No.32311 Edmund Bruce Aitken
It could be claimed that Edmund Aitken had soldiering in his blood. Even before the outbreak of World War I, he had served in both the Sydney Grammar School cadets and the 24th Australian Light Horse Regiment based at Flinders in South Australia.
According to his enlistment papers, he was born on 5 May 1894 at Summer Hill in Sydney – although other records suggest Cowra in New South Wales, where he returned after the war.
At some point his widowed mother, Mrs Margaretta Aitken, had moved to Werribee and was living at a property called Cheringa.
His pre-war employment was described as 'farmer'.
Edmund's experience in the military clearly attracted the attention of his superiors. He was sent to NCO School at Maribyrnong in Melbourne and qualified as a Sergeant…although for some reason never served with this rank, perhaps preferring his role as a Bombardier with the artillery.
By the time he enlisted in the army in Melbourne on 15 June 1916 he would have just turned 22.
He sailed to Plymouth, England in February 1917, and following further training he and his unit were sent to France in early August.
He was to be wounded in action twice over the next couple of months. Although details of his wounds are scant, he was transferred to hospital for treatment and recuperation before returning to his unit, the 12th Battery, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, in early December 1917.
In 1918, he spent several months in England undergoing training at Signals School and returned to Australia in July 1919.
Much of his service before heading to England on the signals course was most likely spent in Belgium where Australian artillery supported allied attacks at Messines, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Passchendaele.
Edmund Bruce Aitken married Phyllis Boultbee in Cowra, New South Wales in 1935 and served in the Citizens Military Force during WWII.
Medals & Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Lest we forget
Service record citation: NAA: B24455 Aitken E B
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_10287.asp - 4th Field Artillery Brigade history