Archibald McGibbon (Archie) MCLAURIN MID

Poppy

MCLAURIN, Archibald McGibbon

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 24 October 1914, Rutherglen, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 8th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Deniliquin, New South Wales, 21 August 1865
Home Town: Rutherglen, Indigo, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne C of E Grammar School
Occupation: Vigneron & Farmer
Died: Died of Illness (Pneumonia), Palestine, 23 November 1918, aged 53 years
Cemetery: Beirut War Cemetery
355
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Lilliput District Pictorial Honour Roll, Melbourne Grammar School WW1 Fallen Honour Roll, Rutherglen War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

24 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Light Horse Regiment, Rutherglen, Victoria
25 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 8th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Star of Victoria, Melbourne
30 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
27 Jun 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 8th Light Horse Regiment
7 Aug 1915: Wounded 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, Nervous debility
7 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 8th Light Horse Regiment, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli
1 Nov 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 8th Light Horse Regiment
23 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 8th Light Horse Regiment

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Biography

"DEATH OF LIEUT.-COL. A. McG. McLAURIN. A BRILLIANT CAREER CLOSED. DEATH FROM ILLNESS.

On Monday evening the Rev. Miller, Presbyterian Minister, Chiltero, received a wire from the Defence authorities asking him to acquaint the relatives of Lieut.-Col. McLaurin of his death, which took place at the 74th Casualty Hospital, Palestine, on November 23rd, 1918, from broncho-pneumonia. When the sad tidings were made known locally there was a general expression of regret, as the career of this brilliant soldier had been watched with considerable interest, he being a prominent resident. About 23 years ago, with his two brothers, the late lieut.-colonel settled in the Rutherglen district, purchasing a vineyard property on the Springhurst-Rutherglen road, previously owned by a Mr McLaughlin. The McLaurin Bros. at once set about to improve their property, and it was noticed that intelligence was being combined with hard work. They also found time to enter into public matters. The late lieut.-col became a member of the Rutherglen Cricket Club, and was a very keen and enthusiastic member, but in later years joined and played with the Great Southern Club. When it was proposed to form a detachment of the Victorian Mounted Rifles he was one of the volunteers who paraded before Colonel Otter for selection. Volunteer McLaurin was mounted in the parade on a white horse, and the selecting colonel had a big aversion to white horses and turned "Archie" (as he was popularly called) down. Those who were interested in the movement saw that the colonel was making a mistake, and interceded, with the result that Archie (who   afterwards became Lieut.-Col. A. McG. McLaurin) was included among those who were to constitute the first Rutherglen troop of the Victorian Mounted Rifles. This was at the period of the Boer War, and the spirit of a soldier having caught Archie he volunteered as a trooper for that war, and it was with regret that he found that he was not among the selected. The deceased became one of the most enthusiastic members of his troop, and he gradually climbed the ladder; he entered as private and filled all the lower grades of office, his whole energy being thrown into the work which fascinated him.

When the Commonwealth Defence Act was passed he went over with several other members of the troop to the Australian Light Horse. When Lieut. H. E. D. Kelly resigned he took over control, as senior lieutenant, and later became captain and had several troops of the Light Horse in the North-Eastern District under his control. As Captain McLaurin, he was the only original volunteer who remained in the Rutherglen Troop, and he took a keen interest in all military matters. His special interests were centred in the Rutherglen Troop, and with Lieut. Joseph Pearce, who is returning home, endeavored to and succeeded in keeping that Rutherglen Troop the crack troop of the captain's area. When the war cloud broke over Australia Captain McLaurin immediately went to headquarters at Benella and offered his services, but there were others who had a prior call and he did not get away with the contingent of the Light Horse, although his two sub-officers — Lieuts. Pearce and Fullerton — were successful. At Benalla he accepted the position of voluntary recruiting officer among the mounted men, and had notices posted at the SUN Office and also forms available; in this work he was very successful. As the call for men and officers went on Captain McLaurin again pressed his claims for service, and he was accepted. He went into camp, and while there one of his first cares and thoughts was to see that the men under his care were properly accommodated and fed, and thereby made himself in military life, as in private life, very popular. In due time his ambitions were achieved and he got notice that he had to embark on a given date. He returned to Rutherglen on short furlough to settle up his business and the residents gave him a very enthusiastic send-off. He landed in Egypt and done the customary amount of training and hard work on the sand, and was disappointed when he learnt that the mounted men were not to take part in the Gallipoli landing. His turn came soon after, when it was decided to send the mounted men as infantry, and he saw service on the famous peninsula, he was unfortunate in getting wounded in one of the charges and was invalided back to Egypt. His good work while on Gallipoli came under the notice of the authorities, and promotion to Major followed. Major McLaurin joined up his regiment and next saw service on the Arabian desert on their march for Palestine, and took part in several of the severe marches and engagements. He was again wounded and also met with an accident in the advance on Gaza, which put him out of action for a little while, but the fighting spirit was always there and it was not long before he was at the front again, and after one of the severe pushes he was mentioned in the commander's despatch and was shortly afterwards promoted to the rank of lieut.- colonel.

