Private Herbert Curtis was part of the 41st Battalion which played a key role in blocking the German Army’s last great offensive of 1918.
Rotated between the front and rear lines in Belgium after its actions on the Western Front in October of 1917, the 41st was rushed to France in March, 1918 to stem the German advance.
Herbert, who had been posted to the 41st in January, was among the force which prevented the German capture of the strategic railway junction at Amiens.
He was wounded in action on August 11, suffering shrapnel wounds to his left arm, during the initial advance after the Allies launched their own offensive on August 8.
Herbert remained in France, recovering from his wounds, while the battalion continued to push the Germans back during August and September.
In October, Herbert rejoined the 41st Battalion as it was participating in a joint effort with the Americans to breach the Hindenburg Line at St Quentin Canal – the battalion’s last action of the war. Herbert and his battalion were out of action when the war ended in November and in December he was granted leave to return to England.
The 41st Battalion was disbanded in May, 1919 and Herbert embarked on the Themistocles on June 12, arriving in Australia on August 10.
Herbert Curtis had been a 30-year-old farmer when he enlisted in Brisbane on March 31, 1917. Embarking from Sydney on June 14 on the HMAT Hororata, Herbert arrived in Liverpool on August 26 and less than three weeks later was admitted to hospital with mumps.
He was initially part of the 25th reinforcements of the 9th Battalion but was shipped from Southampton in January 1918 to reinforce the 41st Battalion which formed part of the 3rd Division’s 11th Brigade.
His father was Sydney Curtis, who selected land on Tamborine Mountain and, as a Councillor in the then Tambourine Shire Council, moved that Witches Falls be set aside as Queensland’s first National Park, proclaimed in March 1908.
After returning from the war, Herbert resumed farming, working his father’s old selection on Curtis Road, and also became involved in local affairs, serving for three terms as a member of the Tambourine Shire Council.
He also had a deep appreciation of the natural values of Tamborine Mountain and worked for the Queensland Government to define an area for a bird sanctuary on the Mountain, identifying and listing the native species living there.
Herbert’s son, Sydney, followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and when the Forestry Department amalgamated with the National Parks in 1975 contributed to the drafting of the National Parks Act.