Syd BRANFORD

Badge Number: S7853, Sub Branch: Murray Bridge
S7853

BRANFORD, Syd

Service Number: 3757
Enlisted: 2 August 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Semaphore, South Australia, 4 January 1895
Home Town: Exeter, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Adelaide High School
Occupation: Bank Clerk (Savings Bank of SA)
Died: Heart Attack, Adelaide, South Australia, 21 September 1970, aged 75 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park - South Australian Garden of Remembrance
Memorials: Adelaide Savings Bank of South Australia Honour Roll WW1
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World War 1 Service

2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 27th Infantry Battalion
7 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Miltiades embarkation_ship_number: A28 public_note: ''
7 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 27th Infantry Battalion, Pozières

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

Biography contributed by Branford Sarah Louise

One of nine children, Syd Branford was born near the town of Semaphore, South Australia on the 4th of January 1895. He grew up in Exeter with his siblings, his mother Henrietta Jiggins and his father Elijah, the last mayor of Semaphore.

He belonged to the Church of England and in his high school years, he attended Adelaide High.

After finishing school, Syd got a job of being a bank clerk at the Savings Bank of South Australia.

Syd enlisted to fight for Australia in World War I at the Keswick Barracks, in South Australia on the 2nd of August in 1915, just three months after his older brother, Lance enlisted.
Ranked as a private and given the service number of 3757, Syd was thrown into the 27th Battalion with hundreds of other men just like him.
Completing a medical examination that proved him fit for service and a period of training at home, Syd departed Adelaide on the HMAT Miltiades A28 on the 7th of February 1916, bound for Egypt.

After arrival in Egypt, Syd was escorted to dusty Alexandria for another short period of training. During his stay in Egypt, Syd was admitted to hospital, because he contracted a disease.

As training came to an end, Syd and the 27th Battalion ventured to the Western Front. Arriving in France on the 6th of July in 1916, Syd was rushed into battle. Just less than one month later, two gunshot wounds, one to his face and one to his left arm, pulled him out of the front and into a military hospital placed in Rouen. Soon it was learnt that Syd’s injuries needed more attention and he was set to go to Bristol, England, via Le Havre for treatment.

These wounds were gained on the same day and during the same battle that Syd’s brother, Private Lance Wray Branford, was reported missing in action. After many letters were shared from Pozières to back home, the truth was learnt that Lance had been killed on the 4th of August 1916 due to German gunfire in the Battle of Mouquet Farm.

It took Syd four months to recover, only then to be shipped back to Europe on the SS Victoria. Again, fighting in Pozières for another eight months, Syd helped his battalion regain and maintain control of the land on the French Front Line.

These eight months of battle came to an end due to another illness that was contracted by Syd. He was only out for the short period of nine days; spent resting at a Divisional Rest Station in France.

Syd was granted leave and travelled from France to England in September 1917. During his time in Edinburgh, Syd committed the military crime of feigning drunkenness (pretending to be drunk), so he could stay on leave for a little longer. He was awarded with two weeks of unpaid work.

After, Syd ventured back to France, but sooner than later he contracted another common disease and was shifted to Belgium for recovery at the Casualty Clearing Station and then to the base in Le Havre. The whole sickness and recovery lasted for a total of thirty-nine days.

Syd re-joined his battalion in Belgium on the 6th of December and fought for a period of two months. 

Again, on the 18th of February 1918, another crime was committed. This time it was for returning to his unit early, without permission. This showed the importance of mateship on the Front Line, the reward, another fourteen days pay.

Syd’s request for more leave in England was consented, however just three days after he had been given the good news, the unit decided to cancel his leave, as they needed him for military purposes.

So, he re-joined his battalion and continued to fight for two more months until again, he was admitted to a military hospital in Rouen with a raised temperature and over three weeks of illness.

Along with nine days of rest in Rouen, Syd was able to have an extra day on leave. This only resulted in him losing one day of pay, due to him overstaying his leave by an hour and ten minutes.

A month after re-joining his unit on the 13th of July 1918, Syd was accidentally injured with sharp shrapnel in his left hand.

The shrapnel was deep and Syd was brought to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford, England.

Syd and his unit marched out of Hardelot on the 7th of September and they journeyed back to London, England.

His final crime was committed in London from the 8th to the 9th of November 1918, when Syd was absent without leave; he did not get paid for the next day’s work.

As Syd’s wartime experiences were coming to an end, he was promoted to a sergeant on the 11th of January 1919 and departed England on the 16th via SS Demosthenes, arriving back home on the 26th of February 1919.

Years on, Syd was married and together, him and his wife, Nance, had a family of two daughters and a son.

He either threw his war medals away or gave them back and believed he was entitled to a war pension, but he never received one. He was secretary of the Murray Bridge RSL for multiple years and made sure that he would march in every ANZAC Day Parade until his death.

Whilst Syd did not have any major injuries, there is no doubt that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

One thundery day, Syd and his son John, were walking down the street to catch a bus. Out of nowhere a very loud clap of thunder was heard and Syd went to the ground with his hands over his head. Syd’s automatic reflexes must have been due to experiencing the many exploding shells during his years of army service. 

Syd spoke very little about his wartime experiences. He worked well over the normal age of retirement and died from a heart attack on the way to work on the 21st of September 1970, aged seventy-five years.

Bibliography:

 ‘Service Record - BRANFORD, Syd’ 1919, Australian National Archives 16 January, pp. 1-26.

BRANFORD, Sydney 2017, RSL Virtual War Memorial, South Australia, accessed 7 March 2017, <https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/projects/5389/edit?wizard-page-index=0>.

AWM4 Subclass 23/44 - 27th Infantry Battalion n.d., Australian War Memorial, Australia, accessed 7 March 2017, <https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG1000588/>

Football in France 1917, Daily Herald, Adelaide, accessed 2 March 2017, <http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/124862788?searchTerm=Private%20Sydney%20Branford&searchLimits=>.

Dollman, W 1921, The Blue and Brown Diamond, Lonnen & Cope, Adelaide.

Sydney BRANFORD 2016, AIF Project, Canberra, accessed 2 March 2017, <https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=30879>

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Biography

Son of Elijah BRANFORD and Henritta nee JIGGINS 

War service: Western Front

Service Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

 

Brother: 2453 Pte Lance Wray BRANFORD (/explore/people/110847), 27th Bn, killed in action, 4 August 1916