(Maitland Own) 34th Battalion AIF.

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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34th Battalion AIF

34TH BATTALION AIF. "Maitland's Own"


The 34th Battalion was raised in January 1916 at Maitland Showground in South Wales. It was planned that the bulk of the battalion's recruits be drawn from the Maitland area and thus dubbed "Maitland's Own". The First recruits for the 34th, however, hailed from the far northwest of the state and arrived at Maitland after joining a recruiting march that began at Walgett. These men were known as the "Wallabies".

The 34th Battalion became a part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. On the 1st of May the Battalion left by train from Farley Station for the Showground in Sydney. Equipped with kit bags and necessary clothing, and was reviewed in Moore Park by General Ramoccotti. On the following morning of the 2nd of May 1916 the men embarked on the transport HMAT A20 "Hororata" and sailed at 4:00pm. Arriving in England in early July, the Battalion spent the next five months in training. It crossed into France on the 22nd November, and moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on the 27th of November, just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-17.

The 34th Battalion had to wait until the emphasis of British and Dominion operations switched to the Ypres Section of Belgium in mid-1917 to take part in its first major battle; this was the battle of Messines, launched on the 7th June. After several stints in the trenches, and a period of rest and training, the 34th Battalion entered battle again on the 12th October around Passchendaele. The battlefield, though, had been deluged with rain, and thick mud tugged at the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, and over 50 per cent casualties for the 34th.

For the next five months the 34th alternated between periods of rest, training, labouring, and service in the line. When the German Army launched its last great offensive in the spring of 1918, the battalion was part of the force deployed to defend the approaches to Amiens around Villers-Brentonneux. It took part in a counter-attack at Hangard Wood on the 30th March, and helped to defeat a major drive on Villers-Bretonneux on the 4th April.

Later in 1918, the 34th also played a role in the Allies own offensive. It took part in the battle of Amiens on the 8th August, during the rapid advance that followed, and in the battle of St Quentin Canal- the operation that breached the Hindenburg Line at the end of September, thus sealing Germany’s defeat. The 34th Battalion disbanded in March 1919.

(Extracts from the Australian War Memorial)

34TH BATTALION AIF SHORT HISTORY


34th Battalion A.I.F, 3rd Australian Infantry Division, 9th Infantry Brigade.

BATTLE HONOURS

Messiness 1917;  Ypres 1917;  Polygon Wood;  Broodseinde;  Poelcappele;   Passchendaele;  Somme 1918;  Ancre 1918;  Amiens;  Albert 1918;  Mont St Quentin;   Hindenburg Line;  St Quentin Canal;  France and Flanders 1916-1918

CASULTIES: 481 KILLED, 1727 WOUNDED In ACTION (including gassed)


COMMANDING OFFICERS:

Lieutenant Colonel: Malcolm St John LAMB. 10th February 1916.

Lieutenant Colonel: Ernest Edward MARTIN. D.S.O. V.D 16th July 1917.

Lieutenant Colonel: Walter Arnold LeRoy FRY. O.B.E. V.D. 1918.

T/Lieutenant Colonel: Francis George GRANT. D.S.O. 10th May 1918-23rd of June 1918.

Lieutenant Colonel: Arthur Raft WOOLCOCK. D.S.O. 19th November 1918.


DECORATIONS:

VICTORIA CROSS: 1.

Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. VC


DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER: 3.

Lieutenant Colonel: Ernest Edward MARTIN.DSO. VD

T/Lieutenant Colonel: Francis George GRANT. DSO

Lieutenant Colonel: Arthur Raft WOOLCOCK. DSO


MEMBER of the ORDER of the BRITISH EMPIRE: 2.

Captain: Mortimer Charles BLACKETT. M.B.E.  M.I.D

Lieutenant: 14 Edwin Mayhew BRISSENDEN. M.B.E.  M.I.D


ORDER of the BRITISH EMPIRE: 1.

Lieutenant Colonel: Walter Arnold LeRoy FRY. O.B.E. VD


MILITARY CROSS: 20-1 Bar.

