ANZAC Centenary 2014-2018: Sharing Victoria's Stories

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WWI Stories – Joseph Warburton


Kerryn Warburton shares the story of her grandfather Joseph Warburton.

JosephWarburton_portraitJoseph Warburton was 25 when he enlisted to serve on 17 August 1914.  A member of the Scottish Regiment, he was the first man to enlist from Cheltenham.

He attended Cheltenham Primary School and was a founding member of Cheltenham’s football team in 1909.

As a member of the 5th Battalion, he left Melbourne on the Orvieto on 21 October 1914. After training in Egypt, he was part of the Anzac landing in Gallipoli, where he was wounded in a bayonet charge on the second day. During the charge, he was shot through the groin, but “fired 10 shots” after he was hit, crawling back on his stomach, luckily finding some stretcher bearers, to make it back to the beach.

In a letter home to his mother he describes how they were “fighting like demons” but “buried their faces in the dirt and waited for our time to come”. When they charged forward from the trenches, they were “peppered with shrapnel and bullets… singing past in thousands”. He asked his mother to show his letter to the Cheltenham people to let them know how brave the Australians were on Gallipoli.

Joseph was evacuated to Egypt for surgery to remove the bullets, and was then invalided to England. On this journey to England his hospital ship Loyalty was spared by a passing German submarine which torpedoed two other ships in the vicinity.


He was discharged on 15th October 1916 as a result of injuries. He went on to have five children (Rhoda, Jack, Graeme, Lois and Valerie). Joseph died in 1974, aged 85, and is buried in the Cheltenham Cemetery.