First World War – Australian Army (Australian Imperial Force)

The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was a expeditionary force created on 15 August 1914 for service overseas in the Great War. The name was chosen by its first commander Brigadier General William T Bridges, who was killed at Gallipoli in May 1915. Today it is generally known as the First AIF, as a Second AIF was created for service in the Second World War. This was Australia’s contribution to the various armed forces provided by the member nations of the British Empire. The AIF was at the disposal of the British Government for the term of the war but operated as a separate force to that of the British Army. It should be noted that there was no conscription in Australia, all servicemen were volunteers. Some of those named have further information about the person that can be accessed by clicking on the name.

John George Bright – Private 53rd Infantry Battalion, 5th Division, Australian Imperial Force. Volunteer. Enlisted on 7 September 1915 at Warwick Farm NSW Australia aged 20 years 2 months. Occupation Coxswain & Driver. Previously member of 17th Infantry Militia, Neutral Bay NSW. Served in France (Fromelles, Bullecourt, Polygon Woods). Wounded on 26 September 1917 at Polygon Woods with a Gunshot wound in the head. Discharged on 22 October 1918. Awarded the British War Medal & the Victory Medal.

Herbert Alfred Reffell – Private 224 11th Battalion, ‘B’ Levy, Australian Imperial Force. Enlisted on 9 September 1914 Blackboy Hill, Western Australia. Mother; Sarah Reffell, 155 London Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk. Previously served for 3 years with the Berkshire Yeomanry. Age: 28 years 8 months. Wounded on 30 June 1915 with a Gunshot wound in the left foot at Gallipoli. Discharged on 15 August 1916. Awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal & the British War Medal.

Basil Horace Swane – Lance Corporal, 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion. Grandson of George Bright (1815-1892) and Eliza Reffell (1819-1898). Died of wounds 23 May 1917. Son of Ernest Albert and Florence Matilda Swane, of “Essiedene,” Holland St., Chatswood, New South Wales. Native of Isle of Wight, England.

Thomas Terry – Chaplain Class 3 (rank of Captain), Chaplain’s Branch, Australian Imperial Force. Enlisted on 16 February 1916 aged 30 years 10 months. Occupation Clergyman (COE) Single Born Sydney Australia British Subject. Embarked on 28 March 1916 Brisbane arrived Suez on 5 June 1916. Arrived England 26/6/1916. Returned to Australia on 28 November 1918. Discharged on 4 August 1919. Awarded the 1914-18 Star, the British War Medal & the Victory Medal.

Information has been provided by the courtesy of John and Vicki in Australia. Other information is from service records in the Australian National Archives.