NORTH, Sergeant Julian DCM – 931 – 11th Battalion.
Julian NORTH was born in Bunbury, WA in 1890 and was working as a painter, prior to enlisting for service in the Great War 1914 – 1918. He was part of the first South West Contingent of 60 men selected for the Expedition Force, who completed their Medical Examinations in Bunbury on 15 August 1914. His initial assignment was to ” D ” Company of the 11th Battalion at Blackboy Hill, WA where he undertook training, until embarking for Alexandria Egypt on 2 November 1914.
The 11th Battalion arrived at their Overseas Base Depot Egypt on 26 November 1914, to continue training in the harsh prevailing conditions , in preparation for the upcoming campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Pte. NORTH embarked from Alexandria on 2 March 1915 en. route for the Peninsula, with troops gathering at Mudros, Lemnos to await battle orders. NORTH’S Brigade was selected to cover the landings of the balance of the Army.
On 10 May 1915, Pte. NORTH was evacuated by Hospital Ship from Gallipoli and transported to the Government Hospital at Alexandria, suffering from a severe attack of Rheumatism. He wrote from the Hospital on 20 May 1915- ” I am not wounded, the Turks couldn’t hit me. I have a bad attack of Rheumatism, it is as bad as a bullet. I can’t walk fifty yards and my fingers do as they like “.
Pte. NORTH also wrote about his personal actions during and after the Dawn Landings at Gallipoli – ” We left our ship at Tenedos Island, and went aboard a destroyer at midnight on the Saturday. The Turks were waiting for us on a ridge of hills about 150 yards from the water’s edge. They were entrenched too. We charged up there just as day was breaking. Every man went mad and the yells almost deafened one. We drove the enemy down the valley and over the next ridge of hills, down the valley again, and then entrenched on the ridge of the hills. We dug ourselves in, the Turks firing the whole time. On the Sunday night, they made an attempt to take our trenches, but our rifle fire and machine gun fire mowed them down in hundreds “.
When sufficiently recovered from his bout of Rheumatism, Pte. NORTH rejoined his 11th Battalion comrades at Gallipoli on 1 July 1915. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe gunshot wound to his left hand on 11 July 1915, which necessitated another evacuation to Hospital in Alexandria. Following treatment and convalescence the Soldier wrote – ” My thumb is getting along fairly well, and do not think there is any danger in losing it now , though, for a time there was; in future, though, it will only be an ornament, as it is absolutely no use at all “. Pte. NORTH was discarged from Hospital to duty with his Battalion in Egypt on 27 August 1915, however was re-admitted, with the effects of Heat Stroke and a Fever on 16 October 1915. He returned to the 11th Battalion at Gallipoli 10 days later, where he remained until the evacuation in late December 1915.
The 11th Battalion re-grouped in Tel-el-Kebir Egypt for additional training , before their next posting to the Western Front. Pte. NORTH was promoted to Lance Corporal at Serapeum Egypt on 1 March 1916, then embarked from Alexandria for Marseilles France, arriving on 5 April 1916. In their first major action, the 11th Battalion were primary involved in a trench raid on German positions near Cordonnerie ( between Fleurbaix and Aubers ) on the night of 2/3 July 1916. Lance Corporal NORTH wrote that he had suffered a Bayonet wound to the right thigh during this action, and provided the following summary – ” At 12 o’clock we left our trenches in several lines and formed up in ‘NO MAN’S LAND ‘. At 12.35 our artillery and trench mortars opened up, and for us laying down, the sound of thousands of shells flying a few feet overhead and striking Fritz’s parapet was terrific. We went forward, crawling right up to their barbed wire. It would have done some of those slackers at home good to see those men going forward right up almost to the burst of the shell, without one man flinching, knowing that if one burst short, it was all up for half of us, and knowing that behind that parapet, was one of the crack enemy Regiments “.
On 19 July 1916, Pte.NORTH ( he had reverted to ranks at his own request, two days earlier ), was attached to the newly formed 3rd Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery in the field in France, and placed in charge of a Stokes Mortar. His battery provided close support to the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Infantry Battalions at Pozieres, and for the balance of the War. He was promoted to Corporal at Dernancourt, France on 15 January 1917. Ongoing issues with Synovitis to his knee, caused 9 days of Hospitilization in France in late April 1917. The soldier wrote ” My leg is continually giving way now, it has got very weak. i suppose it will leave me in the lurch some day “.
In early May 1917, Cpl. NORTH was central to heavy action at Bullecourt, France, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The Award Citation reads as follows :- ” At Bullecourt, France 6th May 1917 for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Early on the morning of Sunday 6th May the enemy made a strong counter-attack on the Brigade Sector in the Hindenburg Line advancing rapidly along O. G. 1. NORTH, who was in charge of a Stokes Mortar in O. G. 1, brought his gun into action and with great courage, coolness and determination, fought his gun until the enemy reached within ten yards of him.
Assisted by part of his crew, he then bombed the enemy and at the same time ordered the remainder of the crew to take the gun back to reserve.
By his courage and presence of mind both the crew and gun were saved. The example set by this N. C. O. had an excellent effect on the men of his crew “. Signed by Lieut General BIRDWOOD
Shortly after this action, Cpl. NORTH wrote to his father – ” I was surrounded on three sides there, and with the Gun weighing 60 pounds, I was lucky to get out at all “.
On 18 March 1918, Cpl. NORTH was detached to the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade School in France, as an instructor. He then rejoined his Mortar Unit in the field in France, on 3rd April 1918. Three months later, 0n 3 July 1918, he suffered a mild gunshot wound to the hip, but following Field Ambulance treatment, rejoined his Unit in action on the same day. He was promoted to Temporary Sergeant on 20 September 1918.
He wrote to his father at this time, referring to his service on the Western Front, saying – ” Gallipoli, with all its hardships, was an easy time , compared to this “.
Cpl. Julian NORTH embarked from England on the ” Port Lyttleton ” on 23 October 1918 for return to Australia. He disembarked at Fremantle, Western Australia on 13 December 1918, then discharged from Active Service on 17 February 1919.
Service Medals Awarded
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1914/15 Star – No. 1619
British War Medal – No. 770
Victory Medal – No. 769
OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION IN RECOGNITION OF AWARD OF D. C. M.
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette : 20 December, 1917 ( No. 219 )
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette : Page 3375, Position 14
Date of London Gazette : 16 August, 1917 ( Fourth Supplement No. 30234 of 14 August, 1917 )
Location in London Gazette : Page 8413, Position 1.