3099 Private Edwin Samuel Davis
[WIA*** DOW]
59th Infantry Battalion,
15th Brigade,
5th Division
1st Australian Imperial Force

This file last updated 30 August, 2023 13:31


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Edwin Davis enlisted on 9 Jul 1915 at the age of 35 and was posted as a member of the 10th Reinforcements to the 5th Battalion, which at that time still serving on the Gallipoli Peninsular, but withdrew to EGYPT  while he was on the Troop Ship en route.

He embarked for the Middle East from Brisbane on RMS "OSTERLEY on 29 Sep 1915 and on 7 Jan 1915 at TEL-EL-KEBIR was taken onto the strength of the 5th Battalion.

The Australian and New Zealand troops were withdrawn from GALLIPOLI in late December and the AIF in EGYPTwas at this time undergoing dramatic expansion and reorganisation prior to embarking to France. Half of the battle-hardened Gallipoli troops in each unit were reassigned to form the backbone of new units being created to form new Divisions, while the reinforcements arriving from Australia were often reallocated to form the remainder of those new units.

Because of this reorganisation, he was first reallocated to the 57th Battalion on 19 Feb 1916 and finally on 15 Mar  1916 to the 59th Battalion where he served until his death in 1918.

Edwin Davis embarked from Alexandria to join the BEF on 29 Mar 1916, disembarking at Marseilles on 5 Apr 1916, just in time for his unit to take part in the battle of the Somme.

He was wounded in action (WIA) for the first time on 19 Jul 1916, the first day of the battle of Fromelles, suffering from shell shock. It was almost 13 months before he could return to the Battalion. 15 days later, on 26 Jul 1917 he was again wounded. This time he returned to duty within three days. Edwin was wounded for the third and final time on 25 Apr 1918, and succumbed to those wounds.

Edwin's body was exhumed after the war, and reburied in the Adelaide Cemetery at Villers Brettoneux, but as the reports in his file are undated, it is difficult to determine when this actually occured. The reference was initially ADELAIDE CEMETERY, VILLERS-BRETONNEUX III.M.18. FRANCE and a contemporaneous change in nomenclature now states "The grave of Edwin Samuel Davis is now to be found in Plot 3, Row M, Grave 6".  The change is from Grave 18 to Grave 6.   

The Red Cross reports (which I have presented in red) of his death are at best confusing in the witness descriptions, and it can only be assumed that being wounded themselves, the witnesses may have confused two or more events occuring concurrently. According to those witnesses he was at least an acting Corporal at the time of his death, but this is not reflected in his Service Record.

Details concerning the 59th Battalion AIF taken from the entry on the Australian War Memorial site and the wikipedia entry for the 59th Battalion AIF.

Documents concerning Edwin Davis include those below - the Service Record is a large file and is presented in two parts:

  1. Record of Service, Part 1;
  2. Record of Service Part 2
  3. Red Cross file;
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Notice;
  5. Roll of Honour;
  6. WW1 Embarkation Roll; and
  7. WW1 Nominal Roll.

See also the booklet Where Australians Rest which was issued by the Australian Government to the next-of-kin of those who died in the service of their country. The latter three items depend upon the clarity of the AWM scan, and may be difficult to read.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations or acronyms which have a dotted underline can be expanded by moving the cursor over the term - e.g. WIA. The cursor will be replaced by ? and the expanded abbreviation will be displayed. 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.  Abbreviations are inconsistent, even within a single occurence where a term is abbreviated.

There are a number of sources for tracing abbreviations used in Australian and New Zealand service records. Those used when operating with the British or US forces can generally be found, especially in World War 1. Abbreviations used solely within Australia in WW2 are most difficult to trace, particularly when they are regional. Sometimes a 'best guess' is the only answer.

Duplicated Pages

Some of the service information may appear to be duplicated although individual occurrences are not in the same order and different abbreviations used. This occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated upon discharge or death in Service.

Service Numbers

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

Dates of Occurrence and Reporting

The date of reporting an incident may be hours, days or months after the date on which incident actually occurred.

The original service record is amended only when the incident is reported which means that events are not necessarily recorded in in strict chronological sequence. This is the date shown on the left of the page of the original record, and also on the left in my transcription but readers should note that at times there may be no date of reporting at all, particularly when service personel are repatriated for discharge at the end of hostilities.

