Arthur Vivian DEEBLE

DEEBLE, Arthur Vivian

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 September 1914, Previous Capt 29th Light Horse CMF
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 8th Light Horse Regiment
Born: 2 November 1879, place not yet discovered
Home Town: Ballarat, Central Highlands, Victoria
Schooling: BA Melbourne University
Occupation: School master
Died: Melbourne, Victoria, 8 April 1959, aged 79 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Batesford Lower Leigh School and District Honor Roll, Essendon High School HR, Lower Leigh School and District Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

1 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Major, 8th Light Horse Regiment, Previous Capt 29th Light Horse CMF
25 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 8th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, 8th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Star of Victoria, Melbourne
22 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 8th Light Horse Regiment
11 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 69th Infantry Battalion, Officer in Command
22 Jul 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 8th Light Horse Regiment

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

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Ballarat & District in the Great War

Lt Col Arthur Vivian DEEBLE

At 4:30am on 7 August 1915, men of the Australian Light Horse were poised in readiness for orders to launch an attack on Turkish positions in front of Walker’s Ridge. The area, which was no bigger than three tennis courts, was heavily protected by enemy machine-guns. Lieutenant-Colonel Alex White, from Ballarat, was well aware of what lay before them. He was to lead the first wave of the attack and charged ahead of his men in a show of bravery. The hail of Turkish bullets cut him down before he’d gone more than a few yards – and killed all of his fellow officers. Seeing this unfold in front of them, the men of the second wave were forced to follow into almost certain death. It is perhaps lesser known that the leader of these men was another Ballarat man, Arthur Deeble. Forced to obey without question the certain slaughter, he too charged into history at The Nek.

Many families could claim pioneer status where Ballarat is concerned. Undoubtedly, the Deeble family belonged in that category. Joseph Deeble, a native of Helston in Cornwall, arrived in Victoria with his wife, Henrietta, in 1856. Although he had trained as a veterinary surgeon with his father, Joseph immediately set up a drapery store in Bourke Street, Melbourne’s central shopping thoroughfare.

Moving to Ballarat, he branched out as an auctioneer, with his premises on the corner of Sturt and Armstrong streets – the site which is now occupied by the Ballarat City Town Hall.

Together, Joseph and Henrietta produced 14 children. The youngest of their brood, Arthur Vivian, was born at Ballarat on 2 November 1879. From the outset, Arthur lived a positive life – he was doted on by his older siblings, and the family home in Lydiard Street, Soldiers Hill, was comfortable, if unpretentious. All of the children were encouraged to excel and all of the sons achieved good positions within the community. It was a good way to begin a life.

Upon reaching school age, Arthur was enrolled at the Macarthur Street State School. He was still at school when tragedy rocked the family in October 1892. His older brother, Samuel, who had been working as a clerk at the Titles Office in Melbourne, had gone on holidays with a friend to Kotupna near Nathalia. The pair had been out shooting and Samuel had waded into the Wakiti Creek to retrieve some game when he became entangled in weed and drowned. The accident was a sad blow for the family. Although Joseph and Henrietta had suffered the loss of two babies, the death of a 20 year-old was much harder to bear.

Young Arthur was proving to be of precocious intellect and was given the opportunity of advanced study. On 15 December 1894, the Ballarat School of Mines announced examination results for local State School scholars. Arthur, who had completed his primary education at the Humffray Street State School, successfully passed the examinations in elementary electricity and magnetism. This entitled him to attend, free of charge, any one of the first-year lecture classes held at SMB during the 1895 session.

During 1896, Arthur studied drawing at the Ballarat East School of Art, achieving a pass in drawing from models or ornament from cast.

In 1897, he undertook studies with Miss Joan Elizabeth Kennedy BA, who conducted matriculation classes at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute. It was announced on Christmas Day that year, that he had successfully passed his matriculation examinations. After just one year’s tuition, Arthur had achieved a pass in Latin, French, English, arithmetic, geometry, history, and geography.

Arthur then enrolled at the University of Melbourne, where over the ensuing years he studied a variety of subjects for his Bachelor of Arts degree. He achieved passes in deductive logic, English, Latin, Greek, mathematics, political economy and moral philosophy – all whilst working as a certificated teacher with the Victorian Education Department. In late December 1909, the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred on him at the university.

