Alexander Douglas Auld

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

General information

Tobacco Worker

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Casula, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 20th Bn. (New South Wales)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Keerselaarhoek, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 ‘Place of death’

My story

Private Alexander Douglas Auld served in the Australian Infantry 20th Battalion, part of the 5th Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division.

On the 9th of October 1917 the 20th Battalion Australian Infantry took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle, a stage in the Third Battle of Ypres. The 2nd Australian Division was to cover the right flank of the 66th British Division, and it attacked with the 5th and 6th Australian Brigades, respectively on the left and right flank.

The 5th Australian Brigade attacked with the 20th Battalion, the 17th Battalion was in support. At 5.30 a.m. the barrage came down short and some shells fell behind the attacking troops. The men came under enfilade machine gun fire from a German position across the railway in the 66th Divisional area. Nevertheless they men were able to capture a German strongpoint at Defy Crossing. By 8.25 a.m. the Battalion took their first objective, the Red Line, which was occupied with only slight casualties.

The 17th Battalion moved through the 20th and advanced on the Blue Line, supported by parties of the 20th Battalion. The intermixed troops cleared Decoy Wood and Rhine. On the left the railway cutting was cleared with grenades and bayonets. The intermixed troops reached their final objective, but with so few men remaining, they were soon forced to pull back to the first objective, which they consolidated.

Private Alexander Douglas Auld was killed in action on the 9th of October 1917. According to a witness report in his Red Cross Wounded and Missing File, Private Alexander Douglas Auld’s body was lying in the front line at Passchendaele in October 1917. The 20th Battalion advanced that same day. Even so Private Alexander Douglas Auld was initially buried at Keerselaarhoek, near Defy Crossing. This spot may suggest that Private Alexander Douglas Auld was one of the men of the 20th Battalion who swerved left and ended up in the 66th Divisional area North of the Ypers-Roulers Railway. He was later reburied at Buttes New British Cemetery, in Polygonwood.

Files 2

Sources 7

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 104-106.
Sources used
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Australian War Memorial
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National Archives of Australia
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The Long, Long Trail
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War Diary A.I.F. 20th Bn.
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