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  • A further example of Nimmo’s courage was on 28 June 1915 when leading his troops towards Turkish positions. During the advance one of Nimmo’s sergeants indicated to him that there were Turkish soldiers firing at other Australian troops to the north of their position. Nimmo, appreciating that the Turkish soldiers were exposed from their position in relation to his, quietly collected a dozen men, explained the situation to them and issued quick orders, then gave the signal to rise and fire five rounds of rapid fire. The Turkish soldiers became confused and quickly took cover before fighting back. The situation soon developed into a skirmish with artillery shells and firing from an Australian warship, affecting the progress of Nimmo’s men. But Nimmo’s leadership steadied his men and again, his courage under fire was noted.
  • George Mitchell .. the culminating point ‘Backs to the Wall!’ Backs to hell, and old ‘Nick’ reaching out with his pitchfork. We could not hear our own rifles above the din, only knew by the recoil that we had fired. I could feel the sidelong glances from the men, and the unspoken thought, ‘How are you going to get us out of this mess?’ ‘Poor blighters, my job is to keep you here till you are done for, not get you out.’ On three sides, they closed in, only the way to company headquarters was open. Suddenly a runner dived in and I read the message, ‘Retire immediately.’ Down the bank once more and out on the lower plain, futile bullets pecked the ground as I trudged. What did it matter? Only a question of today, tomorrow, or the next day! To my delighted eyes, there stretched a well-sited, newly dug trench lined with capable looking Australians. Eager questions assailed me ‘Where is he, when is he coming?’ ‘Massing over the hill’ I replied, ‘here in about twenty minutes.’ ‘We’ve got him now, we’ve got him!’ Sorted out my platoon and led them to the extreme left where there was a gap. A roar of small-arm fire came from the right, a 13th brigade battalion, the 49th, swept forward into the gap. We watched as they swung along with irresistible momentum, the ranks thinned as they went, here and there groups shot and stabbed. Ahead of them ran field grey figures, the gap is closed by good Australian bayonets! No further attack came from Fritz. Down came their gunfire on us, the worst I ever experienced. Big shells punched the rocking earth with appalling fury, smoke rolled in clouds, had a bad attack of wind-up, and the taste of death was in my mouth. If I live through this, I thought as I lay in a heap, I will never be any good anymore. Ten shells a second, I calculated, landed on our hundred yards of front. Slowly the fire died away, the 2nd Division came up and relieved us, we assembled our weary few and marched back." George Mitchell, MC, DCM, "Backs to the Wall", 1937
  • RAAF History - 17 September David Lascelles Against all the colourful and emotive language in use today, this lovely piece of understatement is from a different era. I suggest it also speaks quiet volumes for the solid reliability of the dear old LANCASTER. Enjoy. D 17 September 1944, No 463 Squadron Lancaster JO-T departed RAF Waddington for a bombing sortie again Bologne, France. The following is extracted from the pilot’s post-operation report. "On our bombing run, immediately after "Bombs Gone" we were hit by heavy flak, causing a hole in our port wing approximately 11ft; X 6ft; and the ailerons severely damaged. Aircraft went out of control in a diving turn; during this time No.3 tank blew out, and exploded behind aircraft. I ordered crew to abandon aircraft and moderate control of aircraft was maintained at 4,000 ft; during which time Wireless Operator, Mid Upper and Rear Gunners endeavoured to get out of rear door. This was jammed and the handle broke off, so had to come to the front hatch which partly jammed adding further difficulties for crew trying to bale out. Eventually all members of crew apart from Pilot squeezed themselves out. During this time reasonable controlled descent was maintained with port engines fully opened; starboard engines half throttled; full aileron and rudder bias. It is estimated crew got out at 2,000 to 3,000 ft; and at 1,500 ft; I made an effort to bale out, unsuccessfully as the aircraft dived and was uncontrollable. I regained control of the aircraft at 800 ft; and having no alternative, had to make a forced landing in the quickest possible time. Landing eventually effected in a field that was obstructed with anti-invasion posts, with my starboard engine on fire; undercarriage and flaps serviceable and operated allowing me to make a successful landing. At the end of the landing run, to avoid further damage, swung aircraft to port, coming to rest in a wood. Made a quick get away as starboard outer wing and engine were on fire. Throughout these extremely difficult circumstances my crew behaved in an exemplary manner and showed calm and coolness throughout." Navigator (F/Sgt. Dent) states: "Our pilot's captaincy and leadership displayed throughout those intense moments gave us confidence and inspiration. We considered aircraft impossible to fly, and how he effected a landing was, in the opinion of all of us, a miracle, and we never expected after we left that the aircraft would be landed". Comment: So ‘ moderate control’ resulted from half of the left wing shot away, the right wing in shreds, a right side engine on fire, control surfaces severely damaged, fuel tanks blown away and the Lancaster falling out of the sky!!
