Albert Roy RETCHFORD MC, MiD

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RETCHFORD, Albert Roy

Service Number: 388
Enlisted: 9 September 1914, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 11th Infantry Battalion
Born: Melbourne, Victoria, 18 June 1894
Home Town: Kalgoorlie, Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Western Australia
Schooling: Snowtown Public School
Occupation: Locomotive Fireman
Died: Killed in Action, France, 3 June 1918, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Borre British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, The Shrine of Remembrance (Melbourne)
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World War 1 Service

9 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 388, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
2 Nov 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 388, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Fremantle
2 Nov 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 388, 11th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 388, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
3 Jun 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 11th Infantry Battalion, Merris (France)

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Lieutenant Roy Retchford ran across No Man’s Land, stumbling under the weight of his Sergeant as the machinegun bullet tore through his thigh.

It was the night of 21 March 1918 and the two 11th Battalion soldiers were on patrol in the Hill 60 sector south-east of Ypres in Belgium. Patrol leader Lieutenant Retchford’s orders were to reconnoitre the German position.

He and his Sergeant pushed ahead of the patrol and reached the enemy wire. The pair were spotted in the bright moonlight and the German guns opened up, seriously wounding the NCO.

Without a second thought, Lieutenant Retchford hefted his Sergeant over his shoulder and began running back towards the Australian lines. He was shot in the thigh, but managed to keep moving and the pair made it to safety.

The young Lieutenant was awarded the Military Cross for his courageous action but didn’t live to receive it – a few months later, on June 3, 1918, he was killed in action at Mont de Merris in northern France. He was 23 years old.

The award citation described Lieutenant Retchford as showing “courage and endurance of a high order”. His Military Cross was presented in 1919 to his elder brother Percival, who also served in the war.

Albert Roy Retchford was a 20-year-old locomotive fireman on the Trans-Australian railway line when he enlisted in Kalgoorlie on 18 August, 1914, just two weeks after his country entered the war. Before he joined the construction crews building Australia’s longest railway line, the former Kalgoorlie School of Mines student worked on the Sons of Gwalia gold mine near Leonora, 235 kilometres to the north of Kalgoorlie..." - READ MORE LINK (www.greataustralianstory.com.au)

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