Claude Jabez Powter
Claude Jabez Powter was born in Orange in 1896, the first son of Jabez Langley Powter and Catherine Laurie Powter.
In December 1915 Claude enlisted as a gunner with the 36th Australian Heavy Artillery Group. He was living in Petersham and working as a shop assistant at the time. He married Stella Irene Byrnes before he embarked from Sydney on HMAT A72 Beltana with the 6th Reinforcements on 13 May 1916.
Gunner Claude Powter served in France and England. On 3 September 1918 he was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the battery position had to be vacated, this man, with one N.C.O., remained behind under heavy fire, and rescued stores necessary to put the guns in action in their new position. On a later occasion, these same two men maintained communication by signalling lamp between the F.O.O. and the battery position, under very heavy fire, enabling effective fire to be brought on the enemy.
Claude returned to Australia on 11 June 1919 and was discharged from the AIF the following month. In 1937 he had the honour of being part of the contingent of servicemen representing Australia at the coronation of King George VI in England on 12 May 1937. Claude was one of 25 officers from New South Wales selected from 350 applicants. Claude died in Sydney in December 1974.
Claude’s younger brother Ernest Lachlan Powter also served in WWI. He was the youngest known recruit from Orange to enlist, and he died of wounds in France aged 16.