  • RAN HMAS Perth HMAS Nizam HMAS Stuart AIF-7th Australian Division 17th Brigade' (2nd/3rd, 2nd/5th Battalions, 2nd/2nd Pioneer Battalion) (Detached from 6th Division) 21st Brigade (2nd/14th, 2nd/16th, 2nd/27th Battalions) 25th Brigade (2nd/25th, 2nd/31st, 2nd/33rd Battalions) 6th Cavalry Regiment 9th Cavalry Regiment 2nd/4th Field Regiment 2nd/5th Field Regiment 2nd/6th Field Regiment 2nd/9th Field Regiment 2nd/1st Anti-Tank Regiment (1 troop) 2nd/2nd Anti-Tank Regiment 2nd/3rd Machine-Gun Battalion 2nd/5th Field Company 2nd/6th Field Company 2nd/9th Field Company RAAF No.3 Squadron (Fighters - P40 Tomahawks)
  • This officer has completed 68 sorties and has displayed great courage and determination. During a sortie in January, 1943, Flying Officer Cowper was compelled to make a forced landing behind the enemy’s lines but he displayed great resource in outwitting the enemy and regained our own lines on foot. One night in July, 1943, he engaged a Junkers 88 and caused it to explode. The enemy aircraft disintegrated and a large portion struck and so disabled Flying Officer Cowper’s aircraft that he – was forced to leave it by parachute. He was later rescued from the sea and rejoined his squadron to resume operational flying. Since then, Flying Officer Cowper has destroyed another Junkers 88.
  • News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Saturday 4 January 1947, page 1 Body Found In Wreck SEREANT - PILOT C. W. Dunning. Spitfire SERGEANT-PILOT Colin William Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate, was the pilot of a crashed Spitfire found by an aboriginal at Fog Harbor, 45 miles south-west of Darwin, last week. His parents were notified by R.A.A.F. headquarters last night. His remains were found on what would have been the pilot's twenty-second birthday, and will be interred in a military cemetery at Darwin. Missing from a non-operational flight more than two years ago, the late Sgt. Dunning was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate. After a promising scholastic career at Marist Brothers' College, he won a scholarship for accountancy studies, and had completed two subjects when he joined the R.A.A.F. at the age of 18. After training at fighter schools at Mildura and Deniliquin, Sgt. Dunning went to Darwin with No. 452 Spitfire Squadron, and was lost on an altitude test and training exercises on April 24, 1944. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127070538
  • On the 14th September, 1917, at ZILLEBEKE, the 18th Battery position was heavily shelled from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. with 5.9" and 8". At 3.36 p.m. an ammunition dump alongside No. 1 gun was hit and it and the gun pit caught fire. These men [8360 M.A. COCKER, 8381 D.D. BRADBURY, (8381) Lt E.J. SHEPHERD, (10762) Lt L. CARTHEW] on Lieutenant DODD calling for a party rushed out of the shelter trench in the face of the heavy fire and with water from adjacent shell holes succeeded in putting it out. Later the pit was again hit and it and the ammunition and an adjacent pit caught fire. These men again went out with Lieutenant DODD in the face of the shelling and succeeded in saving the guns and ammunition. They displayed great gallantry and determination in the face of very considerable danger.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
  • Before going into battle in September 1918 Bernard wrote the following letter to his brother Gabriel’s wife, Lottie. Interestingly, it is dated 1 October 1918; apparently it was not uncommon for men to date letters this way as they went into battle. This is believed to be the last letter that Bernard wrote. October 1, 1918 France Dear Lottie, Just a few lines, Lottie, in answer to your welcome letter to hand dated 9 June, was pleased to get a long letter from you and Gabe. So your little girls don’t forget me by what Gabe told me. Well I am expecting to be going to England on leave soon. I have been over here a long time and have been existing well. All the girls getting married, well good luck to them and tell your sisters that I wish them the best of luck as besides fighting hard for years and wasting the best years of my life over here but you know I have a nice little girl over here first for the time being and will close this letter wishing you and the children the best of luck. I remain, Bernard xxx Submitted by Julianne T Ryan, courtesy of Jenny Kingsford (nee Coyte).
