2224 Private Cecil Read
55th Infantry Battalion, 14th Brigade, 5th Division
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

N385939 Private Cecil Read
22nd Garrison Battalion (Prisoner-of-War Camp)
Cowra: No 12 [Japanese] POW Camp
2nd Australian Imperial Force 1939-45

This file last updated 27 July, 2019 15:15

Introduction

Image if available

The AWM has a broadsheet of photographs of WW1 enlistees from the Queanbeyan district however individual photos in the electronic version are so vague that they cannot be used.

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Cecil Read. While it seems a little sparse, due to factors beyond his control, the fact is, he had a go. Twice.

Although he embarked as a member of the 4th reinforcements to the 55th Battalion, he was disembarked at Durban, South Africa due to illness (pleurisy) and later repatriated to Australia where he received a disability pension.

By embarking for service overseas he is recognised as having "War Service" as defined in the Defence Act, which gives greater powers of punishment to commanders and courts martial than those applicable within Australia. He did not serve in a war zone and thus had no "Active Service", was not subject to the appropriate powers of punishment and did not receive the Victory Medal.

He enlisted during World War 2 and was posted to the 22nd Garrison Battalion as a guard at the Japanese POW Camp near Cowra, NSW. His Ww2 record has not yet been digitised, but will be entered here when available. Albert Crowe from Murringo also served there in WW2.

View Cecil Read's Service record, his WW1 Nominal Roll entry or his Embarkation Roll entry.

Cecil Read is a distant relative of Bradley Read, for whom this record was prepared on 14 Jul 2019 by Clive Mitchell-Taylor.

Abbreviations or acronyms which have a dotted underline can be expanded by moving the cursor over the term - e.g. WIA. This is gradually being incorporated into the site, replacing the the current expansion of abbreviations. There may be a discernable delay of about a second before the expansion is first provided. There is also a separate list of abbreviations which is available through the menu at the top of this page or the hyperlink here.

Some of the service record pages may be duplicated. This generally occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated on discharge or death in Service.

Service numbers in WW1 were unique to the unit (e.g. Battalion) or Corps (e.g. Artillery). In WW2 Service Numbers were unique to the State in which they were allotted. For further information about identity numbers for Service personnel, see Regimental and Service Numbers


Enlistment Details

Service Number

2224

Date of Enlistment

23 Jan 1916 at Queanbeyan, NSW

What is your Name?

Cecil Read

In or near what Parish or Town were youo born?

In the Parish of Sutton in or near the Town of Queanbeyan in the County of NSW

Are you a natural born British Subject or a Naturalized {sic] British Subject? N.B. If the latter, papers to be shown

Yes

What is your age?

18 years 6 months

What is your Trade or Calling?

Labourer

Are you married?

No

Who is your next of kin

Father - Hugh Read
Sutton via Queanbeyan
NSW

Have you ever been convicted by the Civil Power?

No

Have you ever been discharged from any part of His Majesty's Forces, With Ignomony, or as Incorribible and Worthless, or on account of Convictions of Felony, or of a Sentence of Penal Servitude or have you been dismissed with Disgrace from the Navy?

No

Do you now belong to, or have you ever served in His Majesty's Army, the Marines, the Militia, the Militia Reserve, the Territorial Force, Royal Navy or Colonial Forces? if so, state which, and if not serving, state cause of discharge.

No

Have you stated the whole, if any, of your previous service?

Yes

Have you ever been rejected as unfit for His Majesty's Service? If so, on what grounds?

No

Do you understand that no Separation Allowance will be issued in respect of your service beyond an amount which, together with Pay, would reach 8 shillings [$0.80] per day?

Yes

Are you prepared to undergo innoculations gainst small-pox and enteric fever?

Yes

Height

5 foot 4 inches [162.5cm]

Weight

128 pounds [58.2Kg]

Chest

31-33 inches [78.75cm-83.8cm]

Complexion

Fair

Eyes

Blue

Hair

Fair

Religious Denomination

Anglican

Distinctive Marks

Nil, teeth require attention

Units

Allocated to 4th Reinforcements, 55nd Battalion, 14th Brigade, 5th Division.


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted, allocated to D Coy, [probably 2nd Depot Battalion AIF] for training.

