- The Leader reports the death in France of Military Cross recipient, Charles Aubrey Jhonson. Another Hero Gone
Born in Inverell in 1896, Arthur Clive Gentle grew up in Mount McDonald, near Cowra, where he attended to local public school.
When Arthur was just nine years old his father, Arthur snr, died from a long standing heart condition. Arthur snr had been an employee of the Australian Postal Service. He worked in the Electric Telegraph Department in Inverell, Armidale and Sydney.
Young Arthur followed in his father’s footsteps, training as a wireless telegraphist after completing his schooling. At the time of his enlistment in August 1915 he was working as a junior assistant at Orange Post Office.
Because Arthur was under the age of 21, his mother, Edith Emily Green, was obliged to provide her written consent to his enlistment.
Arthur spent three months at Army Training Camp, before embarking SS Hawkes Bay in Sydney in November 1915. Private Gentle served in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine with the Australian Light Horse.
In June 1916 Arthur was admitted to the 3rd General Hospital in Port Said with burnt feet. He was discharged one month later and taken on strength with the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Tel-el-Kebir.
In October 1916 Private Gentle qualified as a Signaller.
On 28 March 1918 Arthur was wounded in action during the first Battle of Amman. He was admitted to 14th Australian General Hospital in Port Said with gunshot wounds to both legs and his left thigh. Arthur recovered from his injuries and rejoined his regiment in July 1918.
Three months later Signaller Gentle was admitted to the 47th Stationary Hospital in Palestine suffering from malaria. On 21 October 1918 Arthur succumbed to the disease. He was buried in the Gaza War Cemetery the following day; Chaplain ER Lockyer officiated at the funeral.
Arthur Clive Gentle is commemorated on panel number 5 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Arthur’s WWI service medals were issued to his mother, Edith, and are now held at the Australian War Memorial.
Herbert Hamilton Holden was 19 years old when enlisted in Bathurst in October 1916. He embarked from Sydney the following month, arriving in England in January 1917.
Private Holden was plagued with chest complaints; he was in England for barely a month before he was hospitalised, suffering from pneumonia. He proceeded to France in September 1917, but was hospitalised again in November, with laryngitis, and, in December, was transferred to the Fovant Military Hospital in England suffering from bronchitis and debility.
Upon his recovery Herbert returned to France and served another year with the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement, before returning to Australia in August 1919. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force in September 1919.
Herbert returned to his parent’s house in Sale Street, Orange, and worked as a farmer until his death in 1939, at age 43.
Herbert Hamilton Holden is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates and on the Toogong War Memorial.
Herbert’s brother, George Holden, also served in WWI; he died of disease in Egypt in October 1918.
Lindsay Gordon Smith served with the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War for just over three years. On 4 October 1918 he was wounded in action, receiving gunshot wounds to his lower back during the advance on the Hindenburg Line. Driver Smith was evacuated to the City of London Military Hospital at Clapham, England, where, on 19 October, he died of his wounds. According to the Officer in Charge of Base Records:
The deceased soldier was accorded a full military funeral, firing party, bugler, and pallbearers being in attendance, the coffin (good polished elm) was draped with the Australian flag and conveyed to the graveside where the Last Post was sounded.
On 13 December 1917 Driver Lindsay Smith had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. In July 1919 the Officer in Charge of Base Records penned the following letter to Lindsay’s mother, Sylvia Smith, describing the details surrounding her son’s award:
It is with feelings of admiration at the gallantry of a brave Australian soldier who nobly laid down his life in the service of our King and Country, that I am directed by the Honourable The Minister to forward to you, as the next-of-kin of the No 1952 Driver LG Smith, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, the Military Medal which His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award to that gallant soldier for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty while serving with the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force.
The specific deed for which this distinction is bestowed is as follows:
During the recent operations East of Ypres from 29th. September 1917 to the present date No 1952 Driver Lindsay Gordon SMITH has accompanied every ammunition party to the guns situate in Hannebeke Valley SW of Zonnebeke and has never once failed to reach the battery position even though he has been subjected to very heavy shelling and delays on the road. This man in company with two other Drivers made nine trips each during one night from the dump to the guns, this despite the severe conditions prevailing at the time. This man has at all times shown a cheerful willingness for any task however arduous and has proved very valuable to the Battery. His conduct is worthy of special recognition.
Lindsay Smith was born in Orange in 1889. His parents were William Paynton and Silvia Sarah Eliza Smith. He grew up at Curra Creek near Wellington and attended the Finger Post Public School.
In September 1915 Lindsay enlisted at Dubbo. He was accepted into the AIF despite having lost his left index and middle fingers and part of his thumb. The following month he embarked from Sydney, a trooper with the 6th Light Horse Regiment, 13th Reinforcements. Shortly after arrival in Egypt Lindsay was admitted to the Government Hospital in Suez with mumps. On 5 February 1916 he was discharged to duty and taken on strength with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. In March he was transferred to the 25th Howitzer Brigade as a driver, and, in June proceeded to France.
Driver Smith served in France with the 14th Field Artillery Brigade, 53rd Battery for two and a half years until his death on 19 October 1918.
Lindsay Gordon Smith is commemorated on Wellington Cenotaph in Cameron Park, Yeoval Memorial Hall WWI Honour Roll and on panel number 18 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
On the third anniversary of Lindsay’s death his family published the following tribute in the Wellington Times:
Somewhere abroad. No matter where
He was just as close to Heaven
As though he had lain in his bed at home,
When the signal to cease was given.
He has borne his cross, he has gained his crown,
Though he lies in a far off grave
And we think of his life and duty done,
Manly, unselfish, and brave.
I am afraid this does not bring you very good news. Your son, Lance Corporal JB Dwyer, is in this hospital severely wounded in the back and head and is dangerously ill. His condition at the present time is critical, and it is not possible to say what the progress may be. Everything will be done for him that is possible, and he will have good care, but he is extremely ill, and the doctors think very seriously of him. Try not to worry too much, and hope for the best.
[John recovered from his wounds; he returned to Orange after the war, married and fathered two children]
Born in Cargo in 1899, George Holden claimed to be 20 years old when he enlisted in Orange in October 1917. He was, in fact, just 18 years old.
George was the second of three boys born to Samuel Holden and Rosalind (nee Locke), who had married in Cargo in 1896. He attended Bowan Park School Public School and was working as a farmer prior to enlistment. He was also a member of the Bowan Park Farmers and Settlers’ Association, who presented him with booklets of War Savings Stamps to the value of £3 10s prior to embarkation.
George embarked from Sydney in March 1918. He was stationed in Moascar, Egypt, where he was a trooper with the 1st Light Horse Regiment, 35th Reinforcement.
Trooper Holden was hospitalised in August and September 1918 with pyrexia (fever) and neurasthenia (hysteria). He was transferred to the 14th Australian General Hospital in Port Said, where he died of malaria the following month, aged 19 years.
George Holden is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates, the Toogong War Memorial and on panel number 2 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
George is also remembered on a commemorative plaque in Orange Cemetery, Presbyterian Block 3, Grave 55.
George’s brother, Herbert Hamilton Holden also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in August 1919.