Rolf Shorter PAYNE


PAYNE, Rolf Shorter

Service Number: 29333
Enlisted: 12 May 1916, Moore Park, New South Wales
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 7th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 28 March 1895
Home Town: Hurstville, Kogarah, New South Wales
Schooling: Public School & Maitland Boys' High School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Died of wounds, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Trois Arbros, France, 25 June 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord Pas de Calais
Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Commercial Banking Company of Sydney WW1 Honour Roll, Maitland High School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

12 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 29333, Moore Park, New South Wales
30 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 29333, Australian Field Artillery - 116th to 120th Howitzer Batteries: AIF, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
30 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 29333, Australian Field Artillery - 116th to 120th Howitzer Batteries: AIF, HMAT Aeneas, Sydney
25 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 29333, 7th Field Artillery Brigade
25 Jun 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 29333, 7th Field Artillery Brigade, Shell wounds head and thigh.

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

The Methodist newspaper reported in September 1917 that Rev. G. W. Payne of Hurstville and previously of Maitland had received a letter from his eldest son Lieutenant W.R. (Roy) Payne, in reference to the death of his youngest son the late Gunner Rolf S. Payne.

The following is an extract from the correspondence.

"I have just come back from seeing the last of Rolf. It is just awful. I will try to give you an account of the hap- penings which led up to Rolf's passing out into our Father's glorious home above. Rolf received his wounds on the night of the 25th August, whilst his gun was shifting from one position to another under a perfect hell of gas and high explosive shell fire.

I was not with Rolf when he was hit, but was some distance away on duty, and did not know about it till he had been taken to the dressing station. As soon as I heard about it, I hurried along to there and found him lying on a stretcher waiting to be taken to a hospital. The remarks of the men who carried him down made me feel proud to have such a man for a brother. Although suffering terrible agony, he made them promise to drop him and take shelter should any shells interrupt their progress. Rolf was conscious when I reached the dressing station and seemed pleased to see me. He greeted me with 'Hullo! old man! you got here alright. ' He was very weak from loss of blood even then. He asked me to cable you that he was hit and promised to let me know what extent the damage to him reached as soon as he could. I only saw him for about three minutes, and I caught a last glimpse of him as the stretcher-bearers put him into the ambulance, smiling a wan little smile as he said 'Good-bye, old chap.' He was sinking into unconsciousness then.

He was buried in the British Cemetery alongside the hospital in the afternoon by an Australian chaplain named Tucker, a youngish man from Melbourne. I was unable to get down from the firing line in time for the burial service; in fact, I didn't get word that he had passed away till late in the evening.

During the last six months of intimate companionship with Rolf, I have come to know a brother who possessed ideals of nobility, manliness, goodness, and purity, which would inspire beyond realisation. the saintliest, strongest, and wisest of men. A glimpse of what some of these were, may be obtained from various clippings you will find in his pocket book which I am sending you. And these ideals were not vague dreams to him, but very real. He constantly strove with continually seeking Divine help and guidance to attain these ideals. Many an intimate chat we have had about them, and one of the streaks of comfort vouchsafed to me in this bleak bitter time has been the knowledge that I am a better man for having known my brother. He was a constant reader of his Bible, which I am sending you. He also had a Testament which he used, but I am sorry to say that it has disappeared in the rush and scurry of things here. It is hard to hang on to anything which you do not carry about on you all the time.

The fellows in the battery have all been most wonderfully considerate. One of the sergeants, about the oldest man in the battery, told me to tell you that Rolf played his part, like the man that he is."

Rolf Payne attended Maitland High School during the period his father was assigned to the Maitland Methodist parish. Prior to enlistment he was employed by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Rolf Shorter PAYNE was born on 28th March, 1895 in Brisbane, Queensland

His parents were George Warren PAYNE and Sarah Eunice THOMPSON who married in NSW