Augustine Bernard (Gus) LODGE DSO, MiD

LODGE, Augustine Bernard

Service Numbers: 390, V80029, V371242
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Broadmeadows, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 18th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps
Born: Hamilton, Victoria, 1 August 1895
Home Town: Hamilton, Southern Grampians, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Coachsmith
Died: Natural causes (sudden), Caulfield, Victoria, 1 June 1949, aged 53 years
Cemetery: St Kilda Cemetery, Victoria
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 390, Broadmeadows, Victoria
19 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 390, 8th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 390, 8th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Benalla, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 390, 8th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
28 Apr 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli, GSW (left arm)
4 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
13 Apr 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Honoured Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Pozières, Gallant conduct
18 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, Pozières, 2nd occasion - GSW (right arm, leg, abdomen)
26 Nov 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, Machine Gun Companies and Battalions, SS Indarra, Melbourne
26 Nov 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Machine Gun Companies and Battalions, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Jul 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, Appointed to a Commission in the Indian Army

World War 2 Service

26 Sep 1939: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, SN V80029, South Melbourne, Victoria
30 Mar 1942: Involvement Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Lieutenant Colonel, SN V371242, 18th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps, Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces
21 Dec 1945: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Lieutenant Colonel, SN V371242, 18th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps

Help us honour Augustine Bernard Lodge's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

Augustine Lodge was born in Hamilton in 1895. The family lived in Clarke Street Hamilton. The Lodge family consisted of the parents, James and Ellen Lodge, six sons; Frank, James (Jim), Harry, Augustine (Gus), Richard, and Frederick and two daughters; Alice and Ellen.  Augustine, better known as Gus, attended the St Mary’s Convent School.  When he was eleven, his older brother Harry died of a kidney infection.  James Lodge Snr was a noted stonemason in the district, responsible for the construction of many of the fine private and public buildings, which still exist this day.  At the outbreak of WWI, Frank, Richard and Jim were working with their father in this business.

On leaving school at around thirteen, Gus was apprenticed to coachbuilder Abraham Greed at his premises on the corner of Gray and Brown Streets, Hamilton.  Gus’s main interest from an early age was in the Military.  Gus joined the Hamilton Senior cadets and was a Sergeant from 9 July 1911 to 25 May 1913 and a Lieutenant from 25 May 1913 until 28 August 1914. Britain declared War on Germany on 4 August 1914 and three weeks later, on 19 August, Gus had enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the first AIF in Melbourne where he reverted to his earlier rank of Sergeant.  He had just turned 19 years of age. He was the first Lodge brother to enlist and he left Australia for Egypt on 19 October 1914. 

Gus undertook 4 months of training in Egypt, where he had proved himself a disciplined and capable soldier.  The 8th Battalion was in the second wave at the landing at Gallipoli on the morning of 25 April 1915.  Three days later, Gus, having now proved himself under fire, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.  Not yet 20, he was the youngest officer in the AIF.  Three days later, Gus was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and soon after the battalion moved to Cape Helles for the ill-conceived and disastrous first Battle of Krithia.  On 23 July, the 8th Battalion was preparing for an enemy attack.  However, Gus’s luck ran out after 3 months on Gallipoli when he received a serious gunshot wound to the left arm, where after he was evacuated and transferred to hospital on Malta and later Gus was transferred to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth, England on 20 August 1915.

On rejoining the 8th Battalion in France he was promoted to Captain on 13th April 1916 and he was appointed the Battalion’s Adjutant.  At twenty-one, he was one of the youngest Captains on active service.  The battalion, as part of the 1st Division, positioned themselves near Pozieres to attempt to capture the village, their objective being achieved on 25 July.  But this successful action occurred at great cost in casualties. Captain Gus Lodge, as adjutant, stepped up after A Coy’s leader Captain Luke Fay MC was wounded.  He led A company to safety after noticing a possible threat in their path, then cleared an enemy trench blocking their objective.

The Germans, however, wanted to reclaim Pozieres and bombarded the village and allied trenches.  “Fritz shelled the hell into us, in fact we could see the shells falling, they were that thick” (Sgt Percy Lay, A Coy). Author Scott Bennet would state “Later the Australian soldiers referenced the intensity of shellfire in terms of the question, ‘better than or as bad as Pozieres?’ At that time and by definition, shellfire could not possibly be worse than that experienced at Pozieres.” Gus did sustain a wound (shot through the shoulder) but he was well enough to continue his duties. He was one of four 8th Battalion officers at Pozieres who were wounded but stayed on duty at Pozieres (2nd Lt Gerald Evans MC, and Capt James Hurrey MiD were two of the others). Not surprisingly, Gus was awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO, see link). 

