wales, 18 August 1963, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Goodwood Public School WW1 Roll of Honor, Unley Goodwood Presbyterian Church WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

20 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 13th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
1 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 13th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
20 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 13th Infantry Battalion
11 May 1920: Discharged AIF WW1

World War 2 Service

5 Apr 1944: Discharged

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Included in the New Year honors list is the name of Lieutenant-Colonel James Murdoch Archer Durrant, who is a native of this State. Born at Glenelg in 1885, he is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Durrant, now of Goodwood, and was educated at Goodwood Public School and the old Agricultural School, Frome-road, Adelaide. Although originally in the Education Department, at the age of 22 he commenced his career as a permanent soldier as a staff sergeant-major in the staff of the Commonwealth. He had then served four years as a bugler in the Adelaide Rifles, and four years in the No. 1 S.A. Battery of A.F.A., in which he finished as a sergeant. Transferred to New South Wales, he was promoted to lieutenant in 1910, being then transferred to Queensland, then promoted to captain, and transferred to Victoria. In October, 1914, he was sent to New South Wales to be adjutant to the 13th Battalion A.I.F., which battalion he now commands. He landed at Galllipoli on the historic April 25, and a few days later he was promoted to major, and placed second in command.

For the next three months he commanded the battalion through the heavy fighting around Quinn's Post, with the acting rank of lieutenant-colonel. A month prior to the evacuation he was invalided to Egypt. Before his complete recovery he resumed duty, his knowledge of staff work being utilised as brigade-major of the 4th Infantry Brigade, which was then being reorganised. Amongst the first to proceed to France, this brigade was carefully trained, until it was ready to beat the Germans at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm. An ex-State Commandant (Brigadier-General Brand) was then in command of the brigade, in which all Australia was represented. During the fighting Lieutenant-Colonel Durrant was again given command of his old battalion, with substantive rank. He and his brigade were highly commended by the Divisional Commandant, who said the success gained was due as much to sound previous training as to care ful preparation and gallantry. It was for this action that they were mentioned in dispatches. In his letters home, Lieutenant-Colonel Durrant frequently mentions coming into contact with old comrades from South Australia. His only brother (Staff Sergeant E. H. Durrant) is well known as a South Australian soldier. He has been refused permission to go to the front, but is on the staff of the School of Musketry in New South Wales. He is a nephew of Mrs. Baldwin, Unley-road." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 13 Jan 1917 (nla.gov.au)