Friday November 11, 2011

Major P.S. Woodforde, 1st Battalion A.I.F.

Major P.S. Woodforde, 1st Battalion A.I.F.

Today – 11 November 2011 – is Remembrance Day. Mary-Lou Byrne chose one Anzac to remember on our Flickr photo stream.

When Philip Woodforde enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) in 1914, he was 20 years of age and living just a few doors away – 17 Lennon Street, now The Crescent – from where we are at Mosman Library. Today his name is honoured on the Cenotaph about 100 metres from where he lived.

You can see his name in this photo from the Remembrance Day ceremony held earlier today.

Remembrance Day, 11 November 2011

Philip Woodforde was one of Mosman Prep’s first pupils in 1904. He attended Shore and became a woolbuyer. He was fluent in French.

He joined the A.I.F. on 27 August 1914 and fought at Gallipoli and in France. Twice he was wounded in action. He was mentioned in despatches for ‘distinguished and gallant service’ by both Sir Ian Hamilton (Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) and Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig (commander of the British forces).

You can see his WW1 file courtesy of the National Archives.

May 1917. View of the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Grevillers. AWM A02285

Philip Woodforde was wounded for a third time at Bullecourt on 5 May 1917 and died the following day at No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station (C.C.S.). He was 23.

Earlier this year I went to Grévillers – where the Australian C.C.S. was located – with my wife who is researching Australian Army nurses. It is farmland again, a couple of cows keeping a wary eye on us from a small paddock as we skirted the fields via the disused railway line that once transported the wounded to base hospitals.

Annie Bell and her brother Dr. George Bell. Photo courtesy Annie Bell – World War 1 Diary – Stephanie Kihlstrom

Annie Bell was one of the nurses at 3 A.C.C.S. Her brother George was there too, a doctor. On the 3rd of May, Sister Bell’s diary records “Heavy bombardment in a.m. Busy day 1500.”

The Second Battle of Bullecourt had just begun and Philip Woodforde was brought in wounded two days later.

He lies buried at the Grévillers military cemetery (Plot III, Row D, Grave No. 6) just a short walk from where the C.C.S. was located.

Australian headstones at Grévillers Military Cemetery

Today Philip Woodforde is remembered.

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