934 Private Albert Edward Mitchell [WIA]
20th Infantry Battalion,
5th Infantry Brigade,
2nd Division,
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 30 December, 2023 11:24





Introduction


Albert Edward Mitchell (Jnr)
Picture taken at his wedding to
Florence Alma Stevenson 3 Dec 1921

Much of what follows is the convoluted history of my immediate family on my father's side.

Albert Edward Mitchell II was my paternal grandfather. His family lived in MANCHESTER, ENGLAND and his father was a journalist and author. I have been unable to discover any official record of his voyage to Australia, disembarkation or when this might have occured. It is likely that he was a crew member on a passenger ship and jumped ship in Sydney.

Enlisting in the Australian Army on 25 March 1915, aged 19½ he was allotted to the 20th Battalion AIF and underwent initial training at LIVERPOOL NSW before embarking to EGYPT where the 2nd Division was being formed.

On 22 Aug 1915 the 20th Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade disembarked at GALLIPOLI. He went on to serve again in EGYPT after the withdrawal from GALLIPOLI then FRANCE and BELGIUM. He was wounded in action (WIA) but remained on duty, and returned to AUSTRALIA in 1919 and was discharged on 3 Sep 1919.

Albert Mitchell had attended a course at the Belgian Universite du Travaille, a vocational college equivalent in 1918. With the war winding down, the Army was apparently seeking to fit some of its troops for civilian life.

On discharge from the Army he settled in LISMORE NSW and took up life there, setting up as a greengrocer, and on 3 Dec 1921 married Florence Alma (known as Alma) Stevenson. His best man was friend and fellow returned soldier Arthur James Taylor, while the bridesmaid was Alma's sister, Hilda Dorothy Stevenson, known as Dorothy or Dot.

Arthur Taylor married Dot Stevenson in 1924 and so Albert Mitchell and Arthur Taylor became brothers-in-law.

Arthur and Dot moved to MOUNT MORGAN, QUEENSLAND where Arthur was a miner, but Dot died at MOUNT MORGAN on 9 Sep 1924 and is buried there, while Arthur returned alone to LISMORE.

Albert and Alma Mitchell were the parents of 2½ year-old Albert Edward (Bert) and 6 month-old Beulah when their father died on 16 Dec 1924, of a brain tumour.

Before he died, Albert Mitchell asked his friend to look after Alma and the children. Alma Mitchell and Arthur Taylor were married on 4 May 1926. Their child, Dorothy Taylor, was born in 1927. Three other children were still- born.

The children, Bert and Beulah being so young, were known from that time as "Taylor" and not "Mitchell", which led to this Bert's family being known by the Taylor surname. My parents, Bert and Roslyn were married as Mitchell but continued to use the Taylor surname. Being the eldest my birth was registered as Arthur Clive Mitchell but I was known as Clive Taylor. It was quite a shock finding my birth certificate and my name didn't match up, and much of the information here I learned much later.

In 1967, prior to embarking to serve with the 8th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in the 28th Commonwealth Brigade in MALAYSIA, I told my parents Bert and Roslyn that should I have a son, his middle name would be Mitchell. This was taken up by my parents themselves when in December of that year my youngest brother Rohan was born. All three of us surviving brothers carried on this tradition with our own eldest sons who have in turn carried it forward to the next generation. In 1992 I changed my name by Deed Poll to Mitchell-Taylor, combining the two parts of my heritage. Perhaps I should have changed it to Albert Edward Mitchell IV, but even I thought that a bridge too far!

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Albert Edward Mitchell (Jnr), supplemented with detail from "The Green and White Diamond, 20th Battalion AIF 1915-1919. The missing data includes basic training and specialist training in Australia and Egypt, as well as the entire period of service on Gallipoli and in Egypt again prior to embarkation to France.

Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 22 October 1996 (and revised in 2022 and 2023) - grandson of Albert Mitchell.

Albert Mitchell's documents are:

  1. Service Record;
  2. World War One Nominal Roll ;
  3. Embarkation Roll;

See Arthur James Taylor's Military biography or select from the WW1 menu.


Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms which are underlined with dots can be expanded by moving the cursor over the term eg WIA. The cursor will change to a ? and the expansion of the abbreviation will be shown. This function is gradually incorporated into the site, replacing the earlier expansion of abbreviations. There may be a discernable delay before the expansion is first displayed.

