33rd BATTALION AIF. "New England's Own"
33rd Battalion marching through Armidale 1916.
The 33rd Battalion was formed in January 1916 at a camp established at the Armidale Showground in New South Wales. The bulk of the battalion's recruits were drawn from the New England region and thus dubbed "New England's Own". The battalion's first, and only commanding officer was Lieutenant Colonel: Leslie MORSHEAD who became famous as the commanding officer of the 9th Australian Division during the Second World War.
The composition of the 33rd Infantry Battalion was on a district basis. "A Company" was from Armidale and Tamworth, "B Company" was from Walcha, Uralla, Barrabra, Bingara and Manilla. "C Company" was from Narrabri, Moree and Inverell. and "D Company was from Glen Innes, Guyra and Tenterfield.
Armidale Camp 1916
33rd BATTALION COMFORTS FUND.
The hon. secretary, Armidale, forwards the report for six months ending
November 6, 1916. The report is as follows : — The committee of the 33rd Battalion Comforts Fund in placing before you their report and balance sheet for the past six months, propose giving a brief statement of the work done during that period With tlhe assistance of Mrs Jobson (wife of the Brigadier- General of the 9th Brigade), we formed our comforts' committee, with Mrs. F. J. White as president, the committee being: Mesdames Tindal, Buntine, Maunsell, Curtis, and Misses Dight and Blomfield, Mrs. Mallam, hon. treasurer; Mrs. R. N. Hickson, hon. secretary; Miss Maud Martyn, hon. assistant secretary.
Work began in March. Archdeacon Johnstone kindly granted the use of the Sunday School as a depot; here, parcels are received, work is cut out, sewing meetings are held, and packing is done by the committee and those in town who are interested. Work since March has been continuous and earned out in an efficient manner. We have sent five consignments of comforts away; have paid for the Battalion Band; and given the O.C. £200 for immediate necessities, besides providing £25 for board-ship comforts. To date, we have forwarded: 437 shirts, 110 mufflers, 724 handkerchiefs, 70 towels, 1337 socks, 192 caps, 241 Tussore suits, 132 mittens, 704 basil vests, besides tobacco, cigarettes, soaps, sweets, and insecticide, and to all outgoing reinforcements have provided board-ship comforts.
Our Christmas gifts were in a separaite consignment of 80 cases, containing— 624 plum puddings, 654 Christmas cakes, 4 cases of tinned fruits and jams, 46 eases of special Xmas gifts, one for each man in the battalion. 'The committee desire to place on record the splendid work and assistance received by relatives and friends of the 33rd, from Armidale and different centres, and trust for similar assistance during the coming year. Following is the statement of income and expenditure from April 1 to November 6, 1916: — , Income: Cash received from subscriptions, etc, £1744/16/4.
Expenditure : Sewing machine £6/2, flannel £135/5/2, wool £71/19/9, basil vests £414/11/6, tobacco and cigarettes £43/13/6, packing cases 7/6, cartage £2/16/9, stamps, telephone, printing, stationery, advertisements £15/15/7, comforts for the 33rd Battalion £244/18/5, Battalion Band £247/, refund to Guyra £53/6/8, the stall expenses £8/14, tussore silk £50/10/3, insurance 12/4, christmas comforts for the 33rd £157/15, two linen presses £6/9/6, handkerchiefs £24/16/11, sundries, buttons, cottons, tapes, etc, £4.
Balance in Saving's Bank £253/16/.
Grand total, £1744/16/4.
The funds of this comfort fund are now reduced to £68. The committee wishing to increase the sum in hand ask for a small donation from those interested in the 33rd.
The 33rd Battalion became a part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. The Battalion left Sydney on the 4th May 1916 bound for the United Kingdom aboard the H.M.A.T. A47 "Marathon".
A SOUVENIR OF H.M.A.T. MARATHON. THE NORTHERN BATTALION'S TROOPSHIP.
Mrs. C. Unverhau, of "Glenwood" Uralla, forwards us a souvenir of the Marathon's voyage, which she has just received from her son, Private: 1270 Harold Hayman UNVERHAU who is a member of the Northern Battalion. The title page contains a photograph of the ship and a statement of the troops on board. The rest of the letterpress is as follows: Perhaps one of the prettiest, and most affecting sights in the world is an Australian ship's good-bye, especially if the vessel be a transport. The devotion of relatives and friends is amazing. Besides undergoing the discomfort and inconvenience of a long journey to the port of embarkation, they also cheerfully endure the tedium of uncertainty and waiting about incidental to the dispatch of' troops. In this case the anxiety of attachment, saw some taking up a position of advantage a day previous.
