Thursday, 21 April 2016

100th ANZAC Dawn Service

25th April 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC Dawn Service which remembers all the Australian and New Zealand service men and women who have fought for their country on foreign shores.

Today, we personally remember George Kirby “Dar” McArthur – father, grandfather and great grandfather. We remember and respect what he gave for his country and for his own personal legacy. Three generations of descendants still honour his life. Here is a very brief outline of his war service and his life. There are many other stories to be told but, for now, his war record is….

·    George claimed he was 19 years old when he enlisted for the Boer War on 27th February 1901 although he was actually 21! His Regimental Number was 2136. He enlisted with the Imperial 3rd Regiment N.S.W Mounted Rifles, B Squadron, who embarked at Sydney on the “Maplemore” on 15th March 1901 and fought in the Eastern Transvaal and in eastern Orange Free State. The Regiment embarked at Cape Town for Australia on 4th May 1902.

·    By 1914, George was in South Australia and when the call went out for men to enlist (WWI had started in Europe), he again signed up with the Australian Military Forces, Australian Imperial Force at Morphetville on 15th September. His Regimental Number was 601 and he was assigned to the 1st Reinforcements, 3rd Light Horse Regiment.

·    On 1st November 1914, a Convoy of 26 Australia and 10 N.Z transports left Albany W.A. bound for Egypt for training. On the evening of 12th May 1915, the 3rd Light Horse arrived at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli – 2.5 weeks after the initial dawn landing. They served in the trenches until the Allies bunked out of Gallipoli on 20th December 1915.

·    George then joined the 4th Division Artillery and served on the Western Front from June 1916 until the end of the War. He arrived back in Australia on 23rd May 1918 and was discharged on 22nd January 1919 after 4 years 130 days service.

BUT, George was not yet finished ‘serving’ his country!

·    A call went out in September 1919 for servicemen to take POW’s back to the U.K. and bring injured soldiers back home. George saw this as his opportunity to get back to the U.K. to see “his girl”! So, he promptly re-enlisted (Regimental Number 86413) and on arrival in London on 12th December 1919, he requested leave. He made his way to Bath where Beatrice “Birdie” Butt lived with her family at 14 Vernon Terrace, Bath. George had met Birdie at some point during the War and they married at Oldfield Park, West Bath, on 6th January 1920. George and Beatrice travelled back to Australia in the April of 1920 and George was discharged on 2nd July 1920.

·    George’s final Regimental Number was N97102. He was asked to join again for WWII to help train the troops but he told them he was too old. He didn’t actually re-enlist but he was given his fourth Regimental number!

George and Birdie settled in Kissing Point Road, Dundas on 25 acres of farmland which they purchased for 200 pounds. They grew seasonal fruit and vegetables and soon had a complete family with the arrival of Monica, Joan and Bon.

It is unfortunate that George and Birdie only had 10 years together before Birdie succumbed to Tuberculosis. But their legacy lives on through 3 living generations of descendants.

Today, we honour and celebrate Dar’s service to his country.