Bill McCann

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Bill McCann
William Francis John McCann.jpg
McCann as a captain in 1917–1918
Birth name William Francis James McCann
Nickname(s) Bill
Born(1892-04-19)19 April 1892
Glanville, South Australia
Died 14 December 1957(1957-12-14) (aged 65)
Tusmore, South Australia
Buried North Road Cemetery
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service
  • 1914–1919
  • 1927–1935
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Service number 405
Commands held

Lieutenant Colonel William Francis James McCann, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC & Bar, JP (19 April 1892 – 14 December 1957) was an Australian soldier of World War I, a barrister, and a prominent figure in the military and ex-service community of South Australia during the interwar period. Born and raised in Adelaide, he worked as a teacher before the war. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a private in 1914, and rose through the ranks to be commissioned during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. In 1916–1918 he fought on the Western Front in France and Belgium, was wounded twice, and rose to the rank of major. For his gallantry during the war, he was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and twice awarded the Military Cross. After the war, he served as commanding officer of the 10th Battalion until its disbandment in 1919.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Medal bar

A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It most commonly indicates the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the recipient has met the criteria for receiving the medal in multiple theatres.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


Returning home, McCann became a barrister and formed a legal partnership with Victoria Cross recipient Arthur Blackburn. McCann was active in returned servicemen's organisations, as president of the South Australian branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League from 1924 to 1931, and as a state vice-president from 1938 to 1949. He was a foundation member of the Legacy Club of Adelaide, looking after the dependents of deceased servicemen. His service in the part-time Citizen Military Forces saw him reach the rank of lieutenant colonel and command the 43rd Battalion between 1927 and 1930. Appointed as state prices commissioner and deputy Commonwealth prices commissioner from 1938 to 1954; in 1946 an arson attack on his home was linked to his anti–black marketeering work in those roles. In recognition of his work with the ex-service community, McCann was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935, and a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1956.

Victoria Cross highest military decoration awarded for valour in armed forces of various Commonwealth countries

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

Arthur Blackburn Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, was a soldier, lawyer, politician, and Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Blackburn enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War I, and along with the rest of the 10th Battalion, landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915. He and another scout from the battalion were credited with reaching the furthest inland on the day of the landing. Blackburn was later commissioned and, along with his battalion, spent the rest of the Gallipoli Campaign fighting Ottoman forces.

Legacy Australia organization

Legacy is an Australian organisation, established in 1923 by ex-servicemen. The organisation has the aim of caring for the dependents of deceased Australian service men and women. The dependants of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Malayan emergency and Vietnam War deceased are cared for. In addition the peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have provided ongoing work for Legacy. Finally, any death which is deemed service-related is attended to by Legacy.

Early life

William Francis James McCann was born at Glanville, outside Adelaide, South Australia, on 19 April 1892, to South Australian Railways engine driver John Francis McCann and his wife Eliza, née Francis. He attended various primary schools then Adelaide High School, and completed teacher training with the state Education Department in December 1913. He taught in Ethelton, Malvern and Glanville prior to the outbreak of World War I. His pre-war military experience consisted of four years in the volunteer cadets while he was at school and participating in the University of Adelaide Rifle Club during his teacher training. [1] [2] [3]

Glanville, South Australia Suburb of Adelaide, South Australia

Glanville is a north western suburb of Adelaide, in the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

South Australian Railways

South Australian Railways was the statutory corporation through which the Government of South Australia built and operated railways in South Australia from 1854 until March 1978, when its non-urban railways were incorporated into Australian National, and its Adelaide urban lines were transferred to the State Transport Authority.

Primary school school in which children receive primary or elementary education from the age of about five to twelve

A primary school is a school in which children receive primary or elementary education from the age of about five to eleven, coming after preschool, infant school and before secondary school.