  • 'At BROODSEINDE RIDGE East of YPRES this stretcher Bearer was assisting in clearing wounded under the most difficult and trying conditions from 4th to 9th October, 1917. Owing to the severe weather the mud was in places over the knees of the bearers and the route was shelled severely during the greater part of the time. On 9th October he took a squad from the R.A.P. under heavy shell, rifle and machine gun fire for 600 yards to find a Regtl. Stretcher Bearer who had been previously sniped, and dressed and brought him safely to cover. He set a most inspiring example of cheerfulness and devotion to duty.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 95 Date: 27 June 1918 AWM
  • An extract from https://johnknifton.com/tag/103-squadron/ A Day I Never Forget by Marie Harris. I was posted to the Ack Ack Site at Goxhill Haven as a driver in 1943. My duties were to drive all vehicles and any vehicle wherever needed. There were 3 of us girl drivers, Moira Turnbull, Nan Caulfield and myself. Although I say it myself I think we did a darned good job (must have done for they never gave us the sack!). It was quite a good site really, ATS and soldiers all got on well together, taking the good with the bad, no luxuries as such and not many "Passes Out". Occasionally, when there had been a good night of shooting the enemy planes down, the Major and Officers would put on a dance and social night for us in the NAAFI. They would invite so many RAF and so many Yanks. It all helped to make a great night and lift our spirits and to mix or meet others who were doing what we were trying to do, keep old Hitler out. Most of the RAF were Air Crew and you would dance with one or two, get to know them a bit and have a great night, but knowing when you saw the Bombers taking off the following night they were up there doing the BIG BIT and come the next evening you would ask "where's Alec, Bob and Bill?" Just a shrug of the shoulders from their mates and you knew and felt sad, very sad. As I drove around the lanes to wherever my duties took me at a certain time of the day you would see the Bombers going off and up into the clouds and away, you got used to it, up into one circle, two circles and third circle away on their mission and you would say to yourself and often loudly "Good luck lads, come back for that Tango." It was one afternoon in December 1943 around 4.30 as I was driving a load of stores to another site in the Guy Truck, which had an open front and canvas covered back, going along this lane just wide enough for the truck and a ditch each side. Coming up to a farm on my right, it was very low cloud and the Lancasters were taking off into the circles, up and away, as I looked up and raised my right arm in a salute. They were so low and so near I felt I could nearly touch them. One went into this low cloud and I was thinking it's a wonder they don't crash they are so close together, when in a split second as it came out of the cloud, God, it was a head on crash with another Lancaster, one almighty explosion and all Hell was let loose. It was awful, I couldn't believe what had happened practically over my head, just over the farmer's field. I was so stunned, streaks of fire shooting all over the road and my truck. I pulled on the brakes and jumped in the ditch but only for a few seconds thinking some of the crew could be saved, so I ran up past the farmer's house, bits and pieces lying all over, just passing a barn and someone caught hold of me from behind and wouldn't let go, kept saying "NO LASS, NO LASS there'll be nothing". It was the old farmer. In no time at all the fire engines etc. were arriving. I pulled myself together and went back to my truck in a daze and drove onto the site, still couldn't believe what had happened. When I pulled up at the Guard House I was just rooted to my seat and couldn't stop crying, thinking of the Bobs, Alecs and Bills whoever just blown to bits. It was awful and still is. The guard called the Sergeant who took one look at my truck with all the bits and pieces, burns on the canvas and said "she must have been under it." They took me into the Mess and gave me a cup of hot strong tea and 20 minutes by the round stove (they were really kind.) I felt better and had to get on with it, so back to Goxhill. On arriving our MT Officer was concerned; did I need to go to the MO? No Sir, I'll be OK but when I went to bed I couldn't shut my eyes, this terrific explosion flashed before me every time. I was like this for quite a few nights. Another thing I can't bear even to this day to watch a film with planes crashing. I'd shut my eyes or go out of the cinema. Later in life I often used to think and wish I had gone back to see that farmer and I used to wonder if the families knew where their sons were lying. I was very pleased to hear that a Plaque is being dedicated in Remembrance to those poor souls. I can never forget them or what happened to them.. Driver Marie Harris W/44133 ATS.
