George WALD

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WALD, George

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Not yet discovered
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Petersburg , South Australia, Australia, 27 May 1886
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Lefevre Peninsula and Port Adelaide public schools, then St Peter's College Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Electrician
Died: Killed in Action, Singapore, 15 February 1915, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Kranji War Cemetery (Singapore)
(CWGC) Official Commemoration - Grave Location: 37. G. 22.
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World War 1 Service

15 Feb 1915: Involvement

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Biography

From the book Fallen Saints -   George Wald of Semaphore, South Australia was born in Port Adelaide in 1886. He received his early education at Lefevre Peninsula and Port Adelaide public schools, and later gained a three years' scholarship to the Collegiate School of St Peter.

George entered the School at the beginning of 1900 and while there received form prizes in both Chemistry and Science.

After leaving the School, he gained a position with the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company where over time he proved to be an excellent electrician.

In March 1904, he sailed from Port Adelaide as a staff member aboard the cable steamer Restorer and arrived in Singapore in April. Based with the Company in Singapore he worked as an electrician across South East Asia and the Far East.

While serving aboard the cable repair steamer Patrol his outstanding aptitude in the field of wireless was recognised and he was sent to England where he could further his interest and research into the use of wireless equipment.

He worked tirelessly in England and before returning to Singapore, produced an authoritative book on wireless and telegraphy.

George, a sergeant in the Singapore Volunteer Rifles and highly respected member of the community, married Miss Amelia Gray in 1912 and later became the proud father of a daughter.  

As Monday 15 February 1915 was a public holiday in Singapore, George and his wife with their friends Messrs Smith and Flett were being driven to the Sea View Hotel to watch the Chinese New Year celebrations. As the car approached the golf links, the party were surprised, but not necessarily alarmed, when two Indians suddenly appeared on the road in front of them.

The strangers were part of a violent mutiny then being staged by renegade soldiers of the Rajput wing of the 5th Light Infantry (Indian Army) stationed in Singapore. Although they were there to protect Singapore and its inhabitants, hundreds of members of the unit went on a murderous four hour spree and killed or wounded more than forty people. These two cowardly mutineers fired upon the car without warning and instantly killed the Malay driver. The passengers shocked and with no means of escape, dived for cover behind the seat while the car with the driver dead at the wheel, ran out of control and stopped only when it ran into a drain. The moment George realised he and his party were being fired upon, he pushed his wife to the floor and in a desperate attempt to distract the killers, jumped from the car. Mrs Amelia Wald later reported hearing shots shortly after her husband left the car and said that as she started to sit up to see what was happening, the wounded Mr Flett strongly advised her to get down and stay on the floor. Following a short period without further incident, Amelia desperately worried about her husband’s safety, cautiously sat up to see what had become of him and was devastated when she saw him bleeding to death on the edge of the gutter.

He was sitting by the roadside with his head in his hands. She called him. He seemed to try to raise his head, but then fell back -- dead. [i]

A personal notice published in an Adelaide newspaper in May 1915 reported that on 22 March 1915 the Singapore "Free Press''' recorded the King and Queen had forwarded a message Mrs. Wald.

... deeply regretting the loss she had sustained by the death of her husband. Their Majesties expressed their deep sympathy for her in her sorrow.[ii]

The notice further stated that on April 5, the Singapore "Free Press'' published an account of a military commemoration service for all who fell in action during the mutiny; perhaps Sergeant George Wald was on duty and in uniform the day he was killed.

The following extract forwarded by Mr. L. Webster of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company to Mr. A. Wald is from the personal notice:-"You will be interested to read the following extract from an official letter addressed to our head office. London, by the manager at Singapore: - By the death of Mr. Wald the company loses the brightest intellect it has ever had, and the staff its greatest favorite. ..." [iii]

Sergeant George Wald, Singapore Volunteer Rifles is buried in the Kranji War Cemetery; he was 28 years of age. His younger brother Lieutenant Alexander Wald MC, Royal Flying Corps was killed in 1918.



[i] Harper, R E W, & Miller, H, Singapore Mutiny, Oxford University Press 1984, p. VI
[ii] The Advertiser (Adelaide) 20 May 1915, p. 6
[iii] ibid

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