MIDDLE EASTERN THEATRE

'

When war was declared on the Axis forces by Australian Prime Minister Mr Robert Menzies on the 3rd September 1939, preparations were speedily made to send Australian volunteers to Europe and the Middle East to fight for the Allied powers.

By 1940 thousands of Australian army, navy and air force personnel were serving in the North Africa and Palestine Theatre against Italian and German forces.  

Quite a few Haleians were among them and the hostilities took their inevitable toll'.


Plaque No 67: 

Cpl James Thomas Willis

Hale School 1924-1928

2/13 Australian Infantry Battalion
Killed in Action: Er Regima, North Africa, 4 April 1941, Age 29  

James attended Hale School as a boarder from Leonora between 1924 and 1928. His father had been a pioneering pastoralist in the district since the mid-1890s. On leaving school he became a jackeroo and worked on various stations in the north and subsequently in New South Wales.

When World War II broke out he joined a New South Wales infantry battalion, the 2/13th  at Moree, and subsequently sailed with them to the North African Theatre of operations arriving in late November, 1940.  Shortly after they were involved in heavy fighting against advancing German forces near Benghazi.

He was killed in action while engaging German tanks with a light machine gun, enabling the remainder of his section to escape.

Dedicated and laid by his daughter Helen Campbell, Head Girl of St Mary's C.E.G.S. in 1954.

 

Plaque No 68:

Pte Douglas Murray Gerloff

Hale School 1923-1933

2/11th Battalion
Died on Active Service: Greece - 25 April 1941. Age 25  

Doug lived in Mount Lawley and attended Hale School from 1923 to 1933. He was a member of the 1st XI and the 1st XVIII and represented the School at the Inters athletics. He joined a law firm as an articled clerk after leaving school and was within one examination of being admitted to the bar when war broke out in 1939.

He immediately joined the first Western Australian battalion to be formed, the 2/11th, and after training at Northam and Ingleburn in N.S.W. he was posted to the intelligence section when the unit embarked for the Middle East.  He served in the Western Desert and then in Greece, when his battalion was later transferred there.

Private Gerloff was badly wounded at Mount Olympus on the 19th April, 1941 but managed to escape the advancing German forces to reach Kalamarta in the southern Pelopponese some days later. He twice swam out to sea in an attempt to be picked up by British destroyers but unluckily was not sighted by them. He managed to return to the beach but died during the night of his wounds and exposure. It was Anzac Day, 1941.

Dedicated by Hale School
Placed by his nephew, Mr Allan Gerloff, representing his mother, Mrs Dorothy Gerloff and cousin, Tracy Buckholz.

 

Plaque No 69:

Lieut. Robert Neville Rose

Hale School 1928-1931

2/16th Battalion
Killed In Action: Syria - 7th July 1941. Age 26

Neville was known as "Nibbler" at School. He attended as a boarder from Burekup between 1928 and 1931. He was a left hand opening bat and a leg spin bowler for the 1st XI.

After leaving School he returned to the farm but after the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the 2/16th Battalion. He was promoted acting-sergeant soon after and was then commissioned Lieutenant before the unit went into action in Syria in June 1941.

He was killed in action in an engagement at the Damour River as the battalion entered the final phase of the thrust toward the capture of Beirut and the final surrender of the Vichy French forces.

Dedicated by his family.
Placed by his Haleian brother, Mr Forrest Rose and Mrs Rose, assisted by Haleian nephew Robert Rose and great-nephew, Robert Rose of Wilson House.

 

Plaque No 70:

Fl Lt John Henry William Saunders

Hale School 1936-1937

3 Sqn RAAF: Killed In Action, Egypt - 22 October 1941. Age 21

John lived in Cottesloe, first went to Christchurch Grammar and then to Hale School in 1936 and 1937 for the final two years of schooling. He was a member of the 1st XI, the 1st XVIII, the Inters athletics team and was a School prefect in Sixth Form.

On the outbreak of hostilities he volunteered for the air force and after the training period with the Empire Air Training Scheme he was posted to the Middle Eastern Theatre. He flew Tomahawk fighter aircraft with No 3 Squadron RAAF in the North African campaign against German and Italian forces.

Dedicated by his family
Placed by his Haleian brother Mark, assisted by nephew Josh Saunders of Parry House.

 

Plaque No 71:

F/O Eric Francis Kennedy Pearse

Hale School 1925-1929

113 Sqn RAF
Killed In Action: Burma/India - 23 May 1942. Age 29

Eric came from 'Nalbarra Station' at Mount Magnet and attended Hale School between 1925 and 1929. He was a prefect, was captain of the 1st XI and runner-up as champion athlete in his final year; he was also on the Cygnet committee.

