Kevin Laws shares the story of his father, Albert Laws.
My father, Private Albert G Laws, enlisted in Melbourne on 12 July 1915. He spent 1,468 days in the AIF and of these, 1,355 days were overseas. He was originally in the 7th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement but on 24 December 1916, he was transferred to the 59th Battalion, 15th Brigade. He was also part of the 5th Machine Gun regiment.
Albert left Melbourne on 10 September 1915 on the Star of Victoria. He departed Alexandria for Mudros , the Port of Lemnos. On 7 December, Albert and members of the 7th battalion embarked for Anzac Cove and were part of the successful retreat from Anzac and then returned to Lemnos for Christmas. Lemnos, with so many dead, wounded and scarred soldiers, must have been a very depressing place for those waiting to do battle on Gallipoli. We next hear of Albert leaving Lemnos on the Empress of Britain in January 1916 and entering Egypt via Alexandria and being sent to Tel El Kebir. He remained in Egypt at various camps and departed for The Western Front on 16 June 1916. He spent the next 8 months in the Fromelles area until he was transferred to London in January 1917 with Trench feet. When recovered, he returned to the Western Front at Polygon Wood. Here he was wounded, being buried by a shell. He returned to the front in September 1918 and was involved in the Battle of Perrone – he remained in the area for the rest of the war. He returned home to Melbourne, married and worked with Victorian Railways.
The following article recounts a story that was told to my sister – one of the few reminiscences the family has of his war experiences.