World War I

Gallipoli campaign

McCann enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 24 August 1914 at Morphettville, South Australia. He was allotted to the South Australian-raised 10th Battalion, part of the 3rd Brigade, as a private with the regimental number 405. [4] [5] Within a week he had been promoted to sergeant. [6] The battalion embarked for overseas in October, and sailed via Albany, Western Australia, to Egypt, arriving in early December. [4] While the force was training in Egypt, McCann was appointed as a platoon sergeant in the battalion's D Company. [7] After completing training, the 3rd Brigade was designated as the covering force for the landing at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915, and so was the first brigade ashore about 4:30 am. [4] Four days later McCann was appointed as company sergeant major. [1] During that period, the 10th Battalion suffered casualties of 13 officers and 453 men from the 29 officers and 921 men who landed. On 19 May the battalion helped repel a concerted Turkish counter-attack against the landing force, after which it settled into a routine of rotating through various positions in the line. [8] His outstanding service during the period 6 May to 28 June gained McCann several mentions in Australian and New Zealand Army Corps routine orders. [1] In July, McCann and most of the battalion had a three-day rest on the island of Imbros, but were quickly back in the trenches at Anzac. [9] McCann was commissioned a second lieutenant on 4 August, [1] by which time nearly half of the battalion had been evacuated sick with dysentery. [10] He was promoted to lieutenant on 14 November. McCann remained at Anzac, serving as battalion intelligence and signalling officer until the unit was withdrawn to the island of Lemnos in late November, followed by evacuation to Egypt the following month. [11]

First Australian Imperial Force Australian Army expeditionary force during World War I

The First Australian Imperial Force was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed on 15 August 1914, following Britain's declaration of war on Germany, initially with a strength of one infantry division and one light horse brigade. The infantry division subsequently fought at Gallipoli between April and December 1915, being reinforced by a second division which was later raised, as well as three light horse brigades. After being evacuated to Egypt the AIF was expanded to five infantry divisions, which were committed to the fighting in France and Belgium along the Western Front in March 1916. A sixth infantry division was partially raised in 1917 in the United Kingdom, but was broken up and used as reinforcements following heavy casualties on the Western Front. Meanwhile, two mounted divisions remained in the Middle East to fight against Turkish forces in the Sinai and Palestine.

Morphettville, South Australia Suburb of Adelaide, South Australia

Morphettville is a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia in the City of Marion.

10th Battalion (Australia)

The 10th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army that served as part of the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. Among the first units raised in Australia during the war, the battalion was recruited from South Australia in August 1914 and along with the 9th, 11th and 12th Battalions, it formed part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. After its personnel completed basic training, the battalion embarked for the Middle East, where further training was undertaken in Egypt before the battalion was committed to the Gallipoli Campaign. On 25 April 1915, the 10th Battalion took part in the Landing at Anzac Cove, coming ashore during the initial stages of the operation as part of the covering force. Members from the 10th Battalion penetrated the furthest inland of any Australian troops during the initial fighting, before the Allied advance inland was checked. After this, the battalion helped defend the beachhead against a Turkish counter-attack in May, before joining the August Offensive, a failed Allied effort to break the deadlock. Casualties were heavy throughout the campaign and in November 1915, the surviving members were withdrawn from the peninsula and in early 1916 the battalion was reformed in Egypt. After a period of reorganisation, during which the 10th provided a cadre staff to the newly formed 50th Battalion, it was transferred to the Western Front in March 1916, and for the next two-and-a-half years took part in trench warfare in France and Belgium until the Armistice in 1918. The last detachment of men from the 10th Battalion returned to Australia in September 1919.

Western Front

When the bulk of the AIF was transferred to the Western Front, McCann shipped to France in late March 1916 as the scouting, sniping and intelligence officer of his battalion. After disembarking in Marseilles, he commanded a composite guard of honour drawn from the 9th and 10th Battalions. On 16 April 1916, he was promoted to captain and was appointed as second-in-command of A Company. [4] [7] During the Battle of Pozières on 23 July, he commanded the lead company of the battalion when it entered a bomb (hand grenade) fight over the O. G. 1 trench system in support of the 9th Battalion. [lower-alpha 1] The Australian Official War Historian, Charles Bean, described his actions as follows: [7] [13]

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

Reconnaissance military exploration beyond the area occupied by friendly forces

In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration outside an area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about natural features and other activities in the area.

