17213 Driver Samuel McCombe
3rd Field Company Engineers, 1st Division
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-19

This file last updated 29 August, 2018 13:49


Samuel McCombe
Photograph courtesy of
Anthony 'Tony' Scroope CDec

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the service record of Samuel McCombe. Note that some of the service record pages are duplicated - presumably when the unit and Army records were amalgamated on discharge.

Service numbers were allocated by unit, and are not unique to the individual.

Prepared for Vietnam veteran and grandson of Samuel McCombe, Anthony 'Tony' Scroope by Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 23 Jun 2018.

View Samuel McCombe's Service Record,   Discharge Certificate,     Grant of War Pension,
and other photographs.

Enlistment Details

Service Number



Samuel McCombe

Born at

County Antrim, Ireland


22 years 11 months at time of enlistment [date of birth never recorded]

Trade or Calling




Marital Status


Next of Kin

Mother - Mrs Katherine McCombe, Cully Backey [Now Cullybackey], County Antrim, Ireland.

Previous Military Service


Attested at

Lismore, NSW

Date of Enlistment

6 June 1916


5 foot 6¼ inches [168cm]


10 stone 3 pounds [143 pounds or 65Kg]


32 - 36 inches [81 - 91.5cm]







Religious Denomination

Church of England

Distinctive Marks

Deformed forefinger on left hand


3rd Field Engineer Company

Chronological Events

Rank Description Date Remarks



7 Jun 1916


Initial training at 11th Depot Battalion, Enoggera Army Camp

11 Jul 1916 -
10 Aug 1916


There is no indication of how or where employed during the period from 22 Oct 1916 to 10 May 1917 as there is no record for that period. The most plausible explanation is that he was involved in Driver Training for the Reinforcements with whom he later went overseas. Driving was not a particularly well-established skill at that time.

10 Aug 1916 -
22 Oct 1916


Allocated to Engineer Reinforcements, 2nd Military District (NSW)

10 May 1917


Embarked HMAT "CLAN McGILVRAY" (A46) for the UK

10 May 1917


Offence: Breaking ship, Freemantle.
Award: 72 hours detention by LTCOL Burrage

23 May 1917


Disembarked Plymouth, England

26 Jul 1917


Marched in to No 1 & 3 Details camp, Parkhouse from Australia ex HMAT A46

29 Jul 1917


Marched out to Engineer Training, Engineer Training Depot Brightlingsea

27 Aug 1915

Abbreviated to B'lingsea in most records


Marched in to Brightlingsea from 193 Details camp

2 Aug 1917


Proceeded overseas to France from Southampton ex Brightlingsea

8 Jan 1918


Marched in to Australian General Base Depot (AGBD), Rouelles, ex England

9 Jan 1918


Marched in to 3rd Field Company Engineers

19 Jan 18


Taken on Strength of 3rd Field Company Engineers

22 Jan 1918


To Hospital, sick

4 Sep 1918


Admitted to 3rd Field Hospital, with Scabies and transferred to Casualty Clearing Station (CCS)

5 Sep 1918


Admitted to 37 Casualty Clearing Station and transferred to Ambulance Train

6 Sep 1918


Admitted to 9th General Hospital, Rouen

7 Sep 1918


Transferred to No 2 Convalescent Depot

8 Sep 1918


Admitted to Convalesent Depot

8 Sep 1918


Transferred to AGBD

30 Sep 1918


Marched in to AGBD from Rouen

4 Oct 1918


Returned to Unit

20 Oct 1918


Marched in to unit

20 Nov 1918


On leave to the UK

30 Dec 1918


Returned from leave

11 Jan 1919


Detached for duty as Party Commander, Horses

9 Feb 19


Returned to unit from Havre, conducting horses

17 Feb 19


To 3nd Field Ambulnce, Scabies

25 Mar 1919


Returned to unit

27 Mar 1919


Marched out from 3rd Field Company Engineers for Return to Australia (RTA), Quota 37

17 Apr 19


Marched in to England

24 Apr 1919


Return to Australia per SS Ormonde

4 Aug 1919



3 Sep 1919

Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal, no Wound Stripes, three Long Service Stripes, three Overseas Service Chevrons. Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.

Other Accoutrements

World War One medal set

L to R - 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal

Unit Shoulder Patch
3rd Field Company Engineers
3rs Field Company Engineers

Rising Sun Badge
1st and 2nd AIF

[Not entitled to wear]
ANZAC 'A' on Shoulder Patch

Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel
and sterling silver issued to the wife,
mother or nearest female relative of
a serving soldier. Additional bars
were suspended below for further

Membership badge of a Kookaburra
in sterling silver, issued by the
Government to the widows of men
who lost their lives due to their
service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who
sustained a wound, or contracted
sickness of disability in the course
of the war as a result of which
they were invalided out, or to
soldiers who had retired during
the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link with length of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]

Background - Engineer Field Companies
[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]

Each Division had three Field Engineer Companies under command, numbered the same as the Brigades of the Division. The 1st Division thus had the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Field Company of Engineers on strength.

During WW 1 the Engineers undertook a raft of tasks broadly divided into mobility, counter mobility and construction as well as survey and mapping, and specialised tunnelling and mining operations. The Field Companies' scope of works concentrated on the former rather than the latter.

They undertook a broad range of tasks including preparation and supervision of the construction of defensive and gun positions, excavation of trenches and dugouts, erection of wire and other obstacles, preparation of command posts, signalling and water supply, field engineering, road and bridge construction and route maintenance. They also undertook obstacle breaching and crossing. For example in the lead up to the attack at Mont St Quentin the Engineers were required to carry out two river crossing / bridging operations.

Engineers also had responsibility for signalling although this function became more specialised as the war progressed, eventually leading to the creation of a separate Signals Corps.


The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)

Wound Stripes

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.

Long Service Badges

A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia.

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.

Overseas Service Chevrons

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.