52261 Private Ernest George Currier
40th Infantry Battalion, 10th Brigade, 3rd Division
1 st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 19 November, 2018 15:52

Introduction

Photograph here, if available

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the service record of 52261 Private Ernest George Currier (Births, Deaths and Marriages in Tasmania have his correct name as George Ernest Currier).

He is the youngest of the Currier brothers to enlist, the others being Edward Clifford and Cyril Garnet. After the death of their father these three boys, the youngest of a total of John and Catherine Currier's nine children are on file in 1908 as destitute and neglected children. This hardship may have been a prime motivator in their laater enlistment.

Ernest Currier enlisted under age, without permission and states that he had been posted to the 40th Battalion, but was discharged. He reinlisted on 17 October 1918 with a (belated) permission slip and was allocated to the 40thnd Battalion.

By the time he completed his training and joined his unit in France, the war had little more than a month to run.

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 were allocated by the original unit, and are not unique to the individual. Where an individual is transferred into another unit, duplicating an existing number, the transferee is given an alphabetic suffix, eg 1234A. Officers did not have Army numbers, and if commissioned from the ranks, relinquished their number on commissioning.

References on the enlistment form to previous military service included service as school cadets under the Universal Service Scheme, 1911-1929.

Prepared for Vietnam veteran, Robert Clifford 'Bomber' Gibson, grandnephew of Ernest George Currier, by Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 7 Oct 2018.

View Ernest Currier's Service Record. Embarkation Record or Nominal Roll entry.


Enlistment Details

Service Number

52261

Name

Ernest George Currier

Born at

Strahan, Tasmania

Age

18 years and 1 months (as at 20 Oct 1918 - birth dates are not actually recorded)

Trade or Calling

Motor Mechanic

Apprentice

No

British Subject

Natural born

Marital Status

Unmarried

Next of Kin

Mother Kate Currier address 388 Enmore Road, Petersham, SYDNEY, later amended to "Avon" 31 Birrell St., Waverley, SYDNEY.

Permanent address in Australia C/o W.G. Walker Gretna, McQuarry [sic] Plains, Tasmania

Previous Military Service

Yes. 6 months in the 40th Battalion but was discharged for not having parents consent.

Discharged with Ignominy

No

Attested at

Hobart, Tasmania

Date of Enlistment

17 Oct 1917

Height

Not on record

Weight

Not on record

Chest

Not on record

Complexion

Not on record

Eyes

Not on record

Hair

Not on record

Religious Denomination

Church of England

Distinctive Marks

Not on record

Units

40th Infantry Battalion


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted

17 Oct 1917

Private

Kate Currier signs permission slip for Ernest Currier to serve in the AIF

20 Oct 1917

Private

Posted to 1st Depot Battalion, Claremont

23 Oct 1917

Completed training 21 Apr 1918

Private

Embarked to Sydney

22 April 1918 - 30 Apr 1918

Private

Embarked from Sydney on HMAT "EURIPIDES" (A14)

1 May 1918

Private

Acknowledgement from Base Records Office in response to advice from Kate Currier that she had changed her address

6 May 1918

"Glenholm", Spruson Streen, NEUTRAL BAY, Sydney NSW.

Private

Transhipped to HMS "TEUTONIC"

14 Jun 1918

New York

Private

Disembarked Liverpool, UK, marched in to 9th Infantry Training Battalion.

2 Jul 1918

Private

Proceeded overseas to France

22 Sep 1918

Via Folkston, Fovant

Private

Marched in to Australian Infantry Base Depot (AIBD) Rouelles

24 Sep 1918

Private

Marched out to join unit

26 Sep 1918

Private

Taken on Strength of 40th Battalion

29 Sep 1918

Private

To 10th Australian Field Ambulance (10 AFA), sick. Admitted, VD

18 Dec 1918

Then 3rd Australian General Hospital

Private

To 39th General Hospital

18 Dec 1918

Gonorrhea

Private

To 1st Australian Dermatologial Hospital (1 ADH)

15 Jan 1919

Private

Marched out from 1 ADH Bulford, to No 1 Convalescent Depot (1 CD)

18 Jan 1919

Private

Returned to Unit

7 Feb 1919

Private

Embarked for return to Australia on HMAT "PLASSY"

17 Mar 1919

Private

Disembarked Sydney

30 Apr 1919

Private

Discharged from the Service

27 Jun 1919

Private

Notation that the soldier's will was sent to Deputy Assistant Adjutant General and Quartermaste General (DAAG & QMG) in 6th Military District (6 MD)

5 Nov 1919

6th Military District is Tasmania

Private

Notation that the soldier is deceased

4 Jul 1981


Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920 and Victory Medal, not entitled to 1914-15 Star as he enlisted after 1915.

Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'.

No Wound Stripes.

One Long Service Stripe, two Overseas Service Chevrons.

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

40th Battalion, 10th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division

[Information from Australian War Memorial and https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]
Unit Shoulder Patch 40th Infantry Battalion
40th Infantry Battalion Shoulder Patch
Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'

The 3rd Division was raised in Australia early in 1916. The 40th Battalion was Tasmania's contribution to the strength of the division and it joined the Victorian-raised 37th, 38th and 39th Battalions to form the 10th Brigade.

The battalion embarked for the Western Front in July 1916 and by December was serving in the trenches in France. The 40th Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines and in October the battle for Broodseinde Ridge. It was during this battle that Sergeant Lewis McGee of B Company performed the act of valour that earned him the Victoria Cross. McGee was killed in action eight days later, one of the 248 members of the battalion killed, wounded or gassed in the battle of Passchendaele.

The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley. In March they met the German Spring Offensive at Morlancourt. In August and September the battalion helped to drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. It was near Proyart in August that Sergeant Percy Statton of the 40th earned his Victoria Cross.

At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns fell silent on the Western Front. The November Armistice was followed by the Peace Treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.

Between February and September 1919 the men of the 40th Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation and discharge.


Battle Honours

Albert 1918, Amiens, Ancre 1918. Broodseinde, France and Flanders 1916-18, Hindenberg Line, Messines 1917 Mont St Quentin, Passchendaele, Poelcappelle, Polygon Wood, Somme 1918, St Quention Canal, 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.

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 thespirit 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]