Alexander Waugh PANTON MID

PANTON, Alexander Waugh

Service Number: 2747
Enlisted: 2 August 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 55th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia, 14 May 1894
Home Town: Gunnedah, Gunnedah, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Coonabarabran, New South Wales, 11 June 1953, aged 59 years
Cemetery: Gunnedah Cemetery, NSW
N Anglican B
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World War 1 Service

2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2747, Liverpool, New South Wales
2 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2747, 17th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
2 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2747, 17th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Feb 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 55th Infantry Battalion
8 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 55th Infantry Battalion
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 2747, 55th Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
23 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 17th Infantry Battalion
27 Feb 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 55th Infantry Battalion
9 Apr 1917: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, For coolness under heavy fire on nights of 1/2 and 2/3 February 1917 at Le Transloy whilst in charge of a party digging a new front-line trench in No Man's Land.
26 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 55th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, Polygon Wood, GSW back (slight)
2 Jun 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 55th Infantry Battalion, HT Beltana, Devonport for return to Australia
12 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 55th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Born in Kempsey in 1894, Alexander Waugh Panton was raised by his mother Eva and two brothers and two sisters. His father died after a horse crushed him when Panton was just three years old. 

Eva was a member of the well-known Waugh family that held various property and rural interests in the New England and North West. After her husband's death, she farmed “Wandanong” at Basin Plains near Gunnedah, New South Wales  with her sons.

Enlisting in August 1915, the 21 years old was placed in the 17th Battalion before being transferred to the 55th Battalion.

After arriving in France he was pitched into the Battle of Fromelles – the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front.

As Sergeant Alexander Waugh Panton he was among the diggers to front heavy shelling and machine-gun fire on a disastrous assault on well-prepared German lines on July 19 and 20, 1916 at Fromelles.

Charles Bean made special mention of the work of Panton, Lieutenant N.F.F. Pinkerton and Sergeants Matthews, Hassett, Perkins and Chadwick in his volume The AIF in France of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, noting that Panton had crossed no man's land at least a dozen times taking supplies to the line and leading carrying parties to collect wounded.

Alexander Panton was promoted Second Lieutenant in August 1916 and Lieutenant in February 1917. A month later he was mentioned in despatches for coolness and courage under heavy fire whilst in charge of a party digging a new frontline trench at Le Transloy.

On 26 September 1917 at Polygon Wood he received a gunshot wound to his back and was invalided to Dublin for treatment.

In late 1917 he rejoined the 55th Battalion and continued to serve until the Armistice. 

Returning to Australia in mid 1919 he became a builder, and in 1921 at Gunnedah he married Ruby Wyper Bailey, who lived on a neighbouring property. They raised a family of four.

Lieutenant Alexander Waugh Panton, late 55th Battalion AIF died in 1953 at the age of 59.

Credit: RG McLean