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36th BATTALION 33rd BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 2793 Matthew Thomas DWYER.


Born: 1893. Cudal, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:

Married: 1923. Canowindra, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:8572/1923.

Wife: Willena Dwyer. nee: Banham.

Died: 1973. Canowindra, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:61667/1973.


Father: Matthew Dwyer. (1838-1922)

Mother: Catherine E E Dwyer. nee: Hurley. (1872-1975)


INFORMATION

Matthew Thomas Dwyer enlisted with the 6th Reinforcements 36th Battalion AIF on the 3rd July 1916 and embarked onboard HMAT A72 "Beltana" from Sydney on the 25th of November 1916 and disembarked at Devonport England on the 29th January 1917. Matthew proceeded with the reinforcements to the 9th Training Battalion at the durrington Army Camp at Lark Hill where he spent the next four months in training.

The 9th Infantry Brigade Reinforcements embarked from Southampton and proceeded overses for France on the 29th May 1917 and were marched in at Fovant the next day. The 6th Reinforcements were Taken on in Strength with the 36th Battalion on the 18th June and were moved into billets before marching to the reserve lines.

22nd July 1917.

Our Artillery still carrying out programm shoots on strong points on our Front; enemy dropped a very heavy bombardment covering our whole area at 2.00pm easing off at 3.00pm. This was particularly heavy on right company front line. Several air combats over us one of our company planes fell in enemy lines opposite Center Company Sector and another observed to fall N.E. of our Sector. Oue scouts attempted to recover some of our dead but the enemy was too vigilant.

23rd July 1917.

At 1.00pm enemy attacked Division on our left under smoke barrage from 0.29 but Artillery broke up attack completely. As far as we could observe they did not get within 300 yards of our lines. Enemy heavily bombarded the whole of our area badly damaging parts of our front line. All available men on reconstruction work. Our left Company got it hot with whizz-bangs and 77 m.m. 34th Battalion commenced to relieve us at 10.00pm.

24th July 1917.

Relief was not complete until 3.00am as C.T's were subjected to very heavy shelling especially FANNY C.T. this wound back to D Battalion Area. During the day the whole area was subjected to short bursts of violent bombardment; at night we supplied carrying parties and working party for WELLINGTON switch.

25th July 1917.

Working parties on C.T's. WELLINGTON Switch carrying water and ammunition to dumps, and shells to L.T.M. Battery; owing to rains the C.T's were very difficult, in places 2 feet deep in mud.

(36th Battalion War Diary)

12th October 1917

THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE II

At 1:30am rain showers began. By 2:30am it was raining lightly but steadily, by 3:30 fairly heavily. the infantry moved through the pitchy dark in single file. In some battalions each man held on to the equiptment of the man ahead of him; if touch was broken, those in front had to come back. The news that the line as reported by the 66th division was not held only just reached the incomming troops. Accordingly, in the right brigade (9th) the leading Company Commanders Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. and Captain: Telford Graham GILDER M.C. both of the 34th Battalion stopped their men at the entrance to Broodseinde railway cutting, and themselves went to make sure that their column might not run into the enermy.

At Keerselaarhoek Cemetery they found the tape duly laid, and met the officer of the 36th Battalion who had laid it, and by 3:00 am the time set, the 34th battalion was extended on its jumping-off position. But during the previous halt and afterwards, as it lay on the tape, the battalion was persistently shelled and suffered many casualties.

The first shell killed three signallers. Lieutenant: Albert Leslie WATSON. a signal officer of the 34th Battalion, a brave and enterprising leader who also was at the head of the column was severely wounded and all his staff hit. After establising a forward command post Lieutenant: Thomas Fraser BRUCE 36th Battalion was also killed. Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE. 36th Battalion supervising the assembly was knocked down by a shell but continued to command. Captain, Chaplain: Charles MURPHY was also wounded.

(BEAN; History of World war 1 Vol IV p911)

Only one Australian Division, the 3rd, was wholly employed in the days offensive. but the division was to capture Passchendaele an in spite of the depressing conditions, it was eager to achieve the distinction of doing so. One unit carried the Australian flag,to be planted in Passchendaele, and although officers and men in general were not enthusiastic concerning such "stunts" the Commander-in-Chief had been informed, and had told General Monash that, when this flag was planted, the news would be immediatly cabled to Australia.

Some keen spirits looked on the operation simply as a dash for Passchendaele. One young company commander of Monash's reserve battalion, the 33rd, in face of a strict prohibition, led on his company as soon as the barrage fell. Starting from a line 350 yards in rear of the general alignment, the 3rd Division was out of touch with its neighbours from the outset. The heavy shelling on the tapes had made orderly disposition there almost impossible, as German Machine-Guns, undisturbed by the barrage now opened immediatly, no opportunity offered of restoring proper formation.

