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Arthur Balnave


Serial No:
Serial No. 6243

4th Battalion

Macquarie Fields

Arthur Balnave - Information

Arthur was a son of English migrants Henry and Ellen Balnave. They had commenced their family in England, coming to the NSW Colony in 1878 with their two young daughters. After sadly losing a third daughter in Sydney in 1880, the Balnaves settled down in Macquarie Fields. Here, Arthur was born in 1889. Arthur grew up in the Macquarie Fields area with his two older sisters and little brother. When he was older, Arthur left the family home and moved to 10 Myrtle St in North Sydney, finding work as a milk carter. At the age of 27, he decided to enlist in the AIF, sending in an application form to Victoria Barracks in March 1916. On the 6th of April, he signed on at the Royal Australian Showground Camp in Sydney. Arthur trained in Cootamundra, and was posted to the 20th Reinforcements, 4th Battalion as a Private. He then boarded the HMAT Euripides in Sydney on the 9th of September 1916.

Arthur arrived in Plymouth in late October, and was marched out to No. 4 Training Battalion at Wareham. A few weeks later, he was stationed to Fovant for further instruction. In August 1917, he attended a Cookery School in Tidworth, before proceeding to France on the 14th of October. He joined the 4th Battalion in the field a few days later. At the time, the soldiers were settling down for another crushing winter in the sodden trenches in Belgium. Shortly, Arthur reported to hospital sick in December, returning at the end of the month. In February 1918, he was detached for duty with the Camp Commandant at the 1st Division Headquarters for a week; a brief escape from the gloom. 1918, however, was to prove the most devastating year of the war. The Germans were planning a great assault, their Spring Offensive, commencing with Operation Michael, which they launched on the 21st of March. This operation broke the stalemate and fierce fighting followed. In April, the 1st Division helped to halt the German advance at Hazebrouck. Here, Arthur was wounded in action on the 16th of April, with a bullet wound to his right thigh. He was treated in Rouen, and was then invalided to a Military Hospital in England on the 22nd. After he recovered from his wound, he was then transported back to France in mid September, just as the Hindenburg Line was breached. The 4th Battalion then celebrated the signing of the Armistice on the 11th of November. He remained with his unit until he was taken to England in March 1919. He returned to Australia on the 19th of August 1919, onboard the Ajana.