Herbert Vincent Reynolds

Herbert Vincent Reynolds was born in Sebastopol, Victoria on September 16, 1896. In his early life, Herbert attended Sebastopol State School and after gaining a Merit Certificate in year 8, he left and began work at the Pyrites works, a chemical gold processing plant on the outskirts of Sebastopol.[1]

Herbert had been an army cadet since the age of fourteen. When war broke out in 1914, he enlisted but was initially rejected due to his age(under the age of twenty-one). Only after his mother granted him permission did he join the 1st Field Ambulance 1st Reinforcements.

He remained on service during the entire period of war.  

Herbert Vincent Reynolds.

Herbert Vincent Reynolds.

He was wounded in September 1917 on the Menin Road at the Battle of Ypres and was operated on at the Casualty Clearing Station. He was then sent to England for recovery where he wrote a letter to his mother:

Wednesday 26th September, 1917.

…I got hit when we were going up to the line with stores etc. just before the hop over started. I don’t know really just what got me, as I heard nothing, just found myself sailing in space for a few feet, with my head going like an electric motor., things were very much mixed after that, at any rate. I was operated on at a C.C.S and I finally found myself down here where I’m getting alone A1 and being looked after well…[2]

One postcard from a postcard booklet which depicts France after bombardments 1914-1916.

One postcard from a postcard booklet which depicts France after bombardments 1914-1916.

His journey home back to Australia began in October 1918.

Brass 'A' ANZAC badge issued after the war.

Brass ‘A’ ANZAC badge issued after the war.

On his return, he married Phyllis Myrtle Booth in June 1928.

He had some experience as a carpenter during the war and became a builder. He was also heavily involved in the local council and was elected Mayor of Sebastopol in the 1953/54 Mayoral year.

He enlisted in the Second World War but could not join due to medical unfitness and instead, joined the Volunteer Defence Corps from September 21 1942 to October 1, 1945.

Herbert died in Ballarat on September 21, 1978.

His son and daughter-in-law have resided in Austinmer for forty-five years; his son publishing a book: An Anzac’s Story – Rex Reynolds. The book contains diary entries and letters by Herbert along with photos and postcards making up an account of his life.







[1] R.E Reynolds, An Anzac’s Story, R.E Reynolds, Austinmer NSW, 2007, p. 9.

[2] Ibid p. 206.

Reynolds R.E, An Anzac’s Story, R.E Reynolds, Austinmer NSW, 2007.

Alfred Smith

Alfred Smith was born on September 10, 1892 in Hartley Valley NSW. His address at enlistment was Harbord St, Thirroul where he lived with his wife, Doris Irene Smith. He was a coal miner prior to the war.

Alfred enlisted in Kiama NSW on the 1st November, 1916 at the age of 24 and joined the 8th Reinforcements, 45th Battalion.


Alfred’s reminiscences from the front has been shared with Wollongong City Libraries –  a typed transcript which contains a detailed account of Alfred’s service. It covers his departure, the voyage, training, the battle and his wounds, visiting his family in Cornwall on leave, his departure and voyage home.

One very interesting thing happened during this period. On 23rd April (1917) all the able men at the camp at Codford were marched to a place called Bulford. I don’t know the distance but it took us all day to get there. The purpose of the exercise was to be reviewed by the King. It was claimed there was 40,000 Australian troops the day of the review. We stayed there over-night and the next day we marched back to Codford. The interesting thing was that each way we travelled, we had our lunch at Stonehenge.

While fighting at the front line he received bullet wounds in his right shoulder, through the back of the neck, right shin and right elbow and was subsequently transferred to a rest camp in Weymouth. He stayed he until he set out on October 20, 1917 from Plymouth back to Australia.

On Alfred’s return to Australia Alfred wrote:

13th December, 1917.

We arrived at Sydney early this morning. The State Governor came on board and gave us a welcome home. When I went ashore I was met by my wife. I had to go to Victoria Barracks for certain formalities then we got a train to Thirroul where I was greeted by the Thirroul Brass Band (of which I was a member) and a large number of other people who then escorted me to my home on Mountain Road Austinmer. I was discharged from the Army on 17th January, 1918.

On his return, Alfred continued his work as a coal miner and later became a mine manager until his retirement.

He died at the age of 97 on October 6, 1989.

Alfred Smith on his 90th birthday.

Alfred Smith on his 90th birthday.