Arthur Roy EARL


EARL, Arthur Roy

Service Number: 2931
Enlisted: 10 April 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 9th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Mallala, South Australia, 4 August 1892
Home Town: Mallala, Mallala, South Australia
Schooling: Mallala Public School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Accidental – Collapse of Dugout , Palestine, 26 June 1917, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Beersheba Military Cemetery
Q. 57. Beersheba Military Cemetery, Palestine,
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Dublin War Memorial, Mallala District of Grace WW1 Roll of Honor, Mallala District of Grace WW1 Roll of Honor, Mallala Primitive Methodist Church EARL Memorial Window, Mallala Public School Roll of Honor, Mallala War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2931, 9th Light Horse Regiment, Adelaide, South Australia
24 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, RMS Mooltan at Adelaide
26 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 2931
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 2931, 9th Light Horse Regiment

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Trooper Arthur Roy Earl:

Arthur Roy Earl was born on the 4th of August 1892 in the town of Mallala, South Australia. Named after his father, also Arthur Roy Earl, he was the first of six children to Arthur Roy Earl and Eliza Ann Earl (nee Jury.) He was educated at Mallala Public School.

Arthur Earl responded to the Empire’s call and enlisted on the 10th of April, 1916 and was placed in the 21st Reinforcements of the 9th Light Horse Regiment  He embarked at Adelaide on RMS Mooltan on the 24th August, 1916 bound for Egypt.

Arriving in Egypt on the 21st of September, 1916 he was marched into camp just outside Cairo by the Pyramids. A month later on the 21st of October, 1916 he was transferred to the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment which was attached to the 3rd Light Horse Bridge. This was where Arthur Earl underwent his Light Horse training. From here he was marched out to the Imperial School of Instruction at Zeitoun Camp, Egypt on the 4th of November to undergo machine gun training. Finally on the 20th of November, 1916 Arthur Roy Earl was transferred to the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron and joined them six days later at Bir El-Mazar.

Between, November, 1916 and June, 1917 Arthur Roy Earl fought with the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron in the Middle East against the Turkish advance there. Most notably during this time he was involved in the battle of Rafa in the Sinai on the 9th of January 1917. During the battle Earl was in one of the six machine gun sections that were involved in the fighting. He was also involved in the first and second attack on Gaza in the Palestine from March until April, 1917.   

While fighting in the Middle East on the 26th of June, 1917, at Um Urgan in Palestine, Earl was accidentally killed. At approximately 3:00pm Arthur Earl had approached a newly constructed dug out where Walter Benthien and Loy Doran, both 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron men were resting. A few minutes later he crawled in and was about to warn them that their dug out had a chance of collapse when it did collapse on top of the three men. After about 20 – 25 minutes Trooper Walter Benthien was rescued and was still conscious. He reported to the rescue party - unaware of Trooper Earl’s presence at the time of collapse - that he had also being buried. Unfortunately as the rescue party didn’t know this fact they had being dumping the excess dirt onto of the already cover Trooper Earl. After about another minute, however, the party found Trooper Arthur Roy Earl unconscious. Several minutes after that Trooper Loy Doran was also recovered unconscious. Despite many efforts that lasted about an hour both Trooper Earl and Trooper Doran couldn’t be revived. On the 27th of June, the next day, Earl was buried in Tel-el-Fara Military Cemetery. He was aged 24.   

An inquest into the deaths of Trooper Arthur Roy Earl and Trooper Loy Doran was held the next day with 5 statements presented to the board. At the end of the day both deaths, “occurred from sources entirely beyond… control, no blame being attached to anyone.” In essence the inquest findings placed the deaths down to accidental means. In 1919 Arthur Roy Earl’s remains were exhumed from Tel-el-Fara Military Cemetery and reburied in the Beersheba Military Cemetery, Palestine, now Israel.                  

Many remembered Arthur Earl as a competent, fine young man.  

Below is the statement given to the inquest board by Walter Benthien, the trooper to survive and tell the tale of his ordeal:

“At about 1500 on June 26th Doran and myself were digging a Dug out which we had finished and were sitting in it talking when Trooper Earl came along and remained in the entrance on his hands and knees talking to us. Shortly after he came in a piece of earth fell and hit him on the head and apparently stunned him. More earth fell on myself and Doran, and Doran in attempting to get out was covered. I stopped when I was afraid a move would cover me further and heard Doran and Earl calling out for about 5 minutes when they suddenly stopped. I was rescued about 15 or 20 minutes afterwards. As soon as I was taken out I called that Earl was there as well as Doran. Several men knew we were digging the dugout. While digging it we several times hit the roof and walls with a shovel to test their safety and all being well we went on and finished it. Earl was dug out a minute or two after myself and Doran the same time after Earl. Earl advised us when he came in to make an arch of the roof as the flat roof was liable to fall. This we intended to do when the accident occurred.”  


Information from Trooper Earl's service record.  Nathan Rohrlach