ANZAC Search

Joseph Malcolm Rutherford

Pioneer Sergeant

Serial No:
Serial No. 6

7th Battalion


Joseph Malcolm Rutherford - Information

Joseph Malcolm Rutherford belonged to a family that had strong ties to the area. Joseph was born in Campbelltown in 1882 to James and Catherine Rutherford. The Rutherfords had immigrated to the NSW Colony from Scotland. They established roots in the Campbelltown area, with a relative later becoming the minister at the Congregational Church. By the time the war began, Joseph was living in Melbourne with his wife. When he was 32, he enlisted in the AIF. He joined up in Broadmeadows on the 6th of September 1914, a month after the war was declared. He was then appointed Pioneer Sergeant and was posted to the 7th Battalion. He then left Melbourne on the 19th of October 1914 on the HMAT Hororata.

After sweltering for months in the desert heat, he was sent out to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles. He was put ashore at Gallipoli during the second wave of landings on the 25th of April 1915. Evading rapid fire, Joseph and his mates scaled the ridges and began digging in. He then participated in the devastating attacks at Krithia and at Lone Pine, during the August Offensives. After the Gallipoli Campaign was called off, the Anzacs were back in Egypt by the beginning of January 1916. In March, Joseph left Egypt for the Western Front. The 7th Battalion then participated in action during the Somme Offensive, fighting at Pozières. In the new year, the 7th Battalion was engaged in heavy fighting as the Germans were withdrawing to the Hindenburg Line. They then hit the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt. Throughout these operations, Joseph became highly regarded for his consistent valour under fire. As a result, he was mentioned in despatches that were passed to Commander-in-Chief General Sir Douglas Haig for his many brave acts. On one such occasion, Joseph, under heavy fire, constructed a Regimental Aid Post to be used for the wounded. However, this was quickly destroyed by shellfire. Joseph then searched through the rubble, rescuing survivors, before managing to rebuild the post. His efforts were described as 'indefatigable and fearless.' Later in the year, Joseph and his Battalion participated in action during the Third Battle of Ypres. After living through another terrible winter, Joseph was transported back to England in early 1918. On the 15th of February, he left England bound for Australia on special leave. He was later honourably discharged from military service in late August. He returned to his wife and family, whom were now living in Abbotsford in Victoria.