1112 Private Isaac Albury Waters
5th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 2 September, 2023 3:15


Isaac Albury Waters

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One Service Record of Isaac Albury Waters who was also known as Albury Isaac Waters.

Isaac (Ike) Albury Waters was the only son of Isaac Waters and Tulip Kezia Waters neé Andrews, and was born 23 Jan 1895. He married Alice Sutton on 15 May 1915 at Kingswood NSW and their eldest child, Roy A Waters was born the same year.

There were eventually eight childen to the marriage, one of them Columbine Waters, mother of Joanne Read, née Pearce, for whom this record was prepared by Clive Mitchell-Taylor 15-16 Jul 2019.

Isaac was a Fireman on NSW Railways when he enlisted. After the war, and before returning to Australia, he fired on the Flying Scotsman. [Information provided by Neville Waters in Sep 2009].

Original Records

View Isaac Water's Service Record or his entry on the Embarkation Roll.

Discharge Certificate (obverse)
Discharge Certificate (reverse)

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.

Before the First World War Australia was the only English-speaking country which had a system of compulsory military training during a time of peace. The legislation for compulsory military training was introduced in 1909 by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, and was passed into law in 1911, under the Labor government that succeeded Deakin's.

The legislation provided for three levels of training: boys 12–14 years old had to enrol in the junior cadets, 14–18 year olds enrolled in the senior cadets, and 18–26 year olds had to register with the home defence militia, the Commonwealth Military Forces. Exemptions were given to those who lived more than five miles [eight kilometres] from the nearest training site, those passed medically unfit, to resident aliens and theological students. Those who failed to register for military training were punished with fines or jail sentences. Many boys did not register for their military training, and between 1911 and 1915 there were 34,000 prosecutions, with 7,000 jail sentences imposed.

During the First World War, two referenda had been held over conscription for overseas service, causing enormous bitterness in the community in general and within the Labor Party in particular. This was partly why Labor swung around to oppose compulsory military training and abolished it when it was elected to government in October 1929.

National Archives of Australia, Fact sheet: Universal military training in Australia, 1911–29
Peter Dennis et al., The Oxford companion to Australian military history, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1995

Extract from https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/conscription/universal_service, 30 Nov 2018

Canadian Steam Locomotive ROD 847
Steam Locomotive 847, France,22 Jan 1919 at Couchil-le-templé
Standing on footplate is Sergeant Major Wallace of WA and sitting at the cabin window is Corporal Duffy of Sydney, NSW.
Standing in front of the engine is Sapper Waters of Sydney, NSW. An unidentified member is standing below the cabin.
Australian War Memorial Collection A02522 Donated by EA Rose

Enlistment Details

Service Number


What is your Name?

Isaac Albury Waters

In or near what Parish or town were you born?

Parish of Saumarez, in or near the Town of Penrith, in the County of New South Wales

[No Parish of that name now exists, but a later reference to Primate of Australia and Bishop of Sydney, Rt. Rev. William Saumarez Smith may provide a link. The Saumarez name also occurs in conjunction with the New England area.]

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

Natural Born

What is your Age?

21 years and 11 months [Birth dates not normally recorded at this time]

What is your Trade or Calling?

Engine Cleaner

Are you, or have you ever 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] Alice Waters, Riley Street, Penrith [Penrith later erased and replaced by Kingswood

Have you ever been convicted by the Civil Power?


Have you ever been discharge from any part of His Majesty's Forces, with Ignominy, 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.

3 Years,S Cadets [Illegible, possibly Det B
2 years Militia, 24th Infantry [Battalion]
[These were under the Universal Service obligation noted in the introduction above.]

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


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


(For married men, widowers with children and soldiers who are the sole support of widowed mother)—
Do you understand that no separation allowance will be issued in respect of your service beyond an amount which together with pay would reach 8 shillings per day?

[Isaac Waters allotted three-fifths of his pay towards the support of his wife and child during the period of his enlistment]

Are you prepared to undergo innoculation against small pox and enteric fever


Date of Enlistment

15 Jan 1917, at RASG Sydney


5 foot 7¼ inches [170.8 cm]


Not recorded


35-38 inches [90-96.5 cm]


Not recorded


Colour not recorded [Right 6/6, Left 6/6


Not recorded

Religious Denomination

C of E

Distinguishing Marks

None recorded


3 Rly Sect. 2 M.D.
Redesignated in France later, as 5 ABGRO Coy

Chronological Events







15 Jan 1917


Allocated to 3rd Railway Section as supernumary

17 Jan 1917

Supernumary postings occur when an individual cannot be posted to a specific vacancy within a unit's approved staffing. As this Railway Section was raised in Western Australia in December of 1916 there was most likely a request from WA to the eastern states to identify enlistees with relevant experience and earmark them for allocation to the unit in order to address shortfalls in local recruitment.


