Clyde Edward ARBLASTER

ARBLASTER, Clyde Edward

Service Number: SX7945
Enlisted: 5 July 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: North Kensington, South Australia, 18 March 1914
Home Town: Beulah Park, Burnside, South Australia
Schooling: Adelaide Technical High School, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Unknown
Died: Killed in Action, Egypt, 27 September 1942, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide Technical High School Old Scholars WW2 Honour Roll, Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Alamein Memorial (El Alamein), Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

5 Jul 1940: Involvement Private, SX7945, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SX7945, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion

'A Power of Strength'

Clyde Edward ARBLASTER SX7945
Clyde was born on the 18th March, 1914 in Kensington, SA to Edward Charles and Eleanor Millicent Arblaster. He had two older sisters Dora and Neva.
From an early age Clyde proved to be a talented athlete. Clyde first attended Marryatville Primary where his sporting talents were evident at the end of year picnic held at Morialta. He was presented with a trophy for the under 13 age group and also won the boys’ handicap race for his Grade 6 and 7 class. That same year, while playing in the Eastern District Schools’ Premiership Football match for Marryatville against Norwood, Clyde was both a goal scorer and named in the best players for his school.
In 1927 Clyde was selected to play in the South Australian Public Schools Sports Association representative team which toured Tasmania. The S.A. Football League covered the expenses including complete playing outfits. The team would be billeted with families in Hobart. Clive was the only representative picked from Marryatville with others in the team coming from Unley, Goodwood, Lefevre Peninsula, Norwood, Thebarton, Flinders Street and Croydon Schools. Clyde was selected as a ruckman with a renown accurate knock down to the rovers. The ‘Saturday Journal’ described him as ‘A big lad he is a power of strength in the ruck. Without him Marryatville would be lost. He is a good type of carnival player, as he is strong and rugged.’ At the Marryatville School final assembly at the conclusion of the year, the Head teacher Mr Rofe congratulated Clyde for his win in the Eastern Districts championship flat race and for representing the school and South Australia in the football carnival held in Tasmania.
Raising funds by the Kensington Oval Citizens' Improvement Committee meant that horse and athletic competitions were held annually. Keen competition in the school’s events saw Clyde’s athleticism rewarded with the Champion’s silver cup for his efforts in 1927. The following year, in a totally different field, Clyde was awarded a pass for his performance in Geometrical Drawings at the School of Arts and Crafts.
Not everything went smoothly however as, aged 15, Clyde sustained internal injuries following a severe fall from a motor bike he was riding at Loxton. It resulted in his being admitted to the Adelaide Hospital.
Clyde enlisted on the 5th July, 1940 to become SX7945 with the newly formed 2/48th Battalion. He trained at Woodside in the Adelaide hills before the large contingent embarked on the Stratheden for the Middle East, on the 7th November 1940, arriving on the 19th December 1940. By May the next year, Clyde was wounded in action but recovered sufficiently to play in a cricket game at Gezira creating a vigorous knock with the bat and also contributing with a catch in the field. In a much-anticipated Christmas gift to families back home, Clyde was able to be part of the Christmas Greetings broadcast from soldiers overseas. Families listened over a number of days to hear the voices of loved ones, only knowing the number of the disc on which their voices were stored. Clyde’s was on disc 525.
In John Glenn’s book, ‘Tobruk to Tarakan’, events of September, ’42 are graphically described. “To identify the enemy troops facing the 2/48th Battalion a patrol of eight men under the command of Lieutenant Bill Laird was sent out from C Company on the night of the 27th September ’42 with instructions to bring in a prisoner. They moved towards the main road until close to the enemy front, then turned due south along the German minefield, past several knocked-out carriers that were still manned by their dead crews. The patrol had just topped a low rise when a German broke the uncanny silence with a challenge. Sergeant J. Buckley, who was the forward scout, and Corporal Arblaster answered with sub-machine gun and rifle, killing one man and taking another prisoner. They were now ready to make back and Laird had just given the bearing for home when the night again broke into violent action and the patrol split up. They had run into a returning German patrol and a platoon of Germans guarding the minefield.’ Lieutenant Bill Laird (WX8898) and Corporal Arblaster had gone missing, despite a foot patrol setting out the next morning to find them in the terrific dust storm.
Little was known of his fate, but Clyde’s married sister, Neva Smith of Millicent was advised in October ’42 that he was missing. A long, uncertain and anxious wait ensued until finally in May ’44 his parents were informed that he was presumed to have lost his life, killed in action. This was later confirmed when Private R. E Groth, who was taken prisoner, was repatriated. He said that ‘Lieutenant W. L. Laird, who had been near him when the attack developed, had been shot when he attempted to rise to his feet. Corporal C.E. Arblaster, too had been killed.’ This finally confirmed that Clyde was killed in Action, in Egypt on 27 September 1942, aged 28 years.
His parents placed their tribute in the Chronicle Thursday 11 May 1944, ARBLASTER. —In loving memory of our beloved only son and brother Bill, previously reported missing, now presumed to have lost his life, aged 28 years. —Inserted by his loving parents and sisters Doreen and Neva.
Three years later Clyde’s father, Edward Charles died on April 26th 1947. He was buried in the West Terrace cemetery. In January 1970 Eleanor was also interred with him. Clyde’s name was added to their memorial.
He is also commemorated at El Alamein Column 94 with six of his fellow 2/48th Battalion including George Brown SX6935, Robert Catermole, SX10361 J.W.T. Christerson SX6935, William Gates SX6867 and Herbert Neumann SX8014. Locally, he was also commemorated on the Adelaide Technical High School Old Scholars WWII Roll, which was erected in 2005 with a grant from the Federal Government. It is now in the Brookman Building of Uni SA on North Terrace. It is inscribed ‘Their Duty Nobly Done’.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.

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2/48 Battalion

Rank - Private

Son of Edward Charles and Eleanor Millicent Arblaster, of Kensington Park, South Australia