Walter George BATES

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BATES, Walter George

Service Number: 224
Enlisted: 20 October 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 9th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Port Broughton, South Australia, 1895
Home Town: Norwood, South Australia
Schooling: Mundoora Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Gallipoli, 29 August 1915
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Norwood War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

20 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 224, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 224, 9th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 224, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Karroo, Melbourne
29 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 224, 9th Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

A Soldiers Story

Walter (Wal) was born on 7 Dec 1894 at Mundoora (near Port Broughton, SA) to James Bates and Annie Maria Bates (nee Mildren). There were 10 children in the family, 8 boys and 2 girls, of which he was the third youngest. His father was a farmer at Mundoora; in 1902 the family moved to the Butler area and took up the lease of a scrub block of 3690 acres at Wild Dog Hill. At this time it must have been a very remote area and they only remained on this block for 3 years before moving onto Sec 330 of Yarranyacka in the Lipson area after the death of Wal’s mother in 1904.
Wal went to school at Warratta, commencing in Nov 1905 and leaving in Nov 1909, along with his sister and one of his brothers. His father and some of the family returned to the Adelaide area (Norwood) and it is thought that Wal accompanied them. Wal enlisted in the Army from that location on 20 Oct 1914 at the age of 20 years. On enlistment he listed his occupation as farmer.
He was sent to Base Light Horse at Mitcham for training before being posted to 9th Light Horse Regiment (9th L H Regt) and entraining for Melbourne. The 9th L H Regt was formed in Adelaide and trained in Melbourne between Oct 1914 and Feb 1915. Approximately ¾ of the Regt hailed from South Australia and the other ¼ from Victoria. As part of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, the 9th L H Regt sailed from Melbourne on 11 Feb 1915. Wal (with his unit) disembarked from HMAT “Karroo” in Egypt on 14 Mar 1915 for further training.
The light horse units were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade landed in Gallipoli in May 1915 and was attached to the Australian and New Zealand Division. Wal arrived in Gallipoli on 16 May 1915.
On 12 Jun 1915 he was admitted aboard the Hospital Ship (HS) “Newmarket” suffering from influenza, before being transferred to the hospital at Mudros, on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea near Gallipoli. He was discharged from hospital after 3 weeks, but this was only a temporary reprieve as he was again admitted to hospital, this time 1st Army General Hospital at Heliopolis on 8 Jul 1915 suffering from vertigo, possibly as a result of his earlier illness.
On release from hospital on 10 Aug 1915 he was transferred to the overseas base at Mustapha before embarking on the SS “Nile” at Alexandria on 17 Aug 1915, bound for Gallipoli.
Wal rejoined his unit (9th L H Regt) two days later. In just under two weeks (29 Aug 1915) he was posted as missing in action. This was after an action where his unit suffered 50 percent casualties, attacking Hill 60 at Gallipoli on 27 Aug 1915.
A Court of Enquiry was convened on 26 Apr 1916 and found that he, along with 17 others of his unit, had been killed in action on 29 Aug 1915, the day that they had been posted as missing.
Again the difficulty of communication at the time is brought home by the delay in getting this information and subsequent documents to the family. His father was still alive at the time of Wal’s death, but died 3 years after. The Army sent a number of letters and packages to the Norwood address, but they were all returned to sender. The Army then advertised in the “Advertiser” newspaper on 17 Nov 1921, attempting to make contact with the next of kin or any person who knew of their whereabouts. Eventually a sister in a hostel in Adelaide, another sister in hospital in Port Lincoln and his eldest brother made contact with the Army. So, in 1921 the personal effects and medals of the late trooper were forwarded to the eldest brother, Arthur J. Bates, c/- P.O. Butler, via Tumby Bay, who was determined to be the closest living “lineal” relative and therefore the official next of kin. The brother’s address was later recorded as Ungarra, when further documentation was sent in 1922.
There is no known final resting place for this soldier but he is commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial, which includes the names of 3268 Australian’s and 456 New Zealanders who have no known grave and also those who succumbed to wounds or disease and were buried at sea.

