Robert Gilbert WHITEHAND


WHITEHAND, Robert Gilbert

Service Number: 3240
Enlisted: 30 October 1916, Perth, WA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Glendaruel, Vic., 1890
Home Town: Mount Lawley, Vincent, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Salesman
Died: Killed in Action, 12 October 1917, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: East Geelong War Memorial, Geelong Shenton Methodist Church Honor Roll, Geelong St Andrew's Presbyterian Church Honor Roll, Lara Presbyterian Church Honor Roll, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

30 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3240, 48th Infantry Battalion, Perth, WA
23 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3240, 48th Infantry Battalion, HMAT A35 'Berrima'

Bert's Death.

Berts death:
Part - Page 171; “Leane’s Battalion. 48th Battalion A.I.F. 1916-1919.” – N. Browning.
"Heavy rain commenced to fall at 2 am on October 12th to exacerbate the men’s anguish as they lumbered through heavy mud towards the front line. Desultory shelling fell in the sector and wounded several men and killed Private R.G. Whitehand from “A” Company."
“Leane’s Battalion” is a compilation of official 48th Battalion War Diary records and extracts from many private letters/diaries/records of individual soldiers, held by their families, collected and documented by Neville Browning in a thorough record of the 48th Battalion actions during WW1. The official "48th Battalion War Diary" (available online through the Australian National Archives) refers to many soldiers deaths as “casualties” that occurred during various encounters; Browning’s manuscript actually put names many of the soldiers that were “casualties.”


A Passchendaele Casualty.

Transcription of page 4 of a file held at Australian War Memorial( Red Cross - Missing Persons.)
" WHITEHAND R G 3240 48th Battn. AIF
Killed in action 12 -10-1917
He was of "A " Company. On the night of 11/12th October 1917, as we were walking up the duckboards before we got to Passchendaele,
about half way to ridge from Ypres, I passed him lying face downwards on the duckboards. I did not examine him, but he used to take fits and dropout on the march, and I heard the men in front saying " He's got it again it's a shame to take him in". I could not positively swear that it was Whitehand.
Informant :- Pte .G FREI. 2658 48th Battn A. Coy P/W Red Cross."

Note from Passchendale WW1 Museum, August 2020, anon author:
"Though we can't ignore the statement of Pte Frei, as he was the only one who gave a testimony on the death of your relative. It's possible that Robert was having fits, because he was suffering from shell shock. The fits may have been triggered by a psychological trauma and a prolonged exposure to stress. A main group of symptoms included involuntary movements in the form of uncontrolled shaking, tremors or tics. Shell shock was a common affliction on both sides of the front and we can't rule it out."

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