His first teacher position was at the Ceres State School near Geelong. Being of an affable nature, Arthur was soon involved in other aspects of the community – including teaching the Sunday School scholars who attended the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at nearby Barrabool Hills. He also showed off his considerable singing ability at the State School concert in February 1906.

Maintaining a busy teaching schedule, Arthur was head teacher at the Lower Leigh Road State School during 1909-10 – at the same time he was taking preparatory science classes at the Gordon Technical College in Geelong. Whilst he was at Lower Leigh Road, he encouraged his students in the building of a school garden, which was adjudged to be the finest model in the State.

General regret was expressed when news was received that Joseph Deeble had died at Ballarat on 30 July 1909. As tributes poured in it was perhaps the achievements of his four surviving sons that were his greatest legacy - William Deeble, was the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Tasmanian Railways; Joseph Deeble JP, manager of the Bank of Victoria at Dunolly; George Deeble, was the accountant with the machinery firm of Cameron and Sutherland, Ballarat; and his youngest son, Arthur V. Deeble, BA, of the Gordon College staff, Geelong.

During 1910, Arthur took over as headmaster of the Fyansford State School. He continued his role at the Gordon College, taking classes in algebra and physics and overseeing the preparatory science classes.
The following year, Arthur was named as head teacher of Mount Duneed State School.

Arthur had also established an ongoing connection with the Light Horse regiments in the Citizens’ Military Force. In 1910, he was commissioned as a second-lieutenant in the detachment of the Melbourne Cavalry that was stationed in Geelong. At the end of the year, with news that the unit was to be disbanded under a new Defence scheme, Arthur had charge of the parade held at the Orderly Rooms to assess interest in the formation of a new squadron. Members of the 10th and 11th Light Horse combined to form the 29th Australian Light Horse Regiment in July 1912. By that time, Arthur held the rank of captain, having been granted a special certificate for obtaining over 75% of the possible marks. While he was in charge of the Geelong squadron, it was said that he was ‘instrumental in making it an efficient and strong body.’

In September 1913, Arthur transferred to a full-time position at the Wangaratta High School. The staff of the Junior Technical School at the Gordon College held a farewell social for the popular teacher on 15 November. The various speakers ‘eulogised [his] worth, educationally and otherwise, during his residence in Geelong.’ After being presented with a fountain pen, Arthur expressed regret at leaving Geelong, but he hoped to retain the many friends he had made during his time in the city. A musical programme was enjoyed by those present and ‘Melba and Caruso records were loaned by Mr Howard Hitchcock’ to add a classical tone to proceedings.

When war was declared on 4 August 1914, Arthur Deeble had advanced to the position of Third Master at the newly opened Essendon High School.

Notwithstanding the security and the import of his teaching career, Arthur didn’t hesitate to offer himself as a volunteer in the Australian Imperial Force. He applied for a commission on 1 September 1914.

As part of his application, Arthur was required to undergo a full medical examination. At 34-years and 10-months of age, he was 5-feet 8-inches tall, weighed 154-pounds and had a chest measurement of 33 to 35½-inches. His eyesight was normal and both his education and military qualifications were excellent. He was immediately passed fit for active service and, with the rank of major, was assigned to C Squadron of the 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment.
Whilst in camp at Broadmeadows, an outdoor portrait of five officers of C Squadron, 8th ALHR, was taken by a photographer from the Darge Company. Arthur Deeble was photographed alongside Captain Archie McLaurin, Lieutenant Charles Dale, Second-Lieutenants Wilfred Robinson and Charles Carthew. All would later take part in the fateful charge at The Nek. [Dale and Carthew would fall in the battle; Robinson, who was wounded that day, was invalided home. McLaurin, would also be wounded at The Nek, but later returned to duty; he would die from broncho-pneumonia in Syria on 23 November 1918.]

In the week before they were due to embark, the 8th Light Horse bivouacked at Altona Bay. On 25 February 1915, the men boarded the appropriately named Star of Victoria at Port Melbourne to begin the voyage to Egypt.

Arthur arrived at Port Suez on 5 April 1915 – just as Australian troops were leaving to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Being mounted troops, the Lighthorsemen were not expected to be deployed at Gallipoli. However, heavy casualties during the early stages of the Gallipoli Campaign resulted in them being ordered to ANZAC as dismounted troops. Arthur and his squadron embarked from Alexandria on 16 May 1915 onboard HMT Menominee.

