Serial No. 4369
1st Battalion, 54th Battalion & 2nd Battalion
Alexander Larkin - Information
Alex was born in Minto in 1888 to Peter Joseph and Barbara Ann Larkin. His mother was a member of the influential Campbelltown Munro family. Peter and Barbara made a life for themselves and their growing family in Minto. Alex then attended Gledeswood Public School, and when he was older, gained military experience serving in the Light Horse, and found work as a labourer. While working in the area, he developed a relationship with Elizabeth Sarah Milner who came from Elderslie near Camden. They soon had a daughter, Elizabeth Freda, but surprising for the time, never married. As the Gallipoli Campaign dragged on, Alex decided to enlist in the AIF, joining up at Holsworthy Camp on the 21st of September 1915. During training, he was made a Private with the 1st Battalion Reinforcements, before embarking Sydney on the HMAT Aeneas on the 20th of December 1915.
Alex landed in Egypt and was shortly admitted to the 4th Auxiliary Hospital in Abbassia with the mumps in February 1916. After recovering, he was marched out to Zeitoun, before joining the 1st Battalion at Serapeum. In late March, his unit departed Alexandria for France. Once he landed in Marseilles, he was taken to the 2nd Australian General Hospital with pleurisy and myalgia. He returned to duty in July. At the time, the 1st Battalion was participating in action at Pozières during the Somme Offensive. During operations against Mouquet Farm, a bomb blast sent shrapnel into Alex’s back on the 19th of August. He was taken to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station, and then admitted to the 1st Canadian Stationary Hospital. By September, he was resting in a Convalescence Depot, and returned to duty by October. Alex was allotted to the 54th Battalion, and was then transferred to the 2nd Battalion in November. The following month, the 2nd Battalion was stationed to the Somme Sector for the winter. On the 30th of December, Alex was on fatigue duty in a support trench called Bull’s Run. It is believed that he and a mate, Private Blackshaw, were asleep in a dugout when a shell came over killing them instantly and burying them in rubble. Alex was buried in Chalk Cliffs (Pioneer Junction) near Guedecourt, 3 miles south of Bapaume. He was later exhumed and re-interred in the Bancourt British Cemetery.
Meanwhile, back in Campbelltown, the Larkins, whom now resided on Warby St, received the news that Alex was killed in action. Responsibly, before he died, Alex had organised that his daughter was to receive a pension in the event of his death. Also a gracious deal was made between Elizabeth Sarah Milner, Barbara Larkin and the army. It was agreed that Alex’s sacrifice would be honoured, with his medals and other mementos being split between his mother and some to be kept safe by Elizabeth Milner, for his daughter to inherit when she was older. After the war ended, Barbara Larkin moved to Richmond Villa on Lithgow St in Campbelltown. Both the Larkins and the Milners, continued to honour Alex’s memory and sacrifice to the war effort.