To assist the reader, when transcribing the military record I have done my best to record events in their chronological sequence. This is date is on the right of the page of the original record and also on the right in my transcription.

For clarity I have transcribed all dates into the format d MMM yyyy.

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the service record of Edwin Samuel Davis. Over the course of the war there were a number of versions of the questions put to the enlistees.


Australian Coat of Arms



Attestation paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad




   DAVIS, Edwin Samuel   


10th Reinforcements to 5thInfantry Battalion
57the Infantry Battalion
59th Infantry Battalion


9 July 1915

Questions to be put to the Person Enlisting before Attestation


What is your Name?


Edwin Samuel Davis


In what Parish or Town were you born?


North Melbourne


Are you a natural born British Subject or a Naturalised British Subject? (N.B. — If the latter, papers to be shown)


N B Brit Subject


What is your age?




What is your trade or calling?




Are you, or have you been, an Apprentice? If so, where, to whom, and for what period?




Are you married?




Who is your next of kin? (Address to be stated)


(Wife) Catherine Davis
97 O'Shannessey St
North Melbourne, Vic

38 Elm St, Northcote, Vic


Have you ever been convicted by the Civil Power?




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




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 now serving, state cause of discharge.




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



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




(For married men, widowers with children, and soldier who are the sole support of widowed mother) - Do you understand that no separation allowance will be issue in respect of your service beyond an amount which together with pay would reach eight shillings [$A0.80¢] per day?




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



I,     Edwin Samuel Davis     do solemnly declare that the above answers made by me to the above questions are true, and I am will and hereby voluntarily agree to serve in the Military Forces of the Commonwealth of Australia within or beyond the limits of the Commonwealth.

* And I further agree to allot not less than two fifths / three fifths of the pay payable to me from time to time during my service for the support of my wife / wife and children.

Date    9/ 7 / 15   

   Signature of person enlisted   

* This clause should be struck out in the case of unmarried men or widowers without children under 18 years of age

†Two-fifths must be allotted to the wife, and if there are children three-fifths must be allotted.


The foregoing questions were read to the person enlisted in my presence.

I have taken care that he understands each question, and his answer to each question has been duly entered as replied to by him.

I have examined his naturalisation papers and am of opinion that they are correct.

Date    9 /7 / 15    

   Signature of Attesting Officer   


I,     Edwin Samuel Davis    swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force from 20 Aug 1915 until the end of the War, and a further period of four months thereafter unless sooner lawfully discharged, dismissed or removed therefrom; and that I will resist His Majesty's enemies and cause His Majesty's peaceto be kept and maintained; and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service, faithfully discharge my duty according to law.


   Signature of Person Enlisted      

Taken and subscribed at     Melbourne    in the State of     Victoria     this     Ninth     day of     July    1915 before me :—

   Signature of Attesting Officer      

* A person enlisting who objects to taking an oath may make an afformation in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Act, and the above form must be amended accordingly. All amendments must be initialed by the Attesting Officer.

Description of    DAVIS, Edwin Samuel    on Enlistment

Age   35   years    —   months

Distinctive Marks

Vac on L Arm
Scar on R Buttock

Height   5   feet     2    inches


Weight      9 st 2    lbs


Chest    32 — 33½   inches

[81.3 — 85cm]

Complexion   Sallow

Eyes   Brown

Hair   Black

Religious Denomination   C of E

[Church of England]


I have examined the above-named person and find that he does not present any of the following conditions, viz:—

Scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence, defects of vision, voice or hearing; hernia; haemorhoids; varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendant testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest abnormal curvature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier.

He can see the required distance with either eye; his heart and lungs are healthy; he has the free use of his joints and limbs; and he declares he is not subject to fits of any description.

I consider him fit for active service.

Date    9 / 7 / 15    

Place    Melbourne    

    Signature of Examining Medical Officer    


I CERTIFY that this attestation of the above-named person is correct and that the required forms have been complied with. I according approve and appoint him to 10th Rein 5th Batt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Date   31 8 15    

Place    Broadmeadows   

    Signature of Officer Commanding    

Chronological Events

Rank Description Date Remarks



9 Aug 1915


Posted to 47th Depot Company Broadmeadows [for training]

18 Jul 1915
1 Aug 1915


Allotted to 10th Reinforcements to the 5th Infantry Battalion

2 Aug 1915


Embarked Melbourne aboard RMS OSTERLEY for Middle East

29 Sep 1915


Disembarked Middle East

7 Jan 1916



Taken on Strength of 5th Battalion

7 Jan 1916


Reallocated to and joined 57th Bn


Transfered to and taken on strength of 59th Battalion

15 Mar 1916


Sick to Hospital, Duntroon Plateau

29 Apr 1916


To Ferry Post - Defence of Suez Canal

12 May 1916

April 1916 the 5th Australian Division, including the 59th Battalion was for a short while a part of the force allocated to the defence of the Suez Canal.