When Alex White suffered a shrapnel wound to his scalp on 27 June, Arthur Deeble was given temporary command of the 8th Light Horse while White was recuperating onboard a hospital ship. Command was handed over when White returned to duty on 4 July.
Although it is a cliché, it is safe to say that the 8th Light Horse had its day of destiny at The Nek on 7 August 1915.

‘…It is well known among the 8th Light Horse that prior to the charge on August 7 commanding officers were instructed to go out with the fourth wave. Colonel White's characteristic reply was: “Damn it! I'll lead my regiment,” and he did. He was the first man over, and dropped after having gone five yards…’
The 1st line of the attack, led by Alex White, was cut to ribbons – he and his nine officers were all killed, including Ballarat’s Leo Anderson. After seeing the slaughter of his comrades, Arthur Deeble then had to lead the 2nd line over the top – three of his eight officers were killed, and three wounded. Only Arthur and Lt Mervyn Higgins were unscathed. And still a further 3rd and 4th line were sent over the top.
‘…Thus by six o’clock the attack both on The Nek and by way of Monash Valley had been brought to a standstill. On no other occasion during the war did Australians have to face fire approaching in volume that which concentrated on The Nek. From the whole face of Baby 700 and from secure positions far on both its flanks machine-guns swept that narrow space with devastating cross-fire. In the 8th Light Horse half of those who started had been actually killed and nearly half the remainder wounded; that is to say, out of a total of 300, 12 officers and 142 men had been killed and 4 officers and 76 men wounded…’

After the battle, Arthur was promoted to lieutenant-colonel to take on the role left vacant by the loss of Alex White. He continued to command the regiment for another month before illness incapacitated him. On 13 September, he was admitted to the 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance before being transferred to the Hospital Ship Nevasa, where the doctor wrongly diagnosed him as suffering from pleurisy. It soon became apparent that Arthur was actually suffering from the dreaded enteric fever, which necessitated him being evacuated to England.

Writing to his brother, George, from the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, Arthur gave a very personal insight into leaving ANZAC…
‘…16 October 1915
I have had a bad time for the past five weeks. I hung on to the regiment I was commanding as long as I could, although for two or three weeks I had a fever on me. Eventually I was forced to leave—the last of the officers who left Australia with the Eighth. All the others had left wounded except those killed (15). Including reinforcements, we have had about 800 at the front. When I left the number had fallen to 110. About 200 had been killed, about 200 wounded and the others sick.

I left the trenches on September 13, and was carried to the beach (about a mile) on a stretcher. This was about 5 p.m. I was kept waiting on a bitterly cold night for six hours until a tug was available. Then two lighters full of wounded and sick were hauled by the tug to the hospital ship. This should have been an half-hour trip, but as the punters of the lighter kept breaking (it is hard to get any material here) it took us three hours. When the lighters broke away we were in considerable danger of collision, as the night was dark, with no moon and no craft carrying lights. Cruisers and destroyers move about at night for secrecy.

However, these little perils, which we disregarded from our familiarity now with danger, were survived, and I was hauled in a cradle on to the Nevasa (British India Line) and put to bed. I got up for the first time yesterday (October 15).

For four days I was on the Nevasa, whose doctor did not diagnose my complaint correctly while the ship went to Lemnos. Here I was transferred to a very large vessel [HT Aquitania]. She had gone out to Gallipoli with many thousand troops, experiencing a thrilling time. She had to outspeed an enemy submarine, which in the end launched a torpedo at her. It passed about 15 yards astern.

While she was at Lemnos she was roughly fitted up as a hospital ship and repainted. All hospital ships are painted white, with a green band and Geneva crosses. At night they are brilliantly lit, all of the lights being green. There can be no mistake about one either day night.

There were some thousands of sick and wounded on board, and the number of nurses altogether inadequate. We could not get proper attention They did not have time to examine us all carefully in one day. One nurse had 78 cases in our ward.

They did not know my temperature for four days. Then it was 104, and continued over 102 until I reached England.

We put into Naples for coal, but as I could not leave my bed, I have not yet seen the famous Bay of Naples, nor Vesuvius, nor Gibraltar.