Sniper highly trained marksman

A sniper is a military/paramilitary marksman who operates to maintain effective visual contact with and engage enemy targets from concealed positions or at distances exceeding the target's detection capabilities. Snipers generally have specialized training and are equipped with high-precision rifles and high-magnification optics, and often feed information back to their units or command headquarters.

McCann, recognising that the enemy post must be seized, lined out in front of it in shell holes, the ten or twelve men who were with him. With bombs they thoroughly subdued the German bombers, and smashed one machine gun McCann's success in this bold movement being partly due to his having with him two old Gallipoli sergeants, G.D. Beames and L.C. Wickham. When bombs began to run out, McCann passed the word on to charge with the bayonet, and he was on the point of giving the word when he was hit in the head by a machine gun bullet.

According to McCann, his party was forced back due to the lack of grenades and the failure of other groups to keep in touch with his party. [14] The citation for his Military Cross, awarded for his actions at Pozières, read; "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his company in the attack, bombing the enemy back, and, in spite of heavy casualties, pressed forward until severely wounded by a bomb." [15] [16] [17] [lower-alpha 2]

McCann (right) and Blackburn (second from left) after receiving their awards at Buckingham Palace Arthur Blackburn P09747.JPG
McCann (right) and Blackburn (second from left) after receiving their awards at Buckingham Palace

McCann was the first member of the 10th Battalion to be awarded the Military Cross, and was also the first unit officer to receive an award in the field for any specific action. [18] The wound to his head had severely fractured his skull, but he remained at his post until he had reported the situation to the commanding officer of the 9th Battalion. [19] He was evacuated to hospital in England, and his award was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper on 29 September along with a photograph and brief details of his service. [20] After he had recovered sufficiently, he attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 4 October to receive his Military Cross from King George V. The same day, a fellow 10th Battalion officer, Arthur Blackburn, received his Victoria Cross for his own actions at Pozières that closely followed those of McCann. [18] [21] McCann was medically classified to be repatriated to Australia on a hospital ship, but ignored these orders and returned to his battalion in France in November. On arrival, he was placed in command of B Company. Suffering from illness, he was evacuated in February 1917, and after recovering was sent to a training school for a month. He rejoined the battalion in March. [18]

On the night of 8 April 1917, as the Battle of Arras began, the 10th Battalion attacked Louverval Wood, an outpost of the Hindenburg Line of German defences. McCann was wounded in the neck during the attack, and after having it bandaged and being scarcely able to speak, remained with his troops for several hours, and according to the Australian Dictionary of Biography , "was an inspiration to his men". [1] Once the situation was clear, he reported for medical attention and was evacuated to hospital in England. After six weeks recuperating, McCann rejoined his unit at the end of May, assuming command of A Company. [1] [18] [22] He remained with the battalion throughout the Battle of Passchendaele in Flanders from July to November 1917, including the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge in September, before being seconded to a training battalion in the United Kingdom in late December. He returned to his battalion in June 1918. On 29 June, after the battalion had captured a section of the German line using "peaceful penetration" tactics, McCann's company was in the newly won positions when the Germans counter-attacked and got between his advanced posts. He led his company signallers, messengers and reserve platoon forward into the gap. The Germans dropped their weapons, which included a machine gun, and ran. [23]

During the 10th Battalion's capture of Merris in July, his company's successful severing of the German lines of communication resulted in the award of a bar to McCann's Military Cross. [18] The citation read: [17] [24]

For conspicuous gallantry and fine leadership during an attack. He led one of the attacking companies with great dash, and helped very materially in the success of the operation. Wherever the situation was most critical he was to be found directing and encouraging his men, and his fine example inspired all under his command.