There is also a separate list of abbreviations which is available through the menu at the top of the page or the hyperlink here.

There are a number of sources for tracing abbreviations used in Australian and New Zealand service records. Those used during World War I are most likely to be identical to British terminology and abbrevations. Those used in World War II are most likely to be similar to US terminology and abbreviations. Those used solely within Australia, especially regional Australia are often unique and can be impossible to find. Sometimes a "best guess" is the only answer.


Duplicated Pages

Some of the service information may be duplicated although individual occurences are not in the same order, use different abbreviations and are in a different hand.

This occurs when unit and headquarters records are amalgamated upon discharge or death. It may be a source for additional information concerning the event.


Service Numbers

Service numbers in Word War I were unique to the unit (e.g. Battalion) or Corps (e.g. Artillery).

If a member changed their unit or corps and the number was already in use, the number of the individual being transferred was given an aphabetic suffix - e.g. 1234A.

In World War II Service Numbers were unique to the State in which they were allotted, each State having an alphabetic prefix unique to the State, eg N12345. If the individual was allotted for overseas service, their Australian Imperial Force number was different, and an X was inserted after the State letter, eg NX 34567.

Individuals alloted for war service did not always serve oveseas, as it was a contingency measure.

For further, much detailed information about identity numbers for Service personnel, see "What's In a Number" by Graham Wilson


Dates of Occurence and Reporting

Army Service Records adopt a format which sees all events (occurences) in a roughly chronological order.

The date of reporting an incident may be hours, days or months after the date on which incident actually occurred, and a later event may be recorded before an earlier one.

The date event is first recorded is the date shown on the left of the page of the original record. From time to time, no date is recorded and there is no record of the originating unit for the occurence, although these may be inferred from context.

The date and place of occurence appear on the right hand side of the page, and I use this data to record events in their true chronologican sequence when transcribing the military record.

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


 

Enlistment Details

Service Number

934

Name

Albert Edward Mitchell

Born at

Parish of Walkden, Town of Manchester, County of Lancashire, England

Age

19 years 7 months as at 22 Mar 1915

Trade or Calling

Farm Hand

Marital Status

Single

Next of Kin

Father - Mr Albert Edward Mitchell
16 Knowesley Ave.,
Eccles, Manchester, England

Previous Military Service

No

Attested at

Liverpool NSW

Date of Enlistment

25 March 1915

Height

5 foot 5 inches [165cm]

Weight

127 pounds [57.7Kg]

Chest

29-33 inches [73.5cm - 84cm]

Eyes

Good Grey

Hair

Light Brown

Religious Denomination

Church of England

Units

20th Battalion, 5th Brigade


 

 

Date
Reported

Received
From

Chronological Events

Medical     Other     Disciplinary

Date of
Occurence

Place of
Occurence

23 Mar 1915

Liverpool N.S.W.


The Green and White Diamond

PTE, Enlisted, although not sworn in until 24 Mar 1915 and assigned to C Company of the 20th Infantry Battalion, 5th Brigade

Basic training was being conducted at LIVERPOOL, while the lack of documentation reflects the urgency of the recruitment effort at this time. Additional training as a Signaller.

22 Mar 1915

LIVERPOOL NSW

26 Jun 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, Embarked from AUSTRALIA on HMAT "BERRIMA" (A35)
Further training and weapons practice were conducted aboard

26 Jun 1915

SYDNEY NSW

26 Jul 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, Battalion disembarked in EGYPT and entrained for CAIRO, detrained at PALAIS DES KUBEIH at 6pm and marched to the AERODROME CAMP at HELIOPOLIS. The 5th Brigade was assigned to the newly formed 2nd Division. Weapons practice and marches. as well as mock company attacks.

26 Jul 1915

EGYPT

15 Aug 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 5th Brigade entrained for ALEXANDRIA and embarked aboard HMAT "SATURNALIA" which anchored overnight.

15 Aug 1915

EGYPT

16 Aug 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, HMAT "SATURNALIA" arrives LEMNOS. 20th remains aboard until 1pm on the 21st.

16 Aug 1915

LEMNOS

21 Aug 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 20th Bn transfers to SS "OSMANIEH" for GALLIPOLI where they disembark.

