Brian Colden Antill POCKLEY MID

POCKLEY, Brian Colden Antill

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 18 August 1914, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Army Medical Corps
Born: North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , 4 June 1890
Home Town: Wahroonga, Ku-ring-gai, New South Wales
Schooling: C of E Grammar School, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Died of wounds, Kabakaul, New Guinea, 11 September 1914, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Crib Point RAN WW1 Roll of Honour (Panel 1), North Sydney - Sydney Grammar School Captain Brian Pockley Memorial Window, Northbridge (Shore) Sydney Church of England Grammar School Memorial Cricket Ground Roll of Honour, Northcote First Casualties of World War One Memorial Plaque, Sydney Hospital Staff of Active Service Honor Roll, Wahroonga BCA POCKLEY Memorial Plaque, Wahroonga St Andrew's Anglican Church WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, Officer, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Army Medical Corps, Sydney, New South Wales
19 Aug 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Army Medical Corps, HMAT Berrima, Sydney
11 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Army Medical Corps, German New Guinea

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"Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC), Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF). Capt Pockley was shot on Bita Paka Road near Kabakaul, 11 September 1914, removed to HMAS Berrima where he died of his wounds; the first Australian officer to be killed in the First World War. After they encountered German soldiers on Bita Paka Road, Able Seaman William Williams was shot in the stomach and Pockley had given his red cross armband to another naval serviceman, Stoker Kember, to carry Williams to the rear. This was done to protect the transporting of the wounded Williams; Pockley was shot shortly after. Pockley and Williams were taken back to HMAS Berrima, one of the ships that had carried the Australian force to Rabaul and they both died on board that afternoon. Six Australians were killed and four wounded in the battle of Bita Paka. "Pockley's action in giving up his red cross badge, and thus protecting another man's life at the price of his own, was consonant with the best traditions of the Australian army, and afforded a noble foundation for those of Australian Army Medical Corps in the war," wrote author S. S. Mackenzie in the official history, The Australians at Rabaul." - SOURCE (

Brian Colden Angill Pockey was born on 4th June 1890, son of Dr. Francis Antill Pockley and Helen Clare Pockley (nee Hooke) of Greystanes, Bums Road, Wahroonga.
His early education was at Sydney Church of England Grammar School Shore and University of Sydney in the Faculty of Medicine. He was a resident of St. Paul’s College and graduated in Medicine.
Pockley was a member of the Sydney University Scouts and with a number of members of this unit, enlisted in the 1st Military and Naval Expeditionary Force on 4th August, 1914. The Force had been assembled rapidly with the intention of putting German Pacific wireless stations out of action.
He landed with a Naval Reserve party at Kaba Kaul on 11th September and having attended to a wounded sailor, Able Seaman Williams, he was called to attend to a wounded German, Sergeant Major Mauderer. He took off his Red Cross brassard to protect the escort of the wounded sailor and, despite warnings, went forward to aid the wounded German. He was fired on and became the first Australian officer to fall in the Great War.
He was buried in the Rabal (Bita Pika) War Cemetery P.NB.G. (Grave Aa.A.1). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that New Britain was formerly a German possession, and Rabaul was the scene of the first fighting by Australian troops in the 19141918 War, when they seized the German wireless station on the site of which now stands the War Cemetery. The area is subject to earthquakes and instead of the traditional Commission headstones each grave is marked by a bronze plaque on a low concrete pedestal.
His name is recorded on the Honour Roll St. Andrews Anglican Church Wahroonga where there is also a plaque honouring Brian Pockley and his brother.
In the records of the Wahroonga Progress Association there is mention of proposals to erect a monument honouring Brian Pockley at the entranced to the family home, although nothing appears to have been done.
Brian Pockley was the first Australian casualty of World War 1 and the first medical officer to be killed in the war. His Plaque reads "Heavens morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee".
The Plaque in memory of his brother, Lieutenant John Graham Antill Pockley; who died in France, continues "And with the mom those angel faces smile, which I have loved today since and lost awhile".