Edward Ernest Hyde (Service No. 1306)
(1894 - 1983)

Edward Ernest Hyde was born in Williamstown in March 1894 the son of Alfred William Hyde and Elizabeth Ann Hyde nee Armstrong. By 1912 the Hyde family had moved to become residents of Jamison Street Laverton which was the address given by Edward at the time of his enlistment on 15 January 1916. Edward was the fifth child and fourth son to Alfred and Elizabeth and one of thirteen children and the younger brother of Albert Hyde who had enlisted in July 1915. Edward’s enlistment form noted that he had spent 12 months in the Citizen Forces Naval Reserve at Williamstown which is not surprising as his father had been a mariner. It also appears that Edward had previously attempted to enlist but had been rejected due to an issue with his teeth but this issue must have been resolved as he was now accepted as been fit to service.

At the time Edward Hyde enlisted he was 21 years and 10 months old and was employed as a fitter’s labourer working in the local coal mine. Following the completion of his training he was appointed to the rank of private and transferred to ‘D’ Company 39th Battalion which was first formed on 21 February 1916 at the Ballarat Showgrounds, Victoria for service during World War I. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rankine the battalion was raised as part of an expansion of the 1st AIF that took place at the conclusion of the Gallipoli campaign. Following a brief period of training in Ballarat the battalion marched through Melbourne on 15 May as the city farewelled the unit and they subsequently embarked upon HMAT A11 Ascanius on 27 May 1916 bound for England. Sailing via Cape Town the battalion landed at Plymouth on 18 July 1916 and moved by train to Amesbury in preparation for their transfer to France.

On 22 November 1916 Edward was admitted to Fargo Military Hospital Wiltshire for observation (reason unknown) and was discharged on 16 December to rejoin his battalion. On 20 December Edward proceeded overseas to France from Folkstone Kent on the Princess Victoria and was marched out to his unit on 14 January 1917. At that time his battalion was in the trenches along the Western Front relieving its sister battalion the 37th around Houplines in the Armentieres sector.

After having endured a long miserable winter in Flanders serving in mainly a defensive role the battalion’s first major engagement came at Messines in Belgium in early June 1917. The battle began badly for the 39th. Near Ploegsteert Corner during the march to the line the battalion suffered a high number of casualties following a German gas attack which subsequently resulted the 39th only being able to muster about a third of its manpower for the attack amounting to an assault force of only 120 men. Despite this the 39th was quickly reorganised into a single wave and attacked on the 10th Brigade’s right subsequently overcoming the initial German opposition facing them. Then during the second phase of the battle advanced south of Douve on the southern edge of the Messines Ridge. It was involved in further fighting north of Grey Farm where they were initially held up by German machine-gun fire but after this was overcome, they continued to advance to their final objective eventually digging-in 100 yards beyond the farm having managed to capture all of its objectives.

On 7 June during the above battle, Edward Hyde was wounded in action sustaining injuries to his arm and leg and was admitted to Etaples hospital in Picardy. After two weeks he was moved to the Australian Convalescent Camp in Rouelles near Le Havre.  He returned to his battalion on 8 October that year.  However just four days later during the battle at Broodseinde he was wounded for a second time this time sustaining an injury to his right shoulder. Edward was admitted to the Australian General Hospital in Wimereux near Boulogne.

On 25 January 1918 Edward was transferred back to England to Command Depot No.2 in Weymouth which accommodated those men not expected to be fit for duty within six months. There he was diagnosed with DAH (Disordered Action of the Heart) a condition characterised by exhaustion inability to sleep, breathlessness and heart palpitations.  He remained there until 26 June 1918 when he was returned to France.

Private Hyde rejoined his battalion on 10 July 1918 who were now positioned at Amiens involved in the defensive action at the Somme. However just over a fortnight later he was re admitted to hospital with the same condition.  In October he returned to his battalion again only to be sent back to hospital in Le Havre 18 days later still suffering from DAH.  He remained hospitalised until January 1919 when he left France for England arriving in Southampton on 14 January.

On 9 February Edward embarked on his journey back to Australia on HMAT A11 Ascanius arriving back in Melbourne on 3 April 1919. Edward moved back to life in Laverton and resumed working as a fitter’s labourer. He married Catherine Sarah Walters in October 1923 and they settled in Epsom Street Laverton. Around this time Edward began working for the Victorian Railways. As part of his job with Victorian Railways, Edward and Catherine moved to country Victoria and by 1928 they were living in Cavendish. The family continued to work and live in various areas Victorian towns like Strathmerton and Kyabram. Tragedy struck the family in January 1947 when Catherine passed away after an accident. Edward continued his employment with the railways work in various towns until his retirement. In the early 1960’s, Edward married Edith Maude and the couple settled in the area of Kangaroo Flat just out from Bendigo. In the mid 1970’s Edith passed away and Edward remained in the area until his death in November 1983 at the age of 89 and was buried in the Box Hill Cemetery alongside his first wife Catherine.

References:

  1. ancestry.com.au
  2. https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=148654
  3. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=6928595
  4. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U51479
  5. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338977
  6. https://39battalion.com/history/39th-bn-in-ww1/?doing_wp_cron=1553211400.6886000633239746093750
  7. Werribee Shire Banner, Honor Roll, 12 August 1915, p. 3
  8. Image: Courtesy: awm.gov.au/collection/C54485

Research by: Graeme Reilly (ALHS)