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COLES, David Henry (1894-1917) +

David Henry Coles

David Henry Coles

COLES, David Henry (1894-1917)

David Coles was born at Lake Rowan, near Tungamah on 8 July 1894, the son of George Coles and his wife, Elizabeth Malcolm nee Scouler. He was one of a family of seven boys and four girls. He was enrolled at Geelong College in 1904 by George Coles giving an address of Noble St, Geelong. That year he was awarded equal 1st prize in Geography in the 3rd Form of the Junior College. He later worked in the family business at Wilmot in Tasmania.

During World War I, he enlisted (No 393) at Brighton in Tasmania in the 3 Light Horse Regiment, AIF on l September 1914, and embarked from Hobart with C Squadron on HMAT A2 Geelong on 20 October 1914 for Egypt, where he transferred to 37 Battery, 10 Field Artillery Brigade. He went with his battery to Gallipoli, served through the campaign there, then went on to France where he died on 20 October 1917, of wounds suffered at the Battle of the Ridges.

Driver, Patrick Joseph Healy of Forest Lodge, NSW wrote to the Red Cross Information Bureau about the circumstances of his death: 'I saw Coles after he was hit at the gun position at Ypres, between Zonnebeke and Passchendaele, being badly wounded through the shoulder. He was taken away by stretcher-bearers. It was read out to us that he died, but I do not know where, nor where he is buried.'

Coles was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium —Grave XXA.E.17. The epitaph on his headstone reads:

Coles' brother, Sgt James Scouler Coles (1888-1916), was killed in action at Pozieres on 10 August 1916, and another brother, Lt Arthur William Coles (1892-1982), was evacuated to Australia in May 1917 after being wounded a third time. Their older brother, Pte George James Coles (No 3396), enlisted in the 60 Battalion (9 Reinforcement Group) and embarked from Sydney on HMAT A16 Port Melbourne on 16 July 1917. He was wounded in France on 26 April 1918 by a bullet wound to the left knee, necessitating hospitalisation at 14 Field Ambulance at Etretat, then evacuation to England, and repatriation to Australia, embarking on HT Marathon shortly before the Armistice on 6 November 1918.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War by James Affleck p19 (citing Walter Ives, Arthur William Coles: With Zeal and Integrity; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; John Laffin, We Will Remember Them: AIF Epitaphs of World War 1; Image of David Henry Coles courtesy of the Coles Family).
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