Herbert Pascoe
Service Number 3158

Private Herbert Pascoe was gassed and suffered a gunshot wound to the right arm in little more than a year on the Western Front.

The son of Mary Emma Pascoe and the late Joseph Pascoe of Beaudesert, Herbert was a 26-year-old labourer when he enlisted in the AIF on September 4, 1916.

Although he had already served four years in the Light Horse in Beaudesert, Herbert answered ‘yes’ to the question of whether had previously been rejected as unfit for His Majesty’s Service, adding ‘heart’.

Nevertheless, he was passed fit for overseas service and was initially assigned to the 7/4th Pioneers. Herbert left Brisbane on the Kyarra on November 11, 1916 and arrived at Plymouth on January 30, 1917.

From Fovant in southwest Wiltshire where he had been training, Herbert proceeded to France where he became part of the 52nd Battalion in July.

After the Battle of Polygon Wood in September, the 52nd spent a bleak winter in the trenches.

Herbert was wounded at the Battle of Dernancourt on April 5, 1918, when the 52nd Battalion helped to repel the largest German attack against Australian troops during the war.

Suffering a gunshot wound to the right arm, Herbert was evacuated to England and was admitted to the Fort Pitt Military Hospital in Chatham.

When Herbert returned to France in July, it was as part of the 42nd Battalion. The 52nd had been disbanded in May following the heavy losses at Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux in April, and its troops used to reinforce other brigades.

“Faced the largest German attack against Australians of the war.”

Transferred between three battalions in the last months of 1918.

On August 25, Herbert was again wounded in action, this time in a gas attack, and was evacuated to Graylingwell War Hospital in Chichester where he was treated for gas poisoning.

Herbert was discharged from hospital on September 18. On October 9, he was transferred from the 42nd Battalion to the 15th Battalion, after the 42nd had been ordered to disband in September to reinforce other battalions.

However, at the request of Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes, the 15th Battalion had been withdrawn from the lines in October to rest and reorganise. With the signing of the Armistice in November, neither Herbert nor his latest battalion saw action again.

Herbert left England on the Orsova on January 8, 1919 and arrived in Australia on March 6. He was discharged from the Army on April 5.

Greylingwell Military Hospital.

(Image: Public Domain.)


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