James Alfred GAMMIDGE

GAMMIDGE, James Alfred

Service Number: 7744
Enlisted: 22 October 1917, Newcastle, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 4th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wickham, New South Wales, Australia, 31 March 1890
Home Town: Wickham, Newcastle, New South Wales
Schooling: Wickham State School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Tally clerk
Died: Killed in Action, France, 24 August 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery, Picardie
Plot VI, Row A, Grave No. 16
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Wickham Public School Great War Honour Roll, Wickham Public School Great War Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

22 Oct 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 7744, Newcastle, New South Wales
28 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 7744, 4th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '8' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Nestor embarkation_ship_number: A71 public_note: ''
28 Feb 1918: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 7744, 4th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Nestor, Melbourne
24 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 7744, 4th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"

Help us honour James Alfred Gammidge's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Gary Mitchell, Sandgate Cemetery  

Awaiting memorialisation at Sandgate Cemetery, not forgotten.

104 years ago today, on the 24th August 1918, Private James Alfred Gammidge, 4th Battalion (Reg No-7744), tally clerk from 1 Foundry Street, Wickham, New South Wales, was Killed in Action, France, age 28 years 5 months.

Born at Wickham, New South Wales on the 31st March 1890 to James Benjamin John (died 20.3.1919, not listed on Sandgate Cemetery database and Mary Ann Naomi Gammidge nee Bell (died 28.11.1931, as GAMNIDGE ; husband of Janet Hart Gammidge nee Cain (married 17.11.1917, Newcastle, N.S.W., remarried 1949, Sydney, N.S.W. as GEDGE, died 1972 at St Leonards, N.S.W.), James enlisted October 1917 at Newcastle, N.S.W.

James is resting at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. Plot VI Row A Grave 16.

Mr. Gammidge’s name has been inscribed on the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Newcastle) Roll of Honour (photos, unveiled on the 27th August 1916, 38 names originally inscribed, 78 names now inscribed, 9 Fallen, located at 12 Laman Street, Cooks Hill, N.S.W.), Wickham Superior Public School Roll of Honour and the Wickham (Hawkins Oval) Soldiers' Memorial. Name not inscribed on the Wickham Municipal District Roll of Honour Boards 1 or 2.

Unfortunately, there is no headstone at the Gammidge gravesite, therefore no memorial inscription to tell us of the supreme sacrifice of their son James, so April 2018 I placed a Memorial cross adorned with poppies in remembrance of their son’s sacrifice for God, King & Country during The Great War. PRESBYTERIAN-7SW. 11.

Younger brother Abram Edward (1st Australian Pioneer Battalion, Reg No-2109, born 1897 as ABRAHAM E. M. GAMMIDGE, Wickham, N.S.W., died? - a member of the Lambton Hand of Freedom Lodge, U.A.O. Druids) also served 1st A.I.F.

Older brother Robert Fraser Bell (35th Battalion, Reg No-1649, born 1885? Scone, N.S.W., died?) also served 1st A.I.F.

Many thanks to Marjorie and Maurice Gammidge, from Jewells, for the following information (April 2022).

My husband's Great Uncle James Alfred Gammidge was Killed in Action 24th August only 10 months after enlisting. We travelled to Harbonnieres, France, to visit his grave in the Heath Cemetery, and we were unaware that there was a marker in Sandgate Cemetery till looking on Facebook photos. Have seen many posts you have placed there and was wondering if you could tell us where James's memorial is located. We were aware of the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Newcastle) Roll of Honour, and the Wickham (Hawkins Oval) Soldiers' Memorial, but not the Wickham Superior Public School Roll of Honour, so will look for that one, from the photos it looks like it is somewhere near the Newcastle Interchange. Thank you for any information you may be able to pass on.

For more detail, see “Forever Remembered “

Lest We Forget.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout
Pte 7744 James Alfred Gammidge,
4th Australian Infantry Battalion,
1st Brigade, 1st Australian Division

In the poppy fields of the Somme, stand silently, row after row, the white graves of thousands of young men who, here, for their country and for France, gave their today and their lives.In the trenches, they did their duty side by side with pride in the same uniform for the same causes and for peace and freedom, they gave their all. Gone but not forgotten, they still live in each of us and still stand proudly behind their young smiling faces that remind us that for us and for the peace in which we live, they give their youth and rest in peace today, always united in the mateship in which they lived, fought and fell and that in respect and gratitude, we will always be united around them in remembrance, to honor their memory and bring them back to life, so that they are never forgotten and live forever. Like the poppies that grow between the rows of their white graves, the memory of these heroes will never fade.