The 9th Brigage went forward in the utmost confusion and a terrible mix up as reported by Captain: Willaim Derwent DIXON DSO 35th Battalion at 6:40 am and "Great Confusion" was the description given by Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion. Even on the ridge, the mud was difficult, the hope, if there ever was one, of catching up before the quick barrage finished.

The 9th Infantry Brigade's intendered direction lay not along the ridge and the Passchendeale road, but diagonally across them, and parallel to the railway, which most of the brigade could not see. As the jumping-off line was practically at right angles to the ridge, the brigade tendered to advance alone the heights. The Machine-Gun fire at the start came, on the 9th Brigade's right, from the ruined house near Defy Crossing; on its centre from, "Hillside Farm"; and on its left from Augustus Wood.

The pillbox opposite the centre was supported from the rear by a trench in which were Germans with Machine-Guns, and here occured a delay which threatened to wreck to whole attack. it was not until an hour after the programme time that these places were rushed by the neighbouring portion of the line under Captain: Henry Vince CARR and Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. DSO of the 35th Battalion. The trench contained 35 Germans and 4 Machine-Guns. Part of the line was also held up by a pillbox close to Passchendaele road near the highest point of the ridge.

Here there was practically no shelter from attack, but Captain Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. of the 34th Battalion managed to organise a party, with Sergeant: 21 James BRUCE and another NCO and a dozen men, and outflanking it, charged the place from the rear, capturing 25 Germans and 2 Machine-Guns. These actions set free the advance. The pillbox captured by Captain Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. being not far short of the first objective, the 34th Battalion dug in there.

Great loss had been incured; the 34th Battalion had only three officers left and there were wide gaps in the line. The right flank had swung far away from the railway, along which the 4th Division was attacking, but on the left Captain: Thomas Graham GILDER M.C. of the 34th Battalion who had been wounded by a Machine-Gun bullet, but was carrying on found the 10th Brigade digging in slightly to his left under Captain: LATCHFORD, 38th Battalion, and fell back seventy yards to join it.

The Advance to the second objective was to begin at 8:25, the low clouds had opened, and fleecy cirrus with patches of blue were widening overhead and the sun had come out. The 9th Brigade had been so late in reaching the first objective that, while most of the 34th Battalion dug in, the 35th Battalion, allotted for the second phase, moved straight on. Standing on the Passchendaele road, Captain: Henry Vince CARR and Captain: William Derwent DIXON. DSO of the 35th Battalion endevoured to decide where the barrage then was; at first Carr thought it may be behind them, but finally decided that it was ahead.

The confusion at the start had split the brigade into mixed parties of all battalions and many of the 34th went on with the 35th, the main body of which, about 100 in all, now advanced along the south-eastern side of the ridge in order to catch the barrage. The hour was probably a little before that for the second advance. A German Machine-Gun in the gap between the brigade's right and the railway immediately opened with deadly effect.

Major: John Bruce BUCHANAN 36th Battalion, the senior forward officer was killed. At this critical juncture Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. of the 34th Battalion, again accompanied by Sergeant: 21 James BRUCE, led out a few men from the first objective and made for the gun. it was shooting in short bursts, and he was able to work up fairly close. Seizing a moment when it was firing to the north, he and his men rushed at it from the west. It was switched round, killing him, and sending his men to the ground.

But when its fire eased they worked round it, rushed the position, seized 25 Germans and 2 Machine-Guns. This gallant and effective action Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for removing the chief danger to the advance along the crest, but as soon as the 35th Battalion crossed to the eastern side of the hill it became the target of a number of field and heavy guns which, from the hedges and other cover in various parts of the landscape, fired over open sights.

After passing a corpse on its right, the 35th Battalion settled down on what its officers took to be the second objective, although on the extreme right they were actually short of the first. Captain: Henry Vince CARR, now the senior officer on the spot, reported; 8:35. On objective, with about 100 Captain: William Derwent DIXON. DSO and three officers. Casulties 25 or 30 per cent. Captain: Henry Charles Dight CADELL M.C   Lieutenant: Charles Teesdale MAIN   Lieutenant: Keith Maitland DAY reported killed and Lieutenant: Frank HORNE   Lieutenant: Christopher Kyffin MEARS  Lieutenant: Charles John HENRY were wounded. Prisoners sent back 400-500. Contact on flanks uncertain, being heavily shelled.

Three posts were established under surviving officers, right Lieutenant: Norman Beade D'ARCY MC centre Lieutenant: Joseph Francis ADAMS left Lieutenant: Harold Sydney WYNDHAM. In this brigade the battalion for the final objective was the 36th, and a report came along that it had gone through. Actually, it had advanced with the 35th, but, on the left, penetrated to the second objective, which bad been reconnoitred during the previous halt by the commander of the company Captain Robert Austin GOLDRICK. M.C.

