Serial No. 2755
19th Battalion & 4th Battalion
George Webber - Information
George was born in Glebe in 1893 to Thomas Potter and Eliza Emily Webber. The Webbers then relocated to Ingleburn, where George found work as a labourer. Just before his 22nd birthday, George enlisted in the AIF at Liverpool on the 4th of August 1915. He was then shipped out as a Private with the 19th Battalion, sailing from Sydney on the 2nd of November 1915 upon the HMAT Euripides.
George arrived in Egypt, and was shortly admitted to the 4th Auxiliary Hospital in Abbassia with the mumps. He was then transferred to the 4th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir in February 1916. The following month, he was transported to the Western Front. Upon arrival in France, George was admitted to the 1st Field Ambulance in a lot of pain. He was taken to a Military Hospital diagnosed with rheumatism. On the 15th of April, he was mustered at Etaples Base. However, three days later, was back in hospital. A month later, he rejoined the 4th Battalion. George's unit was then moved for operations during the Somme Offensive. During the heavy attacks at Pozières, George was wounded in action on the 24th of July. He was carried by the 2nd Field Ambulance to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station. Sadly, he was suffering from shell shock. He was then transported by Ambulance Train and admitted to the 8th General Hospital in Rouen on the 26th. The following day, he was evacuated to England to the 3rd London General Hospital. Unfortunately, at the time, knowledge of the causes of this 'hysteria' was in its infancy, and treatment varied from doctor to doctor and between institutions. Therefore, successful cases were limited and often not permanent. What can be taken from George's case; is the speed in which he was taken to England to more suitable hospitals. This suggests his symptoms were serious and presented physically. By September, George was moved to the 1st Auxiliary Hospital. The following month, he was granted a furlough for some much needed rest. As his condition subsided, George returned to training, transferred to the 61st Battalion at Wareham in April 1917. However, as reinforcements dried up, George was placed back to his old unit in September. The following month, he returned to France to the 1st Australian Division Base Depot. However, a few weeks after he rejoined his unit, George reported sick on the 3rd of November. He was evacuated to England with eczema on his leg, and sent to Sutton Veny to recuperate. On Boxing Day, while on furlough, George reported to hospital with cardiac pain. This was most likely caused by anxiety due to a relapse of shell shock. In the new year, George completed further training and was once again transported back to the Western Front. At the end of February, George was with his unit in the frontlines. Sadly, he was then killed in action on the 10th of March 1918. He was returning from a work party assigned to railway cutting at Hill 60, when his crew was hit by a high explosive shell. The blast killed another and wounded three more. Some witnesses exclaimed that George was killed instantly; taking the brunt of the explosion, in which his legs were blown off. His mates buried him in Spoilbank Cemetery, near Zillebeke in Belgium.