Service Number: 953
Enlisted: 6 March 1915, Place of enlistment - Chiltern, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 23rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Fenton’s Creek, near Wehla, Victoria, Australia, 1877
Home Town: Chiltern, Indigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Sleeper Cutter
Died: Influenza and Broncho Pneumonia, Military Hospital at Fovant, Wiltshire, England, 5 February 1919
Cemetery: Fovant (St. George) Churchyard, Wiltshire - South West, England
Plot I, Row F, Grave 5, Fovant (St George) Churchyard, Fovant, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Chiltern War Memorial Gates, Fentons Creek Wehla State School No 320 Roll of Honour, Shire of Chiltern Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

6 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 953, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Place of enlistment - Chiltern, Victoria
10 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 953, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Embarked on HMAT 'A14' Euripides from Melbourne on 10th May 1915, disembarking Egypt.
30 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 953, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Proceeded to join Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Dardanelles. Returning on Minnewaska to Alexandria, Egypt from Mudros on 10th January 1916.
19 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 953, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Embarked on Lake Michigan from Alexandria on 19th March 1916, disembarking Marseilles, France on 26th March 1916 to join British Expeditionary Force. From 4th April 1916 was detailed as a Baggage Guard at 2nd Australian Division Base Depot in France and England. Rejoined unit in Belgium on 14th September 1916.
23 Jul 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 23rd Infantry Battalion
11 Aug 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Reverted back to rank of Private from Driver following return of soldier he replaced (Payne).
14 Dec 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Driver, 23rd Infantry Battalion
3 Feb 1919: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 953, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Admitted to Fovant Military Hospital with dangerous and serious illness of Influenza Broncho Pneumonia. Succumbed to illness on 5th February 1919.

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

Biography contributed by Daryl Jones

Husband of Annie Ada BIRTHISEL of Chiltern, Victoria

Burial Report regarding the Late 953 Driver Birthisel

'Deceased was buried with full Military honours the coffin draped with the Australian flag being borne to the graveside on a Gun-carriage preceded by a Firing Party from No. 4. Australian Command Depot.  Six of the deceased's late Unit comrades supported the Pall.

A number of Officers, N.C.O.s and Men from the deceased's late Depot company followed the remains and were present at the graveside ceremony. Wreaths from Officers N.C.O. and Men from the Unit were placed on the grave after the "Last Post" had been sounded.

Headquarters A.I.F. Depots in UK were represented at the funeral.'

The Officiating Clergyman was Chaplain Gorrie (CE)

Date of interment - 10th February 1919


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland 

Died on this date – 5th February…… Matthew Birthisel was born in 1877 at Fenton’s Creek, near Wehla, Victoria.

He married Annie Ada Giri in 1909 at Toolleen, Victoria. Three children were born between 1910 & 1914 to Matthew & Annie.

On 2nd March, 1915 Matthew Birthisel enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) as a 37 year old, married, Sleeper Cutter from Chiltern, Victoria.
Private Matthew Birthisel, Service number 953 embarked from Melbourne, Victoria on HMAT Euripides on 8th/10th May, 1915 with “B” Company, 23rd Battalion.

He proceeded to join M.E.F. (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) at Gallipoli on 30th August, 1915. Private Birthisel disembarked at Alexandria from Minnewaska from Mudros on 10th January, 1916 (after the evacuation of Gallipoli).

On 27th January, 1916 Private Birthisel was taken to 5th Field Ambulance with Mumps then transferred to No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to No. 4 Auxiliary Hospital at Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt with Mumps on 27th January, 1916. Private Birthisel proceeded to rejoin his Unit from Moascar on 6th March, 1916 & was taken on strength with his Unit on 8th March, 1916.

Private Matthew Birthisel proceeded to join B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) from Alexandria on 19th March, 1916 on Lake Michigan & disembarked at Marseilles, France on 26th March, 1916.

He was to be Baggage Guard at 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot from 4th April, 1916. Private Birthisel proceeded to England from France on 15th July, 1916. He was marched in to 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples, France on 17th August, 1916 & was marched out to join his Unit on 14th September, 1916. Private Birthisel rejoined his Battalion in Belgium from Baggage Guard on 15th September, 1916.

On 10th November, 1916 Private Birthisel was admitted to 2nd Australian Field Ambulance in France with Trench Feet then transferred to C.R.S. the same day. He rejoined his Battalion in France from Hospital on 24th November, 1916.

Private Matthew Birthisel was on leave from 1st September, 1917 & rejoined from leave on 16th September, 1917.

He was reported to be with his Unit in the field on 4th July, 1918.

On 23rd July, 1918 Private Birthisel was appointed Temporary Driver with 23rd Battalion. Temporary Driver Matthew Birthisel reverted to rank of Private on 11th August, 1918, on return of Driver Payne to duty.

Private Matthew Birthisel was on leave to UK from 10th October, 1918 & rejoined his Battalion in France on 27th October, 1918.

He was appointed Driver with 23rd Battalion on 14th December, 1918, vice Rodriguez transferred.

On 28th December, 1918 Driver Birthisel was to be transferred to England for furlough. He was marched in to A.G.B.D. (Australian Divisional Base Depot) in France on 3rd January, 1919 & disembarked at Southampton the same day.

He was admitted to Military Hospital at Fovant, Wiltshire on 3rd February, 1919, dangerously & seriously ill with Broncho Pneumonia.

Private Matthew Birthisel died at 21.30 hrs on 5th February, 1919 at Military Hospital at Fovant, Wiltshire from Influenza & Broncho Pneumonia.

He was buried in St George’s Churchyard, Fovant, Wiltshire, England where 43 other WW1 Australian WW1 War Graves are located.

(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)