Tuesday, 14 April 2015

H is for Hindenburg Line

George Murray Cross (1890 - 1962) was one of my husband's paternal great uncles.

George enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 7 October 1915. He was a 25 year old, unmarried, labourer born at the gold mining town of Homebush near Avoca in central Victoria. He enlisted at Melbourne but had been medically examined at Ouyen on 20 September where he was found to be 5'6 1/4" tall, had blue eyes and light brown hair. He had been vaccinated on his left arm, had a wart between his shoulder blades and a scar on his left foot.

photograph of George Murray Cross in the possession of his grand daughter Gale.
In January 1916 George was at Broadmeadows camp and assigned to the 15th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion. On 7 March he sailed on HMAT A18 Wiltshire from Melbourne. In April 1916 at Ferry Post, Suez Canal, he transferred to the 5th Pioneer Battalion.They sailed for Marseilles in June 1916.

He was appointed Lance Corporal in December 1916. In early 1917 he was sick several times and in hospital. At one stage he was suffering from the mumps. On 15 April 1917 he rejoined his unit from hospital. On 17 April he was promoted to Corporal.

On 18 May he was wounded in action. On 26 May he was transferred from Boulogne to the London General Hospital at Chelsea suffering from a gun shot wound to the left eye. He had also been wounded in the neck and groin. He returned to Australia from England on 25 August 1917.

The diary of the 5th Pioneers describes the period in May.

War diary of the 5th Pioneers from the Australian War Memorial: AWM4/Class 14/Sub class 17 /AWM4 14/17/15 - May 1917 page 4
These works were p???d continuously & by 19th Railway completed to 100 yds beyond NOREUIL including 4 loops en route. Over 8000 yards of line had also been brought up from the rear. 5 dugouts were started on 11th for artillery but one position was abandoned on 13th & another on 14th. Two other dugouts were started in lieu of these,. First dugout (in easy ground) was completed on 18th. On 18th we were detailed to carry mining timber up to Hindenburg Line for the Tunnelling Coy. Had 5 men gassed from gas shells on night of 18/19th returning from Hindenburg Line - they returned to camp all right but did not feel effects til morning. On 18th as shelling in NOREUIL VALLEY had slackened considerably ...
There seems no mention in the war diary of the incident in which George Cross was wounded.

In August 1917 a Miss E,. Brown of Homebush wrote to the Base Records Office seeking information about George's address. In 1918, following his return to Australia, George married Elsie Agnes Brown. George had been discharged from the AIF, wounded, on 18 January 1918.




Wedding Bells. (1918, July 17). Avoca Free Press and Farmers' and Miners' Journal (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article151682981

Sources . NAA: B2455, Cross George Murray : SERN 4757 : POB Homebush VIC : POE Melbourne VIC : NOK F Cross Frederick John