Lt Donovan Joynt (VC), who had just joined the 8th Battalion as a Lieutenant prior to the battle of Pozieres, witnessed the actions of Gus Lodge which he described in his book “Breaking the road for the rest”:

“Soon after daylight a figure came running along the line from the left of our position – a picture of war as it is painted in boys’ soldier books – a white bandage tied around his head where he had been wounded – a revolver in his hand.  Disregarding enemy shell fire and sniper’s bullets he ran along above the trenches, stopping here and there to get reports from the forward post and saying words of cheer.  “Who is that?” I asked Sergeant McGuire.  “Lieutenant Lodge, the Adjutant!” he replied.  What courage; I thought, and he immediately became my hero.”

The survivors were relieved on the 27th of July and came out and according to the official Australian War Historian, Charles Bean:

  “like men in Hell.  They were drawn and haggard and so dazed they appeared to be walking in a dream and their eyes looked glassy and starry” wrote a sergeant.  They were strangely quiet, far different from the Australian soldiers of tradition”

By the end of July, the 8th Battalion was out of the trenches and for first two weeks of August having something of a break from the rigors of the previous month.  They were back in the trenches near Pozieres on 15th August taking up position near Sausage Valley.  Late in the evening on 18th August, the 8th Battalion was part of an attempt to advance, later deemed a failure due to poor and rushed planning.  During the operation, Gus received bad wounds including three shell wounds to his upper right thigh and a fractured shoulder from a bullet wound. His actions on 18th August saw him Mentioned in Dispatches (see link)

The diary of Sgt Percy Lay (MC, DCM, MM, 18th August 1916) provides a dramatic description of the 8th Battalion‘s attack: Early in the morning we went up to the line as we were to hop over same night. Went over and my party was on the right and did good work and had the Germans beaten, when our left retired and after all our bombs had been thrown we had to go back also, but not before I had the satisfaction of getting four Huns with one bomb. After we got back to our trench, we reorganised for another attack, but this time they were ready for us and we got hell, so we could not get nearer than twenty yards to his trenches, and we had to fall back one again. After a few minutes spell, Capt Lodge came along and said would have another go at them. I went out with him for the third time and it was hotter than ever as Fritz had got his supports up. Capt Lodge got wounded alongside of me as we were going back. Hard work alright getting our wounded and trying to find our Capt Dudley Hardy [b1894, MIA 18/8/1916], but a shell must have blown him to pieces after he was wounded.

Lt Donovan Joynt (VC), saw Gus being brought back in and describes it thus;

“I never saw a man more covered with wounds and still living.  I spoke to him and expressed my regret at not being in the front line with the rest of the battalion doing my share of the fighting.  He replied, “it’s bad luck Joynt, but I detailed you for the ammunition dump job because it is an important post” and again he repeated, “it’s bad luck Joynt.”  I thought to myself, What a man! What a soldier.  A lesser man would probably have said to me, ‘Thank your lucky stars you weren’t there.”

When admitted to the 13th Field Ambulance, Gus was near death.  He fortunately recovered and while in hospital in France, Gus managed to write a letter home to his parents letting them know his condition.  He told them he was out of danger but the first two weeks were the worst when it was thought he may lose his right leg. Gus was transferred to England and once again admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth on 16 September.  On 25 September 1916, the Hamilton Spectator published the news of not only Gus’ DSO, but the Military Medal awarded to his brother Frank for his actions at Pozieres on 4/5 August 1916. Gus could not attend Buckingham Palace to receive his DSO so the King’s daughter Princess Mary visited him in hospital to present it. During January 1917, Gus embarked on a hospital ship for Melbourne, arriving on 8 March 1917. The Lodge brothers efforts were reported in an article in the Melbourne Age dated 26th December 1916 under the banner “Bravery Rewarded – Two brothers gain Military Decorations – Family’s Magnificent Record.” (see link). 

Gus’s wounds rendered him unfit for further service according to the medical authorities, and he was repatriated to Australia in January 1917.  Gus received a hero’s welcome at Hamilton when he arrived by the evening train on 16th March 1917.  A motorcade travelled from the station to the Town Hall, with Gus and his parents in the car at the head of the procession, just behind the Hamilton Pipe Band.  Gus was giving a rousing reception at the Town Hall with the National Anthem ringing out.  Dignitaries spoke including the Mayor, Cr. Moore (see link).

