No 2- Albert Claude Pugh Bleakley (Claude)’
Claude, eldest son of Arthur and Emma Bleakley (Findlay) of ‘Eversleigh” Harlin in the Brisbane valley born on the 15/3/1896 in Esk Qld. Claude joined the AIF on 11/1/1916 and after receiving basic training embarked from Sydney on the ‘Hawkes Bay’ on 20/4/1916 and sailed to France for active duty.
He was reassigned to the 17th Reinforcements for the 12 Battalion AIF. Claude saw active service at the Somme, Pozieres and Ypres before returning to the Somme in the latter part of 1916 so missing his cousin Monty who died in July. In 1917, the Battalion was dispatched to Belgium and were involved in the pursuit of Germans to the Hindenburg Line.
In May, the 12th Battalion, as part of the first division. relieved the Second Division in the second battle of Bullecourt where Claude was wounded. The actual date is difficult to determine as the battle was fought between the 3rd and 9th May 1917.The day he was reported wounded was the 10th May but by then the battle had finished.
A German shell land on the trench in the Australian Line where he was stationed, wounding and burying him in the rubble. He was rescued and repatriated to a hospital in England on the ship HS “Aberdonian” where he convalesced before returning to Australia on the 25/8/1917. His wounds were of such a nature as to cause him to be discharged from military service on the 28/11/1917.
After his discharge he returned to “Eversleigh”, however his health further deteriorated and he was transferred to an army repatriation hospital in Stanthorpe Queensland where he passed away on the 19/4/1919. from the wounds he received at Bullecourt. For services to King and Country he received the following medals-1914/15 star, British war medal, Victory medal
The 12th Battalion was among one of the first infantry units raised for the AIF during WW1and received significant Battle honours including-Landing at Anzac, Sulva Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915-16, Somme 1916-18. Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Broodeseinde, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Lye, Hazelbrook, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, Eperty, France and Flanders Excerpt from a book compiled by the Kilcoy District Historical Society.
Although Bullecourt is a remembrance site, it is also a pleasant village for a walk. In the midst of the Artois countryside. Starting at the village square, the’Sentier des Autraliens’ is a walking trail that introduces you to its charms, with the battlefield as the common thread