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Bernard Andrew Beckhaus


Serial No:
Serial No. 3763

17th Battalion


Bernard Andrew Beckhaus - Information

Bernard was a son of Lewis Aloysius and Maria Beckhaus. He was born in Camden on the 23rd of April 1886, and grew up in the area with his many siblings. Bernard eventually moved to the Sydney suburbs and began working as a clerk. In 1915, he married his sweetheart Eliza Moane in Petersham. Bernard and Eliza made a home at 746 Parramatta Rd in Lewisham however, they did not get to enjoy much time together before Bernard decided to enlist in the AIF. After sending in an application form in October, he signed on at the Royal Showground Camp in Moore Park on the 16th of November 1915, aged 29. During training, Bernard was posted to the 9th Reinforcements, 17th Battalion as a Private. He said goodbye to his young bride and was shipped out from Sydney onboard the HMAT Runic on the 20th of January 1916.

The Runic sailed to Egypt, and Bernard’s unit was quickly mustered for operations on the Western Front. Departing Alexandria in late March 1916, he arrived at Marseilles in early April. After further training, and completing Work Details at Etaples Camp, Bernard joined the 17th Battalion in early August. At the time, they were attempting to push out to Mouquet Farm from Pozières, during the Somme Offensive. While resting out of action in a quiet sector in Belgium, Bernard was taken to hospital in September for scabies. When he returned, the 17th Battalion were back in the Somme Sector. Bernard was then clipped on the 9th of November, receiving a gun shot wound to his right knee. He was initially treated at Rouen, before being transported to England on the Hospital Ship Carrishbrook Castle. Bernard was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital. By this time, his wound had turned septic, and required vast treatment. While enjoying some convalescence at Wareham and Perham Downs, Bernard was transferred to the 61st Battalion in March 1917. The following month, he was transferred to the 62nd Battalion. He remained in England for much of 1917. In September, he was posted back to the 17th Battalion and joined them the following month during the Third Battle of Ypres. Bernard survived through the bitter winter, and in the new year received a shock when the Germans began their March Offensive. He was then wounded in action a second time, when he was caught in a gas attack at Villers-Bretonneux on the 19th of April. He was rushed to hospital, and invalided back to England to Exeter Military Hospital. After he recovered, he returned to France in September. Several weeks later the war ended, Bernard was stationed to a base in Havre before going back to England in February 1919. He then began his journey home to Australia on the 13th of April 1919 on the Castalia. Bernard was discharged from the AIF in July and returned to his wife Eliza.