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Arthur Thomas Gates Sr.


Serial No:
Serial No. 33/4390

Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force & Army Medical Corps


Arthur Thomas Gates Sr. - Information

Arthur was listed in the Campbelltown Herald as an Ingleburn man who served in the conflict. As the crisis was unfolding in Europe, Arthur was living at 174 Frances St in Leichhardt with his wife, Lorrie and their children. Born in Woolloomoolloo, Arthur moved about a lot, finding work as a tram driver. A few days after Australia declared war, he joined up in Sydney on the 12th of August 1914. He was 36 years old. Becoming a Private with the Army Medical Corps, he was assigned to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Having said his goodbyes, he departed Sydney on the 19th of August 1914 onboard the HMAT Berrima. The AN & MEF headed towards the colony of German New Guinea. They immediately went to work securing the naval port and wireless station. Arthur and his unit tended to the sick, many of whom acquired tropical diseases. In 1915, Arthur returned to Australia, and was honourably discharged on the 4th of March 1915.

Arthur reunited with his family. However, just 12 days after his discharge, he joined up again at Liverpool. Because of his previous medical experience, Arthur was delegated to the 3rd Australian General Hospital as a Corporal. He boarded the RMS Mooltoon, leaving Sydney once again on the 15th of May 1915. After landing in Egypt, Arthur headed towards the 3rd Australian General Hospital stationed on Lemnos Island. Wounded and sick troops from Gallipoli were brought to the Island situated a few miles off the Peninsula. Arthur and his unit witnessed first hand the brutal mutilation that modern weapons unleashed on the troops. Like those at the Dardanelles, medical staff on Lemnos Island had to contend with the lack of supplies, unbearable heat, flies and dysentery. Later in the year, the winter brought only relief from the flies. It was so cold, buckets of water would freeze, and frostbite became a real threat. The terrible conditions led to thousands of illness ridden soldiers being brought to the hospital. When the campaign was called off, the hospital kept functioning as the men were evacuated to Egypt. However, Arthur began experiencing pain in his left leg. In late January 1916, he was transported back to Egypt, to the 14th General Hospital in Abbassia. He was suffering a loss of strength in his thigh, with deterioration of the muscle. He was invalided back to Australia in June, for extended rest and hospitalisation.

Recovering a few months later, Arthur returned to active service. Now a Lance Sergeant, he set off again on the 9th of September, arriving in Plymouth in late October. He resumed his medical duty in England, and was then transferred to the 16th Field Ambulance in March 1917. He was now tasked with looking after and transporting troops to and from hospitals. He was promoted to Sergeant on the 29th of May, and in October, was shipped to France, joining his old post at the 3rd Australian General Hospital. However after an extremely cold European winter, Arthur’s health took a turn. He was admitted to hospital with nephritis and pain in his hips and knees. He was subsequently diagnosed with ostia arthritis. Considered unsuitable for service, he was sent back to Australia on the 21st of July 1918. Arthur soon reunited with his family in Sydney