Joseph Cutler
Service number 2344

Private Joseph Cutler was nearly 48 when he was discharged from the AIF on ANZAC Day 1919, after serving his country for almost four years.

An engine driver, Joseph was among the English immigrants of the Canungra district who served as Australians during the Great War.

Single and 44 years old when he enlisted in Brisbane in August 1915, Joseph named his mother, Mrs E Cutler, who still lived in his home town of Bournemouth, as his next of kin.

He embarked for the Middle East on the HMAT Warilda, which sailed from Brisbane on October 5, 1915, with the 5th reinforcements of the 26th Battalion.

On arrival in Egypt, Joseph became part of the 7th Training Battalion and on March 1, 1916, at Zeitoun, was transferred to the 12th Battalion which included veterans of the Gallipoli campaign.

The battalion left Alexandria on March 29, as part of the British Expeditionary Force bound for the Western Front, arriving at Marseilles on April 5.

After travelling by train to the north of France, the battalion took up positions to the south of Armentieres.

It was there, just two months later, that Joseph was wounded in action on June 11, suffering a gunshot wound to the face and jaw.

On June 17 he was evacuated to England on the hospital ship Brighton, and admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital.

A month later, Joseph was released from hospital for furlough but was in and out of hospital for the next month receiving treatment for his wounds.

“Already 44 years old when he enlisted.”

Attached for duty with the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital.

However, he was considered sufficiently recovered to return to the front and left England on September 5, rejoining his unit in the field in France two weeks later.

The battalion spent the horrendous winter of 1916-17 – the worst in France in decades – near Flers which had been the scene of bitter fighting in atrocious conditions in November.

The men endured freezing conditions in a morass of mud and on December 4 Joseph was hospitalised with catarrhal bronchitis.

It was March 3, 1917, before Joseph returned to the lines but two weeks later was out of action again with the return of an old injury, a broken right ankle.

Classified PB, he was transferred to England on April 10, and from May 4 was attached for duty with the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford.

It was likely here that Joseph, then 46 and a bachelor, met Ada Black, 32, who worked as a mental nurse. The couple married at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Woolwich, on June 16, 1918.

With the war over in November, the couple made plans to return to Australia together and on January 11, 1919, Joseph and Ada left England on the Osterley, arriving in Melbourne on February 24.

They then travelled by train to Brisbane where Joseph was discharged from the Army on April 25, 1919.

The final page of Joseph’s service record shows he passed away on June 2, 1949. He was almost 78 years old.

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