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Alfred Lester Markham


Serial No:
Serial No. 4482

20th Battalion


Alfred Lester Markham - Information

When Alfred and Emily Adelaide Markham began their family, they were living in Ingleburn. Their fifth child, Alfred Lester, was born in Liverpool on the 8th of September 1896. He was then baptised in Ingleburn in December. The Markhams later relocated to Reagent St in Junee. Here, Alfred began working as a cleaner, and met the love of his life. In 1915, he married Vera Goldfinch in Junee. In October of that year, Alfred’s older brother, Thomas Henry, travelled to Cootamundra to join the AIF. Alfred followed suit, enlisting in Casula on the 12th of November 1915, aged 19. There, he commenced his training, and was allocated to the 11th Reinforcements, 20th Battalion as a Private (his brother’s Battalion). He farewelled his lovely wife and family, as he was sent overseas for war service. He departed Sydney on the 9th of April 1916 onboard the HMAT Nestor.

Alfred landed in England for further training. Proceeding to the Western Front in mid September, he joined the 20th Battalion in the field in early October, reuniting with his brother. Unfortunately heavy rain and snowfall made life in the trenches miserable. In these terrible conditions, the 20th Battalion participated in attacks at Flers. However, Alfred reported sick with trench foot on the 17th of November, and was evacuated to England. It took some time for Alfred to recover. In April 1917, he returned to duty, and was marched out to Perham Downs where he was transferred to the 63rd Battalion. Blowing off some steam, Alfred was charged with going absent without leave in May and July. He was then re-assigned back to the 20th Battalion in mid September. Sadly, the following month, his brother, Thomas Henry, was then killed in action. Despite this loss, on the 23rd of January 1918, he departed Southampton for France. Alfred and his mates experienced the bitter fighting that followed the German Spring Offensive on the 21st of March. The 20th Battalion helped to halt the advance at Hangard Wood in early April. Using tactics of peaceful penetration, the Allies inched forward. Alfred and his mates then participated in the Battle of Amiens on the 8th of August. Alfred was then wounded in action on the 11th of August, shot in his back. He was invalided to England to the Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol. At the end of October, he left Southampton once again for the Western Front, marched into the Australian Division Base Depot. He rejoined his unit on the 4th of November, just days before the Armistice was signed. In 1919, Alfred was stationed to England, before returning to Australia onboard the Castalia in mid 1919.