Troops of the 10th Battalion in a trench near Crepey Wood (in the background) AWM E02870 10th Battalion in trenches near Lihons.jpg
Troops of the 10th Battalion in a trench near Crépey Wood (in the background)

On 10 August, during early fighting in the Hundred Days Offensive, which began on 8 August 1918 with the Battle of Amiens, the 10th Battalion was tasked with providing support to an attack led by the 9th Battalion, which had suffered significant casualties as it attacked near Lihons. Unable to capture German positions in Crépey Wood, the 9th Battalion called on the 10th for assistance. As McCann commanded the strongest company of the 10th Battalion, he was sent forward. He led A Company in clearing the wood, his sub-unit sustaining only 15 casualties in the fighting, and capturing 10 badly wounded Germans. The 9th Battalion and McCann's company established posts in the wood. [25] After a German barrage fell on the newly won positions, McCann was visiting his posts along the northern edge of the wood when he saw 200 to 300 Germans approaching to attack. This counter-attack overran one of the four A Company posts, and one isolated post withdrew. The German counter-attack also forced the withdrawal of the 9th Battalion from the eastern edge of the wood. The two remaining A Company posts continued fighting. One, manned by McCann, one other officer and seven men, fought the Germans for an hour. The Germans got into the post three times, and each time the Australians forced them out. McCann and his party eventually drove them off, killing 90 of the enemy. McCann's company suffered 30 casualties in the fighting, but their efforts allowed the 9th Battalion to re-establish its posts along the eastern edge of the wood. [26] [27] The next morning, McCann's company was subjected to a heavy gas bombardment in Crépey Wood, and he was allocated three tanks of the 5th Tank Brigade to clear the area north of his positions. Another German counter-attack developed, and the enemy got behind the Australian positions. McCann was reinforced; then, gathering troops from both his company and the 9th Battalion and moving forward by "vigorous action and hard, confused fighting", he and others closed the gap in the front line. [28] For his actions at Crépey Wood, McCann was later made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, the second highest award for acts of gallantry by officers. The citation read: [17] [29]

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near Lihons on 10 August 1918. After the attack had failed at Crépey Wood, he successfully captured the position with his company in face of very heavy fire; and when the enemy in greatly superior numbers, counter-attacked, he held them off, personally killing many of the enemy and exposing himself freely until reinforcements enabled him to drive off the enemy and re-establish his original line. His courage and fine leadership prevented an important position falling into the hands of the enemy.

The 10th Battalion was back in action on 22–23 August as the Allied advance continued north of Proyart. The 10th Battalion was in a supporting role protecting the flank of the 1st Brigade. Learning of German positions in Luc Wood that were holding up the advance, the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder-Neligan, tasked McCann, commanding two companies, to clear the area. Along with flanking troops, McCann secured the wood, capturing 15 prisoners and four machine guns, allowing the advance to continue. [30] McCann temporarily commanded the battalion for a week in late August before being promoted to temporary major on 23 September. The battalion saw its last action of the war later that month. McCann again temporarily commanded the battalion for a week in early October, and was substantively promoted to major on 21 October. Shortly after this he attended a strategy and tactics course at the Staff College, Camberley, before returning to the battalion in November, when he was appointed as unit second-in-command. In early January 1919, McCann was appointed commanding officer. He led the 10th Battalion until its disbandment in March, and was mentioned in Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's final despatch of 16 March 1919. Also in March, McCann led a party of American delegates on a tour of the war zone and, the following month, headed the 3rd Brigade contingent in the Anzac Day march through London. On 3 May he was invested with his Distinguished Service Order and the bar to his Military Cross at Buckingham Palace. Later that month he embarked for Australia, arriving in Adelaide in June. He was admitted to Keswick Repatriation General Hospital on his return, and was discharged from the AIF on 8 September 1919. Two of McCann's brothers also served in the AIF, and one was killed in action. [1] [31] McCann was issued with the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal for his service during the war. [32]