He went up the road towards Passchendaele. The barrage, he said afterwards was no hindrance to him, although he left the line lying as close to it as possible "or where he thought it was." He was unable to detect the intensification of the barrage for the second phase, but led his men forward at the proper hour.

As no other battalion was there, he now established the line with its left on the road 600 yards from the church, about the point reached by the 66th Division's troops on October 9th. In front of the position Captain: Robert Austin GOLDRICK. MC. and Lieutenant E.H Fleiter (39th Battalion) found hidden in a shellhole men of the 66th Division. One had a broken arm, the other trench-feet. They took the Australians at first for Germans. When reassured,"we knew the Australians would come," they said, 'We prayed hard."

From the direction of the church, which lay straight down the highway, no fire came. two Germans ran up the road and surrendered. South-east of the village, along the Moorslede road, were the Germans who seemed "very windy," and near the road two 5.9-inch howitzers began to blaze at the troops bigging in.

The 9th Brigade had taken its second objective and the 10th its first, but the position of the officers in charge of these advanced lines was full of anxiety. On the eastern slope Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion, the senior officer in this part of the 9th Brigade's front, could see the 4th Division somewhat ahead of its right, and by 10:55 he had discovered that the 36th was on the left, but farther left than the 10th Brigade was far behind on its first objective . The German Guns ahead were sniping with dreadful accuracy. Carr on the western slope, sent back for instructions: "what am I to do?"

Word of the true situation reached headquarters slowley. As on the 9th, the first news was all encouraging. General: MONASH in the Ypres ramparts heard shortly after 7 that both brigades were "well away"; but by 8:26 he had ample evidence that the first objective was taken. At 9:25 the intelligence officer examining prisoners(Lieutenant Cutlack, Official War Correspondent) reported having heard from the wounded men that the second objective had been reached.

At 10:28 headquarters was informed of a statement of a wounded man, that the 38th Battalion had gone through. A further report that Australians had been seen at Crest Farm although quickly contradicting but probably true nevertheless. Which confirmed Monash's impression that his division was succeeding. Concerning the New Zealand brigade on his left, however, there was no word until, at 10:50, there arrived the tragic information that the New Zealand Division was stopped by the enemy alone the entire front.

Monash has already heard at 9:55 that the 10th Brigade was held up by fire from Bellevue Spur. Believing that his division was still advancing, he asked that every gun that the New Zealand Division could spare should be turned upon that ridge to suppress the fire. Meanwhile, he would order the reserve (39th) battalion of the 10th Brigade to be ready to assist in holding the ground already won. The reserve battalion the (33rd) of the 9th Brigade he was still keeping back to assist in the capture of Passchendaele.

Shortly sfter noon news of the true situation arrived. Lieutenant Jackson of the 40th Battalion had established at Waterfields pillbox near the Ravebeek a forward report-centre from which a series of messages, admirably accurate, was flashed by lamp to the headquarters of Lieutenant Colonel Lord of the 40th Battalion. Thus Bridadier General McNicoll of the 10th Brigade was able to inform Monash of the pricise position of Giblin's Line. He added that the situation was very serious and the casulties very heave. At the same time from the front line of the 9th Brigade arrived a pigeon message, sent by Captain: Richard GADD of the 36th Battalion.

We are on the Blue Line (second objective) with composite force all three battalions, both flanks in the air.

The New Zealand Division was to make a second attempt at 3:00pm, and Monash was of the opinion that from the 9th Brigade, well forward on the ridge, patrols might still work northward around Crest Farm. His reserve, the 33rd Battalion (9th Brigade), was accordingly ordered to attempt this at 4:30pm and the 10th Brigade's foward line being meanwhile reinforced by its own reserve, the 39th Battalion.

These orders went out, but none of them were fulfilled. The New Zealand Division had been defeated by obstacles which no hastily renewed bombardment could have overcome. no infantry in the world could have crossed the Ravebeek mud, penetrated the dense wire, and attacked the crowded pillboxes of Bellview with the assastance of a barrage which did not even screen the advance. No blame can attatch to the artillery. Its commander, according to the New Zealand official history, had reported on the previous day that his guns might be unable to give efficient support.

This magnificent division, which lost nearly 3,000 men, had been held up in almost exactly the same position as the 49th three days before-the left brigade penetrating half-way to the first objective, the right stopped almost at the start.The Germans were reinforcing. The New Zealand battalion commanders knew that their men had no chance of succeding by renewed attack, and the order was eventually cancelled.