Wife, Mrs Catherine Davis submits a change of address from 37 Elm Street, Northcote, VIC to 59 Wellington Street, Richmond.

20 May 1915


Embarked at Alexandria to join BEF aboard HMS KINFAUNS CASTLE, an armed merchant cruiser.

18 Jun 1916


Disembarked at Marseilles

29 Jun 1916


Wounded in action (WIA) on the first day of the battle of Fromelles, shell shock.

19 Jul 1916

The AIF was committed almost immediately, and the 19th Brigade, including the 59th Battalion suffered heavy casualties in the battle of Fromelles. Despite this they remained in the front line for a further two months.


Admitted to 8 ACCS.

20 Jul 1916


Transferred to 1st Convalescent Depot, Boulogne

21 Jul 1916


Transferred to Base Details 5 ADBD, Etaples

31 Jul 1916


Marched in to 5 ADBD

1 Aug 1916


Form letter from Base Records Office, Melbourne, VIC to Mrs C Davis, 97 O'Shannasey St., NORTH MELBOURNE (VIC)


Dear Madam, I regret to advise you that Pte. E.S. Davis, 59th Battalion has been reported wounded.

It is not stated as being serious, and in the even of further information coming to hand, you will be promptly notified.

In the absence of further reports it is to be assumed that all wounded are now progressing satisfactorily.

It should be clearly understood that if no further advice is received this Department has no further information to give.

Yours faithfully
Officer i/c Base Records

5 Aug 1916

The fact that it took so long to make an initial report gives some indication of the extent of the death and wounds of Australians in the Somme offensive.
His wounding is described a 'mild', yet it was more than a year before he was able to return to his unit.


Wife, Catherine Davis submits change of address from 97 O'Shannessy Street, North Melbourne to 38 Elm St., Northcote.

16 Aug 1916


Form letter from Base Records Office, Melbourne, VIC to Mrs C Davis, 97 O'Shannasey St., NORTH MELBOURNE (VIC)


Dear Madam, now beg to advise your that information has been received to the effect that Pte. E.S. Davis, 59th (late 5th) Btn, is now in the 5th Stationary Hospital, Frane, 20.7.16 suffering from SHELL SHOCK (mild) and his address will therefore be:—

3099, Private E.S. Davis,
"WOUNDED" 59th (late 5th) Australian Infantry
C/o Australian Imperial Force Headquarters
130 Horseferry Road, Westminster, LONDON, SW

Any further particulars coming to hand will be promptly transmitted.

Yours faithfully
Officer i/c Base Records

11 Aug 1916


To Hospital, sick
Admitted to 26 Gen Hosp
Condition/diagnosis NYD Lung

18 Aug 1916


Transferred to 6 Conv Depot, debility, Etaples

27 Aug 1916


Admitted to 8th Conv Depot
Transferred to 5th Conv Depot

2 Sep 1916


Admitted to 5th Conv Depot, debility

2 Sep 1916


Discharged to Base Depot

28 Sep 1916


Marched in to 5th Aust Div Base Depot from 5th Conv Depot

28 Sep 1916


Marched out to 2 AGH, with draft PB* men.

25 Nov 1916

* Unable to identify the abbreviation 'PB'. Suspect it is 'Permanent Base', those men who are not suffiently fit to return to their unit, but can be employed in useful roles in a base environment such as a hospital. He did in fact return to his unit in August 1917.


