4192 Private Alfred Eli VINCE – died of wounds on 9 August 1916
Alfred Eli VINCE, the second son of James Frederick VINCE and Mary Anne VINCE (nee HALL), was born on 23 February 1876 at Summertown (SA); by the beginning of World War One, his parents were living at Port Elliot.
At age 39, and employed as a gardener at Summertown, Eli, as he was known, was older than most when he enlisted on 30 August 1915 at Adelaide. He was posted to the 13th Reinforcement Unit of the 16th Battalion, which was already serving at Gallipoli.
The reinforcements sailed from Port Adelaide on HMAT Borda on 11 January 1916, reaching Egypt as the doubling of the Australian Imperial Force was being implemented. Alfred was among some from the 16th Battalion transferred on 8 March 1916 to the newly created 48th Battalion, which comprised mostly men from South Australia and Western Australia.
The 48th Battalion sailed from Alexandria on 2 June 1916, and landed at Marseilles seven days later; they then entrained to Merris on the Western Front.
Between 4-12 July, the Battalion had their first experience in the frontline near Fleurbaix and then the remainder of the month spent training and resting.
The 48th’s first major battle was Pozieres in August were it was tasked with defending ground captured in earlier attacks. Between 5 and 7 August, the Battalion endured what was said to be the heaviest artillery barrage ever experienced by Australian troops and suffered 598 casualties.
Up to midday on 7 August, heavy artillery fire destroyed trenches creating a mass of craters. Alfred was badly wounded in his elbow, legs and chest that day and evacuated to the British 44th Casualty Clearing Station where he died on 9 August 1916. He was buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery, France.
Two packages of Alfred’s personal effects reached his parents in July 1917. Later his family received his British War Medal and Victory Medal, together with the King’s Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque.
Alfred is commemorated at Port Elliot on the War Memorial and by a Norfolk Pine Tree in the Port Elliot Soldiers Memorial Garden. He is also listed on the Memorial Gates of the Summertown Oval.
Service file downloaded from the National Archives of Australia
Australian War Memorial database ( www.awm.gov.au )
Compiled by the Port Elliot RSL History Research Team, December 2017.