Pte
John Edward Currie

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1884
Place of birth:
Oldham, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

General information

Profession:
Carpenter

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
2639
Enlistment date:
26/04/1916
Enlistment place:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 51st Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
26/09/1917
Place of death:
Anzac, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
33

Cemetery

Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XXIX
Row: A
Grave: 2

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Private John Edward Currie served in the Australian Infantry 51st Battalion, part of the 13th Australian Brigade, of the 4th Australian Division. The Division participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the 26th of September 1917, with two Brigades. The 4th Australian Brigade on the right of the Divisional front and the 13th on the left. The attack of the 13th Australian Brigade was carried by the 50th Australian Battalion; the 49th and the 51st Battalions were in support.

The 51st took up positions with the 49th Battalion on the right flank and the 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment, of the 3rd British Division, on the left. At 5.50 a.m. the allied artillery put down a heavy barrage 150 yards in front of the 50th Battalion. The barrage crept forward after five minutes, with the attacking Battalions behind it. Six minutes later they were followed by the 49th and 51st Australian Battalions. The Battalions of the 13th Brigade advanced down ANZAC Ridge through the valley of the Steenbeek, towards Anzac House and Tokio Spur on the left flank of Polygon Wood. The going was hard, because the terrain was boggy. The small stream of the Steenbeek, which served as a prewar irrigation canal, had turned the surrounding ground in a morass, as its banks had been destroyed by the relentless shelling. Consequently the rainwater had no way out and frequently inundated the lowlands. The men struggled and some off them sank knee-deep away in the mud. Small arms fire only inflicted small casualties, but the casualties, due to shelling were heavy.

Notwithstanding the boggy terrain and the fierce shelling, the men of the 49th and 51st Battalions moved through the 50th at their objective, the Red Line. And they advanced towards their own objective, the Blue Line, running from D.28.a.2.3 to D.28.b.7.5. They only encountered slight resistance on their way, and overran the Blue Line by 8.15 a.m. Capturing the brickyard on the Western outskirts of the village of Zonnebeke. The surviving Germans withdrew and the 51st Battalion started consolidating the Blue Line. The men were deployed along the line under heavy German shell- and machine gun fire. On the right flank, the 4th Brigade reached and consolidated their objectives. The whole 4th Australian Division was now in position in the vicinity of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek, facing the heavy fortified German defensive line Flandern I. The British 3rd Division on the left flank was held up 200 yards short of the crest of the Windmill Cabaret Ridge.

Strong points and Lewis gun emplacements were established along the line. A communication trench was dug and two mortars and two Vickers machine guns were positioned behind the frontline. The Germans started enfilading the Battalion’s position with machine gun fire from 9 a.m. on. The German artillery also started shelling the frontline. At first hesitatingly, but soon the Germans put down some heavy barrages on the frontline. Company “C” on the left flank suffered numerous casualties.
According to several eyewitness reports, Private John Edward Currie was designated as a stretcher-bearer to “C” Company. He fell in the beginning of the attack. He was hit by a piece of shrapnel in the chest and was killed outright. This was between Anzac House and Carter Point, North of Polygon Wood.

Private John Edward Currie was buried near Anzac House, close to where he fell. His remains were exhumed after the war and were interred in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood.

Files 2

Sources 8

"For King and Cobbers 51st Battalion A.I.F.", Browning N., Bassendean, Advance Press, 2007, pg. 161-168.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 87-89.
Sources used
AIF-project
https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/search
Sources used
Australian War Memorial
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10329693
Sources used
CWGC
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/480178/CURRIE,%20JOHN%20EDWARD
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/
Sources used
War Diary A.I.F. 51st Bn.
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338583
Sources used