Percy Eric (Peter) SCRIVENER DCM


Service Number: 7825
Enlisted: 14 August 1942
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: HMAS Rushcutter (Shore)
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 26 June 1894
Home Town: Gunnedah, Gunnedah, New South Wales
Schooling: Gunnedah Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Audit Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Cobbity, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia, 23 August 1953, aged 59 years
Cemetery: Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, NSW
Memorials: Gunnedah Public School WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

18 Nov 1915: Embarked Gunner, 7825, 5th Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Persic, Sydney
18 Nov 1915: Involvement Gunner, 7825, 5th Field Artillery Brigade
23 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 2nd Division Artillery
26 Sep 1916: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, Battle for Pozières , Commended for containing a fire on 12 August 1916 at Pozières in a shell dump, at considerable risk of blowing up, from spreading to a dugout containing several thousand rounds of ammunition, by shovelling earth on the fire and clearing it away from the entrance to the dugout.
22 Oct 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 2nd Division Artillery, Joined No 2 Royal Flying Corps School of Instruction, Oxford

World War 2 Service

14 Aug 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Lieutenant
14 Aug 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Sydney
21 Nov 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Rushcutter (Shore), Lieutenant

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Percy Scrivener was to bring honour to the Gunnedah Public School, which he attended while his father was the manager of the Commercial Bank in the town.

A 21 year old audit clerk, then working in Sydney he enlisted in September 1915 and was drafted into the 5th Field Artillery Brigade. He distinguished himself at Pozieres in early August 1916 when, under heavy shell fire, a German shell landed in an ammunition dump near the entrance to dugouts causing the dump to explode and catch fire.

Corporal Scrivener and a few others were able to shovel earth on the fire and keep it away from the entrance to the dugouts, at considerable risk of being blown up. If the fire had been allowed to spread, it would have entered the dugouts which contained several thousand rounds of ammunition. For his actions he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Shortly afterwards, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, however he sought a discharge to accept a commission at the No 2 Royal Flying Corps School of Instruction at Oxford. He served the remainder of the war with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force, being awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

Returning to Australia, he married Margaret Ann (Pat) Watt at Quirindi in 1922. The couple had a daughter, Pamela. He established established a successful mercantile agency, PE Scrivener & Co Ltd.

With the outbreak of World War II, Percy Scrivener played a lead role in the defence of Sydney Harbour and ultimately other waterways around Australia. He devised the idea of a Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) - a flotilla of boats using volunteer reserves to man the vessels. In June 1941, the Minister for the Navy agreed to the concept and Scrivener was appointed the NSW Skipper.

By August Scrivener was having issues with the authorities regarding the running of the NAP. The Australian Naval Board established the conditions for appointments to the NAP but did not accept any liability for costs associated with its operation or for vessels damaged or lost in service.

Nevertheless, within 10 days of the NAP's formation over 450 men and 125 vessels had signed up. The NSW Squadron had 335 vessels committed in early 1942 with a annual maintence bill of 35,000 pounds borne by the owners. During 1944, with the threat of enemy attack dimished, the strength of the NAP was reduced to a minimum.

Percy Eric Scrivener has a unique place in military history - across two World Wars he was to serve and hold commissions in all three services: Army, Navy and Air Force.

Percy Eric Scrivener soldier, businessman and farmer died at his grazing property in the Camden district, south of Sydney on 23 August 1952.