Westgarthtown & WWI





Albert Edward Meyer



Albert Edward Meyer. Photo: Peter Meyer.
Albert Edward Meyer (1895-1917) was born at Newmarket, Victoria on 15 February 1895, the son of George Jacob and Clara (née Lane) Meyer who had married at Fitzroy in 1890.

Albert’s grandfather, Edward Meyer, born at Alpbad near Basle in Switzerland, arrived in Australia with his family aboard the Ida on 18 September 1853, aged 18. After living and working at various places, including Nunawading and Harkaway, Edward married Sarah Hephzibah Aylwin at Prahran in 1866. By 1867 he had been appointed as teacher at the Westgarthtown school and taught there from 1867-70. Two of Edward and Sarah Meyer’s children were born in the schoolhouse at Westgarthtown, including Albert’s father, who died at Fosterville near Bendigo in 1899.

Albert applied to enlist in Melbourne on 7 February 1916 and was accepted on 16 February 1916. He gave his occupation as sawyer, age as 21 and religion as Church of Christ. On 1 March, he was sent to the Field Artillery Reinforcements at Maribyrnong as a Gunner, then on 1 April he was allocated to the 31st Battery, 8th Field Artillery Brigade as Driver, No. 19928, 3rd Australian Division.

On 20 May 1916 Albert embarked aboard the Medic and arrived at Plymouth on 18 July. After further training he left for France on 30 December 1916. Each artillery brigade had 12 x 18 pounders and 4 x 4.5 inch howitzers. In January 1917 batteries were increased in size to 6 guns each to economise on battery and brigade commanders.

Albert served in France and Belgium, however, on 14 October 1917, he received a bomb wound to the head, thigh and chest at Passchendaele in Belgium and died of his wounds that day at the 12th Casualty Clearing Station.  He was 22. He is buried at the Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinghe and is also commemorated on Panel 15 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Albert’s widowed mother Clara, who lived at Alphington, was granted a war pension of £2.3.0 per fortnight from 24 December 1917 and his medals. Two of Albert’s brothers-in-law were also killed at Pozieres during World War 1.