Friends assemble on the quay with rolls of colored paper ribbons, one end of which is thrown to the departing one on board and the other retained by a friend ashore. As the vessel moves away; the rolls are unwound till hundreds of bright-hued streamers are suspended like a fairy-chain between the ship and shore till the whole length runs out or snaps asunder through strain. The "Marathon's" departure was particularly auspicious. Every soldier on the ship and every person ashore seemed connected by a rainbow. A thousand strands, irradiated in the morning sun. Not content with that, motor launches filled with well-wishers must needs follow her up some distance when under weigh. Within an hour of sailing the stormy winds were blowing and the ship—one of the most steady and reliable that ever left the docks—a-tossing. Sea legs and sea stomachs would have fetched any price. Misled by the alert appearance and uniform, unfortunately no one had anticipated ,the demand. The disappearing lights of Bondi synchronized with the dwindling spirits of the 33rd, now at a very low ebb indeed.
It was, nobody's fault that the voyage was a little tedious through being unduly long, accentuated a good deal by intermittent bad weather. To enumerate a few is to commence a really long list. Besides the daily parades for drill, etc., when the weather held fine, there were boxing bouts and sports, relieved by band performances and deck concerts . Some of the days, with calm sea and warm, radiant sunshine, were wholly delightful ; while cool moonlight evenings provided ideal conditions for pianofortes and vocal selections. Ports of call, too, gave opportunity to enlarge experience and profit by observation, though in several instances it was a case of distance lending enchantment to the view— one cannot see much on the deck of a steamer half a mile from an object on shore, which strangeness, of course, only heightens interest and foments desire to approach closer. Yet despite all drawbacks every man on the ship got the benefit of a passing acquaintanceship with towns and countries other than his own—a direct contrast, say, in comparing Central Africa with the Commonwealth or, to come nearer home, Western with Eastern Australia, and again his own with the Colony of South Africa.
Arriving in England in early July, the Battalion spent the next four months in training before departed from Southampton, England on the 21st November 1916 at 4:30 pm and traveled by paddle steamer ‘Mona Queen’ to France arriving November 22, 1916 at 7:00 am in Le Havre. The Battalion moved in to the No:1 Rest Camp just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-17.
S.S. "MONA QUEEN"
The 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. The battalion held the ground captured during the battle for several days afterwards and was subjected to intense artillery bombardment. One soldier wrote that holding the line at Messines was far worse than taking it. The battalion's next major battle was around Passchendale on the 12th October. The battlefield, though, had been deluged with rain, and mud tugged the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat.
For the next five months the 33rd 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 33rd also played a role in the Allies own offensive. It took part in the battle of Amiens on the 8th August, the rapid advance that followed, and in the operation that breached the Hindenburg Line at the end of September, thus sealing Germany's defeat. The 33rd Battalion disbanded in March 1919.
(Extracts from the Australian War Memorial. The Kurrajongs; 2007. Ian Small. Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954) Friday 8 September 1916)
Departure Dated and Transport Ships.
2nd Reinforcements departed Sydney 4th September 1916-HMAT A15 Port Sydney.
3rd Reinforcements departed Sydney 24th August 1916-HMAT A68 Anchises.
4th Reinforcements departed Sydney 17th October 1916-HMAT A30 Borda.
5th Reinforcements departed Sydney 17th November 1916-SS Port Napier.
6th Reinforcements departed Sydney 25th November 1916-HMAT A72 Beltana.
8th Reinforcements departed Sydney 16th July 1917-HMAT A16 Port Melbourne.
33rd Battalion A.I.F, 3rd Australian Infantry Division, 9th Infantry Brigade.
Messiness 1917-Ypres 1917-Polygon Wood-Broodseinde-Poelcappelle-Passchendaele-Somme 1918
Ancre 1918-Amiens-Albert 1918-Mont St Quentin-Hindenburg Line-St Quentin Canal-France and Flanders 1916-1918
Casualties.451 killed, 2052 wounded(including gassed)
Lieutenant Colonel: Leslie James MORSHEAD. CMG D.S.O. 04/06/1916-30/04/1918. WW2 Lieutenant Gereral Sir Leslie Morshead.
Lieutenant Colonel: Harold Fletcher WHITE. CMG DSO. 30/04/1918-16/06/1918
VICTOIRIA CROSS: 2
COMMANDER of the ORDER of ST-MICHAEL and ST-GEORGE:1
DISTINGUISED SERVICE ORDER: 6-1 Bar.
