Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Story of Edward George Deinhoff

At enlistment in February 1916, Edward was 25 years old with hazel eyes and brown hair. He noted his next of kin as his mother Johanna and his own occupation at the time was laborer.

Edward was initially attached to “C” Company of the 1st Depot Battalion then in early March he was transferred to 43 Battalion. In Early June he embarked aboard the HMAT Afric, bound for Europe.

While at sea Edward was fined 10 shillings for drunkenness, which was the beginning of a number of comparatively minor offences that would follow him for the next few years. While he carried out his military duties, Edward seems to have been less than disciplined at times.

The “Afric” disembarked 43 Battalion at Marseilles on 20 July, from where they proceeded to England for training. While in the Larkhill training camp Edward again was in trouble. After being absent without leave for 24 hours in October he was given 7 days confined to barracks and forfeited a day’s pay. After this, on 25th November, Edward embarked from South Hampton for active duty in France.

43 Battalion was in France from December 1916 till the end of the war. Their first major actions happening in the second half of 1917.

Unsurprisingly Edward’s record of activity is quiet for the early part of 1917, except for spending 8 days sick in hospital during January. In February, Edward was attached to the 171st company of the Royal Engineers in the field. However, at the end of April, Edward was in trouble again. This time he was absent without leave for a day again, but when he had been placed under open arrest he had broken out of his billet. This time the punishment was more severe. It was 14 days of “Field Punishment, Number 2”. FP No2 essentially consisted of being kept in manacles or tied up. Edward never completed this punishment as he was admitted to hospital after 6 days and discharged back to 43 Battalion. Still having difficulties with the discipline on the 21st May Edward forfeits another three days pay for the crime of “disobeying a lawful order” by coming to parade unshaven!

Now the war for Edward seems to have an impact and he is wounded in the hand in early July. By the 10th he is in York House Hospital in Folkestone where his treatment takes more than a month. On the 28th of August he is discharged from the hospital and given leave. He has to report back to Weymouth after his leave, which he does on 11th September. Edward seems to go through more training (r perhaps become an instructor) as he is marched into the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill in Wiltshire in November and stays there for many months.

True to form Edward does a bunk in March. This time it was for more than a fortnight, for which he was sentenced again to Field Punishment Number 2, 28 days worth. He is also held in custody for 2 days and forfeits 44 days of pay showing how serious this length of absence was.

After spending just over 8 months in the UK, Edward is sent back overseas to the Australian Base depot in le Havre on 21st March 1918 and 3 days later sent back to 43 Battalion.

Now in the middle of April Edward is admitted to the 3rd Australian General Hospital in Abbeville. Initially he was noted as simply “sick” but later records show that he was being treated for VD and he gets sent back to le Havre where he is admitted to the 39th General Hospital (British) and he stays there until early July. But his discharge is to be short lived. Edward is back in hospital again on 13th August for the same reasons, staying till the 12th October and rejoining his unit on 23 of that month.

The war ends just one month after Edward rejoined the unit but 43 battalion are not demobilized immediately and Edward doesn’t even leave France till April of 1919. As a last fling while in England, Edward again does his disappearing trick for two days, from 3rd to 5th of May and forfeits 2 more days of pay. This time he is only “admonished” for his behavior.

By the 20th he is embarked on the “Nestor” and is on his way back to Australia where he reaches Adelaideat the end of June. By this time his health must be questionable as he has a medical in September at Keswick in Adelaide, to determine the status of his health. The report notes a broken right finger, presumably from the wound he received in 1917 but indicates no other things wrong and Edward is discharged in the middle of October after serving 1353 days.

What happens next is a mystery, as the records do not show very much about Edward after his discharge. However, there is an unusual reply letter dated November 1922 to the Repatriation Department listing his service record and we know his father collected his service medals at about this time too, so it would seem that Edward had passed on by this time.


The search for the soldiers named on the Quorn memorial is somewhat complicated by the spelling ability of many of the clerks and others in the Army. The name inscribed as E S Dienoff as it appears is wrong in three respects. It should be E G Deinhoff. Records for Edward Deinhoff were difficult to track down until I discovered the correct spelling of his name. Three others of the named soldiers have not been properly identified yet.
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