Randolph Roy BRUCE MM

Badge Number: S1237

BRUCE, Randolph Roy

Service Number: 4079
Enlisted: 1 December 1815, Adelaide South Australia
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 5th Divisional Ammunition Column
Born: Maylands, 1 December 1897
Home Town: Norwood, South Australia
Schooling: Norwood Morialta High School
Occupation: Clerk in South Australian Railways
Died: Lung complaint, Brighton, South Australia, 29 December 1957, aged 60 years
Cemetery: Brighton (St Jude) Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Norwood Primary School Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

1 Dec 1815: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide South Australia
1 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4079, Enlisted in Adelaide, South Australia
9 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, RMS Mongolia
1 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, SN 4079, 27th Infantry Battalion
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, SN 4079, 5th Divisional Ammunition Column, "The Last Hundred Days"
11 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, SN 4079
9 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1
19 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1
Date unknown: Honoured Military Medal
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour Randolph Roy Bruce's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Randolph lived with parents prior to enlisting at 92 Magill Rd,  Norwood, SA.

Enlisted on his 18th Birthday

On enlistment he was assigned to the 10th Reinforcements of the Adelaide based 27th Battalion

9/3/1916      embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, on the RMS Mongolia.

On arrival in the Middle East he was re-allocated to the 5th Division Ammunition Column
as a driver.  

25/6/1916    disembarked into France

At first mustered Gunner in the 5th Divisional Armoured Column, he was transferred to
5th Division Artillery HQ and assigned clerical duties in the field.

During the attack on Bullecourt in the Battle of Arras, Bruce took an ammunition dray in
front of enemy lines to an isolated pocket of Australian soldiers, a deed for which he was
awarded the Military Medal (gazetted 15 September 1919).


His mother died in the Spanish influenza epidemic when Bruce was in transit back to Australia.

He returned to his work at the railways.

After having risen to the role of Chief Paymaster at the SAR, he moved to seaside Brighton, SA
for a lung complaint contracted in the war.

29/12/1957    died in Brighton

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.   3/2/2015.   Lest we forget.



Randolph Roy Bruce was born on the 1st of December 1897. His hometown was Norwood, South Australia and he was born in the suburb of Maylands. His mother was Annie Susannah Bruce and his father was CJP Bruce. Before he went to war, he was a junior clerk. He attended Norwood Public School and Norwood High School. He didn’t have a partner when he went to war. He had previously done 4 years of senior cadets in A Coy in the 79th Battalion. His brother, Harold Mervyn Bruce was a Lance Corporal and was also in the 27th Battalion. He also returned to Australia on the after the war had ended.

His service number was 4079. He enlisted on the 1st of December 1915, which was actually his 18th birthday. Randolph Roy enlisted in Adelaide. The date of his embarkation was the 9th of March 1916. His embarkation was in Adelaide. The ship that he went on to war was the RMS Mongolia. He left for war on the 9th of September 1919.

He was enrolled as a private but in 1917 he was mustered as a Driver. Later in 1918 he was allocated to be a Gunner. In the Middle East, he was re-allocated to the 5th division Ammunition Column as a Driver. His training was in Egypt.

Randolph Roy Bruce was part of the 27th Battalion and he was the 10th reinforcement for that unit. His Battalion was known as ‘Unley’s own.’ This was because a lot of the men were from Unley. Lt Dollman was a Mayor of Unley so that was another reason why they were known as ‘Unley’s own.’ The troops had marched down Unley Road before heading off to Egypt and Gallipoli.

In September, his battalion landed in Gallipoli, they stayed there until December. His battalion fought on the Western Front. They first entered the battlefield of Somme in April. The 27th and the 28th Battalion were the first Australian soldiers to fight in the front line in the Somme battle.

The first attack was on the 5th of November with the 1st Brigade going against trenches, and the 7th going against a range of trenches, which was known as "the Maze". The role of the 27th battalion was to make an attack on the enemy, which were in the Bayonet Trench. There were no reinforcements available and so they lacked secure flanks.

Both of the attacks managed to capture some soldiers, but they eventually had to withdraw. Another attack was against “The Maze” by the 5th and 7th Brigades. This attack was on the 17th of November and portions of the German trenches were captured in this attack.

The 27th Battalion lost 5 Officers and 72 of other ranks were killed. Another 5 Officers and 136 soldiers of other ranks were wounded. 75 were of them were listed as M.I.A.

The 27th battalion was a part of the Battle of the Somme. This was one of the biggest battles in World War 1. More than 1,000,000 men were killed or wounded which made it one of the bloodiest battles of all time. The British and French armies were fighting against the German’s. This battle started on the 1st of July and ended on the 18th of November 1916. The battle was on both sides of the River Somme. In this battle the use of air forces were used and the first use of the tank was also in this battle. By the end of the battle, the British and French forces were 9.7km into the German territory and they had taken more ground than any other battle. The French army was still 4.8km away from capturing the main fighters. In the end, the French empire defeated the German empire.

Randolph Roy Bruce was awarded three medals, the Military Medal, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He was awarded the Military Medal because during an attack on the Bullecourt in the Battle of Arras, he took an ammunition dray in front of the enemy lines to an isolated pocket of Australian soldiers.

Randolph Roy Bruce showed true spirit because he was very brave and because of this, he was awarded the bravery medal. He was not afraid to fight and put himself at risk. He also showed loyalty and commitment to Australia for signing up for the War.

Randolph Roy Bruce died after he came back from the war. He died when he was 60 of lung complaint. His death was on the 29th of December 1957. He is buried at St Jude’s Church of England Cemetery, Brighton South Australia. His Memorial is at the Adelaide HB09 South Australia Railways- Adelaide Railway Station. He has a memorial here because this is where he used to work.

Randolph Roy Bruce served in the war for four years. This time was from 1914-1918.



RMS Mongolia. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

RSL Website, R 2016, Randolph Roy BRUCE, Mind Vision Interactive, accessed 14 March 2016, <https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/22450>.

"National Archives Of Australia, Australian Government". Naa.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016

Bruce, Randolph. "First World War Embarkation Rolls: Randolph Roy Bruce | Australian War Memorial". Awm.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Australian War Memorial". Awm.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"Details". Aif.adfa.edu.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.


Sumbitted by Ella Muecke 30/03/2016