28 Jan 1916

Private

Transferred to E Company

16 Apr 1916

Private

Transferred to B Company

15 May 1916

Private

Transferred to B Company 55th Battalion, with 4th Reinforcements

24 Jun 1916

Private

Embarked for England per HMAT "PORT SYDNEY" (A15)

4 Sep 1916

Private

Disembarked from HMAT "PORT SYDNEY" (A15) at Durban, South Africa initially to HS "EBANI"

28 Sep 1916

On or about this date. Probably diagnosed with Emphysema, but later amended to 'Emphysema Pleurisy'

Private

NOK advised that members was in hospital, Durban, dangerously ill and has been operated on for Empysema [sic]

6 Oct 1916
14 Oct 1916

Private

To Wynberg, Capetown

25 Oct 1916

Private

Disembarked from HS "EBANI" and admitted to 3 General Hospital, Drill Hall Sc [sic] with Empysema [sic]

29 Oct 1916

Date of transfer is uncertain

Private

NOK advised Pleurisy Emphysema progressing favourably

30 Oct 1916
18 Nov 1916
20 Nov 1915
1 Dec 1916
6 Dec 1916
8 Dec 1916
21 Dec 1916
26 Dec 1916
8 Jan 1917
15 Jan 1917
24 Jan 1917
29 Jan 1917
22 Feb 1917

At Capetown on all of these dates.
Copies on file for these dates:
5 Oct 1916
14 Oct 1916
16 Oct 1916
8 Jan 1917
16 Jan 1917
22 Feb 1917
9 Mar 1917

Private

Telegram from father, Hugh Read to his Member of Parliament [Sir] Austin Chapman asking him to enquire as to the condition of his son reported as seriously ill.

[ Indecypherable] Oct 1916

Private

Member for Eden-Monaro, Sir Austin Chapman KCMG, on behalf of father, Hugh Read requests information concerning the condition of Cecil Read and details enabling the father to cable Durban.

10 Oct 1916

Private

Embarked from Capetown for 2MD Australia per HMAT "NESTOR" to be invalided*

9 Mar 1917

* Discharged Medically unfit with a pension payable

Private

Discharged as Medically Unfit

8 Apr 1917

Private

Member's pension of £3.0.0 per fortnight is amended to 45/- (45 shillings or £2-5-0) per fortnight from 11 Oct 1917

20 Nov 1917


Medals and Dress Embellishments

Not entitled to 1914-15 Star. British War Medal 1914-1920 issued, but not entitled to Victory Medal as he did not serve in a declared war zone.

Not entitled to wear the ANZAC 'A'.

No Wound Stripes.

One Long Service Stripe and one blue Overseas Service Chevron.

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.


Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information in Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring.]

In December 1914, battalions of about 1000 men were organised into eight companies each divided into half of 60 men and then into two sections of around 30 men. Command was highly centralised with companies commanded by a Captain, half-companies by Lieutentants and sections by a Sergeant.

In early 1915 Australia reduced the number of Companies to four, but doubled their size to more than 220 men. Each rifle company had a headquarters and four platoons. Each platoon had a headquarters and four rifle sections of 10 men commanded by corporals.

From early 1916 light machineguns replaced medium machine guns and were eventually issued to each rifle platoon.

During 1917 rifle platoons were reorganised to have a light machine gun section, a rifle grenade section, a hand grenade/bombing section and a rifle assault section.

By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

Rifle, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III
Rifle, Small Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III with sword bayonet

Unit Shoulder Patch
55th Battalion



Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'

The 55th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 12 February 1916 as part of the "doubling" of the AIF. Half of its recruits were Gallipoli veterans from the 3rd Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 3rd, the 55th was predominantly composed of men from New South Wales. The battalion became part of the 14th Brigade of the 5th Australian Division.

Arriving in France on 30 June 1916, the battalion entered the frontline trenches for the first time on 12 July and fought its first major battle at Fromelles a week later. The battle was a disaster, resulting in heavy casualties across the division. Although in reserve, the 55th was quickly committed to the attack and eventually played a critical role, forming the rearguard for the 14th Brigade's withdrawal. Despite its grievous losses the 5th Division continued to man the front in the Fromelles sector for a further two months.

After a freezing winter manning trenches in the Somme Valley, in early 1917 the 55th Battalion participated in the advance that followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. It was spared the assault but did, however, defend gains made during the second battle of Bullecourt. Later in the year, the AIF's focus of operations switched to the Ypres sector in Belgium. The 55th's major battle here was at Polygon Wood on 26 September.

