George Denman Bland (DCM)
Serial No. 4777
George Denman Bland (DCM) - Information
George Denman was born in North Balmain to Thomas George and Mary Bland. His father then moved the family to Stanley Rd in Ingleburn. George found work as a labourer in the area, before deciding to enlist on the 29th of January 1916, at just 19 years old. George was assigned to the 12th Reinforcements, 18th Battalion as a Private and left Sydney on the 13th of April onboard the HMAT Ceramic.
After arriving in England, George proceeded overseas to France joining the 18th Battalion in the field on the 2nd of October. The 18th were hunkering down in the lines on the Somme battleground through a horrendous winter. By early November, George was suffering from trench foot as a result of the bitter cold and mud-filled trenches. He was transported to hospital in Rouen on the 12th. Two days later, he was evacuated to England, and by April 1917 was recovering at Hurdcott Hospital. Regaining circulation and preventing infection was arduous. Many poor fellows lost appendages due to frostbite and septicaemia. George was discharged from hospital and rejoined his unit in July. However, exposure to the poor weather and conditions in the trenches would plague George for much of 1917 and 1918. In August, he was diagnosed with debility and was taken out of the line until December 1917. In April 1918, he was again taken out of the line and evacuated to England, diagnosed with diabetes.
By August 1918, George had recovered from the effects of living in the trenches and was determined to fight. He rejoined his 18th Battalion on the 20th of August, as they were launching attacks at the Germans from Amiens, before attacking Mont St Quentin on the 31st. On the 3rd of October, his unit was fighting near Montbrehain just north of Mont St Quentin. Here, George and four other soldiers, were making their way along a shallow trench towards the rear of German machine gun nests. As they were approaching, a German officer with at least one hundred men in tow counter-attacked with grenades, machine gun and sniper fire. George equipped with his lewis gun immediately took a position in a foot deep shell hole providing cover fire, enabling his friends to withdraw. He alone, held up the 100 man advance, that was flanking his position. He continued to fire until the others could find a safer position, and was soon joined by a small group of Australian soldiers. George then aided their counter-attack trouncing the German line. The next day on the 4th of October 1918, George was promoted to Lance Corporal. For his brave actions, he was recommended for an award by the Brigadier General of the 2nd Australian Division.
George was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal just after the war ended on the 27th of November 1918. He continued to serve with his unit in France, until poor health struck him again on the 19th of February 1919. He was rushed to hospital with appendicitis. In March, he was evacuated to hospital in England and enjoyed some time at a convalescence hospital. George began his return journey to Australia on the 3rd of May 1919. He returned to his life in Ingleburn where he received a thankyou card from General Rawlinson, Commander 4th Army, British Expeditionary Force, for his efforts during the war. In 1920, he married Frances Ada Gee in Burwood before passing away in 1969. He is an inspirational figure to future generations.