Temporary Major: Herbert Henry PERCY. M.C (Bean: VI 88)

Captain: Edmund BEAVER. M.C.

Captain. Norman Sydney CAINS. M.C. & Bar M.I.D Bean; VI 84

Captain: 1118 William Wright EDMONDS. M.C.

Captain: Telford Graham GILDER. MC

Captain: Kenneth Arthur McLEAN. M.C (Regimental Medical Officer)

Captain: Robert Joseph STEWART. M.C.

Captain: C.E. WATSON. M.C.

Lieutenant: 377 Thomas Henry BRITTON. + M.C.

Lieutenant: 21 James BRUCE. M.C. D.C.M.

Lieutenant: 1410 Oliver Provan DAVIDSON. M.C.

Lieutenant: 64 Alfred James FELL. M.C.

Lieutenant: 225 Thomas Brown NORMAN. M.C.

Lieutenant: Hector Reginal McLEOD. M.C.

Lieutenant: 4 Thomas Clifton PITTAWAY. M.C.

Lieutenant: Mervyn REES. M.C.

Lieutenant: 1291 Albert Leslie WATSON. M.C.

Lieutenant: 4559 Frederick Murchison WAUGH. M.C.


DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL: 10.

Lieutenant: 1070 Donald Francis BERMAN. D.C.M.

Sergeant: 2518 George Arthur BLISS. D.C.M.

Lieutenant: 21 James BRUCE. M.C.D.C.M.

Lieutenant: Albert William HARTLAND. D.C.M.

Company Sergeant Major: 141 Frank Victor McPHEE. D.C.M.

Sergeant: 1530 James HAM. D.C.M.

Sergeant: 784 Percy Clifton MUDFORD. D.C.M.  M.M @ Bar

Lance Sergeant: 1886 Thomas SIMPSON. D.C.M.

Private: 77 Matthew GRAY. D.C.M.


MILITARY MEDAL: 74-3 Bars.

Lieutenant: 927 Vincent Charles CALLEN. + M.M

Lieutenant: 9152 Alexander John GRUNSELL. + M.M (Awarded M.M whilst Corporal)

Lieutenant: 3105 Edward Henry REGAN. M.M.

Lieutenant: 1994a Leo Thomas SMEDLEY. M.M (Awarded M.M whilst Sergeant)

2nd Lieutenant: 1975 Harold Henry PAYNE. M.M.

2nd Lieutenant: 2036 Vere "Vic" Cumming STEVENSON. + M.M. (Awarded M.M whilst Corporal)

Company Sergeant Major: 480 William David LAWTON. M.M.

Sergeant: 395 Edward John Cecil CROSSINGHAM. M.M.

Sergeant: 7572 George Henry GATES. + M.M.

Sergeant: 1197 Andrew McCALLUM. M.M.

Sergeant: 784 Percy Clifton MUDFORD. D.C.M.  M.M & Bar

Sergeant: 145 Charles Henry NUNN. M.M.

Sergeant: 2135 John PAGE. M.M.

Sergeant: 2170 John Vincent TWOMEY. M.M.

Lance Sergeant: 127 Edward MESSENGER. M.M.

Corporal: 1148 Charles Herbert HUNT. M.M.

Corporal: 1866 Victor Harold McDONALD. M.M.

Corporal: 499 George Edgar MORGAN. M.M.

Corporal: 162 Albert Edward REED. M.M.

Corporal: 1517 Arthur David SIMPSON. M.M.

Corporal: 1434 Vincent Brown WILKINSON. M.M.

Corporal: 1651 Issac James WILLOUGHBY. M.M.

Lance Corporal: 2291 Peter George COPPOCK. M.M. & Bar

Lance Corporal: 2332 George Matheson HUNT. M.M.

Lance Corporal: 2367 Hamilton Hollingsworth McLACHLAN. M.M

Lance Corporal: 1995 George SHEARWOOD. M.M.

