The following stories have been written or recorded by family members of men that served with the 22nd Battalion during the Great War. Click on the links to read and view their personal experiences, and in two cases short films that have been produced commemorating the lives of relatives who fought and died.
Captain David Gerald EVANS, MC, 5th/22nd Battalion, AIF
Died of Wounds, 20th September 1917
Captain Evans was a very popular officer and leader who after enlisting in February 1915 was assigned to the 5th reinforcements of the 22nd Battalion before being transferred to the 8th Battalion while the AIF was training and restructuring in Egypt following the evacuation from Gallipoli. Captain Evans was Mentioned in Dispatches twice, awarded the Military Cross at Bullecourt, was wounded in action at Pozieres before being mortally wounded during the 3rd Ypres offensive. Capt. Evans had an older brother Francis in the 51st Battalion who was sadly killed in action three weeks later during the same campaign. Read their story in ‘The Valiant Never Taste of Death but Once’ written by their great nephew Evan Evans.
Having enlisted at the age of 18, 833 L-Cpl Harricks served throughout the war sailing with the original 22nd Battalion for Gallipoli and then to France and Belgium before returning to Australia in 1919. Harricks rose through the ranks to Lieutenant in May 1917, and served for a couple of months as Acting Adjutant for the Battalion as well as being temporarily seconded to the 6th Training Brigade in England before returning to the Battalion. He was also the Adjutant on-board the ‘Castalia’ on its return voyage in April 1919.
Throughout his time in the AIF, Lieut. Harricks built a detailed collection of personal pictures, photographs and other memorabilia, including copies of the official reports into raids and battles in which he took part. Jennie Marshall has collated these personal items along with text and commentary from the official histories to provide a fine book capturing the life of an Australian infantryman in the Great War which you can read by clicking the above link. Included within the collection are hundreds of pictures of men that Lieut. Harricks knew, either from his home town of Ararat, with the 22nd Battalion or during his travels while with the AIF.
Died of illness, 15th January 1920
20 year-old Edgar Knell enlisted in February 1915 and sailed with the 22nd Battalion to Egypt before landing at Gallipoli in September. With the move to the Western Front 2nd Cpl Knell served with the Battalion in France and Belgium, and where in 1917 he was assigned as a Driver. 2nd Cpl Knell was wounded during the last action seen by the 22nd Battalion on 3rd October 1918 at Beaurevoir. While in England and waiting for repatriation 2nd Cpl Knell fell ill with cancer and sadly died within two months of diagnosis. Buried in the St. Mary’s Churchyard, Harefield, Edgar Knell was the last man within the 22nd Battalion to die overseas during the Great War. Read his story including letters home and photographs compiled by relatives Diane Thompson and Ray Harrop with the assistance of Cathy Sedgwick (WW1 Australian Soldiers & Nurses who rest in the United Kingdom).
Killed in Action, 26th August 1916
Read the diary of Charles Tucker ‘I remain your loving son’, published by the family 100 years on to the day. Corporal Tucker was a stretcher-bearer and bandsman of the 22nd Battalion, and provided a detailed account of his time in the AIF from his departure from Melbourne in May 1915 to Egypt, Gallipoli and finally France where he was killed in action on the Somme in August 1916.
Killed in Action, 18th September 1917
As was the case for many of their generation, those that fought in the Great War often remained silent about what they endured, leaving it to their families of the internet generation to discover and tell their individual stories of bravery and sacrifice. One such group of amateur historians keen to discover what their town’s folk did during the First World War were the residents of Macarthur in Western Victoria. The Victorian Government along with Polygraph Productions has created a short film telling the story of two families of men that fought and died with the 22nd Battalion – Cecil Twist and Frank Bunworth (see below) – uncovering their own personal stories of sacrifice, and set within the historical context of Australia in the First World War.