Interbellum and later life

McCann resigned from the Education Department in November 1919, having turned his hand to agriculture the previous month. He farmed at Truro and Manoora but was hampered by his war injuries, and abandoned these plans in August the following year. In accordance with normal procedures, while serving in the AIF he had been appointed an honorary major in the peacetime army, the Citizen Military Forces (CMF). He was substantively promoted to major in the CMF on 1 October 1920, on the Reserve of Officers List. [lower-alpha 3] McCann began studying as an articled clerk in December 1920. He married Mildred Southcott on 20 August 1921; they had two sons and a daughter. In 1921 he began an active association with the South Australian branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA), initially as a state vice-president. [1] [34] In this capacity he was also a member of the Soldier's Children's Education Board. [35]

In March 1922, McCann began studying law at the University of Adelaide. He was elected president of the state branch of the RSSILA in 1924. [1] [34] McCann was an early advocate for the building of the National War Memorial in Adelaide, [36] defended the status of Anzac Day as a public holiday against protests from the retail sector due to reduced shopping hours, [37] and represented the interests of soldier settlers. [38] He was admitted to the Bar on 25 July 1925, and went into partnership with Arthur Blackburn, forming the law firm Blackburn and McCann. On 19 May 1927, he transferred from the Reserve of Officers List to the part-time 10th Battalion, and on 1 July was transferred to the part-time 43rd Battalion as its commanding officer, gaining promotion to lieutenant colonel on 1 December. [1] [34] In 1928, McCann was a foundation member of the Legacy Club of Adelaide, established to assist the dependents of deceased ex-servicemen. [39] When the National War Memorial design was being finalised, McCann strongly supported including the names of all South Australians who were killed in World War I; his suggestion was incorporated in the design. [40] At the 1928 national conference of the RSSILA, McCann sharply criticised the defence policy of the Federal Government, particularly funding provided; "[d]efence has been brought down to such a low point", he said, "that it is now an absurdity." [41]

McCann was an active member of the Big Brother Movement in South Australia; this involved supporting boys that had migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom under the Child Migrant scheme. [42] He commanded the 43rd Battalion until July 1930 when he transferred to the Unattached List, [lower-alpha 4] and continued as president of the RSSILA until 1931, [1] [34] leading the RSSILA delegation to the biennial conference of the British Empire Service League in London in 1929. [43] Returning from the conference and a tour of the former battlefields and war cemeteries, McCann contended that World War I had not been worthwhile, as tremendous loss had produced little gain, [44] a stance that led to public criticism. [45] [46]

McCann took a leave of absence from the state presidency of the RSSILA to unsuccessfully run for the extremely marginal Division of Boothby as a Nationalist candidate in the 1929 federal election. [47] His decision to run was criticised in some quarters as undermining the apolitical stance of the RSSILA. [48] His campaign was supported by Senator Harold Edward Elliott, a Victorian who had first met then-Sergeant McCann during the Gallipoli campaign and had been so impressed with him that he had offered McCann a commission in his battalion. [47] McCann received 19,675 votes, comprising some 44.4 per cent of the tally, against the Australian Labor Party incumbent, John Price, who received 24,641 votes, or 55.6 per cent. [49] McCann's defeat was part of a nationwide swing to the Labor Party that saw the Nationalist–Country coalition government lose office. [50] He subsequently resigned as state president of the RSSILA, effective from before the election. [51]

McCann (left) receiving a cheque for the Fighting Forces Comfort Fund in 1940 W.F.J. McCann receiving a cheque for the Fighting Forces Comfort Fund.jpg
McCann (left) receiving a cheque for the Fighting Forces Comfort Fund in 1940

In 1930, McCann was nominated for the position of national president of the RSSILA, as part of a South Australian push for preference for returned servicemen in employment matters. In the event, the sitting president was re-nominated and narrowly re-elected with support from the state branches of Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania, and a casting vote by the returning officer. [52] [53] In December 1930, McCann was again elected president of the state branch of the RSSILA, [54] but retired from the post the following year. [55] In 1934, McCann was appointed as the chair of the state government Industrial Board, which was responsible for government employees engaged in construction. [56]