We had rough weather in the Bay of Biscay, and the nurse got sick, also some of the boy orderlies.
We disembarked at Southampton, and travelled by hospital train to Waterloo Station, London, whence I was brought at night by motor ambulance to the hospital. I have seen nothing so far of England except from my window, but in a week or two I shall see some of it. I have to be operated on, and after that I should mend rapidly.

I hope to be back at the front soon. In the meantime, of course, someone else has been appointed to command the 'Eighth,' and I don't know in what capacity I shall return.

On August 7 the G.O.C. had to make a decisive attack on a particular part of the Turks' position, and the 'Eighth' was chosen for the task. We knew the enemy had been strengthening their trenches for five months, and all were aware of the seriousness of the dash about to be made. There were 18 officers that morning. Four were (fortunately for them) wounded before leaving our trenches. The 14 of us charged with 300 men. We all expected death within a short time. Twelve were killed within 15 minutes. Two of us were protected by a slight depression and the dead bodies of our mates, and a little scrub. We got back some hours afterwards. If I get back to Australia again I think I should try a ticket in 'Tatt's.'

But there is a long way to go yet and as I'll be back in the thick again soon, one will judge me lucky to get through…’

Enteric fever, or typhoid, was a major cause of casualty for ANZAC troops at Gallipoli. Highly contagious and severely debilitating, it could take months to affect a recovery. Many were sent to England for convalescence until such time as they were certified as not being “carriers.”

The 3rd London General Hospital assumed the care of countless Australian soldiers throughout the war.

What Arthur Deeble encountered while staying at the hospital is perfectly illustrated by the following article.
‘…If the friends of Australian and New Zealand wounded officers in London could see where they are quartered they would feel no anxiety on their account. A majority of the wounded officers are now at Wandsworth the Third London General Hospital. It is situated in beautiful open grounds, in which new, huts are erected. Some are of iron, and others are of stucco, lined with fibro-cement. They have bright and attractive interiors.

The inmates read and walk in the grounds, and are taken out in motors. There are three concerts and other entertainments weekly.

The outside wards are connected with the hospital by long glass enclosed corridors. Many captains and lieutenants from each State are in a ward at the extreme end of the corridors, which is christened "Tipperary," because the Australians said they had "a long way to go" to reach it.

Dotted around the ground are revolving huts, for open air treatment. These huts may be turned according to direction of the wind or rain. The hospital is administered by Colonel Porter, and, under the new arrangements, Colonels Syme, Maudsley and Dunhill are associated with him…’

It was nearly six months before Arthur was well enough to leave hospital and go on leave. He was boarded to resume home duties and marched into the No2 Australian Divisional Base Depot at Weymouth on 23 March 1916.

On the eve of his departure for Egypt, Arthur suffered a severe attack of appendicitis. He was re-admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, where an emergency operation was performed. After making a complete recovery, Arthur returned to the Weymouth Camp where, on 21 June, he was appointed commandant.

After a transfer to the Parkhouse Camp on Salisbury Plain, Arthur was also appointed commandant. With his expertise in languages, Arthur was placed in charge of a school tutoring officers in French, German and Latin.

Despite his busy work schedule, Arthur still found time to write to his young nieces, Gwena and Nancy Deeble, daughters of his brother, Joseph, who lived at Avoca.

'…8 Dec 1916,
Dear Gwena and Nancy, — I received your letter with mother's, the other day and was glad to know you were well and doing something for our boys who are fighting too. They do love to get letters and parcels from the little girls in Australia, and they are fighting in mud in France, and sand in Egypt because they want their mothers, sisters, and friends to be happy at home. Bye-and-bye they will come back to Australia to meet all their dear ones again, but that will be only when they know that wicked men cannot come to Australia to spoil our lovely country.

I have met a lot of beautiful little girls, but none are so nice as the Australian girls— not so kind and good and gentle.

I have seen some beautiful places. The churches and parks are much more lovely than anything in Victoria. I hope you will see them some day. It is dreadfully cold here; I would like some Australian sunshine.
How jolly for you still to be getting on with your music. I hope you passed your exam. Anyway, music is enough reward itself for work, isn't it?...’

