1815 Private Frank Harris RUMBELOW
Frank Harris Rumbelow was born at Encounter Bay on 26 March 1895, the third child of Godfrey Rumbelow and Ada Louisa Rumbelow (nee Heading). He was educated at the Victor Harbor Public School andprior to his enlistment in the AIF on 27 August 1915, had served in the militia’s 22nd Light Horse Regiment. His riding whip, used during bivouacs and manoeuvres with the 22nd LH Regiment, was donated to the RSL Victor Harbor Sub-branch on 9 April 2011 by Peter Rumbelow, his nephew.
After basic training, Frank was posted to the 2nd Reinforcement Unit, 32nd Infantry Battalion; they sailed on the troopship HMAT A30 Borda on 11 January 1916 from Adelaide. The men arrived in Egypt and underwent further training. In March 1916, Frank transferred to the newly formed 48th Battalion and the unit sailed for France in June 1916 and entrained to the Western Front.
The Battalion went into battle shortly after their arrival and Frank was wounded (GSW, head) on 7 August 1916 in the Battle of Pozieres. Evacuated to England, he later recovered and rejoined the 48th Battalion on 19 December 1916.
The year 1917 was a trying year for the 48th Battalion. In two of the major battles in which it fought – the first Battle of Bullecourt, in France, and the Battle of Passchendaele, in Belgium – it was forced to withdraw with heavy casualties as result of poor planning and inadequate support. Many men were captured and the casualties were very high. On neither occasion did the Battalion fail for want of courage or skill amongst its own troops.
At 12.15 am on 12 October 1917, the Battalion left its trenches at Westhoek Ridge (Belgium) and formed up in readiness for an assault against the enemy-held Passchendaele Ridge. The ground they had to cover was poor terrain, muddied from heavy rains and movement was impeded. A rolling artillery barrage preceded the men by 150 yards but was of little effect due to the muddied ground. Against well-prepared German defences, the gains were minimal and there were 13,000 Allied casualties.
Pte Rumbelow was initially reported missing in action. In April 1918, a Court of Enquiry recorded him as killed in action on 12 October 1917. He is buried in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium.
Service file of 1815 Frank Harris RUMBELOW downloaded from the National Archives of Australia ( www.naa.gov.au ).
Australian War Memorial database ( www.awm.gov.au ).