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Clyde Warren MIDDLETON


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 3835 19y5m 24/09/15 24/11/16 KA 4 & 7

Private Clyde Warren Middleton (1896-1916)

Booklet

Family Background and Enlistment

Clyde Warren Middleton was the second son of James and Emily Middleton (née Purdy). His mother and father and elder brother Clifford were communicant members of Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. The family lived at Hamilton Cottage, Newmarket Road, Windsor. Clyde had served in the senior cadet corps for three years before enlisting in Brisbane on 24 September 1915, to serve overseas in the Australian Imperial Force. He was given service number 3835 and attached to the 9th Battalion for training at Enoggera Camp.  A single man, aged 19 years and 5 months, Clyde had worked in Brisbane as a labourer.

Private Middleton sailed on HMAT Itonus from Brisbane on 30 December 1915, proceeded to join his unit at Zeitoun Camp, Egypt on 17 March 1916 and transferred to the 49th Battalion while at Serapaum on 2 April.  The 49th embarked from Alexandria on 5 June on HMAT Arcadian and arrived at Marseilles, France on 12 June 1916.

The Western Front

Predominantly composed of men from Queensland, the 49th moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time.  It fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm in August and suffered heavily, particularly in the assault launched on 3 September.  The battalion saw out the rest of the year alternating between front-line duty, and training and labouring behind the line. As the bleak winter of 1916 approached, Clyde Middleton lost his life in the field in France on 24 November 1916 and was buried at Bulls Road Cemetery at Flers.

The supreme sacrifice

When the cable notifying Mrs Middleton that her son had been killed in action arrived at her home in Windsor, she was confused as it mentioned a machine gun company to which the late soldier had belonged.

On behalf of her aunt, Miss F. Thomas, Clyde’s cousin, wrote to Victoria Barracks in Melbourne.  "Mrs Middleton thinks there may be a mistake somewhere,” she said, “as her son, to her knowledge was never in the 13th Machine Gun Coy.  Could you oblige by letting me know if there is a mistake or give some information as to how he met his death.”  The letter in reply confirmed that the soldier referred to as Killed in Action on 24 November 1916 was No. 3835, Private Clyde Warren Middleton, 49th Battalion.  “The reference to 13th Brigade Machine Gun Company was due to a clerical error,” said the officer in charge of Base Records.

Awards

At home in Brisbane, Clyde’s parents received a small parcel containing Clyde’s effects – wallet, souvenir brooch, letters and cards – in July 1917.  The 1914/19 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal reached them in January 1923. Clyde’s father, Mr James Middleton died in 1924.

Memorial

Not far from where he lived in Windsor, Clyde Warren Middleton is also honoured at the Windsor War Memorial in Lutwyche Road. The memorial is a large octagonal mausoleum of brown Helidon sandstone with arches on four sides. The names of 161 local war dead are inscribed on marble panels. It was “erected by the citizens of Windsor in honour of the sailors and soldiers of the town who took part in the Great War 1914 – 1918.”


Select Bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• Commonwealth War Graves Commission
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages
• Brisbane City Council, cemetery records
• Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church Archives, Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Annual Reports 1901 – 1925
• Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
• Photographs - Noel Adsett and Ian Withnall
• Zeitoun camp photograph - Courtesy the National Army Museum of New Zealand #6944.

 


Compiled by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane, January 2015

 

 

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