As was noted upon receipt of this letter, ‘…Lieut-Colonel Deeble ia a very busy man, but the fact that he wrote such a kindly letter to the children is to be admired, and shows that a soldier, even in midst of strenuous duties, does not forget the young folks. This is a sterling trait in any man's character…’

In what was to be a singular honour, on 7 February 1917, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Deeble was chosen to command a mounted Imperial escort to His Majesty, King George V, on the occasion of the opening of Parliament. The escort immediately followed the King’s personal guard and the crowds roared their approval when they recognised the Australian uniforms. ‘…This Imperial guard of perfect horsemen, big muscular, sunburnt soldiers, made a fine show, and was a most prominent feature of the procession…’
After a period of time commanding the 69th Training Battalion at Wareham, Arthur was ordered to proceed to France for battlefield duty. He sailed from Southampton on 22 October 1917, arriving at the Australian General Base Depot at Le Havre the following day. He took command of the 47th Infantry Battalion at Dilettes on 29 October 1917. It was slated to be only a temporary appointment during the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Peter Imlay, who had been wounded in action on 12 October, during the Battle of Passchendaele.

On 4 November, Arthur took temporary command of the 48th Infantry Battalion, relieving Major Montague Brearley, who proceeded on leave.

News of his mother’s death on 9 February 1918, must have sent Arthur’s thoughts winging home – the tyranny of distance was never more keenly felt.
Wheels were already in motion that would ultimately see the end of Arthur Deeble’s military career. Two weeks earlier, Headquarters of the 4th Australian Division sent a communique that outlined a proposed re-organisation of brigades meant Arthur Deeble would be ‘excess to requirements,’ and that he was to be sent home to Australia for termination of his appointment. They were at pains to point out that they were ‘well aware of the good service rendered…whilst in the Training Depots in England…’

Nevertheless, it was a less than honourable way to treat an officer who had served with great distinction.
It was obvious that Arthur did not wish to leave the AIF. A communication was forwarded to General Harry Chauvel on 18 March, ‘Lt-Col Deeble formerly 8th LHR now available if you can absorb him…willing to relinquish rank and rejoin LH as a major 2nd in command or squadron leader; he commanded battalion that was disbanded and cannot be further employed…’

Arthur sailed from Calais on 28 March 1918, returning to England for duty, whilst Headquarters awaited a reply from Chauvel. When it came, on 11 April, it was not the answer Arthur had hoped for. Brief and uncompromising, it said, ‘Regret unable to absorb Lt-Col Deeble.’

As a result, on 12 May 1918, Arthur boarded the transport Gaika, for the return voyage to Australia and his final command in the AIF.
The Gaika docked at Port Melbourne on Friday 5 July. For some reason considerable delay occurred in the landing of the men; the transport did not berth until 4.30 p.m., and the disembarkation was not concluded until 5:30 p.m. However, the carnival spirit of the welcoming crowds was deemed ‘the best reception yet accorded to returning troops.’
In recognising his unique place in ANZAC history, Arthur Deeble was in high demand to speak on his experiences. On 10 July, he was the recipient of a welcome home by the Lexton Shire Council when he visited his brother, the local bank manager. Arthur, after sincerely thanking the president and other speakers, gave ‘a short but interesting address.’ He spoke of the reputation won by the Australian soldiers, something ‘everyone ought to be extremely proud of…for they had proved themselves equal to the very best.’ Those listening were amazed by Arthur’s descriptions of food restrictions in England. ‘…There was no scarcity for the soldiers, but the civilians had to put up with a much-curtailed fare…’

At the Gordon College Assembly on Monday 22 July, the school’s former master recounted his experiences at Gallipoli. He was introduced by the principal, Mr George King, as the “stepfather” of the junior school on account him having been the first headmaster.
In speaking to the students, Arthur traced his voyage ‘…from Australia, via Colombo, to Cairo, he touched upon the dangers following transport work occasioned by the perils from submarines.

A glowing tribute was paid to the heroism of the Australians' landing at Gallipoli, in which part of the Light Horse serving voluntarily, to which Lieutenant-Colonel Deeble was attached, participated.

His first glimpse of active warfare was that between aeroplanes and anti-aircraft guns off Cape Helles. He was an eye-witness to the sad ending of the Triumph, which on being struck by a torpedo, heeled over and was entirely submerged within 23 minutes. As an instance of the discipline which prevailed, he said that out of a complement of 670 men there were only 50 casualties, these being occasioned mostly by the direct results of the explosion.