In early 1935, McCann was appointed to act in the place of Blackburn, who was now the city coroner, during the latter's absence on leave and other duties. [57] The same year, McCann transferred back to the CMF officers' reserve, [1] [34] and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) for services to returned soldiers and sailors. He also ran unsuccessfully for election as the president of the state branch of the RSSILA, became a justice of the peace, and was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1938, McCann successfully ran for election as a councillor in the City of Burnside, [58] and was re-elected as a state vice-president of the RSSILA, continuing in this role until 1949. [59] [60] [61] [62]

McCann's grave at North Road Cemetery Grave of Bill McCann.jpg
McCann's grave at North Road Cemetery

From 1938 to 1954 he was the state prices commissioner and deputy Commonwealth prices commissioner. Following the outbreak of World War II, McCann briefly commanded a special constabulary of men over 45 – known as the South Australian Emergency National Defence League [1] – and was involved in raising the RSSILA Volunteer Defence Corps, the Australian equivalent of the British Home Guard. [63] During the war, McCann was the chairman of the state Fighting Forces Comfort Fund, which sent parcels to troops serving overseas. [64] In 1944, McCann was re-elected as a Burnside councillor, but resigned the following year. [65] [66] In 1946, his inquiries as prices commissioner into black marketeering resulted in his home being deliberately set alight. [67] A man was subsequently convicted for the crime and sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour. [68] The following year, McCann was elected the first president of the Tenth Battalion AIF Association, which combined the old 10th Battalion Club and the World War II 2/10th Battalion Club. [69] His wife, Mildred, died in 1948. In 1956 he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to ex-servicemen. He died of coronary disease at Tusmore on 14 December 1957 and was buried at North Road Cemetery. The Australian Dictionary of Biography described him as "an able speaker and a keen debater with a pleasant and tenacious personality". [1] [70]


  1. The O. G.  (Old German) trench system consisted of two lines of German trenches that were objectives of the Australian assault. [12]
  2. None of the cited sources explain the discrepancy about what caused his head wound.
  3. The Reserve of Officers List was part of the reserve element of the CMF. [33]
  4. The Unattached List was part of the Active Forces of the CMF. [33]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Zwillenberg 1986.
  2. Lock 1936, pp. 202–203.
  3. National Archives 2017, p. 1.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Australian War Memorial 2017a.
  5. National Archives 2017, p. 2.
  6. National Archives 2017, p. 4.
  7. 1 2 3 Lock 1936, p. 203.
  8. Lock 1936, pp. 44–49.
  9. Lock 1936, p. 49.
  10. Lock 1936, p. 51.
  11. Lock 1936, pp. 53 & 203.
  12. Wray 2015, p. 22.
  13. Bean 1941, pp. 510–511.
  14. Bean 1941, p. 510.
  15. Lock 1936, p. 256.
  16. National Archives 2017, p. 7.
  17. 1 2 3 Australian War Memorial 2017b.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 Lock 1936, p. 204.
  19. Bean 1941, p. 511.
  20. The Advertiser 29 September 1916.
  21. The Register 6 October 1916.
  22. Bean 1937, pp. 234–235.
  23. Bean 1942, pp. 404–407.
  24. National Archives 2017, p. 6.
  25. Bean 1942, pp. 662–663.
  26. Lock 1936, pp. 91–92.
  27. Bean 1942, pp. 666–667.
  28. Bean 1942, pp. 668, 673–675.
  29. National Archives 2017, p. 8.
  30. Bean 1942, pp. 752–753.
  31. Lock 1936, pp. 202 & 205.
  32. National Archives 2017, p. 45.
  33. 1 2 Defence Act 1909.
  34. 1 2 3 4 5 Lock 1936, pp. 205–206.
  35. The Register 7 July 1923.
  36. The Register 13 February 1925.
  37. The News 2 April 1925.
  38. The Chronicle 24 September 1927.
  39. The News 23 January 1928.
  40. The Register 17 February 1928.
  41. The Observer 8 December 1928.
  42. The News 6 February 1929.
  43. The Advertiser 4 April 1929.
  44. The News 18 September 1929.
  45. The News 23 September 1929.
  46. The News 25 September 1929.
  47. 1 2 The Advertiser 3 October 1929.
  48. The South Eastern Times 20 September 1929.
  49. The News 18 October 1929.
  50. The Chronicle 17 October 1929.
  51. Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record 27 December 1929.
  52. South Australian Register 2 August 1930.
  53. The Advertiser 11 November 1930.
  54. The Advertiser 13 December 1930.
  55. The Advertiser 12 December 1931.
  56. The Advertiser 11 May 1934.
  57. The News 18 January 1935.
  58. The Advertiser 13 June 1938.
  59. The Advertiser 10 December 1938.
  60. The Advertiser 15 December 1939.
  61. The Advertiser 13 December 1941.
  62. The Border Watch 18 December 1945.
  63. The Advertiser 17 June 1940.
  64. The Advertiser 17 July 1940.
  65. The News 6 May 1944.
  66. The Advertiser 14 June 1945.
  67. The News 15 July 1946.
  68. The Barrier Miner 21 November 1946.
  69. The Advertiser 17 April 1947.
  70. Lock 1936, pp. 206–207.

