Serial No. 260
12th Light Horse Regiment & 7th Light Horse Regiment
Mervyn Westgarth - Information
Mervyn Westgarth was 26 when he enlisted in the AIF in Liverpool on the 12th of November 1914. At the time, he was living at Mount Hope and working as a station overseer. Mervyn is listed in The Campbelltown Herald as a local who served during the war. Before Mervyn enlisted, his mother had relocated to Double Bay with his siblings. Two of his brothers, George and Dudley, followed in their father's footsteps and became solicitors. Dudley was a partner in Pile & Westgarth Solicitors located in Blayney. Mervyn joined the Light Horse Depot Reserve when he began his training and was then allocated to the 12th Light Horse Regiment in early May 1915. On the 10th of May, Mervyn was promoted to Sergeant and was sent abroad the following month. On the 13th of June, he departed Sydney on the HMAT Suevic.
Mervyn landed in Egypt and was then sent to participate in operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula in August. Here, he was taken on strength to the 7th Light Horse Regiment. When operations in the Dardanelles ceased, Mervyn and his unit were stationed back to Egypt. In Heliopolis, he was transferred back to the 12th Light Horse Regiment. In 1916, the Light Horse was ordered to protect the Nile and Suez Canal from Turkish attacks, and start patrols into the Sinai Desert. Mervyn proved to be a capable young leader and in March, was made a Transport Sergeant. He was then appointed 2nd Lieutenant on the 9th of September. Mervyn then began training new volunteers as they came in from Australia. He was posted as a Squad Leader and Troop Officer to the 12th Light Horse Training Regiment in November and December respectively. In the new year, Mervyn was promoted Lieutenant on the 6th of January, and was marched out to a School of Instruction. In February, he returned to the 12th Light Horse, leading his men in an attack on Gaza in April. However, by the end of May, Mervyn reported to first aid with an ulcer abrasion on his groin. Constantly sitting in the saddle in the desert heat would have been most uncomfortable. Treated at the 14th Australian General Hospital, he returned to the 12th Regiment, but was shortly allotted duty with the Australian Motor Division Transport Park. Then in October, he was attached to Brigade Headquarters, completing duty with the Division Burial Officer. By February 1918, he was back with the 12th Light Horse. However, at this time, Mervyn was not feeling very well, and had not been a 100 percent for some time. On the 9th of February, he was taken to the 74th Casualty Clearing Station and later the 24th Stationary Hospital with a cough and severe middle ear infection. On the 15th of February, he was admitted to the 14th Australian General Hospital and was now deaf. Three days later, his condition became critical, diagnosed with pneumonia and meningitis, he was delirious with a high fever. Sadly, at 12:50pm on the 19th of February 1918, he died of infection. He was then buried at Port Said War Memorial and Cemetery, Port Said, Suez Canal in Egypt.
Back in Australia, his family were informed of the terrible news. It was a shock, considering he had survived many years of conflict. After the war ended, Mervyn's mother moved to Fox Valley Road in Warrawee. However, she was not alone and had Mervyn's siblings to get through this tragedy.