Serial No. 5490
1st Battalion & 53rd Battalion
Bert Gale - Information
As the war raged on, Bert was living in Menangle where he worked as a fireman engine driver and for the Hickey Bros. He originally came from Sofala, near Bathurst, where he was born and raised. At the age of 24, Bert enlisted in the AIF on the 10th of July 1916 in Casula. At the time, his family were living at Rangaliso at 39 Thompson St in Marrickville. During training, Bert was made a Private to the 1st Battalion Reinforcements. He was then sent overseas onboard the HMAT Ceramic, which departed Sydney on the 14th of April 1916.
Bert disembarked in Suez, and was marched out to the 1st and then 14th Training Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir in late May. The following month, he was transported from Alexandria to the port of Marseilles in France. He was then transported to Etaples, before being taken on strength to the 53rd Battalion in late July. However a week later, he was taken to the 7th General Hospital with German measles. When the rash was gone he rejoined his unit in early August. Towards the end of the year, the 53rd Battalion were moved to the Somme Sector. It was a miserable experience, bitter cold and heavy rains turned the battlefield into a quagmire. In the new year, Bert and his unit participated in attacks following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. In August, he was granted ‘Blighty’ leave. When he returned to his unit at the end of the month, they were advancing on the Germans during the Third Battle Ypres in Belgium. During these operations, Bert was killed in action on the 23rd of September. Sadly, the whereabouts of his remains are unknown. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper, (Ypres) in Belgium. Bert’s obituary was published in the local paper, citing another loss for the residents of Camden.