As for the Australians, of the two battalions that Monash had now ordered to participate, the 39th had already to a large extent been involved in the fighting, and the 33rd, endevouring to reach its position of readiness for outflanking Passchendaele,had suffered great loss. No less than 6 of its Officers were killed or mortally wounded. Captain: Wilfred Frank HINTONin command of the forward company, Lieutenant Leonard Rockley BROWNLOW  Lieutenant: Thomas Acheson ARMSTRONG   Lieutenant: Albert George KILPATRICK  Lieutenant William REES-REYNOLDS and Lieutenant: Norman Francis GOBLE.

By the time Lieutenant Colonels Henderson DSO 39th Battalion and MORSHEAD attempted to carry Monash's orders, they found that the attacking force of both brigades was back almost at its starting point. What had happened was as follows.

Neither Major: Giblin near the Ravenbeek nor Captain: Henry Vince CARR on the ridge had received their messages sent serveral hours earlier. The 9th Brigade's line was still being battered by the German Guns. Captain: Richard Gadd 36th Battalion, whose troops were being wiped out, informed Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion that Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE D.S.O 36th Battalion had now come forward to Hillside Farm. Carr accordingly sent Captain: William Derwent Dixon. D.S.O with Gadd to explain to Milne the desperate nature of their situation. Milne said that he would try to get their troops relieved after dark, but till relieved they must hold on.

(BEAN; History of Word War 1 Vol IV page 921)

Meanwhile, however, the German artillery was annihialating some parts of their line. All leaders of Carr's three posts were out of action. Lieutenant: Joseph Francis ADAMS was Killed in Action and Lieutenant: Norman Beade D'ARCY MC and Lieutenant: Harold Sydney WYNDHAM were wounded. Of the remaining officers of the 36th Battalion, Major: John Bruce Buchanan and Lieutenant: Fredrick William PUTNEY had been Killed in Action and Captain: Robert Austin GOLDRICK MC wounded. Farther back Lieutenant: Sydney COOK had been Killed in Action and Lieutenant: William WAND and Lieutenant: Herbert Reginald MAILER were wounded.

At 3 o'clock rain began to fall steadily. at 3:15pm Captain: Richard GADD 36th Battalion, thought agreeing with Captain: Henry Vince Carr 35th Battalion that to hold on meant innihilation, refused, in view of his Colonel's orders, to retire. Carr consented to wait while Gadd again sent word to Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE DSO Carr himself at 12: 30 had sent Captain William Derwent DIXON. DSO to the headquarters of the 35th Battalion at " Seine", from which no word had been received all day.

At 3:45pm, no reply having come from Milne, and Dixon not having returned as he had been kept at 35th Battalion headquarters awaiting the arrival of an order from brigade headquarters concerning the projected operation by the reserve battalion, Gadd agreed to withdraw and Carr sent along the line a note: The 35th Battalion will retire.

When visiting Gadd, Carr had warned the troops of the probable order to withdraw, and he now saw that the left had already begun to retire. He told men whom he passed to get back as fast as they could to the 34th Battalion (which he believed to be on the first objective). Captain: William James GORDON M.C 36th Battalion, strongly dissatisfied with the order, went straight to Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE D.S.O urged that the forward position was tenable, and with Milne and Major: John Martin HAWKEY M.C rushed out to stop the withdrawal. But it was too late.

The 34th was not, as Captain: Henry Vince Carr 35th Battalion, believed, on the first objective. The Commander of the line, Captain: John William RICHARDSON 34th Battalion, on hearing of the extreme weakness of the force at the second objective, had reinforced it. He and his only remaining officer's Lieutenant: James Clement BURGES  Lieutenant: Bruce Gray McKenzie  Lieutenant: John Abbott LONGWORTH had all been Killed in Action while organising on the first objective, and the first objective now lay empty. The retiring troops, being without orders as to the position to be taken up, streamed back past Milne's headquarters.

All that Hawkey, Gordon, Gadd, and others could then do was to lead a fraction of them forward again to the first objective, where they remained during the night. Captain: William Derwent DIXON. D.S.O. with Captain: John Grieve PATERSON adjutant of the 35th, went up to organise the 35th there, but could find none of it's men. When eventually re-formed the remnent of the 35th was temporarily attached as a Company to the 33rd Battalion.

9th-12th October 1917 saw the 3rd Division, 9th and 10th Infantry Brigade in action during the Battle of Passchendaele, which saw massive losses and suffering in the Australian ranks. The casualties numbered 3,199 men in 24hours during the height battle. The 34th Battalion lost every officer that day, either killed or wounded including their Medical Officer, Major: Gother Robert Caslide CLARKE and some of his staff were killed while dressing the wounded. The spirit of some of the wounded is illustrated by the case of Corporal: 3170 Winsleigh Alexander MURRAY 35th Battalion, (formerly a Methodist Minister from Newcastle) gave up his place in a queue waiting for stretcher bearers and was never heard of again.