With the collapse of Russia in October 1917, a major German offensive on the Western Front was expected in early 1918. This came in late March and the 5th Division moved to defend the sector around Corbie. The 14th Brigade took up positions to the north of Villers-Bretonneux and held these even when the village fell, threatening their flanks.

Once the German offensive had been defeated, the Allies launched their own offensive in August 1918. The 14th Brigade did not play a major role in these operations until late in the month, but its actions were critical to the capture of Peronne, which fell on 2 September. The 54th fought its last major battle of the war, St Quentin Canal, between 29 September and 2 October 1918. For his valour during this action Private John Ryan was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The battalion was resting out of the line when the Armistice was declared on 11 November. The progressive return of troops to Australia for discharge resulted in the 55th merging with the 53rd Battalion on 10 March 1919. The combined 53/55th Battalion, in turn, disbanded on 11 April.


Battle Honours

Albert 1918, Amiens, Ancre 1918, Bullecourt, Egypt 1916, France and Flanders 1916-1918, Hindenburg Line, Menin Road, Mont St Quentin, Passchendaele, Poooelcappelle, Polygon Wood, Somme 1916-1918, St Quentin Canal, Villers Bretonneux, Ypres 1917


1914-15 Star

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
1914-15 Star

The decoration consists of a four-pointed star in bright bronze as shown, with the date 1914-15 on the central scroll. The reverse is plain, and is stamped with the name and unit of the recipient. The ribbon is red, white and blue, shaded and watered, worn with the red nearest the centre of the breast. It is atached to the medal through a ring.

It is similar in shape and description to the 1914 Star, to which few, if any, Australians were entitled. Those entitled were those who had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914.

The decoration, sanctioned in 1918, was issued "to all officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the British, Dominion, Colonial and Indian Forces, including civilian medical practitioners, nursing sisters, nurses and others eployed with military hospitals, who actually served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war as defined in Appendix 'A'. Individuals in possession of the 1914 Star will not be eligible for the award of this decoration."

Appendix 'A' included the Western, Eastern, Egyptian, African, Asiatic and Australasian Theatres of war, with commencement dates individual to countries and campaigns.


British War Medal 1940-20

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
British War Medal

This medal was approved by King George V in 19 19 to record the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion and the arduous services rendered by His Majesty's Forces.

The medal, which is supended from its ribbon by means of a straight clasp, without swivel, bears on the obverse the effigy of His Majesty - exactly similar to that on a half-crown - with the legend 'Georgivus V : Omn : Rex et Ind : Imp'.

The reverse bears a design which represents St George on horseback, trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the central powers and a skull and crossbones, the emblems of death. Overhead is the risen sun of victory. The male figure, rather than a symbolical female one, was chosen because man had borne the brunt of the fighting. The figure was mounted on horseback as symbolical of man's mind controlling force (represented by the horse) of far greater strength than his own. The design is thus also symbolical of the mechanical and scientific appliances which helped so largely to win the war.

The ribbon has a orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and with borders of royal blue. It is stated that the colours have no particular signification.


Victory Medal

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]

This medal, of bronze, bears on the obverse a winged figure of Victory, full length in the middle of the medal and full face; the borders and the backgound plain, without either incription or date. On the reverse is an inscription. "The Great War for Civilization." and either the names of the different Allied and Associated Powers, or their coats of arms.

The rim is plain, and the medal hangs from a ring. The ribbon is red in the centre, with green and violet on either side shaded to form the colours of two rainbows.

It has also been approved that any officer or man who has been "mentioned in despatches" shall wear a small bronze oak leaf on the ribbon of this medal. Only one oak leaf is so worn, no matter how many "mentions" the wearer may have received.

The medal is designed to obviate the exchange of Allied Commemorative war medals, and is issued only to those who actually served on the establishment of a unit or ship in a theatre of war. [This is an important distinction, as those Australians who served only in Australia, or only in Australia and England, were not entitled to the award.]


The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with the spirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely acceptedbeing that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted ona semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.


The ANZAC 'A'

ANZAC 'A'

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)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

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

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

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]
[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Overseas Service Chevrons

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.


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 individuals.

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]