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Walter Bell Blair

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Walter Bell Blair
Blair Walter Bell 3.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth c 1893
Place of Birth Murwillumbah, New South Wales
Death 2 May 1915
Place of Death Gallipoli, Turkey
Age at Enlistment 20 years, 5 months
Description 5'7½" (1.71m); 145lbs, fair complexion, blue eyes, ginger hair tall ; 150lbs
68.039 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; ginger hair
Occupation School Teacher
Religion Presbyterian
Address Maddington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Thomas Blair
Military Information
Reg Number 145
Date of Enlistment 17 Aug 1914
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation B Company 11th Battalion / 3rd Brigade, 1st Division
Date of Embarkation 31 Oct 1914 ‒ 5 Dec 1914
Ship Embarked On HMAT A7 Medic
Fate Killed in Action 2 May 1915
Monument Gosnells War Memorial
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Lone Pine Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Walter had completed 8 months prior service in the Western Australian Scottish Rifles (Citizen Military Forces). At the time of his enlistment he was teaching at the Maylands State School.

War Service

An original member of the 11th Battalion who enlisted on the day that the 11th Battalion was created, entered Blackboy Hill camp and following some basic training was taken on strength by the battalion on 6 Oct 1914 and allocated to B Company. By late September the unit was complete, and on 31 October the unit received its embarkation orders. While Walters records show him as boarding the HMAT A11 Ascanius, in fact A and B Companies travelled aboard HMAT A7 Medic[1] Boarding occurred on 31 Oct, and the ships departed harbour late that day, only to anchor in Gauge Roads. Late on 2 Nov 1914 both ships sailed out to meet the 1st Convoy on the other side of Rottnest Island.

Arriving in Alexandria on 5 Dec 1914, they did not disembark until the following day when they enjoyed a 5 hour rail journey to Mena camp near Cairo along the banks of the Nile River. Walter was appointed Lance Corporal on 16 Feb 1915. The battalion remained in camp training until late on 28 Feb 1915 when they travelled by train to Alexandria where the 11th Battalion boarded HMAT A23 Suffolk for Lemnos Island, arriving there on 5 Mar 1915.

The 11th Battalion were part of the Covering Force, first ashore to secure a foothold. B Company formed part of the second wave ashore and travelled to Gallipoli aboard transports before transferring to British Destroyers offshore. After landing they were embroiled in three days of fierce fighting, taking heavy casualties until they were relieved and gathered on the beach late on 28 Apr 1915.

On Saturday, 1 May 1915 the battalion was sent back into the line, and on 2 May 1915 the 11th Battalion was in the middle of the southern sector of the front line. There is nothing in either the battalion's War Diary or their History Book "Game to the Last" to indicate how Walter was killed on 2 May, although Turkish snipers were active. As he is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial he does not occupy a known grave.

  • Lone Pine Memorial and cemetery
  • Section of Memorial Wall
BLAIR.-On April 25, killed in action at the Dardanelles, Walter Bell Blair, third surviving son of Thomas and Jessie Blair, of Maddington, and brother of Herbert, Thomas, Isabella, Elizabeth, and John Blair. Dearly beloved, deeply mourned.[2]

Notes

  1. "Legs-Eleven Being the Story of the 11th Battalion AIF in the Great War", Capt Walter C Belford.
  2. West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Tuesday 29 June 1915, page 1, accessesd 28 Feb 2019

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