The AIF Project

Walter Herbert DOWNING

Regimental number4473
Date of birth10 December 1893
Place of birthPortland, Victoria
SchoolScotch College, East Melbourne, Victoria
AddressQueens Parade, Clifton Hill, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, Mr J Downing, Queens Parade, Clifton Hill, Victoria
Enlistment date13 September 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll30 September 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name7th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/24/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Sergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll57th Battalion


Promotion date: 1 February 1928

Lieutenant Colonel

Promotion date: 30 September 1931

Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

Recommendation date: 8 October 1917

Military Medal

Promoted to Sergeant. Officers were all killed and he took charge and led a successful charge into no man's land. He declined a commission to remain with his comrades-at-arms.

FateReturned to Australia 25 February 1919

Military Medal

'East of Glencorse Wood during the period 25th/27th September 1917 this N.C.O. did excellent work. When the Company Sergeant Major and the Platoon Sergeant became casualties he did most valuable work in organising and despatching carrying parties under very heavy shell fire. By his coolness and courage under trying conditions he set a fine example to all men who came under his command.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 7 March 1918

Other details

Was doing 2nd Year Law at Melbourne University at time of enlistment. He was the author of 'Digger Dialects, 1919 (republished in 1990 in association with the Australian War Memorial). He also published a series of short accounts of life in the trenches, 'To the Last Ridge', in 1920. He was awarded the Dublin Prize in 1921 by Melbourne University for this publication.

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Date of death30 October 1965
Age at death71
Place of burialSpringvale Cemetery

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