Edgar Clifton Bensley
Serial No. 2867
Edgar Clifton Bensley - Information
Edgar Clifton Bensley belonged to a local farming family, and was born in Camden c1893. His parents, James and Miriam, then moved the family to Parramatta, to the property of Killarney on O’Connell St. Here, Edgar worked as a draper. He soon decided to join his brothers in arms, and enlisted in the AIF at Moore Park on the 18th of September 1916, aged 23. Edgar became a recruit at the Royal Showground Camp and later stationed to Goulburn Depot. He was finally posted as a Private to the 7th Reinforcements, 59th Battalion. Edgar’s unit was sent abroad on the 3rd of November 1916, leaving Sydney onboard the HMAT Afric.
The Afric set down in Plymouth Harbour in January 1917, and Edgar was marched into the 15th Training Battalion in Hurdcott. After training, he departed Folkestone for France in mid March and joined his unit in the lines. Edgar had to adjust to the terrible conditions at the front, coming into the worst winter of the war. He subsequently reported sick to hospital in mid April with diarrhoea, returning to duty the following month. Towards the end of the year, Edgar’s Battalion participated in operations during the Third Battle of Ypres. Notably this included the attack towards Polygon Wood, where Edgar was wounded on the 26th of September. He received a gun shot wound to his left arm, and was invalided to England, and admitted to 2nd Birmingham War Hospital, with shrapnel still in his left arm. He had recovered by the new year, and was stationed back in France. Unfortunately, Edgar and his unit experienced the bitter fighting that followed the 1918 March German Offensive. In an attempt to crush the Allies before the bulk of American troops reached France, the Germans threw all they could at them. Breaking the stalemate, they had the Allies on the run. Brought into plug the gaps, the 59th Battalion checked their advance at Corbie and Villers-Bretonneux. Then using peaceful penetration tactics, the Allies began advancing on the Germans until they made huge strides launching their own offensive in August. Edgar was then wounded on a second occasion. On the 29th of September a bomb blast injured his leg. Treated at the 3rd Australian General Hospital, he was then evacuated to England and admitted to Graylingwell War Hospital. The wound caused much damage to his right knee, and as a result he was invalided back to Australia in mid December.