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53rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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53rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

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Those known to have served with

53rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Carter MID.. Herbert Gordon. Lt.Col.
  • Currey VC.. William Matthew. Pte
  • McInnis Ronald Alison. Lt.
  • Stewart Norman Colin. Sgt. (d.11th April 1918)

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Feb 2018

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.


Sgt. Norman Colin Stewart 53rd Btn. (d.11th April 1918)

Norman Stewart died from wounds 11th fo April 1918, aged 23 and buried in the Namps-au-Val British Cemetery in France. He was the son of Elizabeth Stewart of Taree, Manning River, New South Wales, and the late William Wallace Stewart. Norman and his elder brother Jack both served in the 53rd Bn., Norman died from wounds 11th April 1918 and brother Jack was killed in action on the 24th April 1918. They were members of a family of nine sons, six of whom had proudly served their country in both the Boer War and WW1

s flynn


Lt. Ronald Alison McInnis 26th Infantry Battalion

Ronald Alison McInnis was born near Mackay, Queensland, on 20th November 1890. Educated at Maryborough Grammar School, he trained for several years as an apprentice surveyor in Mackay and also qualified as a computing draughtsman. On 8th October 1912, McInnis was registered as an authorised surveyor. The 24-year-old enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 21st May 1915 and left Brisbane with the 26th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Ascanius on 24th May 1915.

McInnis was deployed to Gallipoli in September that year and spent the next two months rotating in and out of the trenches before being tasked with surveying the extensive tunnel system at Quinn's Post. Gallipoli was evacuated before he could finish his plan for the tunnel system, and during December 1915 he was transferred to the 8th Field Company of the Royal Australian Engineers. McInnis finished his plan for Quinn's Post early the following year and in June was sent to the Western Front. In September he was made an officer and on the same day as his promotion was transferred to the 53rd Infantry Battalion. From then on McInnis served at the front line with the battalion, his duties including trench construction and repair, and acting as a liaison officer to other battalions. His diary entries describe in great detail the battles in which he participated. One such entry depicts McInnis' brush with death in October 1916 while at the front. He was about to take a rest when a salvo of shells landed nearby. As McInnis looked to see where they had landed he noticed the wall of the trench he was in falling towards him. At first he struggled to free himself from the soft earth, but as it settled and compressed he realised it was slowly crushing him. Fortunately, members of his unit saw what had happened and managed to dig him out. In 1917 he attended several training courses, received a promotion to lieutenant, and participated in the battle at Passchendaele. McInnis' last major action on the front would be at the pivotal battle of St. Quentin Canal in September 1918.

After the Armistice McInnis went to London, and on 23d March 1919 he left for Australia. He later married and went on to have an extensive career in town planning. Ronald McInnis died at Hobart, Tasmania on 8th May 1982.

s flynn


Lt.Col. Herbert Gordon Carter MID. 1st Infantry Battalion

Herbert Gordon Carter was born at Sydney, New South Wales, on 24 March 1885 to parents Herbert and Antoinette Carter. An electrical engineer by trade, he enlisted on 3 September 1914 at the age of 29. Enlisting with the 1st Infantry Battalion, Carter was appointed the rank of lieutenant. On 18 October 1914 he embarked from Sydney on HMAT Afric. His brother, Captain Robert Burnside Carter, also served during the First World War with the British Army.

Serving at Gallipoli in 1915, he was promoted to the rank of captain and then major that same year. In 1916 he was transferred to the 53rd Infantry Battalion and later the 5th Pioneer Battalion. In August 1916, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and took over command of the 5th Pioneer Battalion for the remainder of the First World War. On 31st of January 1917, Carter married Lydia Kate King from Orange, New South Wales, who was then working with the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall, England. Carter received a mentioned in dispatches three times and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in January 1918. Herbert Carter returned to Australia on 5 April 1919

s flynn


Pte William Matthew Currey VC. 53rd Btn

William Matthew Currey was 22 years old, and a private in the 53rd Bn (N.S.W.), Australian Imperial Force when he was awarded the VC.

"On 1st September 1918 in the attack on Peronne, France, Private Currey rushed forward under heavy machine-gun fire and captured single-handed a 77mm field gun which had been holding up the advance, killing all the crew. Later, when the advance was checked by an enemy strong-point he crept round the flank and engaged the post with a Lewis gun, then rushed it, causing many casualties. Subsequently he volunteered to carry orders for withdrawal to an isolated company, doing so under heavy fire and bringing back valuable information. The citation published in the London Gazette of 14 December 1918 concluded that his behaviour was a striking example of coolness, determination and utter disregard of danger... and his gallant work contributed largely to the success of the operation."

Australian war historian C.E.W. Bean described the final act of Currey's heroism thus: At 3 am when efforts to reach (a Lt Waite in an advanced position) having failed Private Currey volunteered to make his third attempt and going out far into the disputed front he stood up and called with all his lung power. "Waitsy! Get in." The Germans turned on him every weapon they had; he was gassed and his respirator was shot through. But Waite had heard him and returned.

S. Flynn

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