Arthur Bruce DURDIN MC

DURDIN, Arthur Bruce

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 June 1915, Keswick South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Goodwood, South Australia, 26 March 1887
Home Town: Forestville, South Australia
Schooling: Goodwood Public School
Occupation: Managing Law clerk
Died: Natural causes, Forestville, South Australia, 13 September 1953, aged 66 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Acacia C 136M
Memorials: Adelaide M20 Sth Parklands Bowling Club*, Goodwood HB1 Goodwood Primary School*, Goodwood HB2 Presbyterian Church*, North Adelaide HB8* North Adelaide Cycling Club, Unley HB01 Town Hall*
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World War 1 Service

1 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick South Australia Australia
25 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Adelaide
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
5 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Flers/Gueudecourt
15 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
11 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 27th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (First)
29 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion

Awarded the Military Cross

The 27th Battalion was committed to an attack near Flers on the 5th November and it was during the course of this battle that Arthur Durdin set an inspiring example to his troops by capturing and holding a section of Bayonet Trench with relatively few men from 'C' Company and repelling repeated attempts by the Germans to re-take it. His actions earned him a recommendation and subsequently the award of the Military Cross.

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Biography contributed by Orroroo Area School

Arthur Bruce Durdin was born on the 26th of March, 1887, on Albert Street, Goodwood. He was the son of Walter and Ellen Durdin.

When Arthur was old enough he attended Goodwood Primary School. He completed primary school in 1898, and then moved on to an agricultural school that opened in 1896. He left the agricultural school in 1902 and he began work in 1903 as a junior law clerk in the firm of Homburg and Melrose, solicitors. It is believed that Mr. Homburg selected his staff for his office from recommendations by the headmaster of Arthur's agriculture school. Arthur signed an employment agreement. With his father and Mssrs Homburg and Melrose alongside they testified for his appointment as a law clerk. After signing the agreement, he then took an oath to swear that he ‘would serve his employees faithfully and punctually during the entire time that he remains their clerk.’

Whilst working Arthur also attended a night school where he studied subjects related to his work as a law clerk.

He enlisted as an A.I.F private on the 29th of June, 1915, at the age of twenty-eight.

After enlisting in the A.I.F Arthur was sent to Mitcham in Adelaide to train for his journey ahead as part of the 27th Battalion. From Adelaide he boarded the Shropshire Ship in March, 1916, with the 27th Battalion and the 11th reinforcements. Arthurs arrived in France where he was promoted to Sergeant and was soon commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December 1915.

A year after Arthur joined the A.I.F. he was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and intuition during an attack on the German trenches in Northern France on the 5th March, 1916. Apart from serving in the A.I.F. Arthur also served as an instructor at the 1st Anzac Corps School which was later renamed as the 1st Australian Corps school.

Arthur left Europe in 1919 and returned home. 

Once back in Adelaide Arthur returned to his former employment as a law clerk. Arthur was then invited to make an application for the post of manager and secretary of the newly formed Farmers’ Cooperative Executer and Trustee Company, based in Adelaide on Bentham Street. From 1920 to his retirement in 1948 Arthur worked as manager and secretary for the Farmer’s Co-operative Executor and Trustee company.

In 1920 he married Caroline (nee Williams) and they had five children.

Arthur Bruce Durdin died at the age of 66 of natural causes in his Forestville home in 1953.

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Biography

Surname: DURDIN; Given Names: Arthur Bruce; Date of Birth: 26 March 1887; Date of Enlistment: 1 June 1915; Trade or Calling: Law Clerk; Birth Location: Goodwood; Address prior to enlistment: Victoria St Forestville; Photograph sent by: Mrs W W Durdin
Source: State Records SA

Service record detail 

Son of Mr Walter William Durdin  and Mrs WW Durdin of 60 Victoria Street Forestville.  Bruce Durdin (as he was known) was a single, 28 year old law clerk when he enlisted on June 29th 1915.  He was assigned to the 11th Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion. His service number was B2105 and he was immediately attached to Base infantry.  Although apparently lacking any prior recorded military service, he was presumably shortly thereafter identified as a candidate for commissioning as an officer.  His papers were subsequently altered to reflect that he was enlisted as a Lieutenant and his service number was revoked.

He was a tall man for the times - when the average height was about 5'8" tall or 172cm, Arthur 'stood out in the crowd' at over 6'1" or 185cm tall.

He promptly underwent NCO and then Officer training at a school established at Mitcham camp receiving his commission on the 16th December 1915. Photographs show him at what was presumably home at this time, in uniform.

He embarked three months later on the HMAT Shropshire on the 25th March 1916.  Arriving in Suez at the end of April before onwards movement to the UK.  He embarked for France from Folkestone in July joining the Battalion asit went into the line at Pozieres. He developed a condition called Pyrexia (a generic term for fever) which saw him hospitalised for most of August, during which time the Battalion fought at Mouquet Farm, before rejoining the unit on the 31 August from the personnel depot at Etaples.

He had a brief hospitalisation in September at Etaples.

The Battalion and Arthur moved to Belgium in the Ypres sector before returning to the Somme and positions near Flers / Guedecourt.

Bruce was promoted to substantive Lieutenant on the 4th November 1916.   The 27th Battalion was committed to an attack near Flers on the 5th November and it was during the course of this battle that Arthur Durdin set an inspiring example to his troops by capturing and holding a section of Bayonet Trench with relatively few men from 'C' Company and repelling repeated attempts by the Germans to re-take it.  His actions earned him a recommendation and subsequently the award of the Military Cross.

He remained with the Battalion until May (through First Bullecourt and the Outpost Villages battles) and then after a period of leave in the UK, he was assigned as an instructor to the 7th Training Battalion in England at Rollestone from June to November 1917, while the 27th Battalion was engaged in Third Ypres.

He returned to France in late November, being briefly attached to the 8th Australian Field Artillery Brigade for a week before rejoining the 27th Battalion on the 15th December 1917.

Bruce Durdin had obviously demonstrated aptitude for the training environment and was detached to the ANZAC Corps School and then in late January was selected to do the 7th Instructional course at the Senior Officers School, Aldershot.

He returned to the Training Battalion in late March 1918.

He then fell ill in June 1918.   Letters home indicated he undertook a training course during this period.  He did not return to duty with the 27th Battalion until after the cessation of hostilities; according to his service record he had rejoined it on 18 Nov 1918 and concentrated at Le Havre before returning to England and then moving through a number of staging camps including Sutton Veny and Codford during April 1919.

It is noteworthy that during this time the so-called Spanish Flu epidemic was sweeping Europe, and many Australian soldiers having survived the war succumbed to illness.  The churchyard at Sutton Veny contains the graves of hundreds of Australians who succumbed during this period.

However, Bruce escaped this scourge and returned to Australia on the Orita on the 23rd June 1919.

He was discharged in the 4th Military District HQ at Keswick Barracks due to "cessation of Hostilities" on 29 September 1919.

After the war he joined the RSL on 7 October 1919.   Badge number S21414, remaining a member until 1939.  He was a member of State Branch.  

His RSL record records his employment as 'Famers Union', but more accurately his daughter describes his employment thus: In November 1919 he was appointed the first Manager of the Farmers' Co-operative Executor and Trustee Company, in which capacity he served for nearly 30 years until his retirement in 1948. This company is better known more recently as Farmers Union.

Bruce Durdin was awarded:

Military Cross 116/17  1540

British War Medal 11434

Victory Medal 11332

 

Steve Larkins Dec 2013

 

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