He worked for the Elders stock firm for three years then returned to farming but on the outbreak of war volunteered for the air force and was selected to undergo training as a pilot in the Empire Air Training Scheme at Cunderdin, then Geraldton. After gaining his wings he was posted to India and joined Number 113 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, flying bombing operations in Blenheim aircraft against Japanese positions over the border into Burma.

On the 22nd May, 1942, when returning from a successful operation against enemy positions, Flying Officer Pearse’ aircraft struck severe turbulence and dropped a thousand feet through an air pocket to hit the ground. All on board were killed

Dedicated by his family
Laid by his Old Haleian brother Colin Pearse, assisted by his sisters Betty Holmes and Loris Pearse.

 

Plaque No 72:

L.A.C. Michael Courthope Haynes

Hale School 1936-1938

22 SFTS RAAF
Died On Active Service: Rhodesia - 1 July 1942. Age 21

Michael lived in Armadale and travelled from there each day to attend Hale School between 1936 and 1938. He was described in his School reports as being a quiet, steady and keen worker.

Upon leaving School, he joined the Public Works Department as a trainee draughtsman/architect. When war broke out he joined the 10th Light Horse Regiment but when they disbanded he transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941 and after initial training at Pearce Base in Western Australia he was posted to Egypt and then to Rhodesia for further flying training.

During World War II, many of the fatalities in the Allied Air Forces came as a result of training accidents. It was a period when the urgency of the hour meant that short cuts had to be taken. He was killed on a formation flying training flight. He was buried at Gwelo Cemetery, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Dedicated by his family
Placed by his brother, 94 year old Haleian, Mr E.J. (Ted) Haynes, assisted by his Haleian sons, Mr Jim Haynes and Mr John Haynes, in the attendance of 7 members of the Haynes family, 5 of which are Old Haleians.

 

Plaque No 73:

Pte Ronald Augustus Terry

Hale School 1923-1928

2/28th Battalion
Killed In Action: El Alamein - 27 July 1942. Age 31

Ron joined the 2/28th Western Australian infantry battalion as a re-inforcement in 1941, travelled to the Middle East and joined the unit after they had been relieved from the siege of Tobruk. When the battalion was sent into action again, later in mid-1942, Ron Terry took part in the first attack on Ruin Ridge near El Alamein in Libya. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Grave cemetery at El Alamein .

Dedicated by Hale School
Placed by Old Haleian, Mr Peter Salmon, who also served in the 2/28th Battalion at Tobruk
and at El Alamein in North Africa in 1942, then the senior vice-president of the 2/28th Battalion Association.

 

Plaque No 74:

Pte A Graham Male

Hale School 1920-1928

2/28 Battalion
Died On Active Service: North Africa - 18 Aug 1942. Age 30

Graham lived in Havelock House, next to the old school in Havelock Street, West Perth and attended Hale School between 1920 and 1928.  His family was one of the prominent pioneering pearling dynasties in Broome.

After leaving School he joined the Commercial Bank and after war broke out he joined the 2/28th Battalion on the same day as Ron Terry and travelled to the Middle East with him. He was also involved in the Battle of Ruin Ridge and was captured during that engagement. He was placed on an Italian transport, 'Nino Bixio' to be taken to a prison camp in Italy. Unfortunately the ship was torpedoed by a British submarine in the Mediterranean Sea and, along with many others, Graham lost his life through drowning on the 18th August 1942.

Dedicated by Hale School
Laid by his sister-in-law, Mrs Alice Male, assisted by his nieces, Jan Lyon, Jill Murdoch and Ann Wright.

 

Plaque No 75:

Sgt Norman Ross Buchanan

Hale School 1934-1936

223 Squadron RAF
Died on Active Service: North Africa - 25 September 1942. Aged 22  

Ross was born in 1920 and attended Hale School as a boarder from ' Ferndale ', Cookernup from 1943 to 1936.

At school he was the champion boxer for his weight, was in the 1st XI cricket team, the first XVIII and the Inters-athletics team.

After leaving school, he joined Elder Smiths in Perth and after war broke out he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and trained as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner through the Empire Air Training Scheme. He became the Inter-Services Boxing Champion in 1941, when he knocked out the army representative in the final after being behind on points for most of the match.

After a time for further training in Rhodesia, he was posted to No 223 Squadron of the Royal Air Force for operational flying in North Africa against Rommel's Afrika Korps. He died on active service as the result of an aircraft accident during the period preceding the Battle of El Alamein.

Dedicated by his family
placed by his Haleian brother, Mr Alan Buchanan, who had travelled from Adelaide and his sister Mrs Patricia Welsh.

