James Wilfred Mardling

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia

General information

Bank clerk

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 8th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

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


Oxford Road Cemetery
Plot: II
Row: F
Grave: 16

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Lance Corporal James Wilfred Mardling was a 26 years old bank clerk from Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia when he enlisted on 23 November 1915 to join the AIF. He was placed in the, 8th Australian Infantry Battalion (1st Australian Division, 2nd Australian Brigade) as was his older brother Farnel George.

By October 1917 the two brothers were in the same Lewis Gun team, belonging to Number 4 Section, 1st Platoon, A Company, 8th Battalion AIF and partake in the Battle of Passchendaele 1917.
On October 2nd, the 8th Battalion moved from their bivouacs and shelters at Château Segard to the Anzac Ridge, between Westhoek and Zonnebeke, where they relieved two companies of the 9th Battalion. On the 4th of October 1917 the 1st Division advanced from Zonnebeke. The Division was to attack at 6 a.m. with the 1st Australian Brigade, on the right, and the 2nd Brigade, on the left. Half an hour before the attack the Australian positions were heavily shelled, as the Germans were planning an attack on the same day.

At 6 a.m. the men advanced, when the Allied barrage came crashing down. The German Infantry in front of them left their positions almost at the same time. However while the Australians broke free from the German barrage on their frontline, the Allied barrage caught the German Infantrymen in no man’s land. The results were devastating. Many Germans were killed by the barrage. Those who survived were disorientated and didn’t put up much of a fight. The advance continued. Both Romulus and Remus Wood proved difficult to advance through. The terrain was marshy and the woods were heavily wired. The attack was diverted round the flanks. When the men of the 5th Prussian Guards (Grenadiers) had recovered from the initial surprise, they took up positions in various pill-boxes and fortified shell holes. But whenever the 8th Battalion encountered opposition from such strongholds, these were outflanked and then charged.

The 8th Battalion reached the first objective a.k.a. the Red Line, just east of Romulus and Remus Wood at 6.30 a.m. While consolidating the line the 8th Battalion came under fire from 77 mm guns on the Broodseinde - Beselare Road, just east of the Red Line. These were eventually captured by a platoon of the Battalion. After the Red Line had been consolidated by 7.30 a.m. the attack was taken over by the 6th and 7th Battalions. They eventually captured the second objective aka the Blue Line at Celtic Wood.

According to his Red Cross Wounded and Missing file, after reaching the first objective and while consolidating their position, the lewis gun team of the Mardling brothers was hit by a shell, killing all five members of the crew. All were buried where they fell, but only James Wilfred Mardling has a known grave and was reburied at Oxford Road Cemetery. On the Service Record of his brother Farnel is mentioned that Farnel was buried between the the Berten Pilroad and Beselareroad (Romulus and Remus Wood).

Connection to other soldiers 1

Files 1