Hector Lionel Saw

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Hector Lionel Saw
Saw Hector Lionel WW1.jpg
Courtesy Robert Morup
Saw Hector Lionel WW1B.jpg
Courtesy Robert Morup
Personal Information
Date of Birth 26 Jul 1892
Place of Birth Armadale, Western Australia
Death 18 Mar 1987, aged 94
Place of Death Nedlands, Western Australia (Hollywood Repatriation Hospital ?)
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 8 months
Description 5' 7 1/2" (1.71m) tall ; 144 lbs
65.317 kg
; dark complexion ; dark brown eyes ; black hair ; scar over left eyebrow
Occupation Storeman
Religion Congregational
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Edward Saw
Military Information
Reg Number 4287
Date of Enlistment 8 Mar 1915
Rank Driver
Unit/Formation 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, Reinforcement 5 - Served with 'B' Section, 8th Battery, 3rd FAB. Later redesignated 5th Brigade Field Artillery.
Date of Embarkation 26 Apr 1915 ‒ 18 May 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A20 Hororata
Date of Return 28 Feb 1919 ‒ 7 Apr 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A68 Anchises Devonport to Albany
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Armadale panel)
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1916 a warehouseman living at 38 Russell street, South Fremantle

War Service

Six weeks after entering Blackboy Hill Camp, Hector was allocated to the 5th reinforcement draft for the 8th Battery, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. His training also included a camp at Rockingham with men from the 37th and 38th batteries. Leaving Fremantle on 26 Apr 1915 aboard HMAT A20 Hororata the reinforcement draft arrived in Egypt along with a load of frozen meat as the ship's voyage had originated in New Zealand. They had travelled via Colombo in Ceylon (Sierra Leone). where they saw some of those injured at Gallipoli on their way back to Australia. Disembarking in Suez (Port Tewfik) they travelled by train to Cairo where they entered camp at Heliopolis.

Following several weeks acclimatization they were embarked on HMT Kingstonian for Lemnos where according to Hector's Oral History held in the Birtwistle Library, they were transferred to a smaller ship and were initially landed at Cape Helles. Not needed there they embarked on another small boat for the voyage north to ANZAC Cove where they joined the reinforcement camp near an old fort that had been destroyed by the Navy. Early duties were associated with unloading boats at the beach, and carrying shells to batteries inland.

On 1 Aug 1915 at Gallipoli he mustered as a Gunner and was taken on strength by the 8th Battery the night of the Battle for Lone Pine, initially used to set fuses for the guns before being utilised as a 'runner'. Hector remained on Gallipoli with them until his Oral History records that they were evacuated to Milos aboard a small steamer with a Chinese crew. The voyage took several days. Milos is an island south of Athens, and considerably south of Lemnos from where his Army records show that he was transferred to Alexandria aboard HMAT A38 Ulysses which left Lemnos on 22 Dec 1915 for Alexandria, arriving there on Christmas Eve 1915. His recollection of where he first landed after leaving Anzac Cove was that the island was smaller than Lemnos, so it may now be known by another name. On arrival back in Egypt he was sent to Heliopolis from where the battery was reformed from a four gun battery to a six gun battery.

On 22 Feb 1916 at Tel-el-Kebir he re-mustered as a Driver. Here they handed over their guns to the newly formed 5th Division artillery and on 23 Mar 1916 they embarked in Alexandria on a tramp steamer (described by Hector as a very poor, slow old boat) to join the BEF in France, arriving in Marseilles on the 29th. After a little more than a week they were moved by train to Le Havre where they received 6 new guns. Requiring dental treatment, he was seen by the 2nd Field Ambulance on 13 and 14 May 1916. The battery's initial position at the front was near Estaires before they moved to participate in the Battle for Pozieres. In 1917 they participated in the battles for Messines, Neuve Eglis, and they also provided support to units on the Somme. As 'Corps troops' they were attached to units other than just Australians, supporting at various times, French, New Zealand and American units.

In late Sep 1917 while in Belgium, Hector was granted leave in the UK, rejoining his unit on 10 Oct 1917. On 5 Nov 1917 he sought medical attention and on 7 November he was ill enough with gastritis to be admitted to the 54th General Hospital, which was a sea of tents in Boulogne. On the 14th he was evacuated to England aboard HMHS St Denis where on the same day he entered the 2nd Military Hospital, Old Park, Canterbury with gastritis. On 22 Nov 1917 he was moved to the Military Hospital at Chatham, and then on 27 Nov 1917 to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital.

Released to duty with No. 3 Command Depot at Hurdcott on 3 Dec 1917, he spent three months with them before being fit enough to join the Overseas Training Brigade on 14 Mar 1918. A fortnight later (28 March) he transferred to the Artillery Training Depot at Heytesbury. On 17 Apr 1918 he was suffering with measles and was placed in the isolation section of the Sutton Veny Military Hospital until 8 May 1918. On 10 Jul 1918 he finally left Heytesbury and proceeded to France from Southampton, rejoining his battery in France on 18 Jul 1918, in time to take place in their last fire mission. In November, with the Armistice signed, the battery moved to Charleroi and carried out battlefield reclamation duties before being shipped back to Weymouth in England to prepare for the voyage home on 23 Jan 1919.

As a 1914/15 enlistee Hector was one of the first to be sent home. However, influenza struck him, and he again needed to spend time in hospital, this time in the No. 2 Group Clearing Hospital in Hurdcott where he was treated from 26 January until 3 February 1919.

Returning to Australia, Hector embarked on HMAT A68 Anchises in Devonport on 28 Feb 1919, and disembarked in Albany on 7 Apr 1919,before being discharged by the 5th Military District on 10 Jun 1919.

"Enlisted in March 1915, 8th Artillery. Fought through the Gallipoli campaign; went with the troops to France, and thence to Belgium."[1]

Post War

Married Gertrude Dorothy Adams in Fremantle during 1920. Their daughter Margaret Frances Saw was born on 12 Jun 1923 and she enlisted in the AWAS during WW2, serving for a time in New Guinea with the 37th Australian Switchboard Operating Section. Gertrude died 28 Jan 1979 aged 82.

Electoral Roll entries - 1920 - 1925 a farmer in Armadale; 1931 in Rockingham, unemployed; 1936-43 a farm manager at Wungong road, Armadale; 1949 at 9 Waverley street, Subiaco an electrician; 1954 - 1958 electrician at 8 Louisa street South Fremantle; 1963- 1980 at 32 Reeve street, Swanbourne retired


  1. "The Drill of the Foot-Hills" (PDF) (1917). Western Australia. Mar 1917. p. 6. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via State Library of Western Australia. 

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