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Jørgen Jensen (soldier) Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Jørgen Christian Jensen, was a Danish-born Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Jensen emigrated to Australia in 1909, becoming a British subject at Adelaide, South Australia, in 1914. A sailor and labourer before World War I, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in March 1915, serving with the 10th Battalion during the latter stages of the Gallipoli campaign. After the Australian force withdrew to Egypt, Jensen was transferred to the newly formed 50th Battalion, and sailed for France with the unit in June 1916. On the Western Front, he was wounded during the battalion's first serious action, the Battle of Mouquet Farm in August, and only returned to his unit in late January 1917. On 2 April, his battalion attacked the Hindenburg Outpost Line at Noreuil, where his actions leading to the capture of over fifty German soldiers resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross.

Blair Wark Australian Victoria Cross recipient

Blair Anderson Wark, was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and other Commonwealth armed forces. A quantity surveyor and member of the Citizens Military Force, Wark enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 5 August 1915, for service in the First World War. After initially being employed in the defence of the Suez Canal, his battalion was shipped to the Western Front; it was here that Wark would be twice decorated for his bravery and leadership. Having received the Distinguished Service Order in 1917 for his actions at the Battle of Polygon Wood, Wark was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 for his leadership and gallantry when in temporary command of his battalion over a three-day period, while conducting operations against the Hindenburg Line.

Lawrence Weathers Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross

Lawrence Carthage Weathers, was a New Zealand-born Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. His parents returned to their native South Australia when Weathers was seven, and he completed his schooling before obtaining work as an undertaker in Adelaide. He enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in early 1916, and joined the 43rd Battalion. His unit deployed to the Western Front in France and Belgium in late December. After a bout of illness, Weathers returned to his battalion in time to take part in the Battle of Messines in June 1917, during which he was wounded. Evacuated to the United Kingdom, he rejoined his unit in early December.

Phillip Davey Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Phillip Davey, was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Davey enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in December 1914, and joined his unit, the 10th Battalion, on the island of Lemnos on 10 April 1915. Along with his battalion, he landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April. He fought at Anzac until he was evacuated sick in early November, returning to Australia the following January.

Roy Inwood Australian Victoria Cross recipient

Reginald Roy Inwood, VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Inwood enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1914, and along with the rest of the 10th Battalion, he landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He fought at Anzac until being evacuated sick to Egypt in September. He remained there until he rejoined his unit on the Western Front in June 1916. In August, he fought in the Battle of Mouquet Farm.

Ivor Hele Australian artist

Sir Ivor Henry Thomas Hele, CBE was an Australian artist noted for portraiture. He was Australia's longest serving war artist and completed more commissioned works than any other in the history of Australian art.

Harold Edward Elliott Australian politician

Major General Harold Edward "Pompey" Elliott, was a senior officer in the Australian Army during the First World War. After the war he served as a Senator for Victoria in the Australian parliament.

