1st BATTALION - 9th INFANTRY BRIGADE AIF
Private: 1163-14 Donald Gordon McLEOD.
Born: 1895. Kogarah via Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:33386/1895.
Married: 1919. Kogarah via Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:14620/1919.
Wife: Winifred McLeod. nee: Buchanan.
Died: 24th of August 1975. New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:22195/1975.
Father: Arthur J McLeod.
Mother: Sophia Fanny McLeod. (18..-1964) died Burwood, N.S.W. Death Cert:32739/1964.
No.1163 Donald Gordon McLEOD was one of two brothers to serve in the AIF. He stated that he was a 21 year old Driver from Carlton in NSW when he enlisted for the 1st time on the 26th of October 1914.
At Broadmeadows camp on the 23rd of November 1914 he was charged with the offence: “Absent without Leave for 24 hours”. As punishment he was ‘Admonished’.
He embarked from Australia with the 1st Reinforcements to the 1st Battalion on the 22nd of December 1914, on board the HMAT (A32) ‘Themistocles’ and landed in Egypt.
While in Egypt he reported sick and on the 22nd of March 1915 was returned to Australia on board the HMAT “Ulysses”, arriving on the 15th of April 1915. He was then discharged from the AIF on the 24th of April 1915, as Medically Unfit (Heart Disease).
On the 2nd of February 1916 he enlisted in the AIF for the 2nd time, being allocated the Regimental Number of 14. He now gave his address as ‘’Kogarah’’ in NSW. This time his Attestation Paper recorded the remarks “Tattoos’’ on chest:”Advance Australia” and a picture “Ship”, on his Right Forearm: “True love” and a picture of “Crossed Blades”.
On the 7th of August 1916, at the Australian Service Corps Camp at the ‘Royal Agricultural Society’ Showground in Sydney, he was charged with the offence: “Breaking Camp” and fined 10 shillings as punishment.
On the 1st of March 1916 he was transferred to the 9TH INFANTRY BRIGADE, and embarked from Australia as a member of the 9th Brigade Headquarters, on board the HMAT (A74) ‘Marathon’, which departed Sydney on the 4th of May 1916.
During the voyage the Brigades destination was changed to England and the troopship was recalled to Western Australia in order to top up with sufficient coal to reach its destination. It finally reached Devonport in England on the 9th of July 1916, after the longest recorded voyage for a troopship in WW1.
On arrival in England the 9th Brigade Headquarters proceeded by train from Plymouth to Amesbury in Wiltshire, and moved into Camp at Lark Hill. Everyone was then given four days disembarkation Leave.
The 9th Brigade now comprised the Brigade Headquarters, the 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th Infantry Battalions, the 9th Light Trench Mortar Battery, and the 9th Machine-Gun Company. They would spend the next couple of months training hard on Salisbury Plain, learning the methods of Trench-Warfare.
On the 22nd of September 1916 was was appointed a ‘Driver’ in the 9th Brigade HQ, but the following day was re-mustered as a Private, at his own request.
On the 21st of November 1916 the 9th Brigade HQ deployed to France, travelling across the English-Channel aboard the H.M.T. ‘Hunlett’. The 9th Brigade (minus the 36th Battalion) crossed the Channel that night under Destroyer Escort, disembarking at ‘Le Havre’ in the early hours of the 22nd. (The 36th Battalion followed across on the 22nd of November). The Brigade soon moved into the front-line near the village of Armentieres in northern France.
At some point in December 1916 he was hospitalised in France and was then transferred to England. On the 5th of December 1916 he was admitted to the 2nd Birmingham War Hospital, suffering ‘debility’ after a bout of Influenza. After recovering, he would have proceeded back across to France.
He was granted English-Leave for the period 5th of January 1918 to the 22nd on January 1918 and then again for the period 14th of October 1918 to the 29th of October 1918.
On the 11th of November 1918, the Germans signed an ARMISTICE, finally ending the fighting in Europe.
On the 20th of February 1919 he was attached for duty with the 33rd Battalion. He was returned to Australia in April 1919 and arrived in Australia on the 1st of June 1919.
He was discharged from the AIF as medically unfit, on the 5th of January 1920.
He died on the 24th of August 1975.
(Bill Durant; June 2018)
Donald was a single 21 year old Driver from Calton, N.S.W. upon enlistment with the AIF.
© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)
Under Construction: 04/06/2018.