On 28 June 1917, his older brother James enlisted and on 4th August, his younger brother Richard left Australia with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion. James left Australia on 21st November.  This was all too much for Gus who shrugged off his injuries and re-enlisted 2 days later. He left Hamilton by train on Tuesday 20th November and sailing for Port Said on 26th November 1917. By the end of 1917 all four brothers were either in active service, or on their way.

When Gus arrived back in France, his surviving mates from the 8th would have been somewhat dumbstruck to see their old Adjutant marching back into the Unit.  There is no doubt that they would have been relieved and pleased to see him, as much for his personal attributes as his abilities as a soldier.  W.D. Joynt, VC described him as “one of the most popular officers in the AIF”. Fellow officer, Lt Gerald Evans perhaps summed up the general sentiment best in a letter written before his return from a stint of officer training in January 1917, “I will not be sorry to get back to the Battalion, as it becomes quite like home and one misses everything that is going on there. There are some grand fellows in my Battalion and it is almost worth going to war to know them.”

While the four Lodge brothers were at war in in mid 1918 their younger brother Frederick died from the flu in June 1918, aged 17.  The tragedy was doubled by the death of their father, James Lodge from the same illness on July 31st 1918, although his youngest daughter, Nell believes that he died as a result of “fretting” for his sons.  Ironically, James Snr and Frederick were the only two Lodge men to die during WWI and they did not go to the war.

With a formidable reputation as a soldier and the allies finally making advances on the enemy after three years of stalemate, Gus made the curious decision to terminate his appointment with the AIF and accept a commission with the Indian army.  Perhaps his superiors were looking to protect him by giving him less active duties.  He joined the Indian Army as a Lieutenant and was appointed to the 2nd Battalion Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) on 1 August 1918.  He was promoted to Captain on 28th January 1920.  He was qualified in colloquial Hindustani.  At the end of 1922 he is listed as a company officer of the 12th Indian Infantry Group, attached to the Frontier Constabulary at Hangu. 

Gus returned to Australia in 1923, after army retrenchments.  Gus married Rita Cora Tanse at St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne on 19th June 1923 (see photo).  They took up residence at 65 Lumeah Road, Caulfield.  He joined his brothers as an administrative manager, in the Lodge Bros stone mason business.  Lodge Bros also built the spires of St Patrick’s Cathedral, the South African War Memorial in St Kilda Road and the Newman College Chapel at the University of Melbourne.  In 1928, they won the contract (with Messes Vaughan).   to build the Shrine of Remembrance which they completed employing returned servicemen as labourers.  In 1942, Gus enlisted for WW2 serving as Lieutenant Colonel with the 18th Battalion Volunteer Corps.  Gus died of a heart attack at his home in Caulfield on 1 June 1949 aged 54.  He was survived by his widow Rita and two daughters.

From a personal perspective, inevitably when one undertakes an investigation into the men of the 8th Infantry Battalion AIF, they invariably find some very fine men such as Lt Col Gus Lodge DSO, MiD.  Others would include Chaplain Joseph Booth MC, CMG, Capt Alec Campbell DSO, MiD, Lt Len Errey DSO, MC, my great uncle Capt Gerald Evans MC, MiD (DoW 20/9/1917), Lt Frank Goodwin MC+Bar, MiD (DoW 4/10/1917), Capt Donovan Joynt VC, MiD, Major Percy Lay MC, DCM, MM, C de G, Lt Clarence ‘Tas’ Mummery MC+Bar (KIA 20/10/1917), Lt Col John Triall DSO, MC, MiD, Lt Stanley Young MC+Bar, MM and some very notable others.  Invariably those that survived made good on their fortune, like the Lodge Bros, to make a significant and positive contribution to the shaping of the modern Australia that we have the fortune to be citizens.

Extracted from Western District Families page (see link) and I am heavily indebted to Frank Lodge (grandson of Frank Spry Lodge MM, MC) who undertook most of the research for his unpublished book chapter “Lodges at war”.

Further References:

Austin, R, ‘Cobbers in Khaki: The History of the 8th Battalion 1914-1918’, Slouch Hat Publications, McCrae, Australia, 1997.

Bean: Bean, C.E.W., ‘Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918’, Vols. III and IV, Brisbane: Queensland University Press, 1941.

Bennett, S, ‘Pozieres: The ANZAC story’, Melbourne, Victoria, Scribe Publications, 2011.

Joynt, W.D., “Breaking the road for the rest” Hyland House, Melbourne, 1979.

Lay, P., ‘Diary of Percy Lay, 1914-1918’ (AWM on line – original version)