About the 56th

56th-battalion-colour-patch.jpg    rising-sun-badge.jpg

A quick summary of the battalion is available on the Australian War Memorial’s website:

Unit profiles – 56th Infantry Battalion, AIF


8 Responses to “About the 56th”

  1. Yves Fohlen Says:

    Great news. Hope that your book will be available in france. I am used to visit the lonely grave of Pte RR Bladwell Nauroy communal cemetery KIA 30/9/1918. Lest we Forget.

    Yves Fohlen (Western Front Representative of Family and friends of the 1st AIF association inc)

    Editor’s response: Thanks for your interest Yves, I was only speaking yesterday to Alan Kitchen of the Family and Friends of the AIF. I’m not so sure about international distribution of the book, however these days shopping online seems to be the answer. I’m sure there will be some easy way to obtain a copy online.


  2. Helen Lyons Says:

    Thank you for your interest and for visiting the grave of Pte Reginald Robert Bladwell. His younger brother, Arthur Edwin Bladwell was my grandfather (wounded at Poelcapelle for which he was awarded the Military Medal). My mother has said that he (my grandfather) would liked to have known what had happened to him (Reginald), but communications back then were not the best.

    Editor’s response: Hi Helen, thanks for your comment on the blog. I’ve put in a link to his service record (above) in case you’re not aware it’s online. It appears your great uncle is buried at Nauroy which is just a little to the east of Bellicourt; in 1918 part of the Hindenburg Support Line. He seems to be the only Australian soldier buried there. Others from the battalion killed around the same time are listed on the Villers Bretonneux Memorial; either their remains were unidentifiable or were not found.


    PS: Are there any photos of your great uncle Reginald?

  3. Helen Lyons Says:

    Unfortunately I do not know of any existing photos of my great uncle, mum may have some but may not know who they are of. I have seen his record online with accompanying correspondence replied to by my great aunt as my ggparents died before all was finalised. I also have obtained a copy of the photograph of his grave from the internet. One question has puzzled me, and that is why was he buried in a churchyard, and the only Australian serviceman there , and not in one of the military cemeteries?

    Not that it bothers me or my mother, its just odd, thats all.

    Thanks for your response,

    Editor’s response: No worries Helen, just thought I’d ask anyway. As for the lone burial, perhaps he died not far from the church cemetery and it was the logical thing to do at the time, i.e. just bury him in an already established cemetery. There were only about five or six from the battalion who died that day, so it’s not as though they would have been doing a mass collection of bodies and transporting them all to one place. And since he was properly buried in an established cemetery, I guess after the war when the time came to consolidate all the small battlefield burials into bigger cemeteries such as Villers-Bretonneux or Bellicourt, they probably thought it best to leave your great uncle where he was.


  4. Larry Burridge Says:

    I was just reading your notes regarding your trip to the western front battlefields around 14 November 2008. I was there with another tour the week before and was fortunate enough to be with our group when we attended the rededication of the memorial at Le Hamel.
    All up we spent about 2 weeks touring the battlelfield which for me was following in my grandfather’s footsteps.

    The whole trip was a very moving experience, one which I shall never forget.
    I am very keen to obtain a copy of the book you are currently writing on 56 bn so I would appreciate it if you could advise when it becomes available.

    Larry Burridge

    Editor’s response: Hi Larry, nice to hear from you and it sounds like you had an interesting trip on the Western Front. A moving and fascinating place isn’t it? I hope you got to visit all the places your grandfather went.

    Still a fair way off finishing the book (maybe end of 2009?), but the best way to keep tabs on our progress if via this blog. So just check it out from time to time. Of course as the time draws near we’ll advertise the publication date etc on the blog.

    Now, back to the subject of your grandfather, might he have been Francis Cotterill Burridge, MM? If so, do you have anything of his that might be useful to our book; i.e. letters, diaries, postcards etc?

    I see the War Memorial has two photos of him in its collection. Photo 1, Photo 2.


  5. Tricia Hunt Says:

    Editor’s response: Hi Tricia, many thanks for contacting us. I’d love to see the photo you have and I didn’t know about the monkey! I’ll contact you via email.


    Hi, my grandfather was in the 56th Battn. Aif. I have a photo of the regiment. They had a monkey for their mascot also. His name was Phillip James Hunt 2675. He was gassed and sent to England for hospitalisation. He also suffered shrapnel wounds.

    Kind Regards,

  6. Ted Bladwell Says:

    CPL Reginald Robert Bladwell wa my Great Uncle. I have in my possession his war medal and the plaque that was given by the Government top all KIA servicemen. I also have a photo of both his grave and of himself. I am aware that his is the only grave in the churchyard and the reason he was buried there was that he was the last soldier killed in the battle before reinforcements arrived.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for your post. I’d be interested in seeing the photo of your great uncle. If you’re willing to supply me with a digital copy, could you please send it to Craig.Tibbitts@awm.gov.au.

      Our Photographs Section here at the AWM may also be interested in obtaining a copy to attach to the Roll of Honour rrecord on our website. They can be contacted via email on photographs@awm.gov.au


  7. Phill Rungie Says:

    Dear Craig,
    In 1936 aged 22, my father Major Maxton Keith Rungie NX152 2/4th Battalion A.I.F joined the 56th Riverina Militia Battalian. He was in ‘A’ Company based in Junee NSW.
    He died on 13.11.1975, but recently my mother, aged 94, produced his photograph album which contains 24 photos of the Battalian in 1937. The photos include 3 “on the range” at Junee, 1 photo on parade in the main street of Junee, and 20 photos from the Liverpool camp 1937, which included one of the C.O of the 56th Bn on a horse – but no name.
    Other than identifing my father in some of the photos, my mother, who was a Junee girl, could not identify any of the other men.
    There is one photo of my father with Sargent stripes We know he was commissioned as an officer before the war, as he was a lieuten ant when he enlisted.
    Lastly there are 3 photos of a captured rail gun from WW1, on display in Canberra in 1936.
    nb: In 1937 he changed his name by deed poll from Maxton Keoppen Runge to Maxton Keith Rungie
    Are you interested in the photos. We are not keen to take them out of the album, but I understand we can get them copied to a disc.
    Phill Rungie 8 Forbes Road, Aldgate, SA 5154

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