Attached to 2 AGH, Wimmereux for duty

25 Nov 1916


Admitted 2 AGH, bronchitis

28 Apr 1917


Discharged to duty

8 May 1917


Marched in to 5 ADBD ex detachment

7 Jun 1917


Submits change of address form for NOK wife Catherine Davis to 38 Elm St, Northcote, VIC

3 Jul 1917


Rejoined Unit, ex detachment, from 5 ADBD

2 Aug 1917


To furlough in UK

27 Aug 1917


Rejoined unit from furlough

9 Sep 1917


Wounded in Action, 2nd occasion, contusions

26 Sep 1917


Admitted to 8 AFA, contusions

26 Sep 1917


Transferred and admitted to DRS, contusions

26 Sep 1917

The DRS enabled those with minor wounds to rest and recover before being returned to their unit.
See my remarks in the Introduction concerning blast injuries.


Rejoined unit ex wounded

29 Sep 1917


Red Cross Report notes that Davis was wounded and discharged to duty from 6th Field Ambulance unit

29 Sep 1917

Red Cross Report contains no reference to his wounding on the first occasion.


Form letter from Base Records Office, Melbourne, VIC to Mrs C Davis,


Dear Madam, I now beg to advise you that Pte. E.S. Davis, has been reported wounded, second occasion.

His Postal Address will be:—
No. 3099 Private E. S. Davis,
59th Battalion,
Australian Imperial Force, Abroad

In the absence of further reports it is to be assumed that satisfactory progress is being maintained, but anything later received will be promptly transmitted, it being clearly understood that if no further advice is forwarded this department has no further information to supply.

Yours faithfully
Officer i/c Base Records

19 Oct 1917


Annie A. Kearney writes:

20 John St
November 14th 17

Officer in Charge
Base Records Enquiry Office

Dear Sir,

I[n] the last [inserted No 351st] Casualty list published appeared the name of Private E.S. Davis.
Would you kindly find out for me if this soldier is my friend
     No. 3079 [sic]
     C Company: 59th Battalion.

Yours etc.
Annie A. Kearney

Stamped adressed envelope enclosed for reply AAK

14 Nov 1917


Reply from Base Records Office to Annie Kearney

Dear Madam,

In reply to your letter of the 14th instant, I have to state a cable message was received last month advising that N. 3099 Private E. S. Davis, 59th Battalion, is wounded, and his wife has been notified accordingly.

No details of the casualty are available, but his case is not specified as serious.

Letters addressed as under should be forwarded to where he is located:—

No. 3099 Private E. S. Davis,
59th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, Abroad.

Yours faithfully,
Officer i/c Base Records

21 Nov 1917


Detached to 184 Imp Tunnel Coy for duty.

19 Feb 1918

Preparation for the Spring Offensive.


Rejoined unit ex detachment

24 Mar 1918


Wounded in Action, 3rd occasion, Died of Wounds (DOW)

25 Apr 1918


Graves Registration Committee[?] reports "Buried by Rev FC Breiner attd 59th Bn near Villers Brettoneux Sht 62D O 28 D 17".

20 May 1918

The burial would have taken place on the date of death and no later than the day after. The sheet number is most probably a detailed map of portion of the battlefield, while "O" and "D" can be assumed to be "Over" and "Down" respectively, giving the precise location of the grave on the map grid. See also the evidence of Gunner Knight that he was buried outside the 59th Casualty Clearing Station.


Lieutenant reports that the Casualty Form in his record is the original, while "Copies forwarded to Defence Melbne, Chief Paymaster & Admin Hdqrs on 30/5/18"

30 May 1918


Witness 30390 Gunner Thomas Knight, 5th Machine Gun Company AIF reports that "This man was buried in the Cemetry [sic] of Elissy, outside of 59 Casualty Clearing Station just of [sic] Dehors. There is a fully decorated cross on his grave."


Report in Red Cross file which also identifies Davis as belonging to the 5th Battalion when in fact he was in the 59th Battalion.


3372 Pte N.R. Casey, 58th Battalion reports "I saw him being carried away on a stretcher at Vaux de Domme on the Canal. He had been hit in the stomach. He called out 'Goodbye' to us as he passed. He was a Corpl. of a MG Sect. in my Coy. He was buried all right but I did not see his burial. I did not know him very well but remember he was short, fair, and about 22 or 23."

22 Aug 18

Red Cross report conflicts with known facts in that his hair was black and he was 35 on enlistment.


3540 Pte G. Scanlon, 58th Battalion reports "I knew a Davis a Corporal in C. Company. It know he understood French as he translated a letter for me four days before he was killed. He was about 5 feet 6, well built, dark, clean-shaven; had a name for being a very plucky man. We were holding the line in front of Hamel when I saw him hit by a MG. bullet in the body very badly. L/Corporal Greenslade C. Company picked him up first & helped him on a Stretcher; that is the last I saw of him."