Lance Corporal: 1248 Bertram Guy TAYLOR. M.M.

Private: 396 David Charles Elston CUNNINGHAM. M.M

Private: 2058 Charles Henry DELANEY. M.M.

Private: 3037 Alfred William DREW. M.M.

Private: 418 William EAGLES. M.M.

Private: 1908A George FANE. M.M.

Private: 464 Leslie James HARRIGAN. M.M.

Private: 1152 Arthur Oscar HARVEY. M.M.

Private: 2586 Herbert HOFFMAN. M.M.

Private: 800 William Ernest JARVIS. M.M.

Private: 1416 Joseph Edward KIRK. M.M.

Private: 1445 Harold Sterwat KIRBY. M.M @ Joseph KING. (B Company) Labourer, Redfern, N.S.W.

Private: 1866 Victory Harold McDONALD. M.M.

Private: 869A Arthur Charles PAYNE. M.M.

Private: 168 Jasper SCHUBERT. M.M.

Private: 3119 Sydney SMITH +. M.M.

Private: 2663 Donald Alexander STEWART. M.M

Private: 7542 Arthur James WILLARD. M.M. & Bar


MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL: 5.

Sergeant: 1073 John BAILLIE. M.S.M.

Corporal: 362 James Brown BARCLAY. M.S.M.

Private: 2071 John Joseph Patrick GAYNOR. M.S.M.


MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES: 31.

Lieutenant Colonel: Walter Arnold Le R FRY. O.B.E. V.D.

T/Lieutenant Colonel: Francis George GRANT. D.S.O.

Major: Gother Robert Carlisie CLARKE.+ (Regimental Medical Officer)

Major: Harry Lambert Edward Dixon WHEELER.

Captain: Mortimer Charles BLACKETT. M.B.E.

Captain. Norman Sydney CAINS. M.C. & Bar

Captain: Telford Graham GILDER. M.C.

Captain: Chaplain 3rd Class: John CALDER. (Chaplain)

Captain: Robert Joseph STEWART. M.C.

Lieutenant: 14 Edwin MAyhew BRISSENDEN.

Lieutenant: James Clement BURGES.

Lieutenant. Augustus Gibson FARLEIGH.

Lieutenant: George Edward HODGES.

Lieutenant: 108 Reginald Thomas KERSLAKE.

Lieutenant: 160 Bruce Gray McKENZIE.

2nd Lieutenant: 799 James JACKSON.

Warrant Officer 2: 197 George STRONG.

Sergeant: 1066 Thomas BLOOMFIELD.

Sergeant: 1170 Percy Harold LAMBLEY.

Corporal: 366 Edward Norman BAYLISS.

Temporary Corporal: 1912A Robert FOX.

Temporary Corporal: 2101 William James Albert JONAS.

Acting Lance Corporal: 2367 Hamilton Hollinhsworth McLACHLAN. M.M.

Private: 2588 George Edward HOBDEN.

Private: 3296 Jeff FARQUHAR.


FOREIGN AWARDS:7.

BELGIAN CROIX-de-GUERRE:

Lieutenant: 372 Peter BLOOMFIELD.

2nd Lieutenant: 799 James JACKSON.

Sergeant: 504 James McKENZIE.

Sergeant: 1223 William Ronald Campbell ROSS.


FRENCH Order of MERITE, AGRICOLE CHEVALIER: 1

Lieutenant: 14 Edwin MAyhew BRISSENDEN. O.B.E.

FRENCH MEDAL of HONOUR-Bronze: 1

Lance Corporal: 2367 Hamilton Hollingsworth McLACHLAN. M.M.

ITALIAN BRONZE MEDAL for MILITARY BRAVERY: 1

Sergeant: 784 Percy Clifton MUDFORD. D.C.M.  M.M @ Bar



34th Battalion with Band. Larks Hill, England 1916.(Harrower Collection)


34th Battalion HQ. Liverpool 30/05/1924.(Harrower Collection)

34th Battalion Reunion 1941. (Harrower Collection)



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