ANZAC Day Tribute: Remembering Old Collegian’s Heroic Service

As we pause on ANZAC Day to acknowledge those who sacrificed so much for us in World War I, we remember one of our Old Collegians who was involved in the Gallipoli campaign.

Albert Telfer White (1914) was born on 29 June 1897, the son of John White and Elizabeth, nee Douglas. He completed College in 1914 and obtained employment with the engineering firm Ronaldson & Tippett in Ballarat.

Front page attestation papers

However, less than one month after his 18th birthday, in July 1915, Alfred enlisted and was assigned to the 3rd Reinforcements, 23rd Battalion. Private A T White, Service No 2012, embarked from Australia on the HMAT Anchises on 26 August. He arrived in Turkey in October and served in the final days of the Gallipoli campaign, prior to the evacuation on 15 December 1915. Over five nights, 36,000 Anzac troops were withdrawn to the waiting transport ships, the last party leaving in the early hours of 20 December.

For his service in 1915 at Gallipoli, Alfred was awarded the 1914-15 Star. This medal was authorised in 1918 and awarded for service in specified theatres of war between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915.

After a brief respite on the island of Mudros, by March 1916 Alfred was proceeding through Marseilles with the British Expeditionary Forces to the next theatre of war, the Western Front. He was Mentioned in Despatches.

” … For good and gallant conduct in the recent hard fighting round Pozieres’ in August 1916, and awarded the Military Medal on 4 October 1918 for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack near Beaurevoir, east of Peronne … While the attack was in progress this man was constantly ahead of his section as a scout. He located the enemy posts and drew their fire … During this stage of the attack, he displayed courage much beyond the ordinary and assisted his officers. Later in the advance he located an enemy machine-gun and while directing the party which subsequently mopped it up, he fell severely wounded … ”

Inventory of effects

Private Alfred White died as a result of gunshot wounds to the chest on 10 October 1918 at 12th General Hospital, Rouen, aged 21. News of his death reached home just before the signing of the Armistice. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

Albert Telfer White’s 1914-15 Star medal was donated to the Ballarat Clarendon College Archives by his nephew, Robert Lingham.

Lest we forget.

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1914-15 Star medal