Lieutenant Colonel. Leslie James MORSHEAD. CMG,DSO. WW2 Lieutenant Gerneral Sir Leslie Morshead.
Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE. CMG, DSO.
Major William John Clare DUNCAN. DSO & Bar MC & Bar
MEMBER of the BRITISH EMPIRE: 1.
MILITARY CROSS: 22.
Major William John Clare DUNCAN. DSO & Bar MC & Bar
Captain: William Johnstone BINNS. M.C. (Regimental Medical Officer)
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL:19-1 Bar.
Lieutenant. 967 Louis John MATHIAS. D.C.M. & Bar. M.M.
Sergeant: 1193 Archibald McLEAN. D.C.M. M.M. 10/01/1920
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL:8.
MILITARY MEDAL: 78, 3 bar, 1-2nd Bar
Lieutenant. 967 Louis John MATHIAS. D.C.M. & Bar. 21/10/1918, 05/12/1918. M.M.
Sergeant: 1193 Archibald McLEAN. D.C.M. M.M
Sergeant: 216 Archibald YOUNG. M.M. **
Lance Sergeant: 1835 David GUNN. M.M. **
Lance Sergeant: 2000 Richard Charles MAY. M.M. [Detaills Missing]
Corporal: 1620 Allan W BRECHT. M.M [Detaills Missing]
Corporal: 479 William Robert JAMEISON. M.M. Bar (shot down plane, Gressaire) **
Corporal: 1235 R.L. SWADLING. M.M. **
Lance Corporal: 1410 Lindsay IRVING M.M. 1 of 19 through the war.
Lance Corporal: 1695 Charles John STEEL. M.M.
Private: 16 Frederick John BRIGGS. M.M. (Kamilaroi)
Private: 94 Alfred Ernest HOGNO. M.M. **
MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL: 12
Corporal: 1070 Sidney John BUTT. M.S.M. **
Corporal: 1181 Walter Maurice LYONS. M.S.M.
Corporal: 1629 Horace Bowen MORRIS. M.S.M.
Corporal: 155 Ernest Eric RALSTON. M.S.M. **
Private: 1433 William Edward HOBDAY. M.S.M. **
Private: 810 Ernest Parkes LLOYD. M.S.M. **
MENTIONED in DISPATCHES: 25.
Lieutenant Colonel. Leslie James MORSHEAD. C.M.G. D.S.O.
Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G. D.S.O.
Major: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. D.S.O. M.C.
FOREIGN AWARDS- 9.
Lieutenant Colonel. Leslie James MORSHEAD. C.M.G.-D.S.O.
Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G. D.S.O.
114 Men known as the Kurrajong's lined up against the Drill Hall in Inverell prior to marching to the railway station on the 12th of January 1916. The men all wore a white panama hat and were issued a pair of hand knitted sox and the Inverell Recruitment Medal.
The Kurrajongs march down Otho Street, Inverell, N.S.W. on their way to the station.
Gassed Australian soldiers awaiting treatment near Bois de L'Abbe outside Villers-Bretonneux 1918.Note: 33rd Battalion Colour Patch on Corporal in foreground. (Eggs-a-Cook)
(Photos: Never a Backward Step. History of the 33rd Battalion AIF.)
Codford, England. May 10th 1919.
Dinner Menu. Private: 3379 Henry Burleigh SAYWELL.
Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931) Friday 25 April 1924 p 8 Article.
Owing to the date originally fixed clashing with that of the 36th Battalion's reunion the 33rd Battalion has decided to postpone its reunion until Saturday, May 10. at 7 p.m. The reunion will take the form of a dinner at the Cafe Ecossais, 99 Phillip-street.
Moree Gwydir Examiner and General Advertiser (NSW : 1901 - 1940) Monday 8 April 1935 p 2 Article.
The 33rd Battalion A.I.F. will be holding their annual reunion on Anzac Night, 25th April, at the Sydney Legacy Club Rooms, Nock and Kirby's buildings, 188 George Street North (Circular Quay) Sydney, at 8 p.m. All country members who will be in Sydney for Anzac Day celebrations are requested to be present.For further particulars apply to the Hon. Secretary, O. R. Cormack, 84 Prince Albert Street, Mos'man, or 25-27 Clarence Street, Sydney. (Phone 13929).
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Tuesday 19 May 1953 p 4 Article
The 33rd Battalion, 1st A.I.F., will hold a reunion at Thorne's Cafe, 135 Pitt Street, Sydney, on Friday, May 29, at 8 pm.
Under Construction; 09/07/2011-19/10/2017.