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ANZAC story of former Wollert Primary School student (Lieutenant Clarence Tasman Mummery MC)

Lieutenant Clarence Tasman Mummery MC or "Tas" as he was known was born in Zeehan Tasmania and during his childhood he moved to Melbourne and attended Wollert Primary School.

Lieutenant Clarence Tasman Mummery MC + Bar

When war was declared on the 14th August 1914 at the age of 19 he was one of the thousands of Australian men who came forward in the few days immediately following to enlist in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and was allocated the number #59. After completing his initial training Tas was attached to the 8th Battalion and departed Melbourne on the SS Benalla in a convoy of ships to meet up with the other vessels in Albany WA before heading off as larger convoy to the "The Great War". The first action they saw was in late January 1915 when both the 8th and 7th Battalions were selected as reinforcements to help protect the Suez Canal around Ismailia from Turkish troops who were marching across the Sinai Desert with the aim of capturing the Canal. During his time at the Mena camp in Egypt, Tas was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on the 23rd March 1915 and on the 25th April 1915 formed part of the landings at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli. On 19th May 1915 less than a month after the Gallipoli landings Tas was promoted to the rank of Corporal and on 15th August 1915 Tas was wounded receiving a bomb wound to his forehead and remained out of action until he rejoined the 8th Battalion at the Tel-El-Kebir Egypt training camp on 16th January 1916. Tas was again promoted this time to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 20th February 1916 and at the end of March 1916 the 8th Battalion was finally sent to Europe but it was not until the end of April at Fleurbaix France that they had their first encounter with the German enemy. On 23rd July 1916, the 8th Battalion was involved in the attack of Pozieres in northern France where Tas was among several Australian soldiers who distinguished themselves during the first attack and on 12th August he was promoted to Lieutenant. The fighting at Pozieres continued until 3rd September 1916 and on the night of 19th August, Tas with Second Lieutenant Goodwin, ventured into no mans land to look for wounded comrades. There they found badly wounded Pte George Grove about seven metres from the enemy parapet. They took turns to piggyback him to the trenches and both were recommended and awarded the Military Cross for their bravery. Less than 7 days later Tas was again recommended for bravery on 25th August 1916 for Conspicuous gallantry in rescuing more wounded at Pozieres.

Military Cross & Bar awarded to Lt Clarence T Mummery

By 31st August 1916 the 8th Battalion were at Ypres in Belgium and at the end of February 1917 Tas was hospitalised with the mumps returning to duty on 16th March when the 8th Battalion was at Dernancourt.

On 19th September 1917 the 8th Battalion assembled at Zillebeke as part of the plans for the First Anzac Corps along with the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions to attack through Polygon and Glencorse Woods. Despite the rain the battle over the next hours was one of their most successful. Tas was among the several Australian officers listed as having acted with great valour. Tas was again wounded and proceeded on leave until 10th October.

Tas was recommended for awarded the Bar to the Military Cross for Great gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack and setting a splendid example throughout.

On 20th October 1917 Tas was killed while carrying out reconnaissance of forward area and was buried where he fell in a grave marked with wooden cross. Unfortunately the ground where his grave was located was retaken by the German soldiers and when the war was over it was never found and his name appears on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres - Belgium along with 6,000 fellow Australian soldiers and 49,000 from other British and Commonwealth soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in Belgium and have no know grave. (A further 35,000 names of soldiers with no known gave are listed on the walls of the Tyne Cot cemetery a short distance away).

Menin Gate memorial in Ypres - Belgium

Percy Lay a fellow highly decorated officer from the 8th Battalion described Lieutenant Mummery as “about the finest officer in the AIF”. All gave some, some gave all and some are still giving. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning; We will remember them.

Lest We Forget

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