  • Flight from Reykjavik, 9 November 1944 At midday on November 9, 1944, a Lockheed Hudson light bomber of the RAF 251 Squadron lifted off from the Royal Air Force station at Reykjavik, Iceland, on a routine meteorological recon patrol. The young crew – three RAF men and two Australians – reported clear icing conditions on the outward leg, and again on the homeward leg of the flight. With over eight hours in the air behind them, headed home, the aircraft sent out an SOS call. A few minutes later, the aircraft key was held down and the station was able to get a bearing: Hudson FK 752 was over the North Sea, just 75 miles from Reykjavik. But there was no further communication. The aircraft failed to return. The wreckage of Hudson FK 752, and the remains of the five young airmen aboard, were never found.
  • Out of the 596 aircraft on the raid 29 were shot down. These figure were fairly typical of RAF raids on German targets at the time – immense destruction was now almost assured at a cost that was, if not acceptable, then at least sustainable. Flight Engineer Sergeant C.H. ‘Chick’ Chandler was on one of the Lancasters that was not shot down that night. His experience was about as bad as it could get without becoming a casualty. In his memory the traumatic events remained to be replayed in slow motion: It was 0110 HOURS on the morning of 23 April 1944. We were a XV Squadron Lancaster III crew from Mildenhall on our 17th op and we were hit simultaneously by heavy flak and cannon fire from an Me 109 at the precise moment that our bombs were released on Dusseldorf. Being the flight engineer, I was standing on the right-hand side of the cockpit, as was usual during our bombing run, with my head in the blister to watch for any fighter attack that might occur from the starboard side. The bombs were actually dropping from the aircraft when there was a tremendous explosion. For a brief period of time everything seemed to happen in ultra-slow motion. The explosion knocked me on my back; I was aware of falling on to the floor of the aircraft, but it seemed an age before I actually made contact. I distinctly remember ‘bouncing’. Probably lots of flying clothing and Mae Wests broke my fall, but under normal circumstances one would not have been aware of ‘bouncing’. As I fell I ‘saw’, in my mind’s eye, very clearly indeed, a telegram boy cycling to my mother’s back door. He was whistling very cheerfully and handed her the telegram that informed her of my death. She was very calm and thanked the boy for delivering the message. As I laid there I saw a stream of sparks pass a few feet above the cockpit, from back to front and going up at a slight angle. This caused me some confusion. If the sparks were from a burning engine they were going the wrong way. It was some little time before I realised that the ‘sparks’ were in fact tracer shells from a fighter that I did not know was attacking us. The illusion that the tracer shells were going upwards was no doubt caused by the fact that our Lancaster was going into an uncontrolled, screaming dive, but because of the slow-motion effect that I was experiencing, I did not appreciate this fact. This whole episode had taken 2 or 3 seconds at most, then the slow-motion effect began to wear off, and I became aware of the screams of the bomb-aimer. [after the aircraft went through violent evasive dives they threw off the fighter … the order to prepare to ‘bale out’ was withdrawn after they discovered that most of the parachutes had been destroyed] My task now was to check the aircraft for damage and casualties. My checks started at the front of the aircraft, in the bomb-aimer’s compartment. I am afraid to say that my sheltered life had not prepared me for the terrible sight that met my eyes. It was obvious that this area had caught the full blast of the flak, and Alan Gerrard had suffered the most appalling injuries. At least he would have died almost instantaneously. Suffice to say that I was sick. At this stage I risked using my torch to shine along the bomb bay to make sure that all our bombs were gone. My report simply was that the bomb-aimer had been killed and that all bombs had left the aircraft. Next stop was the cockpit. The pilot had really worked wonders in controlling the aircraft and successfully feathering the engine that had been on fire. Then on to the navigator’s department; on peering round the blackout screen I saw that Ken Pincott was busy working over his charts, but that Flight Lieutenant John Fabian DFC, the H2S operator (the Squadron navigation leader), appeared to be in shock. However, once I established that there appeared to be no serious damage, I moved on. The wireless operator’s position was empty because his task during the bombing run was to go to the rear of the aircraft and ensure that the photo flash left at the same time as the bombs. Next, down to the mid-upper turret, where Ron Wilson had re-occupied his position, albeit only temporarily. (Unknown to me, he had