Arthur White (Service No. 34118)
(1898 - 1972)
Arthur White was born September 1898 in Laverton to parents Henry Stewartson White and Ursula Catherine White nee Tulloch. The White’s had been earlier residents of Laverton living and working in the area between the early 1890’s and 1900 as wood merchant/carriers. Following a short period in Newport the family then moved to the eastern suburbs of Cheltenham and then to Brighton where Henry established his wood merchant business.
Arthur White was 18 years and 2 months old when he enlisted into the AIF on 10 October 1916 he was single and working as a Packer at the time of enlistment living with his parents in Brighton. His brother Henry Stewartson White Jnr had enlisted nine months prior. Arthur’s name does not appear on the Laverton honor board nor does it appear in the Werribee Shire Banner Roll of Honor but as he was born in Laverton then like others he deserves to be included here in this publication.
Arthur undertook training before leaving Australia which included attending Signal School and was initially attached to the 38th Battalion as a private but before embarkation was attached to the 8th Field Artillery Brigade as a driver. This was no easy job because as a driver you were required to drive the team of horses pulling the guns and ammunition wagons up to the front line.
The reinforcements for the 8th Field Artillery Brigade including Driver White embarked Melbourne on 11 May 1917 aboard HMAT A11 Ascanius reaching England in July 1917 where they undertook further training in preparation for France. By December 1917 Driver Arthur White had joined the 8th in Belgium near Passchendaele. The Allied forces had pushed the Germans back further into Belgium and what was to be known as the Second Battle of Passchendaele began. This was in the beginning of the European winter and Arthur would have been required to drive a team of horses pulling heavy artillery and wagons through thick mud over uneven ground that had previously been subjected to heavy shelling under constant fire and barrages of enemy fire.
In early 1918 Arthur White took ill and was evacuated back to England suffering from rheumatic myositis that required treatment and rest for about two months. He rejoined his unit in June 1918 in Northern France but during further action on the front line it appears that Arthur received a serious wound that required him to be evacuated for treatment in England. He was required to remain in England during for the balance of the fighting with the armistice being signed in November 1918 bringing the conflict to an end.
Arthur White remained with his unit in England undertaking various duties in the aftermath and finally embarked from England aboard the SS Port Dennison on 25 September 1919. The ship made a stop in Adelaide on 7 November where Arthur appears to have left the ship and not returned officially being classified as AWOL. His records note that he was discharged from service on 21 December 1919.
Arthur eventually returned to the family who were still living in Brighton and appears to have started working as a nurseryman. In 1921 he literally married the girl next door when he wed Christina Lilian Lochhead who lived next door to his parents. The couple remained in the Brighton/Elsternwick area for some time and Arthur eventually joined the Victorian Railways working as a railway guard. By the 1960’s the couple had moved to the Camberwell area and in 1972 aged 73 Arthur White passed away and is buried in the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.