Edward Frederick Dobson
Serial No. 489
12th Machine Gun Company &21st Machine Gun Company
Edward Frederick Dobson - Information
Edward enlisted in the AIF in Cairns on the 29th of July 1916, aged 23. He was born in Picton to Mary Jane and John Dobson. The family later resided in Peersmon in North Queensland, where Edward worked as a farmer. Growing up, Edward served in the QLD Left District Militia and the 13th Light Horse in Toogoolawah. After he joined up, he was posted to a variety of positions before the 7th Reinforcements, 12th Machine Gun Company as a Private. He then boarded the HMAT Ulysses in Melbourne on the 26th of October 1916.
In mid December, Edward set down in Plymouth, and on the 22nd, was promoted to 2nd Corporal. He was then taken to the Machine Gun Training Depot in Grantham, where he was transferred to the 21st MG Company. Machine Gunners were a vital part of Western Front tactics, providing rapid fire for attacks and defence. He was to put these skills to use, when he was stationed to the Western Front in March. Shortly after arriving, Edward was admitted to hospital on the 5th of April with the mumps. Returning to duty in late June, he met the Anzacs as they were fighting the Germans in Belgium during the Third Battle of Ypres. Fighting here was horrible; men became stuck in the mud, torn apart by heavy artillery and gunfire. On the 22nd of December 1917, Edward was appointed Lance Corporal. He and his unit lived through a very bitter winter, and in January 1918 he began to feel very ill. He soon reported to hospital with an unknown infection. He was released in early March, and was then granted leave to Scotland for a month. He rejoined his unit, as heavy fighting broke out following the German March Offensive. The Germans gained much ground; however, the Allies soon turned the tide with a series of blows. Given a reprieve from the heavy fighting, he attended a Lewis Gun School from the 18th of July until the 1st of August. Edward and his unit, helped to push the Germans back, forcing the signing of the Armistice. At the end of February 1919, Edward was ordered back to England before leaving for Australia the following month.