Arthur Gervin Byrnes
Serial No. 6955
Arthur Gervin Byrnes - Information
Arthur was born in Picton in 1894 to William and Maria Byrnes. When he was older, he was living in Penrith with his sister, Alice, and working as a viewer. He joined the military on the 24th of October 1916 in Bathurst. There, he commenced his training, becoming a Private with the 23rd Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion. He was then sent overseas on the 9th of November 1916, departing Sydney upon the HMAT Benalla.
Arthur set down in Plymouth, England in early January 1917, and was marched into the 1st Training Battalion at Larkhill. After being conditioned for warfare in the trenches, he was shipped to the Western Front in May, joining the 2nd Battalion in the lines. Later in the year, the 2nd was moved north for operations in the Ypres Sector in Belgium. Here, they fought the Germans during the Third Battle of Ypres. They gained initial success before heavy rains stifled progress, turning the battlefield into a swamp. Conditions in the trenches were hopeless. Hounded by heavy rifle and artillery fire, the men had to contend with hip deep mud and appalling weather. Consequently, Arthur reported ill on the 2nd of November with trench fever. Later that month, he was evacuated to England to the Edmonton Military Hospital. Arthur slowly recuperated in England, attending the 1st Training Brigade Signal School in June 1918. Soon, he met and fell in love with Janet Gibson Graham, who was a temporary post office clerk. Three days after the war ended, they celebrated by getting married. On the 14th of November, they tied the knot at the High Cross Congregational Church in Edmonton. In March 1919, Arthur was taken on strength to AIF Headquarters in London. In May, he was granted leave to work with the Central Telegraph Office in London. He remained with them until he received his travel orders in August. On the 8th of August, he and his lovely bride boarded the Katoomba bound for Australia.