Pte
Arthur Jacob Rabnott

Informatie over geboorte

Geboortejaar:
1893
Geboorteplaats:
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australië

Algemene Informatie

Beroep:
Arbeider

Informatie legerdienst

Land:
Australië
Strijdmacht:
Australian Imperial Force
Rang:
Private
Service nummer:
3454
Dienstneming datum:
05/12/1916
Dienstneming plaats:
Emerald, Queensland, Australië
Eenheden:
 —  Australian Infantry, 47th Bn.  (Laatst gekende eenheid)

Informatie over overlijden

Datum van overlijden:
12/10/1917
Plaats van overlijden:
Nieuwemolen, Zonnebeke, België
Doodsoorzaak:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Leeftijd:
24

Begraafplaats

Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XXVIII
Rij: A
Graf: 1

Onderscheidingen en medailles 2

British War Medal
Medaille
Victory Medal
Medaille

Points of interest 3

#1 Geboorteplaats
#2 Dienstneming plaats
#3 'Sterfteplaats'

Mijn verhaal

Private Arthur Jacob Rabnott served in the Australian Infantry 47th Battalion, part of the 12th Australian Brigade, of the 4th Australian Division. On the 12th of October 1917 the Division participated in the First Battle of Passchendaele, the second last phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The Division advanced from the Broodseinde Ridge, East of Zonnebeke, towards the Keiberg Spur, South of Passchendaele. This in order to flank guard the 3rd Australian Division, which had to capture the village of Passchendaele itself.

The 4th Division’s attack was carried by the 12th Australian Brigade, which deployed two Battalions, the 47th and 48th Battalions. They were to protect the flank of the main attack by establishing positions across the Keiberg Spur. The 47th Battalion was to capture the first objective, the Red Line. Once this line had been captured, the 48th Battalion would move through and take the second objective, the Blue Line.

The 47th Battalion moved forward at eight minutes past the zero hour of 05.30 a.m. covered by a creeping barrage. The men were tired and the Germans were expecting an attack. At the start of the attack the German artillery put down a barrage on the Division’s jump-off line. The going was tough, because the ground was immensely boggy and littered with waterlogged shell holes, making a quick and orderly advance neigh to impossible. At 5.45 a.m. just minutes after the men crossed the start tape the Battalion suffered heavy casualties. The Battalion’s Headquarter, in a Pill-box, on the Broodseinde Ridge, was struck by a volley of German shells, killing 27 men and wounding 60 others. Casualties were extremely high because over 100 men were sheltering in and around the pill-box. Nearly all signalers and runners had become casualties, thus crippling all further communication.

Notwithstanding all difficulties the Battalion made good progress and the Germans were seen pulling back from their first line of defense. No resistance was met till Decoy Wood, almost half way up to the objective. Which was cleared at 7 a.m. All seemed to be going good, but until now the advance of the 12th Brigade had been sheltered by the high railway embankment on their left. Once the 48th Battalion advanced and cleared this protection, a withering fire tore into its left. The machine gun- and rifle fire came from in and around Vienna Cottage. This German strongpoint was in the sector of the 9th Australian Brigade, of the 3rd Australian Division, and had to be taken out by then. But the 9th Australian Brigade had made almost no progress.

The men were pushed onwards as the 48th tried to secure the left flank along the railway embankment. When the 47th came out of Decoy Wood it was enfiladed by machine gun fire coming from both Vienna Cottage on the left and the German strongpoint of Assyria on the right. The exhausted men sought shelter wherever they could find it. Many of them jumped or fell into shell holes filled with freezing and gas drenched water, never to be seen again. The threat on the right was eventually silenced when Assyria was taken by a platoon of the 47th.

The Red Line was reached and the remnants of both Battalions started to dig in. However the situation on the left was becoming dire. Unable to capture Vienna Cottage the men of the 9th Australian Brigade began to withdraw, followed by the 10th Australian Brigade. By 3.30 p.m. the entire 3rd Australian Division was back at its jump-off lines.

With their flank in the air the men of the 12th Australian Brigade were vulnerable for counterattacks. A first German attack at 4.10 p.m. was beaten off, but the situation was hopeless. And at 5.00 p.m. another much stronger German attack developed. Assyria was recaptured and the remnants of the 47th and 48th Battalions were forced to withdraw. The men pulled back under cover of the railway and finally sought shelter at the embankment near Defy Crossing.

Private Arthur Jacob Rabnott was killed in action on the 12th of October 1917, near the hamlet of Nieuwemolen, close to the Battalion jump-off line. It is highly possible he fell due to German shelling on the Battalion’s starting positions in the early stages of the attack. His remains were exhumed after the war and interred in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood.