Service Number: VX61635
Enlisted: 3 September 1939
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/9th Field Ambulance
Born: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 April 1920
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Writer
Died: Presumed, Malaya, 9 February 1942, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Kranji War Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Private, SN VX61635
3 Sep 1939: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, SN VX61635, 2nd/9th Field Ambulance

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

Biography contributed by John Baker

The exquisite little poem in the adjoining column (below) was written by a young Australian soldier (VX61635 Arnold Gardner) and was sent to The Argus by Mrs Annie McCulloch, of Malvern Road, East Malvern, mother of WilfredMcCulloch, AIF, artist, whose portrait of Arnold Gardner was one of the out-standing works at the recent exhibition of art by Australians in the Fighting Services at the Athenaeum Gallery, Collins Street. Reference to the portrait was made in a special article on the exhibition, published in The Argus on January 27.
In a short letter with which she enclosed the poem, Mrs McCulloch wrote: "This is a note of appreciation of the article in The Argus today, viz 'Servicemen Respond to the Call of Art, and for the reference to the portrait of Arnold Gardner, which was painted by my son Wilfred. I am enclosing some lines by Arnold Gardner, which I think justify your last comment, viz, "There must be a good story in that picture.' "
There is a "good story" associated with the painting. Wilfred McCulloch and Arnold Gardner were close friends, McCulloch, some years older than Gardner, had studied art at Melbourne
National Gallery and Melbourne Technical College, and was skilled and versatile in his art. Gardner, who was 21, after leaving Melbourne Grammar School, went into an advertising office in Melbourne, and, with a literary flair, did a fair amount of free-lance writing in his
spare time. One of his short stories, entitled "Invasion," appeared in The Argus Weekend Magazine on November 1, 1941.
Both young men had an abhorrence or war, but they responded to the call, and went away together, as stretcher bearers in the AIF. They arrived at Singapore 10 days before its fall, and since the receipt of their last letters describing their impressions of Malaya their people have heard nothing from them. Both are posted "Missing in Malaya."
In my ears the echo of past wars
Beats like a drum: I have ridden astride
The awful steeds of death and shouted murder
To the red stars with bloody bayonet.
I have mocked life.
Yet, I have laughed and loved.
Behind my eyes dance the sweet, cool gums.
Sleep still grey morns, dust throbs, still towards
The faint blue infinity of mountains.
Because I love these things
I fight, breaking
The misty veil of the future.
Only my eyes,
Full of Australian summer,
Speak my regrets.
Written by VX61635 Private Arnold Gardner 2/9th Field Ambulance, Singapore 1942