suffered a wound to his ear that, although not too serious, would keep him off flying for a few weeks.) On reaching the next checkpoint I was again totally unprepared for the dreadful sight that confronted me. Our wireless operator, Flight Sergeant L. Barnes, had sustained, in my opinion, fatal chest injuries and had mercifully lost consciousness. It was found later that he had further very serious injuries to his lower body and legs. He died of his wounds before we reached England. From the rear turret I got a ‘thumbs up’ sign from ‘Whacker’ Mair, so I rightly concluded that he was OK. As well as having to report the death of our bomb-aimer, and the fatal injuries to the wireless operator, I had to report the complete failure of the hydraulic system. The pilot was already aware of the fact that we had lost our port inner engine through fire, and that our starboard outer was giving only partial power. The bomb doors were stuck in the open position, and the gun turrets had been rendered inoperative because of the hydraulic failure. Post script: They had just enough fuel to make it back to England, gradually losing height all the way, only to discover that their undercarriage was stuck as they came in to land. The remaining crew survived the emergency landing. All the survivors remained on flying duties, only the slightly wounded mid upper gunner had a brief respite. See Bowman (Ed.) RAF Bomber Stories: Dramatic First-hand Accounts of British and Commonwealth Airmen in World War 2
  • Private Richard Murray sacrificed himself to protect his mates after the theft of rice from a Japanese cache was discovered by Camp guards at Ranau in May 1945. "Then, to Botterill's horror, Richie Murray stepped forward. In a clear firm voice, he told Suzuki that he had stolen the food and that he, and he alone, was responsible. He was taken at bayonet point to a tree outside the Japanese hut and tied up while the rest of the prisoners were told to get on with their work, which for Botterill, was cutting wood down at the Formosan quarters. He couldn't see what was going on but he figured that Suzuki would keep Murray tied to the tree overnight. After dark he would cut Murray loose and escape, possibly with Allie and Grist as previously planned. They would have to flee immediately of course, but with the rest of the stolen food still safely hidden in the jungle, at least they would have a fair chance of making a good break before the alarm was raised. About an hour later, Botterill looked up to see Murray disappearing down the track under escort. He couldn't identify the guards, but some English prisoners, working in the main kitchen on the other side of the Formosan hut, had a clear view. They watched, horrified, as Suzuki, accompanied by a guard escort which included Kawakami (The Gold Tootheed Shin Kicking bastard), Mori Shoichi and Yoshiya Kinjo, took Murray, who had been savagely beaten, down the track at bayonet point. Twenty minutes later the guards returned without him. Botterill's worst fears became a hideous reality when Kawakami swaggered down to the Formosan hut and made a great show of wiping his bayonet on the grass, boasting to his fellow guards that he had 'blooded his blade' on the prisoner." Keith Botterill was one of only six Australian survivors of the two Sandakan Death Marches. Suzuki and Kawakami were hanged at Rabaul on 18 Oct 1946 for another similar atrocity. They were never tried for Murray's death but were convicted largely on the testimony of Keith Botterill and Bill Moxham, another of the six survivors. Sandakan - Conspiracy of Silence 1998 Lynette Ramsay Silver Sally Milner Publishing ISBN I 86351 223 3 . pp 210-211
  • From Flight Sergeant Norman MacDonald, only survivor of JB472 The crew of Lancaster JB472 with Reginald Wicks as pilot, joined the Squadron on 23 November 1943. They flew their first mission on 23 November - a night raid on Berlin. This was closely followed by another night mission to Berlin on 26 November. On 2 December JB472 took off from Warboys airfield for their third raid on Berlin. In a report given by Flight Sergeant Norman Macdonald after the war he describes what happened to their aircraft as they flew over eastern Germany: 'Attack by enemy fighter reported by rear gunner - pilot acknowledged, took evasive action and just then we were hit. Crew put on chutes, aircraft in steep dive. At approx between 17 and 15, 000 feet violent explosion. I was sucked out the starboard side of aircraft. Regained consciousness at approx 4,000 feet opened 'chute landed ok. I believe pilot jettisoned bombs endeavouring to save crew and aircraft but aircraft crashed 20 miles north of Hannover. The next day I was captured in the goods yard of the village railway station by 2 German soldiers who were searching for me and taken to identify wreckage of aircraft from which German officials had removed the bodies of my 6 colleagues. Taken to Frankfurt for interrogation put into solitary confinement then to Stalag IVB.'