Click on the link to watch the film and discover their stories. [Photograph courtesy of Joe Mitchell, whose great-uncle 5141 Pte John Mitchell was killed by the same shell and shares a grave with Cecil Twist]
Killed in Action, 4th August 1916
17 year-old Joe Saxon was one of four brothers that enlisted into the AIF, with William being part of the first 7th Battalion and in the first AIF sailing, Tom in the 21st Battalion, and Bert in the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. During their time in the army travelling and fighting in Gallipoli, Egypt, France and Belgium, the brothers wrote over 150 letters and poems home. Kylie Riha-Jones has not only collated the letters from the war in a book ‘The Saxon Boys: Experiences of War From Gallipoli to the Western Front’ but has also set them within the context of life within the small rural communities of Euroa District. The book contains many personal photographs and mentions about 150 men that the brothers served with. Click on the link to read more on their personal stories and the effect it had on the family and friends back home.
Killed in Action, 29th October 1915
Gus Stelling was a 19 year-old engraver, having also served with the local 58th Infantry Regiment, Essendon Rifles, before enlisting with the AIF. Pte Stelling served in Gallipoli where he was tragically killed by asphyxiation, having been overcome by fumes when trying to rescue an officer that had gone below to inspect a previously exploded mine. Lenore Frost has published letters and photographs of Pte Stelling from the Dusek family collection as part of her web project commemorating all the men that volunteered for the Great War from the Essendon and Framlington district of Melbourne.
Frederick Cross was a 21 year old labourer when he enlisted, what would appear to be for the second time, in August 1915 shortly before sailing with the 3rd Reinforcements on the A68 Anchises to Egypt. Pte Cross served in Gallipoli, France and Belgium and was hospitalised twice with enteric fever and then mumps before being wounded in action in the eye in February 1917, leading to his transfer to England. While recovering from his wound Pte Cross met an English girl Ethel who he married in 1918 before returning to Australia with his bride a year later upon discharge.
Read more about Fred’s life in the AIF in Anne Young’s blog
Killed in Action, between 27th July and 4th August 1916
Donald McTavish was a 27 year-old farmer when he enlisted into the AIF in July 1915 and was assigned to the 4th Reinforcements of the 22nd Battalion along with his cousin 2295 Harold McTavish. However Donald missed the sailing of the Hororato from Fremantle and as a result sailed with the 5th/22nd a few days later on the RMS Osterley for Egypt and training. Sailing with the Battalion to France in March 1916, Donald spent a couple of months in the quieter sector around Armentierres, before heading south to the Somme and the Battalion’s first major engagement at Pozieres where he was killed in action. Harold was wounded in action at Pozieres and returned to Australia on the Karoola and for discharge.
Read Donald McTavish’s story in full by visiting Leone Fabre‘s web page.
2344 Private Ellis Harwood MIDDLETON, 5th/22nd Battalion, AIF
Killed in Action, between 27th July and 4th August 1916
Ellis Middleton was a 30 year old brass finisher when he enlisted in July 1915, and was assigned to the 5th Reinforcements of the 22nd Battalion. Ellis sailed from Melbourne in September 1915 to Egypt and training before sailing with the Battalion to France in March 1916. After spending a couple of months in the quieter sector around Armentierres, Ellis was part of the Battalions first major engagement at Pozieres where he was killed in action.
Read Rod Martin’s account on Lenore Frost’s web project ‘The Empire Called and I Answered – the Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington’
2394 Private George Edwin STEPHENS, MM, 5th/22nd Battalion, AIF
George Stephens enlisted underage in July 1915 and sailed from Melbourne in September 1915 on the RMS ‘Osterley’. George had an eventful four years in the AIF: he was hospitalised in Egypt with diarrhoea; was wounded four times in action in France; was awarded the Military Medal two days from the end of fighting by the Australians in the war; was court martialled for going absent without leave on Armistice Day; and married his wartime sweetheart.
Read George Stephens‘s story in full
2397 Private Charles Robert SAMWAYS, 5th/22nd Battalion, AIF
Charles Samways enlisted on 7th July 1915 into the AIF having emigrated from London just two years previous. During his time in the army he was wounded in action at Pozieres in August 1916 and suffered from a number of bouts of gastric illnesses which saw him hospitalised on five occasions. He also went absent with leave on a number of occasions – twice with his best mate George Stephens above – which ended up with the pair facing a Field General Courts Martial after the fighting had stopped. Charles returned to Melbourne in 1919 where he met and married George’s sister Daisy a year later.
