Bede Carnot Clarence Kirton (MM BAR)
Temporary 2nd Corporal
Serial No. 750/29307
2nd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Brigade & 3rd Divisional Signal Company
Bede Carnot Clarence Kirton (MM BAR) - Information
Bede Carnot Clarence Kirton was born in Appin in June 1894. When the war began, Bede was living in Bulli on Park Rd with his family and working as a dairy farmer. He decided to join the military shortly after calls for volunteers, enlisting at Randwick on the 24th of August 1914. After training, Bede was shipped out from Sydney as a Private with the 2nd Battalion aboard the HMAT Suffolk on the 18th of October 1914.
Bede arrived in Egypt at the end of 1914. In January 1915, he was transferred to the Artillery as a Signaller and was marched into the 1st Training Battery. On the 5th of April, he left Alexandria for the Dardanelles, for the start of the Gallipoli Campaign. The Artillery had a gruelling time, getting their guns ashore and up the steep hills and gullies. Every delay meant the infantry were on their own against the Turks. Four days after the landings at Gallipoli, Bede reported sick with dysentery, returning to duty in May. On the 11th of August, he was wounded in action receiving a gunshot wound to his right leg. The following day, he was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Egypt. After a medical examination, Bede was classed as unfit. He was sent home to Australia at the beginning of September and was discharged from the army in December.
When Bede returned to his life in Australia, the war continued to rage on in the muddy trenches of the Western Front and deserts of the Middle East. As a result, Bede decided to join up again, re-attesting on the 8th of May 1916 in Marrickville. Due to his previous experience, Bede was posted as a Gunner to the 3rd Reinforcements, 7th Field Artillery Brigade. He again departed for war service, leaving Melbourne on the 30th of September 1916 on the HMAT Aeneas. Bede landed in England and was taken on strength to the 7th Field Artillery Brigade, 117th Battery in December. He was then transferred to the 107th Battery, before proceeding overseas to France from Southampton. Bede became very dedicated to his work in the Battery. As a result, he was recommended for the Military Medal by Commander of the 3rd Australian Division, General John Monash. At 8pm on the 8th of April 1917, Bede was on duty with the 107th Battery in Ploegsteert, near Messines in Belgium. His unit was then ordered to evacuate their Battery position due to heavy enemy bombardment of high explosive and gas shells. As they left, Bede was told that one of his comrades was still at the Battery Post lying unconscious. Disregarding his own safety, he returned to the Battery with an officer to rescue his mate. On the 23rd of April 1917, Bede was awarded the Military Medal for his brave actions in the field saving a soldier’s life.
After he was awarded the Military Medal, Bede continued his inspired devotion to duty. He was again recommended for an award at the end of September 1917, for his actions during the Third Battle of Ypres. On the 26th of September, near Polygon Wood, he was working as a Signaller, and was sent forward with an Artillery Party. At this time, he was carrying an important despatch for Infantry Brigade Headquarters. He then went back to the frontline, where he established a visual signalling post so the Field Artillery and Infantry could communicate. He did this entirely by himself, and maintained communication for over 30 hours, aiding the running of operations. He again disregarded his personal safety in order to help his comrades in arms. By mid December, Bede was made a Sapper with the 3rd Division Signal Company. He was then promoted to Lance Corporal on the 25th of April 1918, and then to Temporary 2nd Corporal on the 12th of November. In January 1919, Bede was presented a Bar to the Military Medal at a Division Artillery Parade by HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward. Bede then left England to return to Australia in mid June 1919.