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Ralph Trotter

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Ralph Trotter
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Personal Information
Date of Birth unknown Jan 1897
Place of Birth Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England
Death 1971, aged 74
Place of Death Balingup, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 11 months
Description 5' 6" (1.68m) tall ; 142 lbs
64.41 kg
; fresh complexion ; brown eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Sleeper cutter
Religion Presbyterian
Address Bedfordale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Ralph Trotter
Military Information
Reg Number 378
Date of Enlistment 17 Jan 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 44th battalion, B Company / 11th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 6 Jun 1916 ‒ 26 Jul 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A29 Suevic
Date of Return 12 Dec 1918 ‒ 18 Jan 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A71 Nestor
Fate Wounded in Action 4 Jul 1918 at Hamel
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Bedfordale panel)
Armadale War Memorial (Beenup & Bedfordale panels)
Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal




Pre War

War Service

Ralph entered Blackboy Hill camp on 17 Jan 1916, and on 28 Jan 1916 he was allocated to the newly formed 44th Battalion, and posted to B Company. Following basic training the battalion sailed to Plymouth, England with further training to occur on the Salisbury Plain before deployment to France and Belgium.

While in Larkhill undertaking training, Ralph was twice AWOL overnight, losing pay and being awarded Field Punishment on both occasions.

The 44th Battalion deployed to France on 25 Nov 1916 via Southampton, arriving in Le Havre at 6.30 am the next day. In the afternoon they entrained for Bailleul, and then marched to Steenwerck, about 5 km south into an area known as Flanders, where they were placed "in reserve".

Ralph had a number of spells sick in hospital. On 30 Jan 1917 he was seen by the 10th Australian Field Ambulance before entering the 7th General Hospital in St Omer where he received treatment for mumps until he was discharged on 20 Feb 1917. On 23 Oct 1917 he was seen by the 11th Australian Field Ambulance who sent him on to the 10th Stationary Hospital at St Omer where he received treatment for bronchitis until 3 Nov 1917. Ralph later told medical authorities that it was caused by his exposure to gas. Discharged, he spent time in the 7th Convalescent Depot Boulogne before making his way back to his battalion via the 3rd Division's Base Depot on 8 Jan 1918.

On 19 Mar 1918 Ralph was granted leave in the UK, returning to the 44th Battalion on 4 Apr 1918. Hospitalised once more, this time with Influenza, Ralph was seen first by the 11th Australian Field Ambulance on 8 May 1918 before being sent to the 4th Casualty Clearing Station on 9 May 1918, and admitted to the 12th General Hospital in Rouen on 10 May 1918, and then the 72nd General Hospital in Trouville on 11 May 1918. Released to the Australian Convalescent Depot on 18 May 1918, he rejoined the 44th Battalion on 9 Jun 1918.

On 4 Jul 1918 the 44th Battalion was part of the force that captured Hamel in that famous action designed by General Monash to make full use of all the weapons available (including tanks and aircraft).

The troops took up their positions between 1.00 am and 2.45 am. For just 8 minutes prior to them attacking, artillery laid down a barrage, with the attack proper commencing at 3:10 am with infantry walking behind a creeping barrage laid down by the artillery. The 43rd Battalion took the first objectives, and the 44th then moved through them and around both sides of the village to assault the ridge behind, reaching it before 5:00am.

Ralph's injury was a severe GSW to his right thigh which fractured his femur. It is likely that it occurred in the final assault when heavy machine gun fire was met by the attackers from the 44th Battalion.

Ralph was first treated by the 4th Australian Field Ambulance before being carried on a stretcher to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station who on the next day sent him on to the 12th General Hospital in Rouen where he was operated on. Treated by them from 6 Jul - 2 Aug 1918, he was then evacuated to England on HMHS Gloucester Castle.

On arrival in England Ralph was admitted to the 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth the next day. On 28 Aug 1918 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford, before discharge to No 2 Command Deport in Weymouth on 3 Sep 1918. It is here, while waiting for a ship home that he was charged on 22 Sep 1918 with Failing to Salute an Officer of Her Majesty's Forces, and penalised with 7 days Confined to Barracks. On 12 Dec 1918 he travelled from Weymouth to Liverpool where he boarded ship for Australia.

Back in Australia, following assessment at 8th Australian General Hospital in Fremantle between 21 and 25 Jan 1919, he was discharged by the 5th Military District on 4 Mar 1919.

Post War

Married Faith Thomas in Fremantle during 1933. (Faith was born in 1890 and died in 1975.) Son Athol John was with Ralph in 1977 - 1980, and died 1993. All buried in Balingup cemetery.

Country...Bedfordale. - The annual meeting of the local Horticultural Society was held on Friday evening...Subsequently a welcome was extended to Private Ralph Trotter, who returned recently after 2½ years active service. In congratulating the guest on being again amongst his friends and acquaintances, Mr Ottaway expressed the hope that Private Trotter's recovery would be speedy and permanent. Several other residents joined their congratulations with those of the President, and Private Trotter acknowledged the compliment.....[1] Electoral Roll entries - 1921 - 1980 "Brooklands", Forrest street, Ballingup, farmer.

References

  1. "COUNTRY.". The West Australian. XXXV, (5,263). Western Australia. 18 February 1919. p. 5. Retrieved 25 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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