Herbert Edwin FURNESS

Badge Number: S7398

FURNESS, Herbert Edwin

Service Number: 2762
Enlisted: 31 March 1916
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion AMF
Born: Woodville, 27 March 1895
Home Town: Woodville, Charles Sturt, South Australia
Schooling: North Adelaide and Norwood Public Schools, South Australia
Occupation: Piano Tuner
Died: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 30 October 1955, aged 60 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

31 Mar 1916: Enlisted
16 Dec 1916: Embarked Private, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Berrima, Adelaide
16 Dec 1916: Involvement Private, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion
7 Jun 1917: Involvement Australian Army, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Messines
31 Jul 1917: Involvement Australian Army, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
24 Apr 1918: Involvement Australian Army, SN 2762, Villers-Bretonneux
29 Sep 1918: Involvement Australian Army, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Breaching the Hindenburg Line - Cambrai / St Quentin Canal
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Corporal, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion
26 Feb 1919: Discharged Australian Army, Corporal, SN 2762, 43rd Infantry Battalion AMF

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Herbert Edwin Furness was born on the 27th of March 1895 in Woodville, South Australia, son of Herbert Stott Furness and Margaret Ross Wadsworth. His brother, William Wadsworth Furness was born on the 24th October 1893. They both attended different North Adelaide and Norwood Public Schools throughout their childhood. He married Kate Furness and had a job as a piano tuner before enlisting for war at 21 years old with no children. He enlisted on the 31st of March 1916 in Adelaide, 7 months and 5 days after his brother enlisted, who was also 21 years old when he enlisted.


Herbert Edwin Furness joined the 43rd Infantry battalion, 6th reinforcement in the 11th Brigade with a regimental number of 2762. The unit was housed at the Morphettville Racecourse. They practiced their firearms in the sand hills between Henley and Glenelg, and there was a practice attack on Hindmarsh Bridge. The battalion embarked from Adelaide onto the HMAT A35 Berrima on the 16th December 1916. The unit briefly stopped at Egypt on the way for training but did most of the training in Plymouth, England.


The battalion spent a lot of 1917 bogged down in trench warfare in Flanders. In June, the battalion took part in the battle of Messines, and in October they fought in the third battle of Ypres. The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley. In April, they helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux. In July, the battalion was also part of General Monash’s attack at Hamel. In August and September, they helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. Herbert Edwin Furness was shot in his left leg in France and was admitted to the hospital for a while. He committed an offense of ‘checking with records’ according to the service records in the Australian War Memorial.


Herbert Edwin Furness’ daily rations would have consisted of ‘bully beef’ (tinned corned beef), rice, jam, cocoa, tea, bread and ‘hard tack’ (ANZAC biscuits). His clothing would have been the Australian uniform; Uniform Tunic, Khaki Cord Breeches, Soft grey flannel shirt without a collar, Vest, Drawers, Puttees covering from ankle to knee, Tan Ankle Boots, Woollen or Cotton Socks, Khaki Woollen Great Coat and Khaki felt slouch cap or Service Cap. This uniform was like the British uniform but looser to allow free movement.


The Battle of Messines was set for the 7th of June 1917 with ‘Zero’ hour at 3:10 am with the name of ‘Magnum Opus’. A seven-day preliminary bombardment was conducted to put pressure on the enemy during the days leading up to the assault. The Battalions were brought from Pont de Nieppe to the farms around Ploegsteert Wood. At 11 pm on the 6th of June, the 3rd division (which includes the 43rd Battalion) were gassed, causing between 500 and 2000 casualties.


The battalion was discharged throughout 1919, with a total of 386 soldiers killed and 1,321 soldiers wounded. Herbert Edwin Furness was discharged on the 26th of February 1919. He returned to Australia on the 23rd of September 1919 and did a total of 2 years and 333 days of service, with 1 year and 342 days abroad. He received the 1914/15-star medal, the British war medal, and the Victory medal. It can be assumed that he was reunited with his wife (Kate Furness). Unfortunately, Herbert Edwin Furness died on the 31st of October 1955, at the age of 60 years old. His brother, William Wadsworth Furness served in the 9th Light Horse Regiment and died on the 31st of August 1969 at the age of 76 years.


On King William Road & Victoria Drive, on the Pathway of Honour in Adelaide, is the monument of the 43rd Battalion. It was established on the 7th June 2012.