Gerald Edward APLIN

Poppy

APLIN, Gerald Edward

Service Number: 2108
Enlisted: 27 July 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 25th Infantry Battalion
Born: Townsville, Queensland, 22 July 1883
Home Town: Townsville, Townsville, Queensland
Schooling: Townsville Grammar School
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Killed in Action, Pozières, France, 29 July 1916, aged 33 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Burketown Burke Shire Council WW1 Roll of Honor, Townsville Cenotaph, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

27 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2108, Brisbane, Queensland
18 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2108, 25th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2108, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Armadale, Brisbane
29 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2108, 25th Infantry Battalion, Pozières

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Biography

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Son of William Aplin and Mary Jane (nee Bristol).

Husband of Mrs Margaret Aplin (later known as Margaret Temple), Hotel Cecil, Brisbane, Queensland

Biography contributed by Joseph Haritos

Early life:

Gerald Edward Aplin was born in Townsville, Queensland on the 22nd of July 1883 to William and Mary Jane Alpin. One of nine children he went Townsville Grammar School.

Aplin purchased Wollogorang station with T.B McIntosh in 1908. This large cattle station straddles the border between the Northern Territory and Queensland and is over seven thousand square kilometers bordering the Gulf of Carpentaria. It was established in 1881 and has the longest continuous occupation of any property in the Northern Territory.

He married Margaret Constance Knight-Eaton on the 7th of July 1915 at New Farm in Brisbane.

Enlistment:

Edward Aplin enlisted on the 27th of July 1915, only 20 days after his wedding, into the 4th Reinforcements. He was thirty-two and his listed occupation was a grazier. He was 5ft 7(170cm) and 132 pounds (59.9kg). He embarked from Brisbane on the H.M.A.T Armadale on the 18th of September 1915. He was taken on strength in the 25th Battalion on the 4th of February 1916 in the town of Ismailia on the Egyptian Suez Canal. Aplin then proceeded to Alexandria on the 14th of March 1916 and joined the British Expeditionary Force. He disembarked in Marseilles, France on the 19th of March 1916

The Battle of Pozieres:

From the 23rd of July to the 3rd of September 1916 the Battle of Pozieres took place in France and was part of the Battle of the Somme. Pozieres was a focus of the German Army as it was a critical element of their defensive system. On the 23rd of July as Pozieres was gained by Australian Troops, the German Army bombarded the village and its approaches. The two opposing forces increased their shelling, reaching a peak on the 26th of July. It was recorded as some of the worst shelling endured by an Australian division. On the night of the 28th of July the Australian 2nd Division, of which Aplin was a part, was to attack the German lines north and east of the village.

Death:

On the 29th of July 1916 Aplin was reported missing. He was found lying in a shell hole with two bullet wounds to the chest by a fellow soldier listed in the reports as Fennelly, in No-Mans-Land. This was on the ridge where the 2nd Division of Australians had made their first attack. As Fennelly was giving water to the wounded Aplin, a bullet struck Aplin a third time and he was killed instantly.

Mrs. Aplin was in Brisbane intending to depart for England when she heard word that her husband was missing. His death wasn’t formally confirmed until a Court of Enquiry on the 25th of July 1917.

His effects, which were sent to Mrs. Aplin, included a pair of spectacles, a knife, a key on a chain, an Atlas, 3 Military books, 2 handkerchiefs and a scarf.

Memorials:

Private Aplin’s name is located at panel 103 in the commemorative area at the Australian War Memorial. He is also remembered at the Villers Bretonneux Memorial.

His family placed his name on his father’s tombstone at the Toowong cemetery in Brisbane with the following inscription:

“Also his youngest son Gerald Edward

Killed in action at Pozieres

29th July 1916

Aged 33 years

The path of duty was the way to glory.”

Gerald Edward Aplin’s name is also on the War Memorial Cenotaph, Darwin Esplanade. Aplin Road in Girraween, Litchfield Council area is also named in his honour.

He received the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal posthumously.

Contributed by Joseph Haritos as part of the 2018 Northern Territory Chief Minister's Anzac Spirit Study Tour.

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