35th BATTALION - 17th BATTALION AIF
Private: 63 Herbert Robert DIFFORD.
Born: 1894. Plattsburg, Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia.
Married: 27th February 1913. Presbyterian Church, Weston, New South Wales, Australia.
Wife: Elsie Francis Difford. nee: Green.
Died: 1st October 1987. New South Wales, Australia.
Father: William Difford. (1856-31/10/1916) buried at Kurri Kurri Cemetery.
Mother: Emily Sophia Difford. nee: Bird. (1864-1908)
No.63 Herbert Robert DIFFORD was one of four brothers to serve in the AIF. He was a married 22 year old Railway Shunter working at the Colliery at Weston in NSW when he enlisted at West-Maitland on the 20th of December 1915. He nominated his wife as his next-of-kin.
He embarked from Australia as a member of “A” Company of the 35th Battalion (Newcastle’s Own), departing Sydney on board then HMAT (A24) ‘Benalla’ on the 1st of May 1916. The Troopship sailed via: Columbo, Capetown, Dakar, and Devonport.
The Troopship disembarked at Plymouth in England on the 9th of July 1916 and the Battalion then travelled by train to Salisbury-Plain in Wiltshire where they unloaded at the village of Amesbury and then marched the several miles to the Australian Camps at Larkhill, where they were allotted to Camp No.3. The Battalion was then given four days disembarkation leave prior to commencing training with the other Battalions that comprised the 9th Infantry Brigade.
On the 9th of September, while still in England, Herbert was transferred as Reinforcement to the 5th Brigade and marched in to the 5th Training Battalion. On the 14th of December 1916 he deployed across from England to France, marching into the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot. On Christmas Eve he was taken-on-strength by the 17th BATTALION AIF.
On the 3rd of January 1917 he reported sick and was admitted to hospital. He rejoined the Battalion on the 26th.
On the 20th of September 1917, during the attack on WESTHOEK (aka Battle of Menin Road), he was WOUNDED-IN-ACTION, suffering a severe wound to his left leg. He was admitted to the 6th Australian Field-Ambulance then transferred to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne. On the 23rd he was invalided to England where he was admitted to hospital in Norfolk.
On the 12th of February 1918 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, and a month later was discharged to the No.2 Command-Depot at Weymouth.
He was returned to Australia in April 1918, arriving home on the 28th of May 1918. He was discharged from the AIF on the 24th of October 1918.
Herbert Robert DIFFORD died on the 1st of October 1987.
(Bill Durant: November 2019)
Herbert was a married 22 year old Railway Shunter working at the Colliery at Weston in N.S.W. upon his enlistment with the AIF
27 Feb 1913 • Presbyterian Church, Weston, New South Wales, Australia
Wedding Portrait of Herbert Robert Difford and Elsie Francis Green. Alfred standing middle rear next to his father William.
Emily Sophia Difford. nee: Bird. (1864-1908) - William Difford. (1856-31/10/1916)
Private: 476 Alfred DIFFORD. Railway Shunter, Weston in N.S.W. Battalion AIF
© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)
Under Construction: 02/12/2019.