Today, it is with the deepest respect and gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who paid the supreme sacrifice.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 7744 James Alfred Gammidge who fought in the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Australian Division, and who was killed in action 103 years ago, on August 24, 1918 at the age of 28 on the Somme front.

James Alfred Gammidge was born in 1890 in Wickam, New South Wales, and was the son of James Benjamin John Gammidge and Mary Ann Naomi Gammidge (née Bell) who married in 1876 in Scone, New South Wales, and lived at 1 Foundry Street, Wickam, Newcastle, New South Wales. James was educated at Wickam State School and before the outbreak of the war, served nine months in the Scottish Rifles, married Janet Gammidge (née Hart), and worked as a clerk.
James enlisted on October 22, 1917 in Newcastle, New South Wales, in the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion, 26th Reinforcement, and after a four month training period, embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on the 28th February 1918 and sailed for England.

On April 20, 1918, James arrived in England and was disembarked in Liverpool then joined the 1st Training Battalion at Sutton Veny and the following month,on May 3, he was promoted to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal then embarked with his battalion on August 8 from Folkestone but was reverted to the rank of Private the same day and proceeded overseas for France.

On August 10, 1918, after a quick trip over the waters of the English Channel, James arrived in France and was disembarked at Le Havre where he joined the 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot then on August 12, marched to join his unit and was taken on strength in the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion on August 16 at Amiens, in the Somme then marched for Le Hamel on August 19 but James' war was short and during an attack east of Proyart, Somme, on August 23, he met his fate and was declared wounded in action then killed in action on August 24, 1918, he was 28 years old.

Today, James Alfred Gammidge rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "Until the day break and the shadows flee away."

James, you who were young but so brave, it is with determination and courage that you answered the call to duty under the flag of Australia alongside your comrades who embarked to join France for which, together, they gave and did so much in the trenches and the battlefields of the Somme which were among the deadliest of the great war and on which millions of men fought and were mowed down under machine guns and shells at an appalling rate and which transformed once peaceful landscapes into fields of death that were nothing but oceans of mud and blood, open cemeteries swept endlessly by the savagery of artillery, burying and covering bodies over and over again brave young men who gave their lives and who lay lifeless before the eyes of their friends who lived surrounded by the death and desolation of a world on the brink of destruction, on grounds scarified by barbed wire between which soon stood wooden crosses, last traces, last memories of lives taken too early in the hell of a war that marked the bloodiest century in history. Day after day, thousands of families who hoped for the return of their sons, received the terrible telegrams which were terrible waves of shock announcing to them that their husbands, their men would never come home and were now resting far from their homes under the white tombs of the cemeteries of the Somme which remind us every day what sacrifices made these men who served with courage and pride in the mud and who at a terrible cost, held their positions under the constant fire of the cannons, they fought without respite, watching the front line day and night under the howls of shells and flares which gave a glimpse of death and the bodies of their comrades who fell before them on no man's land.In the cold, among the rats, their feet frozen, they fought together in appalling conditions and dragged with each step, under their boots, a sticky mud which added on their shoulders a little more weight which they carried like a burden in which they lived during four years of endless combat with, in the pit of their stomachs, a fear present every day and lived as if each day could be the last without hope of seeing again the sun rise on a world at peace but united to each other, they remained united in the comradeship which was their strength and which enabled them to hold their heads high through the hell they went through and it was by watching over each other that they went over the top behind their officers, alongside their brothers and fathers under rain of bullets and were stopped by the shock of metal hitting the chests in bloodshed, they moved forward with incredible bravery in the face of their fates and despite Terrible losses, under the sight of the dismembered bodies, of their brothers in arms who were pulverized under the shells, mown down by lead and fire, they did not retreat and did their duty until the end, until their last breath of life with the conviction deep in their hearts that they did what was right with pride and loyalty to their country.Over a hundred years have passed, barbed wire and trenches have disappeared under the poppies but the men who fought here never cease to live and walk in peace on peaceful and silent soils for which they gave so much and in front of them, I would always stand with respect to honor their memory and bring their history to life, the history of a whole generation of men, my boys of the Somme to whom I would always be grateful and over which I would always watch with honor so that they are never forgotten. Thank you so much James,for everything. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him,we will remember them.


Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

James Alfred GAMMIDGE was born in Wickham, NSW in 1890

His parents were James Benjamin John GAMMIDGE and Mary Ann Naomi BELL who married in Scone, NSW in 1876