Robert William PETTIGREW

Robert William PETTIGREW

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4876), Robert William Pettigrew was born at Stanley, Victoria.[1]  He gave his age as 30 years and 7 months, his marital status as widower, and his occupation as teamster.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination form was height 5 feet 5 ¾ inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and fair hair.  His religious denomination was Church of England.  He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He completed his medical examination at Katoomba on 5th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees stayed overnight at Katoomba), and was attested by Lieutenant Edward Shaw at Katoomba on the same day.

‘R. W. Pettigrew’ was named in The Blue Mountain Echo as one of ‘the lads who answered the call, and marched out with the Coo-ees’ at Katoomba.[2]

After completing the Co-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was C/o Mrs P. Birtles, Wattlegrove Station, Wooragee, Victoria, and his next of kin is listed as his step-sister, Mrs P. Birtles, as the same address.

On 8th March 1916 Private Pettigrew, along with many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England.  He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

On 13th April 1916 he was admitted to the No. 2 Australian Stationary Hospital at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt, with asthma.

On 20th May 1916 he was transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On 7th June 1916 Private Pettigrew left Alexandria aboard the transport Huntspill bound for France.  He arrived at Marseilles on 14th June 1916.

On 1st July 1916 Private Pettigrew was charged with being absent from entrainment parade at Marseilles on 15th June 1916 . He was fined 8 days pay.

On 9th August 1916 Private Pettigrew was taken on strength of the 45th Battalion when it was manning the support line in the vicinity of Pozieres, France.

Private Pettigrew was with the 45th Battalion in the field in France for the next 12 days, where it was in support from 9th to 11th August 1916 supplying fatigue and working parties, then engaged in the reserve and front lines from 12th to 15th August 1916.  The 45th Battalion then undertook several days marching as the Battalion moved from the front line to Albert, Warloy, and Herissart, then marched to Berteaucourt ‘in heavy rain’ on 19th August 1916, to be reorganised and refitted.[3]

On 21st August 1916 Private Pettigrew was taken by ambulance train from the 4th Casualty Clearing Station and admitted to the 13th General Hospital at Boulogne, France, suffering from bronchial asthma. On 22nd August 1916 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship St Dennis in Boulogne Harbour from evacuation to England with bronchitis. On 21st August 1916 Private Pettigrew was taken by ambulance train from the 4th Casualty Clearing Station and admitted to the 13th General Hospital at Boulogne, France, suffering from bronchial asthma. On 22nd August 1916 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship St Dennis in Boulogne Harbour from evacuation to England with bronchitis.

On 23rd August 1916 he was admitted to the Chatham Military Hospital in England. On 12th October 1916 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in England.

He was discharged on the 21st of October 1916 and granted leave to report to the No. 1 Command Depot at Perham Downs on 6th November 1916.

On 8th November 1916 Private Pettigrew was charged with being absent without leave from 3.30 pm on 6th November 1916 till 8.45 pm on 7th November 1916. He was awarded 7 days confined to camp and fined 2 days pay.

On 13th November 1916 Private Pettigrew was transferred to the No. 4 Command Depot at Wareham, England.

On the 3rd of March 1917 Private Pettigrew was transferred to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 4th May 1917 he was admitted to Verne Citadel holding station at Portland, England, with asthma.

On 23rd May 1917 Private Pettigrew departed England aboard the HMAT A33 Ayrshire bound for Australia for medical discharge with asthma.

After arriving in Australia he was discharged Medically Unfit on 21st January 1918.

[1] NAA: B2455, PETTIGREW ROBERT WILLIAM

[2] March o’er the Mountains’, The Blue Mountain Echo, 12 November 1915, p. 3. Retrieved March 7, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108042142

[3] AWM4 23/62/6 – August 1916, Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 War, 45th Infantry Battalion

 

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