6754 Private Sydney John GROSVENOR
Sydney John GROSVENOR was born at Wickham, NSW, on 24 August 1888, the second of ten children of Archibald Thomas GROSVENOR and Prudence GROSVENOR (nee Prouse). The family later moved to Victor Harbor and he was educated at the local public school.
Syd, as he was known, first enlisted in the AIF on 28 February 1916, aged 27 years and six months. He was farming at Inman valley and was married to Hervey GROSVENOR (nee Campbell), and was still serving with the 22nd Light Horse Regiment, having been with the Regiment for four years.
He was given the serial number 1154 and posted to the 3rd Pioneer Battalion then based at the AIF Exhibition Camp at Broadmeadows, Victoria. His army service was short lived as the family doctor, Sydney Verco of Yankalilla, advised his wife needed to be hospitalised for a complex operation. He was given a discharge for family medical reasons but re-enlisted again on 19 September 1916 and was posted to the 22nd Reinforcements, 10th Battalion, Australian Infantry.
On 7 November 1916, the Reinforcement Unit embarked from Adelaide on the HMAT A19 Afric and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 9 January 1917. The embarkation roll reveals his daily rate of pay was five shillings of which he remitted home three shillings to his mother. All enlisted men received an additional one shilling per day pay, to be paid on completion of their overseas service.
On berthing at Plymouth the soldiers entrained to the Australian base on the Salisbury Plains where they underwent further training to prepare them for service at the front. On 22 May 1917, Syd proceeded to Southampton for embarkation to France. The channel crossing was undertaken at night due to the constant threat of enemy submarine activity. Arriving at Havre the next day, Syd remained at the Australian Base Depot until 13 June when he marched out to the 10th Battalion at Ribemont.
The 10th Battalion, part of the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade, was undergoing a period of reorganisation. Their training focussed on musketry practice, route marches, platoon and company attacks and how to deal with gas shellings.
By 24 June 1917, the Battalion was near Mailly-Maillet, about ten kilometres north of Albert, and prepared for an attack to drive the Germans out of Auchonvilliers and Mailly-Mallet. The 3rd Brigade’s intention was to seize the high ground in that area on the night of 25-26 June and the 10th Battalion advanced as part of the second wave in the centre, with the 11th Battalion on the right flank and the 12th Battalion on the left.
In late March 1918, the German army, utilising troops freed by the collapse of Russia in October 1917, launched a major offensive on the Western Front.
On 30 June 1918, Syd was wounded in the right shoulder by gunfire and admitted to the 1st Casualty Clearing Station. He was later evacuated to England where he was sent to the Suffolk Military Hospital. His family was not advised of his injuries until 12 July. Three weeks later his condition was considered much improved and was transferred to No 4 Convalescent Depot where he remained until 21 November 1918. Eight days later Syd rejoined his unit in France.
Syd was repatriated to Australia on 20 May, sailing on the HT Nestor, which berthed at Port Adelaide on 29 June 1919 and he was demobilised on 7 August 1919.
He returned to farming and there were three children of the marriage. Sydney John GROSVENOR died on 5 October 1971. He is buried in the Peake Cemetery.
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team, September 2015.