He then received a short furlough, and visited England and Scotland, after which he rejoined his regiment, and was with it in its push through Palestine. When everyone was expecting to have the pleasure of welcoming the lieut.-col. home, after four years of service, the sad news of his death was received. The Rev. Miller, on receipt of the departmental message, drove to Rutherglen and  telephoned to Mr Gibbs, asking him to break the sad news to deceased's two brothers, Messrs Robert and Reginal, at their residence, Lilliput, which task Mr Gibbs carried out. Deceased was about 53 years of age, and was a native of Deniliquin, N.S.W. He leaves his two brothers and two married sisters — Mrs Buckland (Melbourne) and Mrs Gordon McLaurin (Holbrook, N.S.W.), to mourn their great loss. Locally business people showed their respect for the fallen soldier by placing bands of crape across the   windows or flying flags half mast. In private life the deceased was a fine man, he was a genial companion and always ready to do a good turn. He took an active interest in local matters, such as the Vinegrowers' Association, the Agricultural Society and other organised bodies. He was induced to enter municipal life and was elected a member of the Central Riding on November 27th, 1906, after a very spirited contest with Mr Wm. Meehan for the seat vacated by the resignation of Cr Wearn Hicks, who was leaving the State, the polling being McLaurin 248, Menhan 239. The new councillor was an advocate for a more equal division of the shire ridings, and took a keen interest in the progress of that work. At the general election after the re division of the ridings, in 1908,   Cr McLaurin was returned for the Lilliput Riding at the head of the poll. Since then he has retained his seat, and when he went to uphold the honor of his country his brother councillors undertook to do his work as well as their own and retain the seat for his return. During his term of office the councillors honored him by electing him to the presidential chair for a term." - from the Rutherglen Sun and Chiltern Valley Advertiser 29 Nov 1918 (nla.gov.au)

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

ARCHIBALD McGIBBON McLAURIN who died on 23rd November 1918 from pneumonia in Palestine at the 74th Casualty Clearing Stdtion was the, son of Mr. Robert McG. McLaurin. He was born in 1865 and entered the School in 1875; he left in 1878 and returned again for 1886. For years he was in the office of Powers, Rutherford & Co., and afterwards took up a vineyard with his brothers Bob and
Reg near Rutherglen, on which he was when war broke out. He was Area Officer in Rutherglen District, and also served under Colonel Price in the Old Victoria Mounted Rifles, being Captain 16th Australian Light Horse Brigade A.M.F. He was a Councillor in Rutherglen Shire for years and took a keen interest in all country pursuits and will be mourned by a large circle of friends.

He enlisted with the Light Horse in 1914, and sailed as a Captain in February 1915, was on Gallipoli, and served the whole of the war in the 8th Light Horse Regiment. He was promoted Major on 27th June 1915 and was one of the survivors of the famous charge at Walker's Ridge when the regiment was all but wiped out. He was in almost
every battle in Palestine up to Damascus, being Mentioned in Sir Archibald Murray's Despatches of 18th March 1917 and being appointed to command his regiment and promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 1st November 1917. His men over whom he had charge at all times spoke most highly of his qualities as a man and a leader
and would follow the Colonel to death.

Whilst in London on furlough in 1918 he took the opportunity to visit the home of his people in Scotland, and he extended many kindnesses to his nephew, Gunner Gerald Vine Buckland, another Old Melburnian whose death is recorded. He was buried in the Beerut Military Cemetery, Syria.

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