12 Sep 1918

Red Cross report conflicts with known facts in that Davis was four inches shorter than reported.


3450 Pte Gerald Scanton, 55 Battn. C Coy. 9 Pltn. reports "Davis was shot through the stomach by a M.gun bullet when the Battn. was holding the line in front of Hamel in April last. I was about 30 yds. off and saw him fall. L/Cpl Greenslade went to his assistance. He was taken to the dressing station and that was the last I saw of him. I heard afterwards that he had died but cannot say where he was buried. He was a Cpl., and had a fair knowledge of Frnch. Ground was held. L/Cpl Greenslade, C Coy. 58th Bttn. can give full information." Eye-witness - Yes.

1 Oct 1918

Davis again described as a Corporal with a knowledge of French.


Two certified copies of the Will of Edwin Samuel DAVIS leaves his entire estate to Mrs Catherine Davis, 37 Elm Stret, Northcote, Vic.

19 Sep 1917


Inventory of the Effects of &mdash No. 3099 Davis, E.S. 59th Btn A.I.F.

Forwarded to — Legatee: —
Mrs Catherine Davis,
37 ELm St,

Ex. 3rd Echelon France. (3/724) 29.5.18.

3 Wallets, 2 Mirrors, 2 Razers [sic], Letters, Photos, Writing pad, Cards.

Per "BARUNGA" 20.6.18.
In case 1227.

D/S 35360.

29 May 1918


Letter from Base Records Office to Mrs C. Davis, 59 Wellington St., RICHMOND, V.

Dear Madam,

I regret to inform you that a package containing personal effects of your husband, the late No. 3099 Private E.S. Davis, 59th Battalion, was included in a consignment shipped from Englnd per S.S. "Barunga", which vessel was lost at sea with all cargo, on its way to Australia, as a result of enemy action.

Atached hereto is an inventory of the contents of the abovementioned package. No hope can be entertained of the recovery of the articles so lost, but in the event of any of the deceased's effects coming to hand at a later date, they will be promptly transmitted to you.

Yours faithfully,
Officer i/c Base Records

30 Jul 1919


Undated list of exhumations includes :
59th Bn.   3099   DAVIS   Pte    S.S.[sic]   25/4/18
AIF     ( Report Villers Bretonneux 110/18E).



Undated list of Graves Registration Unit Exhumations includes:

59/AIF  s; 3099   DAVIS   Pte.E.S. 25.4.18.
(Report Villers Bretonneux 10.55/E/
Plot 3. Row M. Grave 18.   10.51/C)



Note to Mrs C. Davies, 59 Wellington Street, Richmond, VICTORIA

your [sic] husband the late No. 3099a Private E.S. Davies, 59th Battalion, is buried in the Adelaide British Cemeterry, 2½ miles South of Corbie.

29 Jan 1920


Undated report from Graves Registration Unit annotated in pencil noting that the grave numbers in Adelaide have been realloted.
The grave of Edwin Samuel Davis in now to be found in Plot 3, Row M, Grave 6.



Letter from mother, Mrs Davis to Officer in Charge, Base Records Office.

Dear Sir,

I send a few lines to ask if you have got the photographs of my sons's grave. I had a letter in February 1919 from [illegible] saying that the photo of my son's grave would be sent to the Defence department [sic] for it to be sent to me. So I [illegible] if would send a line to see if you had it there yet. Hopefully you will send one as soon as you can.

Yours faithfully, Mrs Davis

Private E. S. Davis
No 3099A
59 Battalion

12 May 1920


Letter from Base Records Office to Davis' mother, Mrs Davis 18 William Street, Abbotsford, VIC

Dear Madam,

With reference to your communication of 12th May, I have to state three photographs of the grave of your son, the late No. 3099 Private E.S. Davis, 59th Battalion were forwarded on 13/12/19 to next-of-kin (wife).

Additional copies will be supplied upon payment of 3d.* per copy, and requests for same accompanied by remittance, should be addressed to the Officer in Charge, Base Records Office, Victoria Barracks Melbourne, by whom they will be transmitted to the London authorities.

