Alfred William Needham

Discharged from the Army as he was “not likely to become an efficient soldier”, Alfred Needham was spared the horrors of trench warfare on the Western Front.

A labourer, Alfred was 23 years old when he enlisted in the AIF at Beaudesert in November 1915 and served for 68 days, training in Brisbane, until it was clear that he was not cut out to be a soldier.

The first suggestion of his unsuitability for a regimented life is an entry in his service record stating that on January 17, 1916, Private Alfred Needham of C Company of the 8th Depot Battalion at Bell’s Paddock was “improperly dressed and late for parade”.

Another entry said Alfred was “boyish and allows himself to be the butt of everyone”.

A medical board found that Alfred was a “simple youth whose intelligence is normal” and while he had “slow mental processes”, there was “no sign of mental deficiency”.

Apparently the board which examined Alfred considered him quite capable of soldiering, stating emphatically in its recommendation that he be NOT discharged as medically unfit”.

However, the officer commanding Albert’s company disagreed, recommending his discharge, and Albert was discharged at Enoggera on February 2, 1916.

Alfred was found “improperly dressed and late for parade” at Bell’s Paddock.

(Image: Australian War Memorial; Public Domain.)

“SERVED FOR 68 DAYS.”

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