CRUISE, Albert John OBE (1885-1952)

Modified on Fri, 12 Aug 2016 08:47 by Con — Categorized as: Biography - All, Biography - Students, Geelong College, Biography of War - World War I

CRUISE, Albert John OBE (1885-1952)

Albert John Cruise was enrolled at Geelong College as a boarder on 31 July 1900. His address at entry was Nathalia. It is not known when he departed from College.

He was born on the 13 April 1885, the son of John Cruise and Matilda nee Berg. He was working as a station overseer when he enlisted (No 86) at the beginning of the war as Private A J Cruise, and left with B Company, 1 Battalion for Egypt from Sydney aboard HMAT A19 Afric on 18 October 1914. He went with the Machine Gun Section, was at the Landing on Gallipoli, where he was wounded by shrapnel on 6 May, took part in the Battle of Lone Pine, and was on the Peninsula until the Evacuation, having been promoted 2nd Lieutenant on 9 November. He was evacuated from Malta to Australia by HS Karoola to Australia, suffering pneumonia and enteric fever, embarking on 21 February 1916 on HMAT A14 Wiltshire. He re-embarked with 1 Battalion (19th Reinforcement Group) on 4 November 1916. He proceeded to England where he was promoted Lieutenant on 4 June 1917, seconded to 1st Division Salvage Company on 20 December, and promoted an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, gazetted 3 June 1919, the citation read:

'During the period 16-19 September to 11th November 1918 this officer has shown conspicuous devotion to duty and great gallantry in the performance of that duty. He has organised salvage parties and was instrumental during the advance in September in making German Dumps of HE material available for use in forward positions thus saving time and transport. His work throughout has been characterised by marked individuality and courage in the forward area and has been productive of far reaching results.'

He was wounded in action again on 17 September 1918, and returned to Australia, embarking on 18 July 1919. During World War II he served in Australia with the Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC).

He died in 1952.

The 1st Battalion was the first infantry unit recruited for the AIF in New South Wales during the Great War. The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December.

They took part in the Anzac Landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves, and served there until the Evacuation in December. Its most notable engagement at Gallipoli was the Battle of Lone Pine in August. Two members of the battalion, Captain A J Shout and Lieutenant L M Keysor were awarded Victoria Crosses for their valour at Lone Pine, Captain Shout posthumously. After the withdrawal from Gallipoli in December 1915, the battalion returned to Egypt. In March 1916, it sailed for France and the Western Front.

From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army, principally in the Somme Valley in France, and around Ypres in Belgium. At Bullecourt in May 1917, Corporal G J Howell became the third member of the battalion to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The battalion participated in the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by Allied troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as ‘the black day of the German Army in this war’ (Der Scwhartze Tag). The battalion continued operations until late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. The November Armistice was followed by the peace treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919. Between November 1918 and May 1919 the men of 1 Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation and discharge.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck; pp 160-61 (citing Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives).