First action

Henley (Small)

The first action of the Australian armed forces in the First World War was to capture or destroy German wireless stations in the Pacific.

Within days of the outbreak of war, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was raised to seize wireless stations in German New Guinea and the New Britain Archipelago. The AN&MEF left Sydney on 19 August 1914 and by 11 September 1914 had landed at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. There was strong resistance from the German forces with six Australians killed and four wounded – Australia’s first casualties of the War.

At least thirteen local men were involved in ‘Rabaul Force’ as it was also known (see comments below for a list of their names). The photograph shows some of the University of Sydney men belonging to the AN&MEF aboard the HMAT Berrima, it includes Harold Lesley Henley from Drummoyne (centre row, second from the left). His Bible, which was used in surrender ceremonies, is held by the Australian War Memorial.

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Posted on July 28, 2014, in Drummoyne, More than just a name and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Group Photograph (above)

    The group photograph of University of Sydney men belonging to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), taken on board the HMAT Berrima, appears in The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, volume X The Australians at Rabaul by S. S. Mackenzie.

    Back row (left to right): Private G. M. Edwards, Sergeant W. R. Dovey, Corporal J. S. Milner, Private L. H. Lehmaier
    Centre row: Corporal C. T. Collier, Privates H. L. Henley, J. B. Lane, F. Sandford, J. K. Henderson, Lieutenant C. E. Manning
    Front row: Captains F. A. Maguire, B. C. A. Pockley, A. W. Ralston, Major R. H. Beardsmore, Captain J. E. Donaldson

    Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley was one of those killed in action at Rabaul.

    Men from City of Canada Bay

    * Edward Allan from Concord West.

    * Henry Allan from Mortlake, returned to Australia April 1917; discharged September 1918.

    * Harold Anderson from Concord.

    * Captain John William Bell from Drummoyne, returned to Australia in 1915.

    * Albert Ernest Bull from Five Dock.

    * Cyril Leslie Caldwell from Drummoyne.

    * Walter Goulbourn Cornell from Concord.

    * Clement Leybourn Kidston Hay Hendry from Drummoyne, returned to Australia after further service in the First World War.

    * Harold Leslie Henley from Drummoyne, was killed in action at Pozieres, France on 15 August 1916.

    * John MacPherson from Drummoyne, returned to Australia after further service in the First World War.

    * Richard Ernest Gordon Siggers from Chiswick.

    * F. J. Warner from Drummoyne, saw further service in the British Navy in the First World War.

    * Albert Victor Wolf from Five Dock, died of wounds received at Gallipoli on 18 July 1915.

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