He narrated a humorous incident in connection with the great attack at Walker's Ridge, showing the feelings inculcated into the Turks as to their treatment upon capture by the Australians. It was necessary to cut off the boot from the foot of one of the Turkish wounded, and the Colonel stated that upon producing his clasp knife, in order to perform this act of mercy, a look of terror came into the wounded man's eyes, and it required tact and patience before he could be persuaded even to take anything to eat or drink.

On another occasion when the Australians had been sniping the enemy lines during a very slight pause, a voice was heard to remark in a manner reminiscent of the public schools: “Would you be good enough to ask your men to stop firing while I come in?”

He touched upon the memorable landing of the English battalions at Suvla Bay on 7 August, in conjunction with the attack by the Dominion troops upon the Turkish positions. It was here that Lieutenant-Colonel Deeble was wounded.

In concluding he stated that every man is needed and Australia should not be behind in upholding the great and glorious traditions of the stock from which they have sprung. He exhorted the boys to avail themselves of every opportunity for advancement in their school work, which should make them fitting citizens of the Empire…’

On the fourth anniversary of the Battle of The Nek, Arthur was interviewed for an article headed, “HOW HISTORY WAS MADE.”

‘…Survivor Describes Immortal Charge
Among the most interested spectators of the return was Major A. V. Deeble, who was in charge of one of the waves at Walker's Ridge, and who subsequently was O.C. of the regiment before he went to France.
There appears to be much confusion between Lone Pine and Walker's Ridge, to judge by the stories which have been appearing in the press in the last few days," he said. "Lone Pine was a distinct and gallant engagement fought by the infantry on a section of the front two miles on our flank. The Light Horse did not share in it, and neither did the Infantry share in our attack at Walker's Ridge.

The Lone Pine attack took place on the evening of August 6, and the 8th and 10th Light Horse charged at dawn on their section on August 7. The attacks were quite distinct, and it is well that the fact should be stressed.

The trenches at the ridge were in the form of two semi-circles, roughly, which at the nearest point, were not more than 30 yards apart, but on the flank extended to 450 yards. It was across this varying distance that the men had to charge in the face of a withering hail of machine-gun and rifle fire. The Turkish trenches were in three succeeding ridges, and they accordingly had us under a sustained three-fold fire. Each wave numbered 150 men, and was
spread over a similar number of yards.

The first wave went over at 4.30, just as the dawn was making things visible. A large proportion never got past the parapet, but rolled back into the trenches before the hurricane of lead. We followed them a few minutes later, stumbling over the corpses which lay thick upon the ground. The first line had practically ceased to exist, and the second wave was swept away. We were hopeless, helpless under such fire. No man gained the Turkish trench at any point and returned alive, but some there were who lay out in that hell of no man's land in sheltered pockets, and crept in under cover of the darkness during the following night.

The wave from the 10th followed us, and met with a similar fate; and the fourth wave from, the same regiment was ordered back at the last moment. The soldiers were supermen on that never-to-be-forgotten day. They knew that the enterprise was impossible, that they were going out to death, but they had their orders, and obeyed them."

There were three officers left with the regiment when the roll was called. Major Deeble, who had a light wound in the foot; Captain Mervyn B. Higgins, the only son of Mr. Justice Higgins (he was afterwards killed in Palestine); and Captain Beamish, a medical officer. Sixty men answered where 200 had been checked at the previous call. Lieut.-Colonel Alex. H. White, who had led the first wave with great gallantry, was among those who were silent.

For a time, the regiment was held in reserve, and then it was strengthened again, and fought at Hill 60 and Kaiakij Agala being subsequently moved to Rhododendron Ridge, where it remained until the evacuation…’

On Friday 23 April 1920, Arthur was invited to unveil the “wings” that had been added to the Honour Board at the Macarthur Street State School in Ballarat. In the year since the original board had been unveiled, an additional 100 names of former scholars had been added, bringing the total to 308. To accommodate the names, it had been decided to add right and left wings to the existing memorial. It was believed that Lieutenant-Colonel Deeble was school’s ‘most successful soldier.’

