35th Battalion History

Newcastle War Memorial

 35th BATTALION AIF. "Newcastle's Own"

 "Flectas non Franges" = "To be bent, not broken".

The 35th Battalion was raised in December 1915 in Newcastle, New South Wales. The bulk of the Battalion’s recruits were drawn from the Newcastle region and thus was dubbed “Newcastle’s Own”. Reflecting the demographics of the area, there were a high proportion of miners among the battalion members, 1,330 men from the Hunter Region were drafted into the Battalion.

35th Battalion Fund Raiser

Newcastle, 35th Battalion Fund Raising The 35th Battalion became a part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. The Mayor of Newcastle wrote to the Minister of the Navy, Mr Jensen on the 20th April 1916 requesting that the Newcastle troops should embark at Newcastle: Quote" In confirmation of my telegram to you, I desire to bring under your notice that it would be a very gratifying compliment to the residence of this city and district if you could make arrangements for the embarkation of troops at present in camp here (especially the 35th Battalion, Newcastle's Own) from Newcastle, on leaving for the seat of war." Unquote.

35th Battalion Comfort Fund

35th Battalion Comfort Fund, Hunter Street Newcastle The 35th Battalion left Sydney on the 1st May 1916 bound for the United Kingdom aboard the H.M.A.T. A24 "BENALLA" with 28 Officers and 991 other ranks. The original 35th Battalion had regimental numbers between 1-1513. Compiling of Headquarters, Machine Gun Section, A Company, B Company, C Company and D Company. Arriving in England in early July, the Battalion spent the next four months in training. It crossed into France in late November,and moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on the 26th of November, just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-17.

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 35th’s next major battle was around Passchendaele on the 12th October. Heavy rain, though, had deluged the battlefield, and thick mud tugged at the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle was a disaster for the 35th; 508 men crossed the start line but only 90 remained un wounded at the end.

For the next five months the 35th 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. The desperate nature of the fighting at this time is revealed by the fact that the 35th Battalion suffered nearly 70 per cent casualties during these operations.

Later in 1918, the 35th also played a role in the Allies own offensive. It took part in the battle of Amiens on the 8th August; fought several small battles during the rapid advance that followed; and at the end of September provided reserves for the joint Australian-American operation that breached the Hindenburg Line, thus sealing Germany’s defeat. The 35th Battalion disbanded in March 1919.

(Extracts from the Australian War Memorial, Newspaper articles and private research by author)

35th Battalion departed Sydney 1st May 1916-HMAT A24 Benalla.

1st Reinforcements departed Sydney 1st May 1916-HMAT A24 Benalla.

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 25th October 1916-HMAT A11 Ascanius.

6th Reinforcements departed Sydney 25th November 1916-HMAT A72 Beltana.

7th Reinforcements departed Sydney 24th January 1917-HMAT A68 Anchises.

8th Reinforcements departed Sydney 2nd August 1917-HMAT A28 Miltiades.



Messiness 1917


Polygon Wood




Somme 1918

Ancre 1918


Albert 1918

Mont St Quentin

Hindenburg Line

St Quentin Canal

France and Flanders 1916-1918

CASUALTIES: 581 KILLED, 1637 WOUNDED. (Including Gassed)


Lieutenant Colonel, Grantley Andrew Hillier HOLBOROW. 10/02/1916-1916

Lieutenant Colonel, Henry Arthur GODDARD.C.M.G.  D.S.O.

Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G.  D.S.O.30/04/1918-16/06/1918



Lieutenant Colonel: Henry Arthur GODDARD. C.M.G  D.S.O.

Lieutenant Colonel: Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G.  D.S.O.


Lieutenant Colonel: Henry Arthur GODDARD. C.M.G.  D.S.O.

Lieutenant Colonel: Harold Fletcher WHITE.C.M.G.  D.S.O.

Major. Hugh John CONNELL: D.S.O. M.C. @ Bar

Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON: D.S.O.


Major. Hugh John CONNELL. D.S.O.  M.C. @ Bar

Captain: Henry Charles Dight CADELL. M.C.

Captain: Gilbert Gordon COGHILL. M.C.

Captain: 1167 Richard Valentine LATHLEAN. M.C. @ Bar

Captain: John Grieve PATERSON. M.C.

Captain: Lindon Helton BIDDULPH. M.C.

Captain: Raleigh Le Neve SAYERS. M.C. - MID.

Captain: Chaplain 4th Class: John Edward Norman OSBORN. M.C.

Lieutenant: 1110 Norman Beade D’ARCY. M.C.

Lieutenant: 405 Francis Joseph De VERE. M.C. (Bean) VI 79

Lieutenant: Percy Muir DUN. M.C. @ Bar.  M.M.

Lieutenant: 161 Donald Lincon McKENZIE. M.C.

Lieutenant: 530 James Allan PURCELL. M.C.


Lieutenant: 759 Jeremiah "Jerry" DONOVAN. D.C.M.   M.M.

