HAMMOND George Meysey

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.

Broome Connection

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.

War Service

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.

 

Awards

Captain George Meysey Hammond front row, seated eighth from the left (after his arm injury). Photo courtesy AWM

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. As Intelligence Officer he went forward with the advance party and secured much valuable information. Though only having the use of one arm, he captured a score of prisoners single handed. He was fearless in the extreme volunteering for any dangerous work, and making a number of reconnaissances of the front line through which he obtained much useful informationSource: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 110 Date: 25 July 1918

Bar to Military Cross
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in an attack. When the barrage opened, he jumped out of the trench and cleverly led his men across ‘No Man’s Land’. The first to jump into the hostile trench, he pointed his revolver at the enemy, with the result that twenty surrendered to him. He quickly consolidated his line, and put out covering parties. He set a fine example of courage and coolness, and was subsequently woundedSource: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23 Date: 12 February 1919

Enlistment Details

Newspaper Articles

Other Online Resources

View George Meysey Hammond at the National Archives of Australia
View George Meysey Hammond at the Australian War Memorial
George Meyesy Hammond: Australian Dictionary of Biography

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