The Battle of Passchendaele saw 60 Officers and 1,322 other ranks loose their lives.

9th Infantry Brigade Casulties.
33rd Battalion. AIF 11 Officers 273 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 15 Officers 323 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 18 Officers 296 Other ranks
36th Battalion. AIF 15 Officers 383 Other ranks
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 1 Officer 36 Other ranks
9th Light Trench Mortor Battery. - Officer 11 Other ranks

13th October 1917.

Received instructions to take command of the front line. Issued instructions to C.O's 34th and 35th Battalions to re-organize at dawn and to hold as follows; 35th Battalion Right Battalion. 36th Battalion Center Battalion. 34th Battalion Left Battalion. This was done and consilidation proceeded with shelling of our position immediately in rear of it was at times very heavy. 5.9-4.2 and 77mm being used. Our bombardment of enemry points appeared to be very light and our barrages throughout the battle much lighter than ant yet experienced by this battalion.

On the other hand the Boche bombardment was the heaviest I have ever experienced and only the very soft groung smothering the shell bursts very few men would have got through it. This Battalion was relieved by the 44th Battalion 11th Bde A.I.F. Relief commenced about 7:00pm and was complete about 11:00pm. The Battalion moving back along Railway Line to BOSTON FARM. The Battalion to up a shell hole position near JACOB'S HOUSE. All ranks very exhausted.

14th October 1917. Resting

15th October 1917.

Moving up to front line and relieved 42nd Battalion in support at AUGUSTUS WOOD relief being complete by 7:00pm. Enemy heavily shelled our position and ABRAHAM HEIGHTS with 5.9-4.2 and wizzbang a few 8" being noted and much Gas Shell (Mustard)

16th October 1917.

Consolodation position. Heavy shelling still continues with much Gas Shell during hours of darkness. A few men led back practically blind from the Gas effect.

17th October 1917.

Heavt shelling during early hours of morning with conditions much the same as 16th. Very few casualties considering weight of Boche shelling. New Zealand troops caught it heavy on ABRAHAMS HEIGHTS.

5th December 1917.

PLOEGSTEERT. Heavy shelling on Right Coy Front Line and UNA AVENUE C.T. 1 killed and 2 wounded as the result. About 3.00pm 6 balloons drifted from enemy lines over our lines and went back; these balloons dropped newspapers printed in the French language giving information about the German Successes on the ITALIAN front.

(36th Battalion War Diary)

Matthew was Wounded in Action; 1st occassion on the 5th of December as recorded in the 36th Battalion Unit Diary receiving a Gun-Shot Wound to the Chest and was treated in the field by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance before being carried by Streatcher Bearers to the Casualty clearing Station to be evacuated to Fovant. Matthew was evacuated to England onboard the Hospital Ship "St Denis" on the 10th of December 1917.

Hospital Ship "ST DENIS"

On the 11th December, Matthew was admitted to the Royal Herbert Military Hospital at Woolwich, where he received further treatment and was discharged to the 3rd Auxillary Hospital on the 9th January 1918.

Matthew was discharged from Hospital on the 21st of January and marched in the No: 4 Command Depot until he proceeded overseas again for France via Southampton on the 2nd of April 1918. He was marched in at Rouelles the next day and marched to the Battalion Billets to prepare for the final parade of the 36th Battalion who were disbanded on the 30th of April 1918. Matthew was on last parade for 36th Battalion.

36th Battalion's last Parade before being disbanded. 30th April 1918.

Matthew was transfered to the 33rd Battalion and was Taken on in Strength in the field as the 33rd Battalion strength had been reduces to only a few hundred men from a strength of one thousand.

8th August 1918.

The approach was made in two stages. The 33rd Battalion moved from VIEW SECTOR on the night of August 6th/7th to AUBIGNY and rested there for 24 hours. On the night of August 7th/8th the Battalion passed the starting point at C.3.C.70.20 at 10.20pm. "A" track was used. The marking of the route was not sufficient, consequently it was picqueted by 30 men, including the band, under an officer. The march was made without incident or interuptions and we suffered no casualties. the head of the column reached the jumping-off line at 1.10 am. The march discipline throughout was excellent.

"A" track was laid to our left flank, consequently a tape line was laid to the centre of the Battalion front. "A" and "B" Companys weeled in single file to the right, and "C" and "D" Companys to the left. As shown in the attached map, the jumping line was in rear of our outpost line in places. There was plenty of room in the front line (BARRABOOL TRENCH) for the whole Battalion to be under cover. The original plan was to remain in this trench until zero minus 5 minutes. But the situation was so quiet that the Companies were able to take up their dispositions in their ordered formation, and so rest in the open.

