A Story of Sacrifice

Story
Posted on 28 November 2019

At the bottom of the second last panel of names on the Honour Boards in Telegraph Park, Euroa, Victoria are three names, each with a cross against them. The cross signifies that each man named made the supreme sacrifice and lost his life in the service of his country. The names are those of Albert, John and Nicholas Rogerson Wall, three brothers from the the small Victorian rural area of Gowangardie .

On the 22nd of January 1915, the brothers joined the Australian Army together and became part of the 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion when it was formed in March of that year. They were given sequential serial numbers, 269 for Albert, enlisted as Bert, 270 for John and 271 for Nicholas, enlisted as Roger.

Together they found themselves sent to join their countrymen on the shores of Gallipoli. They arrived in September 1915 and although at times in the thick of the fighting, the brothers survived the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign.

In March 1916 the 22nd Battalion was moved to Marseilles, in France and from there on to experience their first service on the Western Front, in reserve breastwork trenches near Fleurbaix, at the end of the first week of April 1916.  The battalion's first major action, however, was at Pozieres, as part of the massive British offensive on the Somme.

For the Wall family, the 5th of August 1916 was a fateful day. In the fighting at the small French village that was to become a well-known name in the history of the First Australian Imperial Force, both John and Bert were killed in action. Roger was seriously wounded on the same date and died of his wounds three days later.

Like thousands of Australians who lost their lives on the Pozières ridge, Bert Wall’s body was never recovered. His brothers John and Roger, who fought and died so far from their home in rural Victoria, were buried in different cemeteries, apart and far from family. They were never to know that, just days after their deaths, a younger brother was born back at home in Victoria. Raymond Wall, born at a time of great tragedy, was to grow up in the shadows of their service and sacrifices.

Despite surviving Gallipoli, like many Australian soldiers deployed to France, at Pozières Ridge the good fortune of the young Wall brothers ran out. As Australia’s official First World War historian so poignantly stated “The soil of Pozières is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.”

Sadly, the family have no photos of these brave men.

The names of all three Wall brothers are located on Panel 98 in the First World War section of the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial

 

Sources:

Australian War Memorial website

National Archives of Australia

Megan Wall (Granddaughter of Raymond Wall and Grandniece of Bert, John and Roger) via: https://pozieresremembered.com.au/