Every year I take out my Great Grandfather Slattery’s badge, colours & dog tags to take with me to the ANZAC day dawn service.
John Arthur Slattery
Service Number: 2256
Roll Title: 43 A.I.F.
Date of Embarkation: 12 Aug 1916
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
John’s Battalion, the 43rd, consisted of 30 officers & 991 other ranks. He stayed with his Battalion through every battle & was one of only a handful to return at the end of WWI.
John, along with his battalion, landed briefly in Egypt in 1916 then went on to Britain for further training. They arrived on the Western Front in late Dec 1916.
The 43rd Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders, Belgium. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines & in October the Third Battle of Ypres (also named the Battle of Passchendaele) where they were in the front wave of 16 waves of men.
The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley, France. In April they helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux. In July the battalion was part of General Monash’s attack at Hamel. In August & September the battalion helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line.
The 43rd joined the advance that followed the 2nd Division’s victory at Mont St Quentin & it was during this operation that Temporary Corporal Lawrence Weathers earned the battalion’s only Victoria Cross. Weathers was mortally wounded in the battalion’s next battle. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel John Farrell wrote “..he died at the Regimental Aid Post, & lies buried on the battlefield.”
John was discharged on 25 Sept 1919 & returned home safely to Australia to his wife & children.
LEST WE FORGET