Clifton Charles ELDRIDGE MM

ELDRIDGE, Clifton Charles

Service Number: 71
Enlisted: 17 January 1915, Keswick South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: North Adelaide South Australia Australia, 20 January 1895
Home Town: Gilberton, Walkerville, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Memorials: Adelaide Crown Lands Department WW1 Honour Board, Henley Beach Council WW2 Honour Roll and Addendum
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World War 1 Service

17 Jan 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 71, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick South Australia Australia
17 Jan 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 71, 27th Infantry Battalion
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT Geelong A2
28 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 71, 27th Infantry Battalion
28 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 71, 27th Infantry Battalion
20 Jan 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 71, 27th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

20 Oct 1942: Enlisted Keswick, SA

World War 1 Service

Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Surname: ELDRIDGE; Given Names: Clifton Charles; Date of Birth: 20 January 1895; Date of Enlistment: 17 January 1915; Trade or Calling: Clerk; Birth Location: North Adelaide; Address prior to enlistment: Gilbert Street, Gilberton; Photograph sent by: C Eldridge
Source: State Records SA

The youngest of three sons of Mr  and Mrs Ida  May Eldridge of Gilberton South Australia to enlist in the AIF.

Like his older brother Anthony, Clifton Eldridge was an early enlistee of the 17th Battalion, joining it in January 1915 and embarking with the main body of the Battalion on 31 May 1915 aboard the HMAT Ascanius.  He was posted with his brother to A Company of the 27th Battalion.

His service mirrored that of his brother at least initially.  He embarked for ANZAC on 4 Sep 1915 on the Ivernia, landing on the 12th.  Like many of his comrades, succumbed to diesease in the form of entric fever, or typhoid.  He was evacuated to Alexandria on the 8th November 1915, via the 7th Field Ambulance.  His brother was to follow a month later but afflicted with jaundice.  Unlike his brother, Clifton's illness was deemed serious enough to return to Australia.

After recuperation, he was selected for NCO training in June 1916, and was assigned to the 15th reinforcements of the 27th Battalion.

He embarked for overseas service for the second time, on the HMAT Anchises A68 this time, on the 28th August 1916.  They disembarked in Plymouth on the 11th October 1916.

After being processed through the various depots, during the course of which he reverted to Private, and after undertaking preparatory training he proceeded to France via the major depot at Etaples where he was briefly re-appointed to Sergeant before joining the Battalion, again reverting to Private, on 2 Decemberr 1916.  At this stage the Battalion (and most of the rest of the AIF) was quartered at Guedecourt, during the most miserable winter in living memory.

Within a week he was promoted in rapid succession to fill vadancies (presumably casualties of the weather) and by 9 December was at the rank of Sergeant once again on the 'supernumerary list".  This meant that if a more senior sergeant returned from the wounded list or whatever, he would revert once again.

By late February, the Battalion was engaged in action as a part of the British Arras offensive, and the beginnings of the German retirement to the Hindenburg Line (quite independent of any Allied action). The Battalion was located at Warlancourt where fierece fighting took place for possession of Malt Trench.  The 27th Battalion sustained 3 killed and 20 wounded on the 28th February, one of whom was Clifton Eldridge, who sustained a serious gunshot wound to the right thigh.  Clifton was quickly in the evacuation chain first via the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, then the 8th Casualty Clearing Station then via Calais to the 2nd General Hospital at Colchester.

As a post script, the fighting at Warlancourt continued and on the 3rd March the Battalion made significant gains but it sustained 22 killed and 95  wounded.

Clifton was discharged on furlough (leave) in May 1917 and thereafter was assigned to the base depot at Wareham where he remained until September after which he was assigned to the Overseas Training Brigade at Perham Downs Codford and then once again to the Front.  He rejoined the Battalion as a Corporal (Acting Sergeant) in October 1917 towards the end of the Third Ypres campaign in time for Passchendaele.

In February he gained a leave pass in Paris, a key goal of many an AIF soldier!  Returning from leave he was assigned to the Austalian Corps school as an instructor.

He rejoined the Battalion on the 14th August as the geat Allied offensive was in full swing.  He servied through to and including the 27th Battalion's involvement in the "greatest feat of arms of the war"; the capture of Mont St Quentin and Peronne by the 2nd and 5th Divisions on 2 September 1918. 

Clifton Eldrideg was recommended for and subsequently awarded a Military Medal for his role in this engagement (see att story)

Shortly thereafter he has appointed Company Sergeant Major and promoted temporary Warrant Officer Class II (WO II) vice the wounded John Lockwood.

A string of reversions and re-appointments followed as senior non Commisioned Officers (SNCO) rejoinedthe unit and left on leave. At the end of October, with the Battalion resting out of the line he was posted to an Officer Training Course at Cambridge.  He competed his training and was commissioned in early January returning to the Battalion just in time to begin the move to the United Kingdom for repatriation.

Clifton returned to Australia on the Castalia on 4April 1919, arriving on the 6th June 1919.  His appointment was terminated on the 5th August 1918

His address for correspondence was listed as 1 Vernon Street Norwood (1926).

In 1967, he applied for and was awarded his Gallipoli Medallion.  By that stage he was living at 'Page's Flat', Willunga.

Awards: (the digits refer to the issue schedule and do not identify the medal)

Military Medal (see att story)

1914/15 Star  5564

British War Medal 3497

Victory Medal 3456