 

Plaque No 76:

Capt. Peter Renbury Jacoby

Hale School 1931-1935

2/32 Battalion
Killed In Action: El Alamein - 22 October 1942. Age 25

Peter lived in Crawley. His father, Arthur Jacoby was the general manager of the Swan Brewery Company. Peter was an only child. He attended Hale School from 1931 to 1935. He was a prefect in 1934 and Captain of School in 1935. He was captain of athletics and won the 440 yards at the Inters in 1934 and '35; he was in the swimming team for all of his years at the School and was also captain of the School rifle team. Although not a big person Peter was the School boxing champion - at the annual speech night a boxer had to be impressed from outside the School fraternity to satisfactorily compete against him. He was also the junior sailing champion of the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

After leaving School, he studied law at university and while there served as a Lieutenant in the City of Perth Regiment.

When war broke out he was in Melbourne and he joined the army there. He eventually linked up with the Western Australian 2/32nd Australian infantry battalion at Colchester in England in 1941 (Hale School had had a close association with the original 32nd Battalion throughout the 1st World War -being the source of the 32nd 'Comfort Fund.')

He then travelled with his battalion to the North African Theatre of Operations and was involved as a company commander in the eight month siege of Tobruk in 1941. The battalion was evacuated from Tobruk and the following year was part of the build-up of General Montgomery's 8th Army for the eventual showdown against German Field Marshal Rommel's Afrika Korps

He was shot by a sniper on the 22October 1942, on the eve of the Battle of El Alamein, while on a reconnaissance patrol in front of his battalion lines. He was picked up by some of his men but was shot again as he was being carried in and died a short time later.

Mr Frank Wilson, son of former Headmaster, Mathew Wilson, who lodged with Peter at St George's College when they attended the University of W.A. together, described Peter as: 'a modest prince among men, beloved by all who knew him.'

Dedicated and placed by Mr Ross Sweet, whose association was through his father-in-law, Mr Loris Neumann, who served with Peter Jacoby in the 2/32nd Battalion at Tobruk and at El Alamein in 1941 and 1942.

 

Plaque No 77:

Gnr Frank Alexander Butterick

Entered Hale School 1923

14th Bty; 2/7 Artillery Regt
Killed In Action: El Alamein - 23 October 1942. Age 34

Frank was from a farming family in Wagin and came to Hale School as a boarder in 1923. He was a prefect in his final year, he was Captain of Haynes House (which those days was the Boarding House), a member of both the 1st XI and 1st XVIII and a good tennis player.

After leaving School he joined the Union Bank and was still with them when he joined the army after World War II broke out. He was, at that time, engaged to be married to a girl in Bunbury.

He trained as a gunner and was posted to the 14th Battery of the 2/7th Field Artillery Regiment and travelled with them to the Middle East.

On the first day of battle, Gunner Frank Butterick was manning an Artillery Observation post in the coastal sector of El Alamein when the post received a direct hit from an enemy shell. He was killed instantly.

Dedicated by Hale School
Placed by Old Haleian Mr Keith Potter, who also served at the Battle of El Alamein with the Western Australian 2/28th Battalion.

 

Plaque No 78:

Lieut. Sefton Albert Perkins

Hale School 1924-1927

2/43 Battalion
Killed in Action: El Alamein - 12 November, 1942       

Sefton came from Wagin and boarded at Hale School between 1924 and 1927. His nickname at School was "Snowy"; he was a quiet fellow according to his contemporaries but was in the School athletics team and played for the 1st XI in his final two years.

He joined the army in 1941, was posted to the 2/43rd Infantry Battalion, and went to the Middle East as a re-enforcement officer not long before the Battle of El Alamein.

On the night of 11/12 November he and another officer led a fighting patrol out into enemy lines in an attempt to capture a prisoner for intelligence purposes. Unfortunately they were detected and in the exchange that followed he and his brother officer were killed.

Dedicated by Hale School
Laid by Old Haleian, Mr Harry Jarman who also served at the Battle of El Alamein with the Australian 2/48th Infantry Battalion.

 

Plaque 79:  

Cpl John Aubrey [Jack] Sherwood

Hale School 1927-1928

2/28th Infantry Battalion
Died of Wounds: El Alamein - 8 November 1942. Age 29

Jack attended Hale School from Bridgetown in 1928-29 and after leaving school he became involved in the motor trade both in Perth and Geraldton.

When WWII broke out he joined the 2/28th Infantry Battalion and went with them to the Middle Eastern Theatre. With his battalion he was subsequently involved in the Battle of El Alamein and was commended for his exceptional bravery in the action at Ruin Ridge.