21 May 1920

* 3d is threepence or 3 pennies,


Record annotated with the fact that a Memorial Scroll was issued to the widow Mrs C. Davis on 15 Sep 1920

15 Sep 1920


Record annotated with the fact that "Where Australians Rest" was forwarded to Mrs C. Davis

20 Dec 1920

"Where the Australians Rest" was a booklet published in 1920 by the Department of Defence and presented to the next-od-kin of Australian Servicemen who died on active service during World War One. It was edited by Charles Bean and illustrated by John C. Goodchild.


Receipt for the 1914-15 Star awarded to Pte Edwin Davis.

31 Aug 1920

Signed Catherine Davis but annotated with the information that Mrs C. Davis is now Mrs C. Norton


Note from Officer in Charge, Base Records, advising of the grave location

Dear Madam,

With reference to the report of the regrettable loss of your husband, the late NO. 3099A, Private E.S. Davis, 59th Battalion, I am now in receipt of advice which shows that the late soldier is buried in Grave No 18, plot 3, row M of the Adelaide Cemetery, Villers Bretonneux, 2½ miles south of Corbie.

These additional details are furnished by direction, it being the policy of the Department to foward all information received in connection with the deaths of members of the Australian Imperial Force.

Yours faithfully,
Officer i/c Base Records

15 Jun 1922

Both the original and a flimsy (copy) of this note are in the file.


A misfiled, blank notification of a soldier returning home.



Letter to mother, Mrs Davis, 18 William St,m ABBOTSFORD, VIC from Base Records Office

Dear Madam,

At the request of the Imperial War Grave Commission I am forwarding herewith a circular order form relative to the purchase of copies of the register of the Adelaide cemetery, France, wherein the remains of your son, the late No. 3099 Pte. E.S.Davis, 596h Btn, are interred.

Should you desire to obtain one or more copies of this register, kindly complete the enclosed application form and return same direct to The Receiver of Public Moneys, Department of Defence, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, accompanied by remittance (Postal Note) to the value of 3/- per copy required. Prompt attention will be give to orders received in this connection, and the registers will be forwarded post free to applicants without delay.

If you are aware of the present whereabouts of your son's widow, I should be glad if you would inform her regarding the sale of the abovementioned registers, and I should be obliged if you could furnish me with her address in order that the war medals. etc. issuable on account of the late soldier's services might be forwarded to her.

Yours faithfully,
Officer i/c Base Records

8 Apr 1925

Medals and Dress Embellishments

1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-1920, and Victory Medal.

Three Wound Stripes.

Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'.

Four Long Service Stripes and four 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

12th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division

[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]
Shoulder Patch 59th Infantry Battalion

The 59th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 21 February 1916 as part of the expansion of the AIF. Approximately half of its recruits came from the veteran 7th Battalion, and the other half were fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 7th, the 59th was predominantly composed of men from rural Victoria. The battalion became part of the 15th Brigade of the 5th Australian Division.

On 19 July 1916, the 59th became embroiled in its first major battle on the Western Front, less than a month after it arrived in France. The battle of Fromelles was a disaster for the 59th. Attacking in the first wave, the 59th suffered heavy casualties at the hands of German machine-gunners, and its advance faltered far short of its objective. Despite grievous losses, the units of the 5th Division manned the front line around Fromelles for a further two months.

The 59th spent the winter of 1916-17 rotating in and out of the front line. In March 1917 the battalion participated in the advance that followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, but was spared having to assault it. It 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 59th's major battle there 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. During this defence, the 59th Battalion participated in the now legendary counter-attack at Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April.

When the Allies launched their own offensive around Amiens on 8 August 1918, the 59th Battalion was amongst the units in action, although its role in the subsequent advance was limited. The battalion fought around Peronne in the first days of September and entered its last battle of the war on the 29th. This operation was mounted by the 5th and 3rd Australian Divisions, in co-operation with American forces, to break through the formidable German defences along the St Quentin Canal.

The battalion withdrew to rest on 2 October and was still doing so when the war ended. The 59th Battalion disbanded on 24 March '1919.

Battle Honours:

Albert 1918, Amiens, Avre, Bullecourt, Egypt 16, France and Flanders 1916-18, Hindenburg Line, Menin Road, Mont St Quentin, Passchendaele, Poelcappelle, Polygon Wood, Somme 1916-18, St Quentin Canal, Villers Brettoneux, 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 1914-20

[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 1919 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 accepted being that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted on  a 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 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

[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

[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]