George DEY

Badge Number: S59024, Sub Branch: Port Pirie
S59024

DEY, George

Service Numbers: Officer, S213040
Enlisted: 19 April 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: CMF / Army Reserve Units
Born: Mosgiel, New Zealand, 30 September 1882
Home Town: Port Pirie, Port Pirie City and Dists, South Australia
Schooling: Otago High School and Otago University
Occupation: Metallurgist
Died: Natural causes, Leabrook, South Australia, 27 February 1961, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

19 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 27th Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
31 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
26 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 27th Infantry Battalion
8 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 27th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
4 Aug 1916: Wounded Pozières, GSW (right arm)
22 Nov 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 27th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

6 Feb 1940: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Captain, SN S213040, Port Pirie, South Australia
7 Feb 1940: Involvement Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Captain, SN S213040, Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC), Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces
25 Oct 1942: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Captain, SN S213040, CMF / Army Reserve Units

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Biography contributed by Karen Standen

George Dey was a native of New Zealand, born on the 30th September 1882 in Mosgiel. He completed his schooling in Dunedin, attending Otago High School, before going on to study metallurgy at the Otago University's, School of Mines. George arrived in Port Pirie, South Australia to work in the smelters as a metallurgist in 1907. Five years later, on the 12th November 1912, he married local girl, Mary Louisa Ewens.

In April 1915, George quit his job with BHP and enlisted in the AIF. Mary was five months pregnant with their first child at the time. Their son, David George Dey (/explore/people/511977) was born on the 20th August 1915, two and half months after his father had embarked from Adelaide on board the ‘Geelong’ for Egypt. 

Captain George Dey of the 27th Battalion, was wounded in action at Pozieres on the 4th August 1916. Having lead “B” Coy into battle, George “displayed great dash and courage during the assault and after having his right hand blown off he continued to lead his men and direct operations until the position was captured”. The delay undoubtedly resulted in the amputation of his right arm below the elbow. His “good and gallant conduct” was brought to the attention of the Corps Commander, General Birdwood, with his name appearing in the 2nd Divisions Routine Orders on the 26th August 1916. In addition to this, George received a Military Cross recommendation from his 7th Infantry Brigade, as well as a recommendation for a foreign award which he eventually received in September 1920, the Italian ‘Silver Medal’ and diploma for Military Valour.

Twelve months after being wounded, George attended a medical board which classified him for return to Australia for discharge. Not wanting to wait in England, George was granted permission to return to Australia at his own expense and he sailed aboard the ‘Missambie’ on the 5 September 1917. Arriving home in Port Pirie, George was discharged from the army on the 22nd November 1917. He immediately immersed himself in his work, both at the smelter and within the community. In 1921, George and Mary celebrated the birth of their second child Arthur Alexander ‘Sandy’ Dey (/explore/people/515364)

With the outbreak of the Second World War, George “was recalled for military service and appointed as area and recruiting officer in Pirie”. It is little surprise then that his sons enlisted, with both joining the RAAF. David in 1940 and Sandy a year later. In 1943, both boys were killed.

George’s civic duty, knew no bounds. Named on the 1947 New Year Honours List, George was the recipient of an OBE (C), The Order of the British Empire – Officer (Civil), in recognition of his public service to Port Pirie. A community George continued to serve for many more years. When he and Mary eventually left Port Pirie in 1954 to retire to Adelaide, representatives from 30 organisations were present at the farewell for Pirie’s “Best Citizen”.

George died on the 27th February 1961. His ashes placed at Adelaide’s Centennial Park Cemetery.

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