  • Warrant Officer Bell is a an efficient and most resolute pilot. He has taken part in may harassing attacks on the enemy and has invariably displayed a high degree of gallantry. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft. London Gazette 17 November 1944
  • Lt S.E. MILLS, D Company, 32nd Bn, 22 January 1917: 'He was in my platoon and was wounded pretty severely on night of 19/20 July. With the help of two other men we carried him to a place of comparative safety and dressed his wound. This was 200 yards behind the German first line and it was found impossible to get stretcher bearers through the barrage. When the order to retire was given it was a matter of charging through the two lines of Germans and so impossible to carry two badly wounded men. Green was left with some twenty or thirty others some of whom have since been reported as prisoners. It is my opinion that Green died of his wound although he was alive when I saw him last.'
  • Translation of German message, 2 October 1919, 'Iden: Disc handed over by Intell: Off: with 6th Army H.Q. through Central Office for Deceased Estates 12/10/16[,] Austral: Pte. A.E.N. Burney, 1226, 2nd Btn. fell in the neighbourhood of Fromelles on 19/7/16'.
  • 'On 23rd April the 53rd Battery position at MORCHIES was subjected to very heavy shelling, and a large ammunition dump caught fire. it was burning fiercely when Bombardier EDWARDS, at great personal risk, assisted in extinguishing the flames, and helped to save a considerable amount of ammunition.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189 Date: 8 November 1917 'On 23rd April the 53rd Battery position at Morchies was subjected to very heavy shelling and a large ammunition dump caught fire. It was burning fiercely when Corporal Edwards at a great personal risk, assisted in extinguishing the flames and helped to save a considerable amount of ammunition. Thus winning the Military Medal.' Details from his Mother.
  • During the advance against the BLUE LINE on the morning of 10th August 1918, Sergeant HOLMES led a patrol against an enemy machine gun position which was effectively holding up his company's advance. By his splendid coolness and skill he succeeded in capturing three prisoners and two machine guns besides inflicting many other casualties upon the enemy. His determination and prompt action enabled his company to continue their advance with comparatively few casualties. Sergeant HOLMES was badly wounded in this operation but refused to leave until his platoon had gained their objective Recommended 18 Aug 1918 Gazetted 15 September 1919
  • 'During operations of 25th and 26th September at POLYGON WOOD this man displayed great coolness and devotion to duty in that he was on duty at a signal station at Battalion headquarters at BLACK WATCH CORNER which was continually heavily shelled. The station was in a tench which was blown in several times and on many occasions partially burying the 3 men on the station. He with the aid of 2 others stuck to the telephones and kept communication open. finally the position was blown out and it was necessary to move to the Pill Box where the work was carried on till the battalion was relieved. On one occasion, when there were no runners available, and telephone lines were broken he, accompanied by Private McRae carried a despatch to the forward Battalion Station and when returning laid a telephone wire and was successful in establishing telephonic communication again. This was done under heavy shelling.' 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. After the battery officers had been wounded and many casualties sustained by heavy shell fire he took command, and by his splendid example, under very trying conditions, was able to complete the task of bringing the guns into position.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189 Date: 8 November 1917
  • Military Cross ''At Herleville on 23rd August, 1918, this officer was in charge of the communications of the forward observation party. The forward observing officer was killed, and he at once took his place. Throughout the day, under very hostile fire, he moved about the newly captured positions, sending back important information as to our infantry positions and bearings of hostile batteries which were shelling our new position, and which were at once engaged. He displayed an utter disregard for personal safety, and much infromation of tactical importance was received from him.'' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61 Date: 23 May 1919
