Alfred John (Ted) WRIGHT

WRIGHT, Alfred John

Service Numbers: 336, 336A
Enlisted: 18 March 1916, Brisbane, Qld.
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: North Pine, Queensland, Australia, 21 July 1897
Home Town: North Pine, Queensland
Schooling: North Pine State School, Forbes Creek School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 24 May 1918, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Bretonneux
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kallangur Pine Rivers Memorial Gates, Samford War Memorial, Samson Vale Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

18 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 336, 13th Machine Gun Company, Brisbane, Qld.
16 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, 336, 13th Machine Gun Company, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '21' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: RMS Orontes embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
16 Aug 1916: Embarked Private, 336, 13th Machine Gun Company, RMS Orontes, Melbourne
11 Jun 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 336, 11th Machine Gun Company, Battle of Messines, Gun shot wound to head
24 May 1918: Involvement Private, 336A, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 336A awm_unit: 3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1918-05-24

Help us honour Alfred John Wright's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Alfred's parents were John Edwin Wright and Asenath Elizabeth Rounsefell. Alfred's father was a councillor with the Pine Divisional Board from February 1897 to December 1899 and pioneered farming properties on the Pine River. Alfred attended Forbes Creek School. He was wounded at Messines in July 1917 and later killed in action near Villers-Bretonneux. His brother Henry Edwin [337] enlisted, Henry returned home.

Biography contributed by Ian Lang


WRIGHT Alfred (Ted) John   #336   13th/11th Machine Gun Company  3rd M Gun Battalion


Ted Wright was born at North Pine (Petrie). He enlisted on 18th March 1916 at the age of 18 and stated his occupation as farmer. He may have had some association with the Samsonvale district. After a period at Enoggera in a depot battalion, Ted was allocated to the 13th Machine Gun Company. On 15th May he travelled to Melbourne and the camp at Seymour for specific machine gun instruction. On the 16th August, the 13th MGC boarded the “Orontes” at Melbourne pier. The Australian War Memorial has in its collection a series of photographs taken by professional photographer Josiah Barnes. One such photo is of the recruits for the 13th MGC. Alfred Wright of Queensland is easily identified by his regimental number which is stencilled on his white canvas bag. Ted had allocated 4/- of his daily pay to his mother at embarkation.


The “Orontes” docked in Plymouth on 2nd October and Ted went into camp at Codford, By November 1916, Ted was in France and linking up with his new unit, 11th MGC. In June 1917, General Plumer launched his long awaited summer offensive in Belgian Flanders at the Ypres salient. The first phase of the campaign was an attack against Messines Ridge, which included the blowing of 19 underground mines. The 11th MGC supporting the 11th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division were holding the line just south of Messines at Ploegsteert Wood when Ted Wright received a gun-shot wound to the forehead.


Ted’s mother, Rachael Wright was informed of his wounding by telegram. Ted was transported to the 8th Stationary Hospital in Boulogne. The wound must not have been serious as Ted was back with in the lines by 1st July. The company continued to support operations by the 3rd Division at Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Passchendaele for the remainder of the year. In November the Passchendaele front was closed down due to the onset of winter. The Australian divisions were taken out of the line for a complete rest in comfortable billets around Poperinghe. On 25th November 1917 Ted enjoyed 14 days leave in England. There was another period of leave in February/ March 1918, which Ted overstayed by 24 hours and was fined 4 day’s pay.


On 21st March 1918, the German Commander on the Western Front, Ludendorff, launched Operation Michael which saw a substantial advance along the valley of the Somme from the strongpoint of the Hindenburg Line west towards the city of Amiens. The British 5th Army which had control of this sector was routed and there was a distinct possibility that the French and British Armies would be split and the German advance could reach the French Coast and win the war. In order to halt the rapid advance and plug the gaps left in the British defences General Haig ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions of the AIF to rush south from Belgium. It was essential that Amiens be defended at all costs and Haig issued his famous “backs to the wall” speech which was read out to the defenders.


The 11th MGC had been subsumed into an entire battalion, the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, which supported operations across the entire area of the 3rd Division. By late April and into early May, the machine gunners were deployed around the village of Villers Brettonneux on the south bank of the Somme. On 24th May, Ted and another man were in charge of a wagon bringing up rations to the front when an German artillery shell landed on the wagon. The driver was severely wounded and Ted who was the brakeman on the wagon received shell fragment wounds to his head and back, to which he quickly succumbed. Reports from witnesses supplied to the Red Cross state that Ted was buried on a hill overlooking the village and a wooden cross was erected over his grave.


Ted’s mother received his personal effects, which included a broken watch in a silver case and a French dictionary. At the end of the war, soldiers who had been buried in isolated graves had their remains reinterred into dedicated cemeteries. Ted’s remains were reinterred in the Australian Cemetery at Villers Brettoneux. This cemetery would eventually be incorporated into the Australian National Memorial, dedicated in 1938. It is the site of an annual Anzac Day service.