Oscar Eric BAUMANN

Poppy

BAUMANN, Oscar Eric

Service Number: 10
Enlisted: 1 June 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Hahndorf, South Australia, 21 June 1896
Home Town: Eastwood, Burnside, South Australia
Schooling: Parkiside Primary School
Occupation: Joiner
Died: Killed in Action, Fromelles, France, 20 July 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: VC Corner Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles, France
(Memorial) No known grave
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial (South Australia), Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Parkside HB1* Parkside Public School, Rose Park M To the Fallen - Burnside District* , Tusmore HB1 Burnside & District*
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World War 1 Service

1 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 10, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 10, 32nd Infantry Battalion
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 10, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)

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Biography

Service record: Baumann Oscar Eric : SERN 10 : POB Hanndorf SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK M Baumann Maria Louisa

Born on the 21st of June 1896 at Hahndorf, Oscar Baumann was just 19 years and 1 month old when he enlisted on the 21st of July 1915.  His father Mr C.H. Baumann consented to his son's enlistment.  His mother Mrs Maria Louisa Baumann was listed as his next of kin and his address as  Elizabeth Street Eastwood SA

He had had previous military experience serving with the volunteer cadets at school for two years before joining the 74th Infantry Citizen Military Forces in which he was still serving with when he enlisted in the AIF.

He stated his occupation as a joiner (carpenter) and stated that he had been an apprentice at Hackett Harris, Adelaide for 3 years. His marital status was declared as single. 

Within a month of enlisting he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, probably due to his pervious military service, and assigned to A Company of the 32nd Battalion. The 32nd Battalion's composition was made up of half of South Australian recruits and half Western Australian recruits. Along with the 29th, 30th and 31st Battalions the 32nd formed the 8th Brigade in the 5th Division.

Embarking at Outer Harbour in Adelaide on the 18th of November 1915 the 32nd Battalion boarded HMAT Geelong (A2) and sailed for Egypt. After arriving in Egypt the 32nd Battalion went straight into training while the AIF underwent an expansion and reorganisation of its forces. This included the splitting of the 1st Division and 4th Brigade into two new divisions, (so these divisions then had a core group of soldiers with past experience,) while new reinforcements arrived from Australia to fill in the gaps.

The 32nd Battalion then transited the Mediterranean Sea and landed in France. From here they were then moved by train to Northern France, arriving in northern France near the 'Nursery' section of the front line near Armentieres and a little village called Fromelles. Many of the soldiers had remarked at the beautiful farming country through which they passed on their way north.  For many it was a stark contrast the Middle east and even the surburnt landscapes of their homeland.

The 5th Division was last into the sector.  By then the other divisions had begun to move south in preparation for their part in the soon to be launched Somme Offensive.  By mid July only the 5th Division remained.  They were told they were to take part in a major attack - the first Division-level engagment by the AIF on the Western Front. 

A and C Companies of the 32nd Battalion formed up on the extreme left of the 5th Division assault formation before launching their attack at 6:00pm on the night of the 19/20 of July 1916. The attack was a disaster. While the 32nd Battalion achieved initial success on its axis of advance, unlike many other battalions that night, when they continued advancing towards what they throught were the second and third German Trench lines, all they found were drainage ditches.  

The 32nd tried to consolidate its position as best they could, but they had over extended realtive to their flaniking units and were subjected to deadly 'enfilade fire' from their flanks and strong German counter-attacks.  They were progressively cut off and were either driven back to their own lines, killed or captured. (See Wesley Paul Choat's account of the withdrawal - sidebar link.)

After the withdrawal many Australian soldiers were left dead or wounded near German line and Oscar Baumann is assumed to be one of these. The German's buried many of them in six mass graves behind Pheasant Wood just outside of the town of Fromelles.

These graves were discovered in 2008 after the work of Melbourn school teacher Lambis Eglesios, and exhumed in 2010. Through DNA analysis many soldiers have been identified.  So far Oscar Baumann has not been one of these.  He is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at VC Corner Cemetery.   However,  it is most likely that he was one of the many buried at Pheasant Wood because the German's wrote up a list of casualties after the battle with his name included. Whether in the future he will be identified is open to conjecture; in the meantime he remains a soldier 'Known Unto God.'    

 

Medals

1914/15 Star: 24517

British War Medal: 24736

Victory Medal: 24560

Commemorative Plaque: 314890

 

Research by Steve Larkins November 2013

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