Alfred Leigh BOOL MC

BOOL, Alfred Leigh

Service Number: 14004
Enlisted: 31 July 1915, Date of enlistment: 31 July 1915
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 38th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tarnagulla, Victoria, 25 September 1895
Home Town: Tarnagulla, Loddon, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Glenhuntly, 28 January 1967, aged 71 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

31 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 14004, 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Date of enlistment: 31 July 1915
16 Apr 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station
20 May 1916: Involvement Sergeant, SN 14004, 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station
20 May 1916: Embarked Sergeant, SN 14004, 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, HMAT Medic, Melbourne
30 Sep 1918: Honoured Military Cross, Breaching the Hindenburg Line - Cambrai / St Quentin Canal, Military Cross Recommendation: 'For conspicuous gallantry in action near Le Catelet, on 30th September 1918. He led a patrol of five men in face of heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and succeeded in locating the enemy position. By skilful handling of his patrol, he obtained information of the greatest value, which enabled his company to advance more than 1,000 yards, and to clear up an obscure and difficult situation on the left flank of the brigade.' Recommendation date: 7 October 1918 Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10 Date: 29 January 1920
2 Oct 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 37th Infantry Battalion
12 Oct 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 38th Infantry Battalion, The 37th Battalion was ordered to disband because of heavy losses resulting in reduced numbers for a Battalion.
11 Aug 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 38th Infantry Battalion, Per service record

Awarded the Military Cross - 37th Infantry Battalion

'For conspicuous gallantry in action near Le Catelet, on 30th September 1918. He led a patrol of five men in face of heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and succeeded in locating the enemy position. By skilful handling of his patrol, he obtained information of the greatest value, which enabled his company to advance more than 1,000 yards, and to clear up an obscure and difficult situation on the left flank of the brigade.'

Recommendation date: 7 October 1918
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10
Date: 29 January 1920

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Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Alfred Leigh Bool

Alfred Leigh Bool was born in the gold mining town of Tarnagulla on the 25th of September 1895. Tarnagulla is 183 km north-west of Melbourne and 47 km west of Bendigo in Central Victoria. At the time of Alfred’s birth the population of Tarnagulla was about 980.  He was Frederick and Elizabeth’s eleventh and youngest child, having seven elder sisters, a half-sister and two brothers.

Alfred began work as a bank clerk in Tarnagulla before enlisting in the A.I.F on July 31, 1915. He was 19 years and 10 months and assigned to the AIF’s 3rd Casualty Clearing Station and went into training at the Melbourne AIF camps. 

Alfred demonstrated early leadership qualities as he was promoted to Sergeant on April 16, 1916 before embarking for war on May 20, 1916, on-board the HMAT A7 Medic from Princess Pier, Port Melbourne. The destination of the HMAT Medic was Plymouth on the west coast of England and they arrived two months later on July 18, 1916. 

After 2 months of training and waiting in England, Alfred departed the port city of Southampton, arriving in Le Havre, France, on September 27, 1916. Alfred would serve as a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front, carrying wounded men from the battlefield back to the Clearing Stations where they where the severity of their wounds were assessed.

After more than a year of service on the battlefields of the Western Front, Sergeant Bool was given 2 weeks leave in late October and selected to return England to attend the Officer Training School as a sergeant cadet in November 1917. On New Year’s day he was officially was reassigned to the (BEF) British Expeditionary Force and would spend six months in Officers Training at Trinity College, Cambridge University as a sergeant cadet.

Alfred returned to the battlefields on the Western Front, in late July 1918. On Commissioning, he appears to have been allocated to a Corps pool of junior infantry officers from whence he served in a number of 2nd Division Battalions including the 25th, 27th and then to the 3rd Division 37th Battalions in late August, 1918.

Just a month later after being ‘Taken on Strength’ in the 37th, Alfred was recommended and subsequently awarded the Military Cross medal for conspicuous gallantry near Le Catelet, as a result of his actions on September 30, 1918. He would lead a patrol of 5 men in the face of heavy machine gun fire with an utter disregard for his own safety and succeeded in locating the enemy position. By skilful handling of his patrol, he obtained information of the greatest value, which enabled his Company to advance more than 1000 yards; and clear up an obscure and difficult situation on the left flank of the 10th brigade.

Le Catelet, Northern France, September 30, 1918.   'On September 29, 1918, two American divisions, the 27th and 30th were placed under the command of the Australian Corps.  Two Australian Divisions, the 3rd and 5th, supported the American Divisions, which also had Australian advisers attached.   Leading the assault the US Divisions were partially successful, although the 27th's attack stalled and the 3rd Australian Division had to move up and pass through the 27th US to reach the initial objective.  The 30th US Division was more successful and the 5th Australian Division passed through them after they had attained their objective.  The result was that the Hindenburg line had been breached on a short front from Bellicourt to Riqueval, beyond which the British had also been successful in crossing the St Quentin Canal.  The Australian Divisions continued the advance completing the capture of the main Hindenburg line.  Several days later the Australians took the Le Catelet and Beaurevoir lines line.  At a cost of 5500 men killed and wounded in 17 days, all five divisions of the Australian Corps had played a major role in breaking through the Hindenburg Line and bringing the war to a victorious end'.[1]

Alfred remained on the Western Front, when a number of AIF Battalions including the 37th were disbanded due to heavy losses. The officers and men of the 37th reluctantly were transferred into the 38th Battalion (the Bendigo battalion) on October 12, 1918.  

Alfred returned to London on March 1 1919 and was invested with the Military Cross by King George V, on Saturday March 29, 1919, at Buckingham Palace, London. He remained stationed in the UK and married Lydia Maude Gill at St. Andrews Church of England, Nottingham, on March 9, 1920. A month later on April 3, 1920, Alfred and his new wife would embark for Australia. Accompanying them would be Alfred’s recently widowed mother in-law. All three would commence a new life in Tarnagulla.

SERVICE DETAILS:

Regimental No: 14004

Place of birth: Tarnagulla, Victoria

Religion: Church of England

Occupation: Bank clerk

Address: Union Bank of Australia Ltd, Tarnagulla, Victoria

Marital status: Single

Age at embarkation: 20

Next of kin: Mother, Mrs E H Bool, Tarnagulla,

Previous military service: 70th Infantry

Date of enlistment: 31 July 1915

Unit names : 37th Battalion, 38th Battalion & 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station

Embarked: HMAT A7 Medic on 20 May 1916

Final Rank: Lieutenant

Medals and Awards: Military Cross

 


[1] https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/history/conflicts/australians-western-front-19141918/australian-remembrance-trail/fourth-0

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