Roy (Bitty) BITMEAD

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BITMEAD, Roy

Service Numbers: 1316, 1469
Enlisted: 3 November 1914, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 4th Infantry Battalion
Born: Broken Hill, New South Wales, 16 June 1892
Home Town: Broken Hill, Broken Hill Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Burke Ward State School
Occupation: Blacksmith
Died: Killed in Action, France, 30 June 1916, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Broken Hill War Memorial, Silverton IOOF WW1 Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

3 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1316, Liverpool, New South Wales
11 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1316, 4th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1316, 4th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Melbourne
30 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1469, 4th Infantry Battalion

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Biography

"IN BROKEN HILL.  CORPORAL ROY BITMEAD

...who was reported killed in action in France on June 30, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Bitmead, of Ryan-street, Railway Town, and was 24 years of age. He was born in Broken Hill, but enlisted in Sydney in September, 1914, and was in the 4th Battalion, A.I.F. Corporal Bitmead went through the Gallipoli campaign, and in the Lone Pine battle received shrapnel wounds, and was invalided to England, rejoining his battalion after his recovery. Several of his letters have been published in "The Miner's" Sunday Special. Corporal Thomas Bitmead, of the Cycling Corps in Egypt, is a brother of the deceased soldier. The Bitmead family is strongly represented at the front. Six cousins of the deceased are in the fighting line, one being a quarter-master-sergeant, two are sergeants, and one a corporal." - from the Broken Hill Barrier Miner 20 Aug 1916 (nla.gov.au)

 

"SOLDIERS' LETTERS.  FROM THE FRONT AND ABROAD. THE LATE CORPORAL ROY BITMEAD

Mrs. T. A. Bitmead, mother of Corporal Roy Bitmead, who was reported killed in action on June 30, 1916, has received the following letters regarding his death. His commanding officer writes under date of July 1, 1916:-

"As a mother's son, I feel it my duty to tell you personally of the death of your own son. Corporal Bitmead was amongst the best and most trusted of my non-commissioned officers, and being one of the small band of 'originals' I feel his loss keenly. He was on duty at the time, and well under cover, but an enemy's rifle grenade killed him almost instantaneously. Please accept my deepest sympathy."

Chaplain William McKenzie writes under date of June 30 as follows:-

''I regret that it is needful for me to write and inform you that your fine soldier son, Corporal Roy Bitmead, A Company, was killed in action about midnight on June 29th. a German rifle grenade bursting just at his neck and killed him instantly. He fought and fell like a soldier, in freedom's cause. He is much mourned and greatly missed by his comrades, as he was a fine, happy, promising soldier. I buried him at noon to-day, June 30, in the 'Wye Farm' cemetery, grave 28, row A and I am having a white cross with his name and number, etc., erected over the grave. He has ended his labors, and can come no more to your hearth, having made the supreme sacrifice for King and country. This is a sore trial to you in which you have my deepest sympathy, and I pray that God may graciously help, strengthen, and sustain you all with the needed grace to enable you to bear your sorrow with becoming fortitude and courage. He had very few personal belongings. Forty-five francs, which will be audited in his pay book; the other things are passed on to the O.C. 3rd Echelon, who alone is responsible for sending them along to next-of-kin."

Lance-corporal A. W. Pettigrew writes, under date of June 30, as follows:-

"Doubtless by this time you have been acquainted with the facts concerning your son's death which occurred early this morning. His section wish to extend to you and all his family their heartfelt sympathy in your great sacrifice. He played his part well, and is a man we can least spare at this time. His daring deeds both in the early part and at Lone Pine of the Gallipoli campaign will live in the memory of all ranks always. He was respected right through the brigade, and few there were who did not know 'Bitty.' At the time of his death he was doing platoon duty and seeing that everything was O.K., there being a bombardment on at the time. A rifle grenade burst near him, and a fragment entered his head below the jaw. He died within a few minutes. The card enclosed (a hand-worked memento inscribed 'Compliments from the battalion. 7th section. 2nd platoon) was sketched and signed a few days before Roy's death, and we are passing it on to you as a small memento." - from the Broken Hill Barrier Miner 03 Sep 1916 (nla.gov.au)

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