21 Aug 1915

GALLIPOLI

21/22 Aug 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 20th Bn transfers to SS "OSMANIEH" for GALLIPOLI where they disembark after midnight.
The 5th Brigade's 17th and 18th Battalions having landed earlier, were already engaged in an attack. The 18th Battalion suffered 383 casualties of 750 men committed.

21/22 Aug 1915

GALLIPOLI

26 Aug 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 20th Bn moved into trenches at Russell's Top to relieve the 8th Light Horse. To the front of the position was The Nek where so many of the 8th and 10th LH were slaughtered in a futile charge on 7 Aug 1915.

26 Aug 1915

GALLIPOLI

Sep 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, Intermittent exchanges with Turks, refurbishment of trenches, parapets and general improvement of living conditions, and bodies in front of the trenches were as far as possible covered with lime and earth or burned with petrol.

Dysentery caused many casualties and there was continual attrition from snipers, bombs, artillery and mortar fire.

Sep 1915

GALLIPOLI

9 Nov 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 20th Battalion relieved by the 26th Battalion and moved into the 18th Battalion's position in "Fatigue Gully". A number of 20th Battalion officers and NCOs remained for a week with the 26th Battalion to familiarise them with the area. 18th Battalion moved into Courtney's Post.

9 Nov 1915

GALLIPOLI

17 Nov 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, The weather became much colder and conditions had become much worse without winter clothing. Rations much reduced. A storm erupted over the Peninsula and wrecked the piers.

17 Nov 1915

GALLIPOLI

19/20 Dec 1915

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, All troops withdrawn from Gallipoli. 20th Battalion disembarked MUDROS.

19/20 Dec 1915

MUDROS

3 Jan 1916

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 20th Battalion embarked SS "MANITOU" from MUDROS.

3 Jan 1916

MUDROS

9 Jan 1916

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, Battalion disembarked at ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT and entrained for TEL EL KEBIR where tents had been erected but were insufficient for the number of troops, some of whom slept on the ground, cold and soaked to the skin.

Stores and clothing refurbished or replaced and training continued.

9 Jan 1916

EGYPT

23/26 Jan 1916

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 5th Brigade entrained for MOASCAR and marched to ISMALIA where it was deployed to protect the central sectors of the SUEZ CANAL. 20th Battalion deployed to Hill 353 ("AUSTRALIA HILL") approx 9 miles east of Ferry Post.

The Battalion remained in that position through February.

23/26 Jan 1916

EGYPT

The Green and White Diamond

The Australian Federal Government passed a resolution to form three extra infantry divisions. The 3rd Division was to be raised in Australia and the 4th and 5th Divisions were to be raised from the thousands of personnel already in training in Egypt. A New Zealand Division was also to be created from existing units and reinforcements in Egypt, supplemented by a rifle brigade was en route to Egypt.

The Gallipoli veterans were required as reinforcements for the Western Front. 1 ANZAC Corps under the command of Birdwood changed establishments and now comprised the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions and the New Zealand Division. The British High Command ordered that the 1st and 2nd Divisions were to have their full complement of artillery before they could be deployed to France. The only way to accomplish this was to strip the 4th and 5th Divisions of their artillery and replace it later from reinforcements in Egypt and on their way from Australia.

13 Mar 1916

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, 2nd Division commenced the move to Alexandria for embarkation to France.

13 Mar 1916

EGYPT

18 Mar 1916

PTE, Embarked ALEXANDRIA HMT INGOMA for FRANCE.

18 Mar 1916

EGYPT

25 Mar 1916

PTE, Disembarked MARSEILLES

25 Mar 1916

FRANCE

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, The battalion moved into the "Nursery Sector", well behind the front lines where they attended lectures on various aspects of trench warfare in France and gas training, as well as route marches, drill and so on. Local leave was permitted and cold weather clothing and bedding was issued.

10 Apr 1916

The Green and White Diamond

PTE, The 5th Brigade commenced the relief of the British 103rd Brigade at 9pm. This was still in the "Nursery Sector", as the terrain, low-lying with a water table only 18in [46cm] from the surface and the river Lys running through it made it generally unsuitable for trench warfare. The German unit opposing was the Hanerovian 50th Reserve Division, and the Allied frontline was built up with sandbags and revetments. It was generally seen by both sides as "quiet", with little belligerant activity.