This assembly was completed at 2.10 am. We had no casualties before zero hour. Lieutenant: 129 Walter Gilligan MASON. (A Company Scout Officer) had charge of laying the tapes and did this work very well. Six direction tapes each 100 yards long were laid, one on each flank of the Battalion and one in the centre of each platoon front. These proved of the greatest value owing to the fog. The 33rd Battalion Scouts relieved those of the 38th Battalion who were holding the sector at 10.00 pm. At 10.30 they encountered an enemy post at P.21.B.30.20; the enemy threw bombs and wounded five of our men. Ten minutes later the 38th Battalion had an Officers patrol in NO MAN'S LAND but no further trace of the enemy could be found.

The Assault at about 4.00 am, as a dense fog arose, so dense was it that it was impossible to see more than 10 feet ahead. The whole artillery opened fire with great precision, and the barrage was very accurate. The fog made it extremely difficult to keep direction and to maintain formation, consequently the advance resolved itself into small parties moving on their own initiative. Only the first of the special ACCROCHE WOOD Signals could be seen, the smoke accentuated the fog. Even the barrage could not be seen.

ACCROCHE WOOD was strongly garrisoned and contained an abnormally large number of machine guns, but the garrison offered no resistance and readily surrendered. The attack was quite unexpected, and the fog was certainly to our advantage. The enemy remained in his dugouts during the bombardment. He gave us very little occasion to use bombs as he readily came forward with his hands extended above his head, one would almost think this was one of his favorite P.T. exercises.

Most of the guns in LONE VALLEY got away they were aided by the fog and all that we could do was to open fire on them. We captured only three guns in this valley, three 4.2s south of RAT WOOD. HAZEL WOOD was captured without difficulty. The GREEN LINE was reached according to schedule and consolidation immediately commenced. On the left protective barrage at 8.20 am when the 4th Division passed through us to the second phase of the attack, this line was re-sited and ranfrom Q.25.B.40.80; to Q.20.A.40.10; We were in touch with the 35th Battalionon our left and the 18th Battalion who did not occupy their allotted front. The sector was organised into four Company Sub Sectors each with two Platoons in the front line and two in support. Battalion Headquarters were established at P.23.D.50.50; The re-organisation and refitting of the Battalion was carried out without delay.

The barrage was excellent, not a single short being reported. All ranks are most enthusiastic in thier appreciation of the exceedingly fine work of our artillery. The movement forward of our batteries to assist in the second phase was splendidly carried out. Special memtion too must be made to the good work of the 10th and 9th A.L.T.M. Batteries and the 5th and 6th A.M.T.M. Batteries. One expected to see many more enemy dead in the area, not more than 50 were seen. The enemy's resorting to deep dugouts and his good form in athletics accounted for this.

The enemy's artillery was suprisingly feeble. At no time was his fire effective. When he eventually did learn something of the situation he lost no time in beating a hasty retreat. In the early stages the tanks were no assistance, being behind our troops most of the time. When the visibility allowed the tanks to go forward they did excellent work. Only one tank reached the green line with our troops. When they did get in front they were handled to great advantage. Their effect on the enemy's moral greatly delighted our men. The supply tank formed our dump 300 yards in rear of our line. The value of getting such large supplies forward so early and saving of infantry carrying parties cannot be overestimated.

The work of our machine guns could only be heard. Their fire appeared to be well concentrated and undoughtedly must have been accurate. Only one means of communication was possible, namely runners, and they had very great difficulty in finding their way; On the fog lifting visability and telephonic communication was established. The liaison patrols with the 5th Brigade on our right did not function.

Seven officers, 500 other ranks were captured. This is a conservative estimate and much below the totals submitted by the Companies. 457 can be definitely accounted for these having passed through Battalion Headquarters. 4 x 4.2 Howitzers and 6 x 77 MM Guns. These were captured by Lieutenant: 3072 Frank Albert HUTCHINGS M.C. and party and were marked and tagged. This party worked in the Second Division's area and captured these guns just north of LA MOTTE-en-SANTARRE. On returning in the afternoon to ascertain the number they found, that the guns had been taken away. The remaining there were captured at LENA WOOD. 30 machine guns. Of these 16 have been sent to the HAMELET dump. We have not the numbers of the remaining 14, but the total of 30 is a low estimate. a number of our guns were removed by other units which did not take part in the attack. 1 x Anti-Tank gun. 10 light Minenwerfers, 2 medium minenwerfer, 1 horse, 2 typewriters, large quantity of shells, rifles, equiptment, documents and war material.

Casulties 10 Killed in Action, 50 wounded.

