Bertie William Blatch
Temporary 2nd Corporal
Serial No. 31979
1st Field Artillery Brigade, 5th Divisional Ammunition Column & 14th Field Artillery Brigade
Bertie William Blatch - Information
When Bertie decided to enlist in the AIF, he was living at 4 Westmoreland St, Forest Lodge in Sydney with his family. Bertie was born in Picton, and eventually found work as a packer. He joined up at the Royal Showground Camp on the 4th of October 1916, aged 22. He was then made a Gunner with the 24th Reinforcements, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, before departing Sydney on the 10th of February 1917 upon the RMS Osterley.
Bertie set down in Plymouth in early April, and was marched into the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery at Larkhill. After gaining experience with the guns, he was shipped out to the Western Front via Southampton in August. He was mustered at the Australian General Base Depot, and taken on strength to the 5th Divisional Ammunition Column. In September, he was transferred to the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. He was then wounded in action on the 24th of October, when shrapnel tore his foot and hand. He was treated at the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station rejoining his unit in early December. However, suffering through another winter, and he began feeling unwell. He reported sick on the 22nd of January 1918 with trench fever. The following month, he was evacuated to England to the General Military Hospital in Edmonton. In May, after he recovered, Bertie was appointed EDP Corporal on Permanent Cadre to the No. 4 Command Depot. A month later, he was transferred back to the 14th FAB reverting to Gunner. On the 17th of July, he left Southampton to return to France, for the last few months of the war. He was then detached for duty with the 114th Howitzer Battery in March 1919. In July, he was promoted to Temporary 2nd Corporal before returning to Australia in early September.