Un­tir­ing ef­fort to help his men

HER­BERT GE­ORGE WAGG Great-great-great-un­cle of Har­ley Burns


Her­bert Wagg en­listed a month af­ter the land­ing at An­zac Cove and spent nearly the en­tirety of World War I aid­ing the Aus­tralian war ef­fort, first at Gal­lipoli and later on the Western Front.

Born in Water­loo, NSW, he spent his pre-war years work­ing as a brick­layer with his fa­ther be­fore join­ing the AIF as a 22-year-old on May 26, 1915.

Wagg was as­signed to the 19th Bat­tal­ion and spent a brief time train­ing in Liver­pool and Egypt be­fore be­ing rushed into ac­tion on the Gal­lipoli penin­sula, taking part in the Au­gust of­fen­sive to re­claim Pope’s Hill.

Af­ter the evac­u­a­tion of Gal­lipoli, Wagg was sent to the Western Front where he spent the re­main­der of the war serv­ing as the bat­tal­ion’s com­pany quar­ter­mas­ter sergeant.

In Septem­ber 1917 he was men­tioned in dis­patch for de­vo­tion to duty.

“This N.C.O has done splen­did work in the bat­tal­ion, both in and out of the line,” the dis­patch reads.

“He has al­ways dis­played un­tir­ing en­ergy to­wards the com­fort of the men of his com­pany.

“Dur­ing the win­ter months he re­peat­edly per­son­ally su­per­vised the de­liv­ery of ra­tions, hot food and cloth­ing to the men in the front line, un­der very ad­verse weather con­di­tions and un­der shell fire.”

Wagg was never the same af­ter re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia.

His fam­ily re­ported he would of­ten con­fine him­self to his room for hours on end.

He re­turned to work with his fa­ther as a brick­layer and builder and died in 1958 at the age of 65.

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