Gerard Alfred SAMPSON

SAMPSON, Gerard Alfred

Service Number: 175
Enlisted: 11 January 1916, at Adelaide
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 3rd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Stansbury, South Australia, February 1894
Home Town: Edithburgh, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Edithburg Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Killed in Action, France, 25 August 1918
Cemetery: Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery, Bray-sur-Somme
II. G. 51
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Edithburgh Public School Roll of Honour, Edithburgh WW2 Roll of Honor, Edithburgh War Memorial, Stansbury War Memorial, Yorketown Bublacowie Pictorial Honour Roll, Yorketown War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

11 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 175, 43rd Infantry Battalion, at Adelaide
9 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, 175, 43rd Infantry Battalion
9 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, 175, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
20 Jun 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 43rd Infantry Battalion, He was promoted from Private to Lance Corporal
4 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 175, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge, Sampson was reported to have been suffering a gun-shot wound(G.S.W) in the right thigh. He was admitted in Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich.
25 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 175, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Before the War

Gerard Alfred Sampson was born in approximately February 1894 in Stansbury, South Australia and his place of residence was in Edithburg, Yorke Peninsula. He was the eighth of eleven children born to Henry Sampson (1859-1940) and Annie Sampson (1862-1900). Sampson received an education at Edithburg public school. However, in the wake of his mother’s death in 1900, Sampson had to start aiding his father at the early age of 6. To support his family, he started learning and gradually working as a carpenter in Stansbury. Though his formal education was lacking, he learned to be an adept woodworker. Through hard work, Sampson showed a sense of devotion and diligence to promote the welfare of his family. He was a member of the Methodist church.

With strong pressure on fit young men to enlist, Sampson decided to fight in battle and joined on January 11th 1916. Sampson did many procedures before being officially enlisted in the army, such as taking an Oath of Enlistment in front of an attesting officer and having a medical examination. Sampson did not have any of the following conditions listed in medical examinations, and his eyes, lungs and heart were healthy with no problems. The medical officer considered him fit for active service.

During the War

At the age of 21, Sampson was assigned to Company A in the 43rd Infantry Battalion. Sampson’s battalion embarked in June 1916 on the ship HMAT Afric A19 for Marseilles, France. Reaching France, Sampson’s division travelled further to England and spent time along Southampton, where they underwent basic training with other variety of training to prepare for combat operations along the Western Front. Sampson was promoted from private to Lance Corporal. Then he took part in the Battle of Messines in June to capture the Wytschaete-Messines Ridge. His promotion from Private to Lance Corporal describes that Sampson has many skills such as bravery/courage, leadership, intelligence and that he can take responsibility for not just himself but other people. In September 1917, Sampson was promoted to Temporary Corporal but then reverted to Lance Corporal in September. He was detached to Division school, possibly for more training and soon re-joined the Battalion.


Later, in October 1917, Sampson and his battalion took part in the Third Battle of Ypres, attacking around Broodseinde at the start of October. During the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October 1917, Sampson was reported with a gun-shot wound in the right thigh. He was then admitted to Norfolk War Hospital in Norwich. Sampson was admitted on 9th October 1917 but then was discharged to Weymouth on 29th October 1917. He was admitted for approximately 20 days. He stayed there for a long time for full recovery so that his injury would not hinder his performance on the frontline. 

After some time in school, Sampson was transferred to the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion in April 1918 and fought with this unit through the German Spring Offensive. He was killed in action on 25 August 1918. The place of Sampson’s burial is Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery (Plot II, Row G, Grave No. 51), Bray-Sur-Somme, France.

After his death, Henry Sampson(his father) received packages of Sampson’s belongings. Since his father received these packages nearly a year after, it can be presumed that it took a long time for packages to be sent and to arrive at their destination. 

Sampson received two medals for his service in the Australian Imperial Force after his death. The first medal he received was the British War Medal. This medal was awarded to those who had done service between 5th August 1914 to 11th November 1918. The design consists of the medal being cupro-nickel with the image of George V on the front. The reverse has an image of St George on a horseback, trampling the eagle shield of the Central Powers. It includes a skull and cross-bones, the emblems of death. Above this is the risen sun of victory. The years 1914 and 1918 are written on the outside edge medal. The ribbon has a wide central watered stripe of orange, with two narrow white stripes that are flanked by two black pin-stripes and then further flanked by two outer stripes of blue.

The second medal that Sampson received was the Victory Medal. Each Allied nation issued its own ‘Victory Medal’. This medal was awarded to soldiers that also participated in war service between 5th August 1914 to 11th November 1918. The design is bronze-coloured with a winged figure of Victory on the front. The reverse has the words ‘THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION’ surrounded by a laurel wreath. The ribbon is A ‘two rainbow’ design, with the violet from each rainbow on the outside edges moving through to a central red stripe where both rainbows meet.

The star medal couldn’t be awarded to Sampson as its eligibility was from 5th August 1914 to 31st December 1915 and Sampson didn’t join the army until January 1916. N.E(Not Eligible) is also written on the document of the medals for the Star Medal.


Australian War Memorial 2021, ‘First World War Embarkation Roll: Gerard Alfred Sampson’, Australia, viewed 1 March 2021, <>.

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National Archives of Australia 2021, National Archives of Australia, Australia, viewed 2 March 2021, <>.

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Guideforanzacs Organisation 2015, ‘Millitary Abbreviations Used in WW1 and Reference Sources’, Australia, viewed 1 March 2021, <>.


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Australian Government n.d., ‘Victory Medal’, Australia, viewed 1 March 2021, <>.


Australian Government n.d., ‘British War Medal’, Australia, viewed 1 March 2021, <>.


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Australian War Memorial 2021, ‘AWM3 23/60/24 Part 3- August 1918 Appendices [image]’, viewed 1 March 2021, <>.