Read Charles Samways story in full
2428 Private Harry TULLETT, 5th/22nd Battalion, AIF
At the time of his enlistment on 10th July 1915, Harry Tullet gave his as 45, the upper limit of eligibility, whereas his actual age was 55! Harry’s service record shows that he was transferred to the 8th Battalion in March 1916 while the AIF was re-organising in Egypt and as a result of poor health on account of the atrocious conditions that the men had to live in was discharged in April 1918. However Evan Evans through researching his great uncle Captain David Evans, MC, (see above) has been able to shed light on Harry’s time with the AIF as Captain Evans trusty batman.
Read Harry Tullet’s story on the RSL Virtual War Memorial website.
Killed in Action, 7th February 1917
Edward Hurter enlisted in the AIF on 12th January 1916 aged 27 years and was assigned to the 11th reinforcements of the 22nd Battalion. Edward embarked from Melbourne on 29th March on the HMAT Orontes for training in England, before proceeding to France on 10th September. Edward was Taken on Strength into the 22nd Battalion on 31st October and promoted from Lance Corporal to Temporary Sergeant on the 10th November 1916 while the Battalion was on the Somme. At the end of January the Battalion moved into the Le Sars sector of the Somme, where on 7th February 1917 Edward was killed by a shell whilst in ‘William Alley’. Edward has no know grave, and is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.
Read Edward Hurter’s story in full by visiting Leone Fabre’s web page
4784 Pte James “Jim” William Ringin esteemed townsmen from Drouin, Victoria enlisted on February 2nd 1916 in Drouin age 40. James was assigned to the 22nd Battalion joining the 12th reinforcements. James embarked for England on the 4th April 1916 on the HMAT Euripides. James trained in England until 31st March 1917 when he joined the battalion over in France. James served on the front lines in April and September 1917 and was one of 196 not killed or wounded during the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt. On 18th September 1917 James was wounded in action on the front line at Westhoek Ridge receiving gun shot wounds to the face and left shoulder. James was sent back to Australia on 31 January 1918 and was discharged on June 12th. James passed away in Drouin, Victoria on 11th May 1947. For James Ringin Story please click on the link, courtesy of Tom Buckingham. Also, see the Gallery for more photographs from the family collection
Killed in Action, 9th June 1918
As was the case for many of their generation, those that fought in the Great War often remained silent about what they endured, leaving it to their families of the internet generation to discover and tell their individual stories of bravery and sacrifice. One such group of amateur historians keen to discover what their town’s folk did during the First World War were the residents of Macarthur in Western Victoria. The Victorian Government along with Polygraph Productions has created a short film telling the story of two families of men that fought and died with the 22nd Battalion – Cecil Twist (see above) and Frank Bunworth – uncovering their own personal stories of sacrifice, and set within the historical context of Australia in the First World War.
Click on the link to watch the film and discover their stories.
James Roberts enlisted in the AIF on 30th September 1916 arriving in England on the HMAT Hororata in January 1917 for training at the 6th Training Battalion at Larkhill. Pte Roberts was Taken on Strength into the 22nd Battalion on 14th May 1917. In September, during the Third Ypres offensive and following the Battle of the Menin Road, the 22nd Battalion endured a fierce German artillery bombardment on the Westhoek Ridge causing many casualties including Pte Roberts who was evacuated with shell shock. Pte Roberts returned to Australia in May 1918 and was discharged three months later with his disability being listed as ‘dilated action of the heart’.
Read James Robert’s story in full by visiting Leone Fabre’s web page
Died of Wounds, 3rd October 1918
William Gordon Tucker enlisted on 18th May 1917 using the name Sidney William Tucker and after travelling via Egypt, Italy and France, William arrived in England on 2nd February 1918 for training in England. William was Taken on Strength into the 22nd Battalion on the 4th May, then stationed on the Somme around Ville-sur-Ancre. On 23rd July 1918 William was gassed during an intense barrage of gas shells on Villers-Bretonneux. A month later during the attack on the Hindenburg Line William was wounded and on 3rd October sadly died of his wounds, just two days before the Australians were finally withdrawn from the front-line during the war. William is buried in the Bellicourt British Cemetery.
Read William Tucker’s story in full by visiting Leone Fabre‘s web page