The day after the battle had been won Jack and a friend drove a jeep along a road that was purported to be safe. Unfortunately the vehicle slipped off the side of the road and the two soldiers were blown up by a mine.

He left a wife and infant daughter.

Dedicated by his family
Placed by the daughter he had never seen, Mrs Robin Andrews.

 

Plaque 80:

Plt/Off Bruce McKenzie Ferguson  

Hale School 1928-1933  

11 Squadron RAF
Killed in Action: India - 17 January 1943. Age 24

Bruce was the son of pastoralist Charles Ferguson of Tambery Station on the North-West of Western Australia. He entered Hale School as a ten year old in 1928 and left in 1933. He was an excellent gymnast, according to the Cygnet of the period, and was cox of the winning Head of the River crew in 1933.

During the war he was accepted for pilot training in the Empire Air Training Scheme and on gaining his wings was posted to India where he was taken on the strength of No 11 Bomber Squadron of the Royal Air Force.

He was killed in action while on an operation against enemy positions in Burma.

The School prize for the best all-round sportsman (the Bruce Ferguson Memorial Trophy) was donated by Bruce's family many years ago and is still awarded to this day.

Dedicated by his family
Placed by two of his cousins, Haleian Mr Charles Ferguson and Mrs Min Plunkett

 

Plaque No 81:

Plt/Off Charles Henry (Harry) Broomhall

Hale School 1931-1933 

454 Squadron RAAF
Killed In Action: Libya - June 1943. Age 25

Harry lived in Cottesloe and attended Hale School from 1931 to 1933. He was a keen tennis player and rower.

After leaving School he joined the Commonwealth Bank and prior to joining the Royal Australian Air Force he was on the relieving staff in Narrogin, Bridgetown and Mount Magnet.

He trained as a navigator and was taken on the strength of number 203 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force in May 1942, flying in Baltimore bomber aircraft. He later transferred to an Australian Squadron, number 454 later that year, in October.

He was killed after a take-off in Libya.

Dedicated by his family
Placed by his sister Mrs Dorothy House, assisted by her daughters, Deborah House and Nathalie Haymann.

 

Plaque No 82:

Fl Lt Robert Graham Fox

Hale School 1932-1934

203 Squadron RAF
Killed in Aircraft Accident: Middle East - 5 Nov 1943. Age 26

Graham started his schooling at Guildford and transferred to Hale in 1932 when the family moved to Claremont. A School contemporary recorded that:  ‘he was a good swimmer and played games with gusto and without finesse. He was a very likeable cove with a sense of humour as subtle as an axe!’

His nickname at School was 'Fatty' but his report card records that was a 'fine type'; a strong character. He excelled at football and was a very good boxer too.

He joined the shipping department of Elder Smiths after leaving School and became a stalwart of the Hale Old Boy's Hockey Club. He joined up in 1939 and was one of the early trainees in the Empire Air Training Scheme.

After his initial flying courses at Cunderdin, Pearce and Geraldton, Graham was posted to the Middle East in late 1940 as a Pilot Officer. He flew twin-engined Wellington bombers from Malta with number 203 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Later he was promoted to a flight commander and flew Blenheim bomber aircraft in North Africa and Lebanon. One source records that Fatty would never fly back to base with any spare ammunition. After a bombing raid he would always chase any enemy aircraft in his vicinity.

After surviving two years of sometimes hazardous operational flying (he was shot down on several occasions and managed to walk back to his base through enemy lines) he was killed in an aircraft accident while test flying one of the squadron aircraft alone.

Dedicated and placed by Mr Owen Burges, also a member of aircrew during the Second World War. He and Graham and Harry Broomhall were all close friends at School.

 

Plaque No 83:

Fl. Off. James Bruce Halbert

203 Squadron RAF
Killed in Action: Middle East - 15 April 1945

Unfortunately little is known of James Halbert. It is very probable that he came from the well-known Cunderdin farming family and attended the School in the 1930s.

He, too, went through the full gamut of air crew training with the Empire Air Training Scheme and was eventually posted to the Middle East to join Graham Fox in number 203 Squadron, Royal Air Force, flying Wellington bombers.

While there he met and became engaged to a New Zealand nurse working in Cairo. The couple eventually married but James was killed in action a short time after the celebration.

Dedicated by Hale School placed by the then Chairman of the Hale School Board of Governors, Dr Eric Isaachsen, assisted by the 2001 Captain of School, Scott Murray.

 

to the South West Pacific Plaques 

 

MEMORIAL GROVE

Introduction

Pre WW1 (1)

WW1  
Gallipoli (2-15)
Western Front (16-43)

WW2
 
RAAF/RAF (44-65)
Middle East (66 - 83)
South West Pacific (84-121)

Korea (122-123)