This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Friday, October 3, 2014

58th Infantry Battalion AIF Memorial Book

Detail from image in the Moonee Valley Leader 24 Sep 2014. The Memorial Book is on permanent loan to the Essendon Historical Society.
There has been some confusion between the 58th Infantry Battalion AIF, which created the Memorial Book, and the local 58th Infantry (Essendon Rifles), a Citizens Military Force which did not serve overseas, though many of its members did when they joined AIF battalions.

The 58th Infantry Bn AIF was formed in Egypt in 1916, after the Gallipoli campaign. The AWM website says that it was formed in part from fresh recruits from Australia, and veterans from the 6th Infantry Bn which had served on Gallipoli.

Some Essendon/Flemington men served in the 6th Battalion and probably transferred to the 58th Infantry Bn in 1916, but it is not clear how many, nor how many subsequently died. There is not likely to be a very large number of local men included in the Memorial Book.

The 58th Infantry (Essendon Rifles) CMF provided many recruits for the 7th Infantry Battalion AIF which did serve in Gallipoli, and suffered grievous losses. After troops were evacuated to Egypt, half of the 7th Infantry Battalion were transferred to the new 59th Infantry Battalion AIF, not the 58th.

My research into the local AIF volunteers shows that only 32 locals joined the 58th Infantry AIF directly from Australia, though others will have transferred from the 6th Infantry Battalion in Egypt. The numbers would not have been very large, as only 100 locals embarked with the 6th Inf Bn in time to be involved in the transfers in 1916 – and not all of those would have transferred.

The association of the 58th Infantry Bn AIF with Essendon occurred after the war when the Citizen Military Forces were re-organised.

The book memorializes men from all over Victoria.

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