  • 'From 5th to 12th June 1917 near MESSINES these N.C.O.s and men [6704 W. BERRY, 4315 F. McKENZIE, 4838 J.J. O'BRIEN, 8460 F.E. NELSON, 6317 P.S. CHARLWOOD, 2085 A.W. SIMMONS, 2206 W.W. ARBERY, 3250 K.C. BASSETT, 3800 J.F. GRABHAM] were employed with the Divisional Pack Transport Troop which was used nightly in taking up supplies, water and ammunition to the various Battalion Headquarters. The various convoys came nightly under heavy shell and machine gun fire and their work was carried out in the dark and under trying conditions. In some cases the supplies were taken up to within a few hundred yards from Front Line. These N.C.O.s and men have been selected in order of merit out of the [no. indecipherable] N.C.O.. and men employed as having set an example of coolness under fire and determination in carrying out their duties.'
  • “On the 12th October, 1917, near Ypres, Gunner MacPherson [sic] was on duty at the O.P. as Telephonist. He was on duty for a period of 24 hours and was continually subjected to very heavy hostile shell fire. Work was carried out under the most trying and dangerous circumstances. After lines had been repaired many times and communications eventually broke down, Gunner MacPherson [sic] acted as Runner between the O.P. and the Battery, carrying messages through intense shell fire. He showed complete disregard for his own personal safety, displaying great resource and initiative throughout the entire Operations.” signed by Brigadier General Grimwade, Commanding officer of the 3rd Australian Divisional Artillery.
  • ANZAC Cove.......... There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks: There’s a beach asleep and drear: There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea. There are sunken trampled graves: And a little rotting pier: And winding paths that wind unceasingly. There’s a torn and silent valley: There’s a tiny rivulet With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth. There are lines of buried bones: There’s an unpaid waiting debt : There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the South. Poems of Leon Gellert
  • The Last To Leave The guns were silent, and the silent hills had bowed their grasses to a gentle breeze I gazed upon the vales and on the rills, And whispered, "What of these?' and "What of these? These long forgotten dead with sunken graves, Some crossless, with unwritten memories Their only mourners are the moaning waves, Their only minstrels are the singing trees And thus I mused and sorrowed wistfully I watched the place where they had scaled the height, The height whereon they bled so bitterly Throughout each day and through each blistered night I sat there long, and listened - all things listened too I heard the epics of a thousand trees, A thousand waves I heard; and then I knew The waves were very old, the trees were wise: The dead would be remembered evermore- The valiant dead that gazed upon the skies, And slept in great battalions by the shore. For more information use this link: https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/173933
  • There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks: There’s a beach asleep and drear: There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea. There are sunken trampled graves: And a little rotting pier: And winding paths that wind unceasingly. There’s a torn and silent valley: There’s a tiny rivulet With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth. There are lines of buried bones: There’s an unpaid waiting debt : There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the South. Leon Gellert
  • Red
    Place that bayonet in my hand, And fill this pouch with lead; Show me the blood and leave me, and let me Stand By my dead. Cover those staring eyes and go And stab in the red, red rain. Show me that blood and leave me. They groan In the snow. With the pain. Cover his head with a scarlet cloak, And run to your scarlet strife, Show me that blood and leave me, where white Snows choke Out the life. Turn his face to the sanguine skies, The skies where the red stars move. Show me that blood and leave me; a dead man lies With his love.
  • "That just reminds me of a yarn," he said; And look for the body of Lofty Lane He had a thousand yarns inside his head. They waited for him, ready with their mirth And creeping smiles, - then suddenly turned pale, Grew still, and gazed upon the earth. They heard no tale. No further word was said. And with his untold fun, Half leaning on his gun, They left him - dead.

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