The AIF Project

Arthur Gordon WHITLAM

Date of birth23 February 1891
Place of birthMurrumbeena, Victoria
ReligionBaptist
OccupationAccountant
AddressDarling Road, East Malvern, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23.11
Height5' 7"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinFather, H H G Whitlam, Darling Road, East Malvern, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 1 year in the Senior Cadets; 2 years, as Sergeant, in the Victorian Rifles; 6 years in the Australian Field Artillery; serving as Sergeant, 23rd Battery, at time of enlistment.
Enlistment date12 March 1915
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit nameDivisional Ammunition Column 1, Reinforcement 5
AWM Embarkation Roll number25/89/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 10 April 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll1130
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Division Headquarters
FateReturned to Australia 27 July 1916
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 25 September 1915.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 8 May 1915; disembarked Marseilles, France, 15 May 1916.

Tried by General Court Martial, Sailly-sur-la-Lys, 3 June 1916, on charge of (1) stealing goods to the value of £18/4/0; (2) receiving stolen goods; found 'Guilty'; sentenced to be cashiered.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Bakara', 27 July 1916; disembarked Sydney, 21 September 1916, and appointment terminated.

Medals: all medals forfeited.

Whitlam protested his innocence and mounted a 28-year campaign to have his name cleared. In 1926, when new evidence showed that the articles allegedly stolen by Whitlam had in fact been packed in Whitlam's trunk by his batman without Whitlam's knowledge, he was offered a pardon on the condition that he ceased to assert his innocence. He refused, and continued his campaign. In 1944 a panel of eminent King's Counsels rejected the findings of the General Court Martial.

Following a recommendation from the Commander-in-Chief, the Governor-General in Council quashed the conviction. The following notice was published in the 'Commonwealth Gazette' No 149 (27 July 1944):

'His Excellency the Governor-General in Council has approved of the conviction of Lieutenant A.G. Whitlam, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, Australian Imperial Force, by General Court Martial at Sailly-sur-la-Lys, France, dated 3rd June, 1916, being quashed and the accused is relieved of all the consequences of his conviction. (Ex. Min. No. 104, Approved 19th July, 1944) J.M. FRASER, Acting Minister for the Army.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsFather's name incorrectly entered on Embarkation Roll as H H T Whitlam.
SourcesNAA: B2455, WHITLAM Arthur Gordon
Trove digitised newspapers: 'INNOCENCE PROVED AFTER 28 YEARS' (1944, August 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 3

Print format