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BERRY, Walter Wimble (1882-1952)

BERRY, Walter Wimble (1882-1952)

Walter Berry was born on 21 December 1882, the son of Howard Wesley and Georgina Louise Wimble. He was educated Scotch College from 1895 until 1897, and Geelong College, entering there in 1898. His address at enrolment was 180 George St, East Melbourne.

He served in the Senior Cadet Battalion, and the Victorian Rifles, before being seconded to Canada from 1908 until 1914. He married Miss Margaret Helen Thomson, daughter of William and Betsy Thomson, on 15 June 1910, and served in the 51st Infantry Battalion, Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada for six years prior to enlisting during World War I in the AIF in the 3rd Pioneer Battalion as Pegasus reported:

'Captain W W Berry, formerly of the Canadian Military Forces, and now of the Pioneer Battalion, Broadmeadows, paid a visit to the school recently, and was glad to revive old memories'.

He enlisted in the AIF on 20 March 1916, and embarked for France on HMAT A62 Wandilla on 6 June, 1916 with Headquarters Company, serving there and in Belgium for some time, prior to attending a Staff course at Clare College, Cambridge late in 1917. He returned to France in March 1918, and was appointed Camp Commandant Australian Corps Headquarters at Bertangles on 1 June, 1918. On 8 August (Der Schwartze Tag) he was standing next to Sir John Monash at Hamel when the barrage began early that morning, as reported by John Thomson in 'On Lips of Living Men':

'... when 4.20 arrived the boom of that barrage was just like one tremendous thump. Everything dropped at once. We were quite some distance in the rear but it was very audible, just this one thump, and it was followed by intermittent fighting, each unit carrying on its own programme. I was very moved by this, being a very great admirer of my general, and I turned to him and I said 'Sir, this is a most wonderful day for you.' He turned to me and, putting his hand on my shoulder, he said, 'No, Berry, ... it is a wonderful day for Australia, and history will bear this out.'

The Australian War Memorial Collection holds a group portrait taken at Bertangles, France, on 20 July 1918, of Lieutenant General Sir John Monash KCB VD, and Staff Officers at Australian Corps Headquarters, including amongst others Brigadier General T A Blamey CMG DSO, BGGS; Lt Col HDK Macartney DSO, GSOII (Old Geelong Grammarian), Royal Artillery; Major R G Casey DSO MC, GSO2 (Old Melburnian); Major W W Berry, Camp Commandant; and Mr C E W Bean, Official War Correspondent. AWM also holds another featuring Monash, the Australian Corps Commander, with his two Aides-de-Camp and the Camp Commandant, at the Australian Corps Headquarters, ADC; Major Walter Wimble Berry, Camp Commandant, Captains A M Moss and P W Simonson, ADC. Berry was discharged on 16 September 1919, and returned by way of America at his own expense on SS Baltic, for the purpose of attending to urgent business matters for his father’s company Henry Berry & Co Pty Ltd, and from there to Australia on SS Niagara.

In 1935, he was Co-Vice President of the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA).

He died in Melbourne, Australia on 19 August 1952.

His brother, Randal Avis Berry (1892-1941), was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck pp 138-9 (citing John Thomson, On Lips of Living Men; Pegasus; National Archives; AWM E02766; E03186).
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