Although it was deemed to be a ‘small ceremony’, the day was attended by Major Eddie Kerby MHR, local councillors and school committee. Boy Scouts paraded, bugles were sounded, and the children performed a ceremonial saluting of the flag and ‘oath of fealty to God, King and Empire.’ Two former chaplains, Joseph Best and J. G. Nicholls, delivered prayers and an address.

The chairman of the school committee then introduced Arthur Deeble ‘in complimentary terms.’ Ever the teacher, Arthur explained to the adults present, that ‘…the occasion called for an address to the boys and girls, and they would understand that his language would be couched in simple terms that would he readily understood by the young folk. He said he felt it a great compliment to be asked to perform the ceremony that day. He had felt, backward in responding to the invitation, but he came because he realised that the school committee intended to do him a personal honor. He said that the Australians had not fought merely for the continuance of the freedom and justice they had so long enjoyed, the right to come and go just as they liked as long as they did not transgress the rights and privileges of their fellows. They also fought for the Union Jack because it was the flag that protected them all as long as they were able to keep the flag flying. That was the reason why the old boys of the school went to war.

The time might come again when the young men of Australia would hear the call to arms, and he had no doubt the boys of to-day would do as the old boys had done if given the opportunity. The old boys had risked their lives for the freedom of their fellow citizens and those who could not fight for themselves, and while many had fallen and made the supreme sacrifice Providence had brought back a great many, and these men were entitled to the greatest consideration, and deserved the greatest respect of their fellows, who should never forget what they had done, and not hasten to find fault with their weaknesses, but rather be ready to help them over their troubles…’
The singing of the National Anthem concluded the proceedings.

Intriguingly, Arthur did not return to teaching. Despite his years of study and experience, plus what would have been seemingly limitless opportunities in that field, he turned to farming instead. Perhaps the years of trauma had pressed him to seek a quieter, gentler life. As soon as he was discharged from the army, Arthur took up the grazing property “Avonae” at Mitchell’s Hill, Marnoo, near St Arnaud in the Wimmera, where he ran merino sheep.

In 1923, Arthur purchased the pastoral run Pretty Pines Estate at Gowar.

Even in a quieter life, Arthur still looked to implement community associations. In February 1927, he was at the forefront of establishing a branch of the Royal Automobile Club at St Arnaud. The group had already attracted 100 members and Arthur Deeble was their first president.

In 1929, Arthur sold Pretty Pines and, in September, he purchased a homestead and 3,815 acres from Mr P. Bolger at Banyenong East near Donald.

In spite of hours sifting through records, I have been unable to discover any information regarding Arthur Deeble’s wife, Jean Foster. She was about 14-years younger than Arthur, and they were married at Sydney in 1930, but, frustratingly, that is the only information available.

The same year, Arthur took part in a farmer’s convention and delivered a paper on “St Arnaud and Its Resources.”

On 9 July 1931, Jean gave birth to the couple’s only child, John Stewart Deeble; he was born at Ivanhoe Private Hospital in Donald.

Arthur Deeble continued grazing properties around Donald and St Arnaud well into the 1930’s. In April 1937, Arthur purchased “Roseneath”, a property of 475 acres at Woodend North. In the early 1940’s, they moved to a new property called Uondo in Melbourne Road, Woodend. They also took a house at 85 Osborne Street in South Yarra.

Although Arthur did not look to return to the Army during World War II, he did apply himself to supporting the war effort in other ways. As a councillor with the Shire of Newham and Woodend, he was part of the Shire Billeting and Win the War committee.

After retiring from the Shire council, Arthur became a senior member of the National Savings Campaign staff and was involved in the re-organisation of War Loan committees and National Savings Committees, and worked to encourage investment in war savings certificates.

For Arthur and Jean, the marriage of their only son, John, on 31 March 1955, was a happy occasion. The impressive gothic-styled Christ Church in Punt Road, South Yarra, was the setting for a very pretty wedding, and John’s bride, Eunice Callam, was a picture in white satin brocade.

Sadly, Jean died at Woodend in 1957. She was just 65-years-old. Arthur then retired to Melbourne, where he died on 8 April 1959.

Given the tragedy that occurred at The Nek on 7 August 1915, it is important perhaps to note that had Arthur Deeble not miraculously survived the hail of Turkish bullets that day, Australian may be a very different place today. His son, John Stewart Deeble, went on to become the an academic, health economist and the architect of the Australian Medicare system.

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