33rd Battalion Unit Diary.

21st-22nd August 1918.

"Zero Hour, August 21st, at thick fog lay across the front. The allied 3rd Army's Guns were clearly audible to the north. As reports filterd to the waiting Diggers, they learned that the Germans had been suprised, all objectives had been achieved and 2,000 prisoners had been taken. Because of the comparative ease of the victory of that first phase, it was decided to extend the second phase of the objectives. Gellibrand issued orders to continue the assault if the British 47th, on the Australian left flank, were successful and Bray was cleared. Unfortunately these orders, being last-minute, did not arrive at all units.

For the Australians their first active envolvement in the action was planned for dawn on the 22nd August, at 4:45am. Zt 2:20am the Germans, possibly anticipating an attack, opened up with a barrage of artillery which went for an hour. The 33rd was being held in old trenches near Tallis Wood. It was a bright moonlit night, and officers and scouts laying tapes to mark the jumping off point could plainly see the advancing Battalions 800 yards away. A second enemy barrage fell at 4:00am. This time the 33rd were caught on the Meaulte-Etinechem Road where they had assembled. The men flattened themselves as shells landed around them on the road., continually showering them with dirt. For somr reason a forward German post asked their Gunners to lift their range, to the great relief of the 33rd, but it wasn't such a good move for the 3rd Division Machine Gunners who were formed up in the rear ready to cover the flanks, nor for the reserve 11th Brigade. Both reported casulties from the shelling. The 33rd had been lucky to receive only twenty casulties, the 35th a mere six.

The road, well behind the forward posts, had been chosen as the starting point for the simplicity's sake. These posts were withdrawn just before the opening barrage, which began on schedule. From there the 'creep' was slow, the barrage advancing only a hundred yards in four minutes. A number of phosphorous shells were dropped along the way to form a smoke screen, and this, combined with the dust and early morning mist, cut visibility to only ten yards. The enemy counter barrage was fired within two minutes of the opening, but before the area was taken the Germans had cleared out. The 33rd met with a few enemy Machine-Gun posts in the valley bottom, but these were quickly outflanked and subdued. A forward German Battalion Headquarters, of the 124th Imperial Reserves , was also captured, along with its commander, liaison officers, forty men and four Machine-Guns.

Shortly afterwards our own wounded commenced to arrive at the Dressing Station and the Regimental Medical Officer Captain: William Johnstone BINNS. and staff commenced to get busy. He was assisted by Battalion Pardre Chaplain: 12991 Walter Emra Kingscote BIRKITT who was an old field ambulance man. Lieutenant: 2559 Robert Horner FLETCHER- wounded by an aerial bomb - was the first officer to appear and he was able to give us some idea as how things were going. About this time word was received that Captain: Thomas William TOLLIS of C company and Lieutenant. Alfred Gordon FARLEIGH of B Company had been killed by shots from our own barrage".

(Never a Backward Step; Edwards 1996)

During this action Matthew was Wounded in Action; 2nd occassion when he received a a Gun Shot Wound and was treated by the 10th Australian Field Ambulance and evacuated to the 37th Casualty Clearing Station on the 22nd of August 1918. He was transfered to the Base Depot in France but re joined his unit in the line on the 24th of September for the advance on St Quentin.

St QUENTIN

30th-31st August 1918

On the northern flank the 3rd Division's attack had been arranged at short notice after a day exhausting to both infantry and artillery, and in the face of other particular difficulties. The timming of the attack was to be taken from the left where the 58th Division, somewhat further back than the 9th Brigade, started at 5:10am behind a very slow barrage to attack Marrieres Wood. The 9th Brigade using the 33rd Battalion, started at the time arranged, 5:40am, but the artillery had not yet received its orders and though it fired, the barrage was thin and machine-guns in the south-west corner of Road Wood stopped the 33rd.

One Company was late, but Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. had swung his Company into its place. Major: Cedric Errol Meter BRODZIAK. D.S.O. was now killed while referring to his map.But within twenty minutes the artillery greatly increased its fire. The 33rd were able to raise their heads. A private Private: 726 George CARTWRIGHT. V.C. stood up and from the shoulder fired at the troublesome German gunner and then walking forward shot him and the two men who took his place.

Next, covering his run by exploding a bomb shot of the trench, he rushed the gun and captured 9 Germans. The 33rd stood up and cheered him, and then advancing by two's and three's entered the wood. Private: 792 William Allan IRWIN. D.C.M an Australian half-caste, after attacking like Cartwright, was mortally wounded and died of wounds on the 1st of September 1918.

The 33rd was now considerably behind the 6th London (58th Division), having chased the Germans from Marrieres Wood, was held up by fire from Wary Alley which curved up the gully between the woods. Comming through the south Company Sergeant Major: 967 Louis John MATHIAS. D.C.M & Bar. cleared the Germans by fire from a Lewis Gun.