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Biography

GEORGE WALTER BATES

...was an Australian soldier who served for the Australian Army in World War 1. He was born in 1895 but the exact day and month is not known. For his religion, he was a Methodist. Methodism is a gathering of truly related divisions of Protestant Christianity which get their motivation from the life and teachings of John Wesley. At the age of 19 George enlisted to be in the Army. His parents were James and Annie Bates and his father, James, was a farmer. James and Annie also had another son, Arthur, who was older than George. Before George enlisted in the army he was a farmer who worked with his father. Because he was only 19 years old he did not have a wife or partner and also had no children. He was born in the town of Port Broughton, South Australia and lived on Edward Street, Norwood in South Australia with his two parents. According to his records, George has hazel eyes and light brown hair with a ‘fresh’ complexion.

 

Life For An Australian solider:

Life as a soldier during the First World War was hard for not just George and other Australian soldiers, but all soldiers. There were many problems soldiers had to face such as diseases, wounds and many other awful things. There is no known record that Private Bates suffered from these but it is assumed that every single soldier did. Being in one of the trenches for example would come along with mud everywhere on rainy days and dirty, unhygienic conditions. On the 20th of October 1914, George enlisted in the Australian Army by filling out an enlistment form to join a unit in the Australian Imperial Force. He was placed into the 9th Light Horse Regiment Unit starting off as a trooper. His service number was 224 all the way through his service time. Members in the 9th Light Horse Regiment trained for battle between October 1914 and February 1915 in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. At first, this regiment didn’t seem suitable for the initial plans in Gallipoli but ended up doing quite well. On the 11th of February 1915, George and many other members embarked on the HMAT Karroo A10 ship travelling to the Gallipoli Peninsula. George’s rank went from being known as a trooper to a private, which is not that much of a difference. Being a trooper, he didn’t have many responsibilities besides defending his country due to the fact that a trooper is one of a low rank. The Australian Artillery Corps is one of the places that troopers could go to, including George. World War 1 went from 1914 to 1918. During this time Britain teamed up with New Zealand and French troops to fight against the Germans. It is one of the biggest wars in Australia and thousands of lives were lost as the outcome. Before the 29th of August 1915, George was reported missing for a period of time. Throughout July and May of that year several letters were sent back and forth from the parents of George and a variety of workers from the Australian Army. Every one of these regarding information about George such as a letter from the Court of Inquiries and other important information.  When August came around a particular letter stated that Private George Walter Bates was killed in action. There was no burial for him because his body was never actually found. After the attack on Hill 61 on the 28th of August 1915, George Walter Bates was never heard of again. It wasn’t until the 10th of May of the following year that the Army Form B 104-52 and Army Form B 2090A confirmed that he was killed in action at the Gallipoli Peninsula. When he passed away there was no report or gatherings about his will so this caused the Base to write many letters to the parents. In December of 1921 a specific letter was sent to Arthur Bates, who is George’s older brother, stating that their parents, James and Annie Bates were now deceased and that Arthur was now the next-of-kin because the will was unclaimed by the parents. Now George is mentioned at the Lone Pine Memorial in Gallipoli for all he has done for Australia.

Anzac Spirit:

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. There are 3 ways that the word ANZAC has been used for. This includes military developments, places and individuals. For military developments, there were ANZAC corporations in both world wars. For places, it is said to be the “ANZAC area” on Gallipoli. Lastly for individuals, "Anzac" at first implied a man who had served on Gallipoli, and later gained more extensive applications. Some qualities that an ANZAC should demonstrate includes courage, endurance, mateship and ingenuity. George Walter Bates showed courage by losing his own life for his country. When he decided to enlist he was risking his life. The decision he made was good at first but had a terrible impact on him and his loved ones. The sacrifice he must have made by leaving his family to go off to war would have been tragic.

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