Geoffrey Souter Loney (MM)
Serial No. 3154
19th Battalion & 4th Battalion
Geoffrey Souter Loney (MM) - Information
Geoffrey was a son of English migrant Walter Loney, whose family settled in Campbelltown. Here, Walter met and fell in love with Jessie Maud Kidd. They married in Campbelltown in 1893, and quickly welcomed Geoffrey born in 1894. Walter and Jessie eventually moved the family to Randwick, where Geoffrey began working as a clerk. When he was 21, he decided to enlist in the AIF on the 9th of August 1915 in Holsworthy.
During training in October, Geoffrey was made Acting Corporal with the 7th Reinforcements, 19th Battalion. He then left Sydney for war service on the 20th of December 1915 aboard the HMAT Suevic. Geoffrey landed in Egypt and in February 1916, was transferred to the 4th Battalion and later appointed Lance Corporal. His unit was then transported to the Western Front, where they participated in the grand Somme Offensive. After Pozières was taken, the Anzacs headed towards Theipval. Here, Geoffrey was wounded in action between 15-17th of August at Mouquet Farm, receiving a gun shot wound to his arm. In mid September, Geoffrey was evacuated to England to Norfolk War Hospital. He recuperated at Perham Downs, before returning to France in June 1917. The following month, he rejoined his unit in Belgium, in time for the Third Battle of Ypres. During these operations, Geoffrey was promoted to Corporal on the 7th of October. The Australian Divisions were then relieved by the Canadians, and unluckily a day after the Canadians captured Passchendaele, Geoffrey was wounded in action a second time. On the 10th of November, he was showered in shrapnel, shredding his arm. After treatment, he returned to his unit in mid January 1918. However, following his horrible experiences, Geoffrey went absent without leave in March and consequently lost pay and rank. He was then detached to the Field Company Engineers for a few days. When he again returned to his unit, he demonstrated his true character in the heavy fighting that followed the German Spring Offensive. Their momentum was remarkable, breaking the stalemate and forcing the Allies to retreat. The British were desperate to check the advance. The 4th Battalion along with the rest of the 1st Division protected the rail junction at Hazebrouck in April. He was promoted back to Lance Corporal that month, Temporary Corporal in June, Corporal and Sergeant in July. The Australian Corps steadily gained ground using small tactical groups. The Allies then decided to launch their own offensive with the Battle of Amiens on the 8th of August. Geoffrey was then recommended for an award for his heroic actions. His platoon was engaged in fighting at Chuignes on the 23rd of August, when they ran into a German machine gun post. When his officer was hit, Geoffrey took charge, moving the men to cover on their flank. He then began firing his lewis gun at the post, before he and his mates charged it. Geoffrey successfully led an attack, in which two enemy guns and German prisoners were captured, and enabled the Allies to consolidate a new line.
Geoffrey served with the 4th Battalion throughout the remainder of the war. He finished his tour of duty, and was sent back to Australia, leaving England on the 31st of May 1919. While he was at sea, he was awarded the Military Medal for his actions in August 1918.