The 33rd now set to bombing up the old trenches leading up to the upper end of the 1916 Spur where the Peronne-Bapaume Road also ran through. On the nearer side of the road a German battery commander with his gun crews and some infantry was blazing with six field-guns into the Australian groups everywere they left shelter.

From the southward side Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL. and Lieutenant: William Alexander McLEAN. M.C. of the 33rd-the latter greartly helped by the leaders of the 10th Brigade Sergeant 1007 E E Walters. D.C.M, 39th Battalion and Corporal 5024 A V Grinton. D.C.M, 38th Battalion, worked up and presently rushed the guns, the German Battery Commander fighting to the last with his revolver. He was shot by Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL.

Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. reaching realised that the old quarry beyond it was a commanding position and accordingly took it and 40 German prisoners and placed a post on its eastern rim. He then went back to Wary Alley, and finding some of the 6th London Regiment, got Captain: S T COOKE M.C, and 20 men to garrison the quarry while the 33rd lined the Bapaume Road on the right.

HINDENBURG LINE

1st October 1918.

The 3rd Division troops, some facing the Hindenburg Line, and others like the 9th Brigade still facing the southern flank, found their front strangely quiet. At 2:00am the 33rd Sent out a patrol under Lieutenant: Harold James COLE to the edge of the Bony, but failed to find any Germans. At daybreak parties of the enemy were seen retiring. The Hindenburg Line was vacated. At this point the 33rd was relived and took no further part in the action. The troops were billited at Citerene fo a well earned rest while the war raged on, but the end of the conflict was in sight before the relentless, unstoppable allied advance.

The fighting 33rd had fought it's last battle.

The First World War was drawing to an end and Matthew had fought in his last action of the war but remained in the lines and billets after the Armistice before being granted leave in Paris from the 15th until the 25th of January 1919. After returning to the 33rd Battalion he was demobilised and proceeded overseas from France to England on the 21st of April 1919 and disembarked at Southampton the next day. He remained in England for the nearly four and embarked for Australia onboard the "Themistocles" on the 12th June and returned to Australi on the 11th August. He was discharged for the AIF on the 18th September 1919.

Family Information

Matthew was a single 22 year old Farmer from Ferndale, Eugowra, N.S.W upon enlistment. Matthew's parents Matthew and Catherine Dwyer were married in 1889 at Cowra, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:4150/1889 and had 14 children. John Dwywer born 1890 at Cowra, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11435/1890 and died 1890 at Cowra, N.S.W. Death Cert:4669/1890. Joseph John Dwyer born 1892 at Canowindra, N.S.W. Birth Cert:9920/1892 and died 1977 N.S.W. Death Cert:18858/1977. Matthew Thomas Dwyer born 1893 at Cudal, N.S.W. Birth Cert: ? and died 1973 at Candowindra, N.S.W. Death Cert:61667/1973. Susan Dwyer born 1895 at Molong, N.S.W. Birth Cert:34263/1895. Catherine M Dwyer born 1897 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:30301/1897. John Charles Dwyer born 1900 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:2337/1900. Francis James Dwyer born 1901 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11730/1901 and died 1962 at Sydney, N.S.W. Death Cert:8488/1962. Ellen M Dwyer born 1903 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:20164/1903. Margaret P Dwyer born 1905 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:21914/1905 and died 1913 at Cargo, N.S.W. Death Cert:6822/1913. Josephine F Dwyer born 1907 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:22883/1907. Robert E Dwyer born 1911 at Cargo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:38706/1911. Charles John Dwyer died 1967 at Parkes, N.S.W. Death Cert:34051/1967.

By way of a bit more background, my grandfather was actually known as Tom. His father Matthew was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1838 and emigrated to Australia in 1853 on the 'Beejapore'. His mother, Catherine was born in NSW in 1872 and died in Sydney in 1945. As you can see by their years of birth there was a significant age difference between Matthew and Catherine. Tom was one of 14 children born to Matthew and Catherine. His younger brother Francis James (Frank) who was 16 at the time lied about his age and enlisted in early 1917 (perhaps prompted by my grandfather's enlistment in 1916). Because of his exceptional horsemanship, Frank was placed in the Camel Corp (Reg # 2897). He was returned to Australia at the end of 1917 when his true age was discovered. In 1942 my grandfather also enlisted in the 27 Battalion Volunteer Defence Corp Part time duty.

(Tracey Rumble nee: Dwyer. Grandaughter of Matthew) 2013.

"BEEJAPORE"

Military Records

Australian National Archives

Under Construction; 16/06/2013-08/07/2014.


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