Walter POLLOCK #7291

Extract from service record for Walter Pollock, 15th Infantry Battalion (National Archives of Australia)

Indigenous Australian, Walter Pollock, 15th Infantry Battalion

Walter Pollock put his name forward to volunteer for the first AIF in November 1916, 10 days after his younger brother Frank. Born at Noondoo Station, in 1890 to Maggie Freeman (later Green) and David Pollock, Walter was a station hand at Noondoo, like his brother.

Walter was assigned to the 24th Reinforcements for the 15th Infantry Battalion and left Sydney aboard the troopship 'Ayreshire' in January 1917, arriving in England some weeks later.

They were given further training at Codford before embarking for France in July 1917, joining their unit in the field early in August. At this time battalion had moved to the support lines on Messines Ridge, Belgium. Not long after, Walter was admitted to the 7th General Hospital with mumps at St Omer, returning to the battalion 6 weeks later, then were operating near Ypres.

On the eve of 15 October the battalion received heavy shelling throughout the day and between 12 midnight and 2 am the troops in supports were bombarded with gas shells, a good number of men were effected and 12 men had to be evacuated, some up to 24 hours later with the delayed effects on the eyes and throat.

Walter was wounded in the knee and hand during this action and treated at Calais, and then in April 1918 was treated for PUO or trench fever (later found to be transmitted by the lice that soldiers carried in their clothing). Finally in July 1918 Walter was evacuated to England after being again hit with shrapnel, and remained there almost until the end of the war.

With much time on their hands men were offered duties elsewhere while they waited for the turn to go home.

Unidentified members of No 5 Company of the Australian War Graves Detachment at work digging graves at the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery. (Australian War Memorial)

Walter was attached to the Graves Registration Detachment, and assisted with the sombre duty of burying Australian soldiers in formal war cemeteries. He remained with the unit until June 1919 when he was finally shipped home to Australia in September aboard the 'Port Denison'.

When Walter Pollock returned from the war he returned to work on Noondoo Station, with his brother Frank, he died in 1974.

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The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.

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