About George Meysey Hammond
George was born in 1892 at Handsworth, Staffordshire in England to George and Emily Hammond. After schooling privately, George was secretary to a vicar and then apprenticed as a grocer, but longed for adventure, so emigrated to Western Australia in 1911. After a short farming venture George signed on as a seaman in Fremantle aboard the schooner Penguin which regularly travelled to the East Indies. George then sat the qualifying exam for entry into the Commonwealth Public Service.
George was working at the Broome Post Office as a postal assistant when was broke out. His attestation paper was signed by the Mayor of Broome W. Clarke-Hall and his medical was performed in Broome by J. Smythe-Yule.
George enlisted for the AIF in February 1915 and was assigned to the 28th Battalion, A Company. He was promoted to corporal in May 1915 and sailed for Egypt in June. Another promotion to Sergeant followed in August. The 28th Battalion landed at ANZAC Cove on the 10th and 11th September and moved into trenches near Rhododendron Ridge. During the months at Gallipoli George distinguished himself with patrol work and had a reputation for absolute fearlessness. He fell ill during the evacuation of Gallipoli in December but was awarded the Military Medal for his work during this period.
George rejoined his unit just before it left Egypt for France. He was wounded in the leg during heavy fighting north of Pozieres and was promoted to Second Lieutenant. In September 1916 George rejoined his unit and the next month accompanied the unit to the Somme. Just before the attack on the German trenches at Flers in November, his left arm was shattered by a sniper bullet. His arm was rendered useless after the injury and kept in a sling. He was recommended to return to Australia, but pleaded strongly to stay in France and was back with his unit by May 1917.
A Lieutenant now, George was appointed intelligence officer, probably with the intention on keeping him out of the fighting, however this did not stop him joining in. In September he captured twenty Germans and won the Military Cross, and was prominent in the attack on Broodseinde Ridge, where he and the signals officer were observed well ahead of the advancing infantry, exuberantly charging pillboxes.
Early in 1918 Hammond was transferred to the War Records Section, a position he took with obvious reluctance, and begged to return to his unit. In May 1918 he rejoined his unit as Captain. On June 10th the 28th Battalion attacked the German lines at Morlancourt. Hammond walked ahead of his men, checking the bounds of the barrage with his watch in his hand, and straightening out the line and ordering it to the ground whenever it moved too close to the shell fire. He was the first man in enemy trenches and a dozen or so Germans had surrendered to him before the rest of the troops arrived.
George was injured while visiting his outpost the next day and died on 14th June and was buried in the Viquacourt cemetery. He was posthumously awarded a Bar to Military Cross for his deeds at Morlancourt.