Lieutenant: 1267 James THOMPSON. D.C.M.

Lieutenant: 242 Leslie James WEST. D.C.M.

Regimental Sergeant-Major: 431 Richard FLETCHER.  D.C.M.

Company Sergeant Major: 459 Albert William HARTLAND. D.C.M. M.I.D.

Company Quartermaster Sergeant: 387 Alexander CAMPBELL. D.C.M.

Warrant Officer 2: Henry Anson D.C.M.

Private" 1063 Harold BEAIRD. D.C.M.

Private: 1246 Herbert Reginald STERNBECK. D.C.M.


Lieutenant: 759 Jeremiah "Jerry" DONOVAN. D.C.M.   M.M.

Lieutenant: Percy Muir DUN. M.C. @ Bar.  M.M.

Sergeant Vincent Lawrence Andrews MM,

Sergeant: 709 Hugh Robert ARCHARD. M.M.

Sergeant: 2533 Cyril Theodore BURKITT. M.M.

Sergent: 768 Robert Stevenson DICK. M.M.

Sergeant: 2061 Robert Clarence Leslie ELLIOTT. M.M.

Sergeant Edward GAIN. MM,

Sergeant: 1124 William Henry GLOSSOP. M.M.

Sergeant: 2035B Hugh Joseph McALARY. M.M.

Sergeant: 2139 Gilbert WALTERS. M.M.

Sergeant: 235 Bertram Lawrence WATSON. M.M.

Sergeant: 244 Richard WILLIAMS. M.M.

Corporal James Burraston ANGOVE. MM,

Corporal: 2532 Patrick William BLANCH. M.M.

Corporal: 1959A John Joseph CURRAN. M.M.

Corporal: 71 Harold ELLICOTT. M.M.

Corporal: 141 Robert LODER. M.M.

Corporal: 880 Herbert Ephriam PARKINSON. M.M.

Lance Corporal: 2637 Andrew Clarence MITCHELL. M.M.

Lance Corporal John William TILDEN. MM,

Private: 1511 Thomas BLACKWELL. M.M.

Private Arthur Davidson ALLEN. MM,

Private Arthur ARCHIBAL. MM,

Private: 2527 Francis Harold BINNS. M.M.

Private John E CANHAM. MM,

Private: 2075 Alec GARDINER. M.M.

Private: Herbert Francis HOLMES. M.M.

Private Charles Warren McKINNON. MM,

Private John MILLS. MM,

Private George PEACOCK. MM,

Private: 1425 Joseph PEBBLEWICK. MM.

Private: 1921 Francis Harold SULLIVAN. M.M.


Sergeant, Conumemes Fitzsimmons MSM.

Private: 211 Albert George SMITH. M.S.M.

Mentioned in Dispatches:28

Lieutenant Colonel: Archibald Clifford BLACKLOW. MID x 2.

Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE.C.M.G.  D.S.O. MID x2

Major. Hugh John CONNELL. D.S.O. M.C.@ Bar. MID.

Major F.G. Grant,

Captain. Lindon Helton BIDDULPH. M.C. M.I.D.

Captain: John Grieve PATERSON. M.C.  M.I.D.

Captain: Raleigh Le Neve SAYERS. M.C. - MID.

Lieutenant: George HALFORD.  M.I.D.

Lieutenant: Alton Claude CATTLE.  M.I.D.

Lieutenant: 10 Hugh Murray BUNTINE.  M.I.D.

Lieutenant: 1267 James THOMPSON. D.C.M.  M.I.D.

Lieutenant: Wynter Wallace WARDEN. M.I.D.

Company Sergeant Major: 1125 Harry Cleveland GOODSIR.  M.I.D.

Company Sergeant-Major: 459 Albert William HARTLAND. D.C.M. M.I.D.

Sergeant Sidney Smith William Saunders,

Sergeant H.M. York,

Acting Sergeant: 1647 James Wright FORRESTER.  M.I.D.

Corporal J.J. Marks,

Acting Lance Corporal F.J. French,

Acting Lance Corporal: 119 James HALLIWELL.  M.I.D.

Private W. Barett,

Private L.D.R. Bell,

Private Phillip Esmond Calley,

Private W. Carr.



Company Sergeant Major: 937 William WEIMER

Private: 1243 George SANDERSON. 


Private: 13 Stanley Alexander ANDERSON.




Lieutenant Colonel. Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G. D.S.O.

Rutherford Camp

 35th Battalion soldiers, West Maitland early 1916. (Joe Purcell)

Lieutenant: 530 James Allan PURCELL front row far right.

5 Platoon B Company, 35th Battalion AIF

 5 Platoon B Company, 35th Battalion 1916.

B Company 35th Battalion, No:13 Section. Salsisbury Plains.C Company 35th Battalion AIF

C Company 35th Battalion. Sitting on Old Time Pyramids near Stonehenge, Salsisbury Plains, 1916.2nd Reinforcements 35th Battalion AIF

2nd Reinforcements 35th Battalion AIF. (Harrower Collection)2nd Reinforcements 35th Battalion AIF

2nd Reinforcements 35th Battalion AIF. Maitland Station 1916. (Australian War Memorial)

2 Platoon A Company 35th Battalion AIF

2 Platoon, A Company 35th Battalion. (Paddy O'Brien Collection)

2 Platoon A Company 35th Battalion AIF

2 Platoon, A Company 35th Battalion. Feuqieriers, France. 7/2/1919. (Paddy O'Brien Collection)

35th Battalion Band, post World War 1
35th Battalion Band, Post WW1. (Toronto Historical society) 


Updated; 15/07/2017-12/10/2017.

14 thoughts on “35th Battalion History

  1. Great photos .I am trying to find a photo of John George Pearce 1221 35th Battalion D co.
    He was in Weston N.S.W band but I don’t which one was he was. I would appreciate if someone has a photo of him as he is an ancestor of mine.
    Thanking you for the great job you have done putting this together.

  2. Good morning Val, I will have a look and see what I have. Do you know if he was in the 35th Battalion Band as I have a photo of them but I will see if I have a photo of the Weston Band.


    Dave Harrower

  3. What a wonderful site this is. My ancestor, Adrian Croese, was in the 35th battalion, service no 1634. I would be so grateful if anyone has a photo of him or any details other than his official service record.
    Thank you so much.

  4. My grandfather’s name was William Ryan from Islington NSW , one of ‘Newcastle’s own’. He was in the 35th Battalion, 9th infantry, B Company. I have been reading the horrible circumstances that this battalion endured. I am passionate about knowing more about him, as he died when I was six months old. He was probably suffering PTSD all his life after the war and turned to the bottle so to speak, to exist. My Mum and her siblings said he never opened up about his experiences in the war. Can you tell me more about this group that he belonged to?

      William Ryan enlisted with B Company 35th Battalion AIF on the 8th of January 1916 and was an original member of the Battalion and left Sydney on board HMAT A24 “Benalla” on the 1st of May 1916 and returned to Australia on the 21st on July 1918.
      Family Information
      William was a married 24 year old Motor Mechanic from 21 Islington Street, Islington, N.S.W prior to enlistment. His medals were not issued until the 20th of October 1944 when he lived at Swansea, N.S.W. He is buried at Belmont Cemetery.

      The 35th saw some terrible action at Passchendaele and at Villers-Bretonneux on the 4th and 5th of April 1918 where they fixed Bayonets and fought the Germans face to face. Terrible.

  5. Missing from list Captain Raleigh Sayers MC.
    Joined 3/8/1915.
    Embarked on HMAS Benalla 1/5/1916
    Promoted to Lieutenant in 35th Btn. 4/11/1916
    Lewis Gun Officer
    Promoted to Captain 15/11/1917
    Wounded in action 2/4/1918 near Villiers Bretteneoux but remained in the field to 8/4/1918. His actions and bravery were reported in dispatches to General Haig on 7/4/1918. He was awarded the Military Cross 30/7/1918.
    At that time his commander was Major Connell.
    He returned to his unit on 5/6/1918.
    Wounded 1/10/1918.
    Acting Major for a short time
    De mobilised 23/9/1920
    His actions were captured in the famous war painting by Fortunio Metania.
    Monash was upset that the Australian Government did not buy it. He commissioned a large acrylic mural to depict the action which I saw on display in 1964 in Canberra. I have a copy of the painting but have not been able to locate what happened to the original paintings.

    I am disappointed the history as told by our Prime Minister was incorrect as to the real heroes that stopped the Germans were General Elliott, General Glasgow and my great uncle Captain Raleigh Le Neve Sayers.

    • Hello David, Yes I know his profile has been started but hasn’t been uploaded as yet. I will try to finish it over the next week.

      Dave H

    • David I have uploaded a draft profile on your Great Uncle Sayers. Still have to add more information but what I have put together so far shows what a hero he was. I’m sure you are very proud.

      Dave H

  6. David,
    My Grandfather was Cecil William Ings – 1931a. He originally enlisted in the 3rd reinforcements to the 55th Battalion and was transferred to the 35 Battalion on 23 Sept 1916.
    We are trying to find out what company he was in and have been unable to find any listings. Are your able to help or have any information , photographs of Cecil.

    • I’ll start on his profile tonight Stuart. I have a group photo of the 3rd Reinforcements 55th Bn, Cecil may be in this group. I will add to profile with his Military Records. Give me a few days and I”ll have it on line for you.


      David Harrower

  7. I will be in France to visit the grave of Lt John McGinnes , 35th Battalion, on the centenary of his death on 22 August 1918. Will pay my respects to other 35th Bn men as I find them.

    • Hello Peter, John was a Kurri Kurri man buried at Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, Daours, Picardie, France. Haven’t started a profile on him yet, but I will get to him shortly. Have a wonderful trip.
      Dave H

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