Herbert Leslie Newland (Service No. 1537)
(1890 - 1964)

Herbert (Bert) Leslie Newland was born 19 July 1890 in Camperdown to parents William Anthony Newland and Louisa Jane Newland nee Wall. Herbert was the seventh child and fourth son born to the couple and the third youngest of the four Newland brothers who served in WWI and enlisted just two weeks after his older brothers James Newland and William Newland. Like his two older brothers Herbert had military experience prior to enlisting having served three years with the Royal Australian Artillery. At the time of enlisting on 1 September 1914 Herbert was living in Laverton with the family was a serving member of the Victoria Police and was 24 years 2 months old. He is one of 138 Victorian police officers that served in WWI.

Herbert completed his basic training at Broadmeadows and was appointed as a bombardier assigned to the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade in October 1914. He embarked with the Brigade from Melbourne on 20 October aboard HMAT A27 Southern heading for the Mediterranean and then to Gallipoli. Bombardier Newland and the 2nd Field Artillery saw heavy action at Gallipoli in 1915 and his service and leadership were such that Bert was promoted to corporal in the field at Anzac. Later that year he took ill and was evacuated from Gallipoli and taken to England for treatment and convalescing. By February 1916 he had recovered and was back in Cairo where he rejoined his brigade but by early March he had earned another promotion this time to acting sergeant and was transferred to the 23rd Battery stationed at Tel-El- Kabir. By the end of March now Sergeant Newland had embarked to France to join the British Expeditionary Forces and shortly after landing at Marseilles was transferred to the 21st Field Artillery Brigade in May 1916 as the brigade moved up to the front line near Fromelles (Fleurbaix).

Sergeant Newland remained with the 21st Brigade until his promotion to second lieutenant around 25 November and shortly after was transferred to the 1st Division Ammunition Column where he attended the Artillery School of Instruction. He was to spend two months at the School of Instruction and upon leaving was promoted to lieutenant and temporarily returned to the 21st Field Artillery Brigade. On the 30 March 1917 Lieutenant Newland transferred to the 1st Medium Trench Mortar Brigade. The Brigade was called into the second battle at Bullecourt where the first attempt to drive the enemy back had failed and they had pushed the allies back. The battle raged for all of May and June.

21st F.A.B. Unit Diary (30/11/1916)

Herbert Newland was allowed to take leave in July but fell ill and spent July and August in hospital within France before he rejoined the 1st Medium Trench Mortar Brigade towards the end of August. He had previously served with V1A Battery but had now moved across to X1A Battery.

The Mediums and Heavies were formed into batteries of four (heavy) and six (medium) mortars attached to each division. They were initially designated ‘V, X, Y, Z/n’ where ‘n’ was the division number. In February 1918 Herbert was posted to 1st Australian Corps Heavy Trench Mortar Battery. In March/April 1918 the 1st Division was rushed back to the front at Flanders as the German ‘Spring Offensive’ was having a grave impact of the British forces at Somme. Across the front the German offensive persisted into May but it had run out of momentum as they over-reached their supply chain and Allied resistance stiffened. The German initiative had been lost.

The war came to an end for Lieutenant Herbert Newland in October 1918 when he embarked at Havre France aboard HT D31 Durham and disembarked in Melbourne on 23 December 1918. On his return Bert rejoined the Victorian Police Force becoming sergeant of both Queenscliff and Geelong police stations he married Catherine Milne Scott in 1920.

The family tells of Bert as he was better known that relates to his method of not having to complete police paperwork for some arrests. The story goes that he would apprehend local drunks in Geelong and put them aboard the steamers bound for Melbourne where they would have to pay for their passage there and he would return to Geelong. As well as working in Geelong with the Victorian Police Force he also worked around the Brunswick Albert Park and Kooyong areas before he finally moved with his family to St Kilda.

Having moved to St Kilda Herbert Newland took up a position as sergeant of the first Shrine Guard at the new Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance and fought to wear the light horse uniform instead of the police uniform. Herbert Leslie Newland passed away on 10 May 1964 at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital aged 73 and is buried in the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.



  1. ancestry.com.au
  2. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338944
  3. Werribee Shire Banner’s Roll of Honor, 29 July 1915, p.3.
  4. https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=222370
  5. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7994924
  6. Photos and Background: Courtesy Rob Newland

Research by: Graeme Reilly (ALHS)