Colin Alan Longbourne GREIG

GREIG, Colin Alan Longbourne

Service Number: 5299
Enlisted: 29 February 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 3 March 1896
Home Town: Grange, City of Charles Sturt / Henley and Grange, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College
Occupation: Bank clerk
Died: Died of wounds, France, 8 August 1918, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery
Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Grange Public School Roll of Honor, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Henley Beach Council Fallen WW1 & WW2 Honour Board, Henley Beach Council WW1 Service Roll
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World War 1 Service

29 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 5299, Adelaide, South Australia
12 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5299, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Ballarat embarkation_ship_number: A70 public_note: ''
12 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 5299, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5299, 27th Infantry Battalion, The Battle of Amiens

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From the book Fallen Saints  -  Colin Alan Longbourne Greig of Grange, South Australia was born in North Adelaide.

While at St Peter's College he served three years in the senior cadets and after leaving was employed as a clerk with the Bank of Adelaide and at the time of enlisting had served two years with the 77th Infantry Battalion, Citizens Force. He enlisted in Adelaide on 29 February 1916 and was posted to E Company 2nd Depot Battalion at Mitcham Camp where on 9 March he was transferred to the 1st quota of reinforcements for the 43rd Battalion.  

At the beginning of April he was made a provisional corporal and in May attended Musketry School and NCO Training.  In mid June he was posted to the 14th quota of reinforcements for 27th Battalion with whom he embarked aboard HMAT Ballarat at Adelaide on 12 August 1916. After further training in England he sailed for France on 16 November and after disembarking the following day reverted to his substantive rank. Towards the end of the month and for much of December he was sick with mumps but rejoined his unit from base details at Boulogne on 8 January 1917.

He was admitted to 22nd General Hospital at Camieres on 9 October and later invalided to England where he was admitted to Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley. He soon recovered and towards the end of November was granted two weeks furlough after which he spent almost the entire first half of 1918 in various training units.

On 6 May while at 5th Training Battalion he was charged for being absent from the 6.45 a.m. parade and after being found guilty was awarded 7 days forfeiture of pay and 7 days confinement to camp. He rejoined his unit in the field on 4 June but was wounded during the battle of Amiens and died on 8 August 1918; he was 22 years of age.

… --- five other ranks killed, and one officer and 42 other ranks wounded. Chief amongst the 27th Battalion captures were: - 9 77-m.m. guns, 1 wireless plant, 25 machine guns, 2 officers and 200 other ranks prisoners. [i]

Extract from a Red Cross letter addressed to Mrs M Simpson, secretary of the office of the Lancashire Divisional Council of the YMCA dated 12 March 1919.

… we have now received an unofficial report of his death which we think may be of interest to your enquirer. 5361 Pte. A.J. Hunt of the same unit stated that he had seen Pte. Greig’s body after he had been killed instantly by a shell soon after the ‘Hop Over’ at about 4.30 a.m. He had previously been slightly wounded in the knee and had started to walk back and must have sustained further casualty. Informant added that it was very foggy and dark at the time. … [ii]

During a Red Cross interview some time later, Warrant Officer Clifton Graves said that when the battalion was advancing in the village of Villers-Bretonneux at 5.30 a.m. on 8 August 1918 Colin Greig had been killed instantly when hit by ‘shell fire (stomach and groin badly hit). According to Graves he was with Colin when he was killed but ‘could not see him on account of mist.’  Graves went forward with the Battalion but reported that Greig was buried the same day by the men from his Company at the spot where he fell. ‘…that is on the Warfusée - Villers-Bretonneux Road between the two, and 2 miles from Villers-Bretonneux and 200 yards in on the south side. A Battn mark was made immediately and a substantial cross was erected a fortnight later. A photograph of it was taken by Pte G R Barrington (Photographer) Cremorne St Unley, Adelaide.* Greig was a signaller of B Coy. A dark, thickset man of 5’6.’ Was reserved and quiet yet very powerful and substantial in character. Age about 22 years.’  Warrant Officer Graves said he had left Australia with him on HMAT Ballarat on 12th Aug 1916. ‘Resided at Mile End, Torrensville, Adelaide and was a clerk at the Bank of Adelaide. Was a very good sport, and one of the best soldiers in B Coy.’ [iii]

The adjutant of 27th Battalion, Captain Ronald Southon MC, had under direction from his CO, purchased a camera with which 5541 Pte Barrington photographed the graves of the fallen.  

[i] Dollman, W & Skinner H, The Blue and Brown Diamond, History of the 27th Battalion (AIF) on Active Service, Lonnen & Cope, Adelaide 1921, p. 154
[ii] Australian War Memorial, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files - Colin Alan Longbourne Greig / 1220103, viewed 18 January 2006
[iii] ibid