10 Apr 1916

FRANCE

12 Aug 1916

CO 20th [Bn]

PTE, Wounded in Action, Still at Duty

The Somme Offensive commenced 1 Jul 1916 with the 1st and 2nd Divisions warned for deployment to the Somme with the 1st Division moved into the line first at Pozieres. The 1st and 3rd Brigades attacked and overran and captured the Pozieres Trench with an overwhelming bayonet charge and by 25 Jul 1915 the 5th Brigade was ordered to relieve the exhausted 3rd Brigade.

On 26 Jul 1915, C Company of the 20th Battalion was ordered to attack a section of the Poziers line still held by the Germans and took heavy casualties making their way through the wire obstacles. Taking part of the trench they remained there until almost morning, but withdrew when they realised that their position was untenable. 2 officers and 88 other ranks were killed or wounded, Pte Mitchell being one of those wounded.

26 Jul 1916

FRANCE

23 Dec 19

CO 20th [Bn]

PTE, To Field Ambulance

15 Dec 1916

In the Field

16 Dec 1916

8th A.F. Amb

PTE, Admitted chancre & tfa* to N.Z. Sty Hpl No 1

[*Abbreviation not found - should possibly be FTA which was a test for syphillis infection]

15 Dec 1916

In the Field

17 Dec 1916

1st N.Z. Sty Hpl

PTE, Venereal Sore Admitted

16 Dec 1916

FRANCE

20 Dec 1916

1st N.Z. Sty Hpl

PTE, Venereal Sore, To 15th Amb. Train

19 Dec 1916

Amentieres

21 Dec 1916

1st N.Z. Sty Hpl

PTE, N.Y.D. Admitted

20 Dec 1916

Rouen

24 Dec 1916

1st N.Z. Sty Hpl

PTE, V.D.S.C. To 51 Gen Hosp

23 Dec 1916

Rouen

25 Dec 1916

51st Gen Hospl

PTE, Adm V.D.S.C.

 

24Dec 1916

Etaples

2 Mar 1917

51 Gen Hospl

PTE, To Base Depot V.D.S.C. A separate record states "Discharged from 1st Stationary Hospital
Total period of ineffective service due to VD, 77 days
Transferred to Australian Divisional Base Depot.

[VD was, up until very recently still considered to be a 'self-inflicted wound' and service personnel were not paid for the period of ineffective service whilst they were being treated.]

1 Mar 1917

Etaples

2 Mar 1917

2 A.D.B.D.

PTE, Marched in from 51st Gen Hosp

11 Mar 1917

Etaples

24 Apr 1917

2 A.D.B.D.

PTE, Marched out to Unit

24 Apr 1917

Etaples

28 Apr 1917

C.O. 20th

PTE, Rejoined Bn. from Hospital

27 Apr 1917

In the Field

3 May 1917

The Green and White Diamond

The Spring Offensive was an attack on a span of 16 miles [25Km] with a tactical advance by 14 divisions on a line from Vimy Ridge to Lagnicourt. The 5th and 6th Australian brigades were to attack Bullecourt and Riencourt with the 7th Brigade in support.

10 Aug 1917

CO 20th

PTE, Detached from 20th Bn AIF for duty with 2nd Div Sig Coy AIF

10 Aug 1917

FRANCE

25 Nov 1918

CO 20th

PTE, Leave to England

24 Nov 1918

Belgium [?]

29 Dec 1917

CO 20th

PTE, Rejoined Bn from leave

13 Dec 1917

Belgium

2 Mar 1918

CO 2 Div Sig Coy

PTE, Ceases to be detached from 20th Bn to 2 Div Sig Coy.

8 Feb 1918

BELGIUM

14 Feb 1918

CO 20th

PTE, To Field Ambulance PUO Admitted

[Often called "Trench Fever"]

8 Feb 1918

BELGIUM

14 Feb 1918

Field Amb

PTE, PUO Discharged to Duty

14 Feb 1918

BELGIUM

23 Feb 1918

Co 20th

PTE, Rejoined unit from Hospital

17 Feb 1918

BELGIUM

16 Mar 1918

CO 20th

PTE, To School - in Belgium - Universite du Travail, Charleroi, Belgium

13 Mar 1918

Belgium

31 Mar 1918

CO 20th

PTE, From School

26 Mar 1918

Belgium

29 Jul 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, Appointed Lance Corporal

26 Jun 1918

France

6 Jul 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, To Aust Corps School

5 Jul 1918

Francce

13 Jul 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, Rejoined Bn from 4th Army Sig School (not up to standard) [Yet see below]

