Walter Leonard Axford
From Our Contribution
Walter Leonard Axford
|Date of Birth||10 Sep 1908|
|Place of Birth||Coolgardie, Western Australia|
|Death||24 Nov 1955|
|Place of Death||Arcadia, New South Wales|
|Age at Enlistment||31 years, 1 month|
|Description||; sallow complexion ; blue eyes ; black hair ; appendix scar|
|Address||Post Office Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Sister , Mrs L. Rosewarne|
|Date of Enlistment||7 Nov 1939|
|Unit/Formation||19th Australian Infantry Brigade Headquarters|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||20 Apr 1940 ‒ 18 May 1940|
|Transport Details||HMT Y3 Nevasa Fremantle to El Kantara, Egypt|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||13 Feb 1942 ‒ 5 Apr 1942|
|Transport Details||SS City of Hankow Port Tewfik to Adelaide|
|2nd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||28 Oct 1944 ‒ 1 Nov 1944|
|Transport Details||SS Mexico Victory Cairns to Aitape, New Guinea|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||30 Mar 1945|
|Transport Details||aircraft Aitape, New Guinea to Townsville|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia (Medical)|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Greek Commemorative War Medal 1940-41
Place of enlistment was Kelmscott. On 8 Nov 1939 he embarked in Fremantle for Sydney where on arrival he was sent to Ingleburn. Allocated on 18 Dec 1939 to the 2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion.
On 2 Apr 1940 he arrived back in the Melville camp having enjoyed pre-embarkation leave. On 20 Apr 1940 he boarded the Troopship HMT Y3 Nevasa for overseas, and on 6 May 1940 in Colombo, Sri Lanka he was AWOL for two hours, for which he was fined 4 shillings (40 cents). On 18 May 1940 Walter disembarked at Kantara, and on 17 Jun 1940 he was transferred to the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion, and then detached for duty to the Headquarters of the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade. On 22 Jul 1940 the detachment ceased when he was transferred to the headquarters.
On 29 Aug 1940 he was charged with "Failing to appear at a place of parade, with the penalty being an admonishment. Walter followed this up on 2 Sep 1940 with "Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline" for which he was awarded a fine of 5 shillings (50 cents). On 15 Sep 1940 he was admitted to the 2/1st Australian General Hospital with follicular tonsillitis, and was discharged to duty four days later. Served in Libya from 1 Jan - 23 Mar 1941.
Walter embarked for Greece on 26 Mar 1941 from Alexandria, and appears to have been involved in the evacuation from Greece to Suda Bay Crete on 26 Apr 1941. On 20 May 1941 the Germans commenced their airborne assault on Crete. Along with the rest of the 19th Brigade's HQ he moved to Georgioupolis, before the withdrawal to Askiphio and then Sphakia. His HQ unit was one of very few that escaped from Crete to Egypt. On 31 May 1941 he broke his ankle and in the confusion of the evacuation of Crete he was thought as at 10 Jun 1941 to be missing. However on 4 Jun 1941 he had been admitted to the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital in Egypt. Transferred to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot on 17 Jun 1941, he was released to duty with the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade on 30 Jun 1941 and perhaps prompted in part by his going AWOL from 8:45am on 27 Jun 1941 until 8:45am on 30 Jun 1941. (Fined £1 ($2), and forfeited 3 days pay), Walter was transferred to the 19th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. On 24 Jul 1941 he returned to the 19th Brigade's HQ unit. From 28 Aug until 12 Nov 1941 he was hospitalised in the 2/7th Australian General Hospital with Cotitus Media.
On 13 Mar 1942 Walter embarked on SS City of Hankow in the Middle East and disembarked in Adelaide on 5 Apr 1942. he was granted leave of absence from 20 Apr to 5 May 1942, before being sent to Darwin from Wayville South Australia, arriving on 6 Jun 1942. However, before leaving Wayville Walter had been charged on 28 Oct 1942 with "Failing to appear at a place of parade appointed by his Commanding Officer" for which he was admonished. On 12 Nov 1942 Walter was reassigned to the 23rd/21st Australian Infantry Battalion, and on 16 Nov 1942 he was granted leave without pay to work with the Commonwealth Railways, remaining with them until he rejoined the 19th Brigade's Headquarters on 10 Apr 1943. On 20 Jun 1943 he left Darwin for Queensland where on 1 Jul 1943 he was declared proficient and awarded extra pay.
Granted leave in Western Australia from 3 Jul 1943 until 25 Jul 1943, he spent the last 5 days in South Australia before returning to Queensland on 29 Mar 1943 for reallocation. From 25 Oct 1943 until 8 Nov 1943 he was detached to the 135th Australian Brigade Workshops. He was married on 29 Apr 1944, in NSW to Rita Jean Davis whose address was 20 School parade, West Marrickville, NSW.
On 4 Jun 1944 Walter was transferred from Headquarters 19th Australian Infantry Brigade back to the 2/11th Battalion. Walter required treatment for Bronchitis from 16 Jul to 3 Aug 1944 from the 2/6th Australian General Hospital. On 10 Oct 1944 he was released again to the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion, and on 28 Oct 1944 he boarded SS Mexico Victory in Cairns for Aitape where he arrived on 1 Nov 1944. On 10 Nov 1944 he was admitted to the 30th American Hospital with Dengue Fever and was discharged on 17 Nov 1944 before rejoining his unit the next day.
On 4 Feb 1945 he presented to the 104th Australian Casualty Clearing Station with a headache and was forwarded on to the 2/11th Australian General Hospital. The result of his medical assessment on 26 Mar 1945 was that he was no longer fit to serve outside Australia. On 30 Mar 1945 he enplaned at Aitape, New Guinea for Townsville. Walter then passed through the hands of several military hospitals in Queensland before, on 23 May 1945 in the 128th Australian General Hospital he was referred for a full Medical Board, resulting in him being transferred to the NSW Line of Communication General Details Depot to begin discharge proceedings. Discharged by the HQ NSW Line of Command he had been classified on 18 Aug 1945 as being medically unfit for further military service.
No evidence of his returning to Western Australia found to date.
Walter's brother WX2904 RD Axford also served in the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade's Headquarters.