Embarked from Adelaide for England aboard HMAT MILITADES (A28)

24 Jan 1917

The unit is recorded as sailing from Perth aboard the MILITADES, so Waters was joining the unit without any military training.


Disembarked Devonport, UK

27 Mar 1917


Marched in to St Lucia Barracks, Borden

27 Mar 1917

The colocated Borden and Longmoor Military Camps were the home of military railway in the UK.


Alloted Service Number 1112

6 Apr 1917

This seems somewhat late, and may well be simply following up and officially recording action taken previously.


Proceeded overseas to France, ex Southampton

11 May 1917

Name of vessel not recorded


Detached to 264th Rly Coy, R.E., a British Unit.

25 Oct 1917

In France


Rejoined Unit from Detachment

6 Dec 1917


Proceeded on leave to UK

10 Aug 1918


Rejoined unit from leave

26 Aug 1918


Paid [?] in France

10 Feb 1919

Probably relates to subsequent furlough


On leave to UK. Furlough from 27 Mar 1919 to 10 Apr 1919

27 Mar 1919


Rejoined ex Leave

10 Apr 1919


Marched out to England from Havre, France

1 May 1919


Marched in to 3 Group, Codford from France

2 May 1919

Codford part of the Salisbury military complex


Embarked for Australia aboard SS Konigin Luise

21 Jun 1919

SS Konigin Luise was a Barbarossa class ocean liner built in 1896 and allocated as war reparations to the UK after WW1. She was sold to the Orient Steam Navigation Company in 1921 and renamed Omar.


Disembarked in Australia

16 Aug 1919


Discharged from Army in 2MD (NSW) at the completion of his service

9 Feb 1920

Certificate of Discharge 1112 Pte I.A. Waters [obverse]

Certificate of Discharge 1112 Pte I.A. Waters [reverse]

Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal, not entitled to the 1914-15 Star.

No Wound Stripes.

Not entitled to wear the ANZAC 'A'.

Three Long Service Stripe and three blue Overseas Service Chevrons.

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

5th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company

[Information based on birtwhistle wiki.com.au and Digger History]


After the Somme there was a vast expansion of railway operations. These additional trains were required to be manned by the BEF as all available French manpower was serving in the French Army. In 1916-17 the British Army had formed about 280 railway units which were part of the RE. The British War Office made a request for assistance from Australia and an appeal for railwaymen was made.

Five railway sections each consisting of 3 officers and 255 other ranks, were were formed in December 1916 and January and February 1917. These were later designated Railway Operating Companies with a sixth being formed in France from the AIF. 3 companies were designated Light Railway Operating Companies and 3 were designated Broad Gauge Railway Operating Companies.

The Railway Company units were Engineer Unis (hence the purple in the Colour Patch above). Engineer units in World War 1 included the Field Companies attached to each Infantry Brigade, Signal units, the Tunnelling Companies and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who made up the Mining units, Works units, Railway units and Survey units, and well as the various specialist training units.

5th ABGROC was raised at Blackboy Hill camp during December 1916 and January 1917. With only basic training the unit sailed for England on 29 Jan 1917 aboard HMAT A28 Miltiades, arriving in Plymouth on 27 Mar 1917.

On May 11th after some rudimentary training at Borden, the unit sailed to France where it spent eight days in Le Have waiting for transport to its new workplaces, the first being Audruieq, where the unit waited until it could take over a route based on Peselhoek.

For a time they were responsible for running what was known as the 'Midland Line'. This ran from north of Poperinghe to Regensberg north of Ypres and then as the Germans were pushed back, to St Julien. In March 1918 the Germans recaptured much of the route serviced by the unit and so it was forced to withdraw to a safer rear base until the action died down.

In August 1918 they were again given a section of line to run, 55 kms of line running south east from Conchil le Temple to Candas, east of Abbeville. They also operated services to Boulogne and Dunkirk as they were connected to the main French rail network. Post Armistice they were busier than before with the need to return troops and stores that had been stockpiled near the front lines.

While a number of men were injured by shell and bomb attacks on trains and bases, six men from this unit died overseas, all from illness. However it was a dangerous unit to be in as trains could never be left unmanned regardless of how heavy shelling was and the sound of the locomotives often masked the sound of gas shells.

5 ABGROC was awarded two Mentions in despatches and Company Sergeant Major Alexander Wallace was awarded the Meritorious Serice Medal. 3rd LROC were awarded two DCM's and five MM's in 1917. 1st LROC was awarded two MM's in a month.

From 25th September till 23rd October 1917 there were on average 40 breaks in railway lines (usually due to artillery shelling), totalling 375m of track per day, for a total of 1207 breaks totalling 36,923m of railway track.

See The Cold-Footed Mob: a history of the 5th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company by Tom Goode.

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]