8 Jul 1917

FRANCE

20 Jul 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, To School

14 Aug 1918

FRANCE

22 Oct 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, From School

21 Jul 1918

FRANCE

28 Sep 1918

CO 20th

L/CPL, Reverts to Pte at own request, Cert received [by his unit, but not issued to him. See University du Travail, above]

12 Sep 1918

FRANCE

21 Sep 1918

CO 20th

PTE, To School

19 Sep 1918

FRANCE

9 Nov 1918

CO 20th

PTE, From School

3 Nov 1918

FRANCE

9 Nov 1918

CO 20th

PTE, Leave to UK

6 Nov 1918

FRANCE

30 Nov 1918

CO 20th

PTE, Rejoined Unit from Leave

23 Nov 1918

FRANCE

2 Feb 1919

PTE, To Education Cse

4 Feb 1919

France

15 Feb 1919

CO 20th Bn

PTE, From Education Cse

8 Feb 1919

FRANCE

15 Feb 1919

CO 20th Bn

PTE, Proceeded on Leave to PARIS

8 Feb 1919

FIELD

22 Feb 1919

CO 20th Bn

PTE, From PARIS Leave

20 Feb 1919

FRANCE

[Illegible]

CO 20th Bn

PTE, From Education Course

29 Mar 1919

FRANCE

5 Apr 1919

CO 20th Bn

PTE, M/Out to UK for R To A

30 Mar 1919

Havre

[No entry]

A.G.B.D.

PTE, M/out to UK for R to A

4 Apr 1919

Havre

[No entry]

[No entry]

PTE, Disembkd Southampton

5 Apr 1919

England

[No entry]

No 2 Group

PTE, M/in from France

5 Apr 1919

Codford

[No entry]

[No entry]

PTE, EMBARKED FOR RETURN TO AUSTRALIA ex ENGLAND per HMAT "NESTOR" (A71)

20 May 1919

SOUTHAMPTON

4 Jul 1919

PTE, Disembarked HMAT "NESTOR" (A71) at SYDNEY

4 Jul 1919

2MD

5 Jul 1919

2MD

PTE, Medical Officer's notes from final medical: "State No debility, feels well and fit"

5 Jul 1919

LIVERPOOL

7 Jul 1919

2MD

PTE, Stamp on final Medical Board indicates attended Domain Anzac [sic] Buffet, Sydney

20 May 1919

LIVERPOOL

PTE, discharged 2nd Military District

3 Sep 1919

LIVERPOOL

20 Jul 1920

Major, Officer in Charge Base Records

Certificate from University du Travail forwarded, receipt requested [obviously went to the wrong address, see below]

20 Jul 1920

27 Sep 1920

Officer in Charge Base Records

Requests address for ex- 934 Pte A.E. Mitchell from District Finance Officer 2MD.

28 Sep 1920

LIVERPOOL

12 Oct 1920

DFO 2MD

Provides address as requested - No 90 Serania Street, Lismore N.S.W.

20 May 1919

LIVERPOOL

[Undated]

2MD

Note on Record of Service advises issued with:
1914/15 Star No 19601
British War Medal No 15677
Victory Medal No 15483
See below.

2MD


Medals and Dress Embellishments

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

One Wound Stripe for 4 Aug 1916.

Entitled to wear the ANZAC 'A'.

Four Long Service Stripes and five 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

20th Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Divison

[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]
UNIT COLOUR PATCH
20TH INFANTRY BATTALION


ENTITLED TO WEAR ANZAC A

The 20th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. A sprinkling of the 20th's original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The 20th left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

Arriving at Gallipoli just as the August offensive petered out, the 20th's role there was purely defensive. From 26 August, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on 20 December, the 20th Battalion was responsible for the defence of Russell's Top.

In 1917, the 20th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter- stroke by a German force, almost five times as strong, at Lagnicourt. The Battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium.

The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive. The 20th Battalion was one of many Australian battalions rushed to stop it, and it encountered some particularly severe fighting when ordered to attack at Hangard Wood on 7 April. With the German Army's last desperate offensive defeated, the 20th participated in the battles that pushed it ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion's last battle of the war. It was disbanded on 20 April 1919.


Battle Honours:

Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bapaume 1917, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916-18, Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915-16


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.


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'.


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

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[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 withlength of service or Service Number.

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