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23rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- 23rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force during the Great War -

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23rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

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Those known to have served with

23rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Burgess Eric. Gnr. (d.4th Oct 1917)
  • Flett Irving Russell. Lt. (d.28th Jul 1916)
  • Mactier VC. Robert. Pte. (d.1st Sep 1918)

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Feb 2018

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Pte. Robert Mactier VC 23rd Btn. (d.1st Sep 1918)

Robert Mactier was killed in action 01/09/1918, aged 28 and buried in the Hem Farm Military Cemetery in France. He was the son of Robert and Christiana J. Mactier, of "Reitcam", Tatura, Victoria, Australia

An extract from the London Gazette dated 13th Dec. 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the morning of 1st September, 1918, during the attack on the village of Mont St. Quentin. Prior to the advance of the battalion, it was necessary to clear up several enemy strong points close to our line. This the bombing patrols sent forward failed to effect, and the battalion was unable to move. Pte. Mactier single-handed, and in daylight, thereupon jumped out of the trench, rushed past the block, closed with and killed the machine gun garrison of eight men with his revolver and bombs, and threw the enemy machine gun over the parapet. Then, rushing forward about 20 yards he jumped into another strong point held by a garrison of six men who immediately surrendered. Continuing to the next block through the trench, he disposed of an enemy machine gun which had been enfilading our flank advancing troops, and was then killed by another machine gun at close range. It was entirely due to this exceptional valour and determination of Pte. Mactier that the battalion was able to move on to its ' jumping-off ' trench and carry out the successful operation of capturing the village of Mont St. Quentin a few hours later."

s flynn


Lt. Irving Russell Flett 23rd Battalion (d.28th Jul 1916)

Irving Russell Flett was born at Albert Park, Victoria on 23rd of September 1887. A salesman, Flett lived in Brighton, Victoria with his parents and a brother, Walter. Flett was appointed as second lieutenant in the newly raised 23rd Battalion on 24th of March 1915. Flett departed Melbourne aboard HMAT Euripides on 10 May 1915. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 26th of August 1915, just before the 23rd Battalion landed at Gallipoli on the 4th of September 1915. The battalion were soon manning the difficult and dangerous trenches at Lone Pine which they occupied alternately with the 24th Battalion, until the evacuation in December 1915.

Following the evacuation, Flett was sent, via Egypt, to France with the 23rd Battalion. The battalion experienced a relatively gentle introduction to the Western Front via the Armentières sector in northern France in April 1916. However, the battalion was to experience substantial casualties during the horrific battles of Pozières and Mouquet Farm in July. Flett was amongst these casualties and was killed in action on 28 July 1916 at Pozières, France, aged 29. Irving Flett was buried on the battlefield near the ruins of Pozières and is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

s flynn


Gnr. Eric Burgess 23rd Btn (d.4th Oct 1917)

Eric Burgess was born in Geelong, Victoria in 1896 and worked as a post office clerk before the outbreak of the First World War. He enlisted briefly in August 1914 but was discharged due to illness. Burgess was successful on his second attempt, enlisting in the 2nd Reinforcements of the 23rd Battalion on 17 May 1915. He departed Melbourne aboard HMAT Demosthenes on 16 July 1915 and was fighting in the trenches at Gallipoli only a few months later.

In November 1915, Burgess was wounded and evacuated to Malta for recuperation, returning to his Battalion, now in France, in March. After several months in France with the 23rd Battalion, Burgess was "claimed" by his brother, Joseph Bird Burgess, and transferred to the 53rd Battery of the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. In April 1917, Burgess was wounded again, this time being removed to England to recover, and remained in hospital until August when he returned to the Battery. During the fighting at Passchendaele, on 4 October 1917, Eric Burgess and Joseph Burgess were both killed whilst operating the same gun. He and his brother are buried at The Huts Cemetery, Belgium.

s flynn

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