John Gellibrand Australian politician

Major General Sir John Gellibrand, was a senior Australian Army officer in the First World War, Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police from 1920 to 1922, and a member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Tasmanian Division of Denison for the Nationalist Party from 1925 to 1928.

Raymond Leane Australian general

Brigadier General Sir Raymond Lionel Leane, was an Australian Army officer who rose to command the 48th Battalion then 12th Brigade during World War I. For his performance during the war, Leane was described by the Australian Official War Historian, Charles Bean, as "the foremost fighting leader" in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), and "the head of the most famous family of soldiers in Australian history", among other accolades. After the war, he served as Commissioner of the South Australia Police from 1920 to 1944, for which he was knighted.

2nd Battalion (Australia) former infantry battalion of the Australian Army

The 2nd Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was initially raised for service during the First World War as part the Australian Imperial Force and saw action at Gallipoli before being sent to the Western Front in mid-1916, where it spent the next two-and-a-half years taking part in the fighting in the trenches of France and Belgium. Following the conclusion of hostilities, the battalion was disbanded in early 1919 as part of the demobilisation process.

Maurice Wilder-Neligan Australian Army officer

Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder-Neligan,, born Maurice Neligan, was an Australian soldier who commanded the South Australian-raised 10th Battalion during the latter stages of World War I. Raised and educated in the United Kingdom, he was briefly a soldier with the Royal Horse Artillery in London, after which he travelled to Australia where he worked in Queensland. He enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 20 August 1914 at Townsville, under the name Maurice Wilder, giving Auckland, New Zealand, as his place of birth. A sergeant in the 9th Battalion by the time of the Gallipoli landings of April 1915, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the second highest award for acts of gallantry by other ranks. He was quickly commissioned, reaching the rank of temporary captain before the end of the Gallipoli campaign. During his time at Gallipoli he was wounded once, and formally changed his name to Wilder-Neligan.

Stanley Savige Australian Army soldier

Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige, was an Australian Army soldier and officer who served in the First World War and Second World War.

John Rutherford Gordon Australian flying ace

Wing Commander John Rutherford Gordon was an Australian First World War flying ace credited with fifteen aerial victories while serving as an observer/gunner in the Australian Flying Corps.

Stanley Price Weir public servant and Australian Army officer

Brigadier General Stanley Price Weir, was a public servant and Australian Army officer. During World War I, he commanded the 10th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the landing at Anzac Cove and the subsequent Gallipoli Campaign, and during the Battles of Pozières and Mouquet Farm in France.

5th Pioneer Battalion (Australia)

The 5th Pioneer Battalion was an Australian infantry and light engineer unit raised for service during the First World War as part of the all volunteer Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Formed in Egypt in March 1916, the battalion subsequently served on the Western Front in France and Belgium, after being transferred to the European battlefields shortly after its establishment. Assigned to the 5th Division, the 5th Pioneer Battalion fought in most of the major battles that the AIF participated in between mid-1916 and the end of the war in November 1918. It was subsequently disbanded in early 1919.

Robert Esmond George was an Australian theatre actor and director, but mostly remembered as a watercolor artist and art critic. His wife, professionally known as Elizabeth George, was a well-known journalist.



  • Bean, C.E.W. (1941). The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. 3 (12 ed.). Sydney, New South Wales: Angus & Robertson. OCLC   220898466. 
  • Bean, C.E.W. (1937). The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1917. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. 4 (5 ed.). Sydney, New South Wales: Angus & Robertson. OCLC   216975066. 
  • Bean, C.E.W. (1942). The Australian Imperial Force in France: May 1918 The Armistice. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. 6 (1 ed.). Sydney, New South Wales: Angus & Robertson. OCLC   830564565. 
  • Lock, Cecil (1936). The Fighting 10th: A South Australian Centenary Souvenir of the 10th Battalion, A.I.F. 1914–19. Adelaide, South Australia: Webb & Son. OCLC   220051389. 
  • Wray, Christopher (2015). Pozières: Echoes of a Distant Battle. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-1-316-24111-0. 



  • Section 6, Defence Act 1909, Act No. 15 of 13 December 1909