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Henry Arthur Malsch: Saturday 26th August 1916

Henry enlisted 13 January 1915 at Blackboy Hill Western Australia describing himself as single, a farm labourer, 30 yrs 11 days, 5’8” tall 140 lb, chest 32½/35, fair complexion, blue eyes, fair hair, a vaccination scar and Church of England.  He appears to have been discharged on 12 March 1915 as absent without leave and enlisted again at the same place on 24 March 1915 described this time as a clerk. He embarked from Adelaide on HMAT A2 Geelong 18 November 1915 and disembarked on 23 December 1915 at Suez.  He was lucky not to be on Geelong’s following voyage as it hit another transport ship and sank!  He spent time in Ismailia and Cairo.  He overstayed leave in Ismailia and was drunk in Cairo.

He arrived at Boulogne with 32nd Batt. Australian Infantry on 21 July 1916 and was listed as wounded same day.  The 8th Field Ambulance diagnosed him with a shrapnel wound, but when he arrived in hospital, they diagnosed gunshot wound to the mouth.

On 27 August 1916, he died of gunshot wound to head at 13th Stationery Hospital, Boulogne.  In December 1916 his father received a brief official letter to explain how and where Arthur died and that he was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

His will left his property to his father.  The list of his effects which arrived back with his father on 25 January 1917 is short, identity disc, wallet, letters, photos, 2 pipes, prayer book, religious book, shipping receipt and a linen bag.  In November 1917 Florence Hannaford from Western Australia wrote to try and trace him; possibly the girl he left behind?  She received a reply to say he had died and where he was buried.

Henry was born at 8 Gateley Rd, Brixton on 2 January 1885 and had emigrated to Australia after some time working as an insurance clerk in this country.  He was still living in the family home for the 1911 census which showed that his parents had been married 29 years, and he had brothers William James, 27, an accounts articled clerk, and Edwin Covington, 22, a stockbroker’s clerk.  He was listed on the register of electors until 1914.

His father William Mitchener Malsch (1855-1924) lived at The Lawn, 33 Lyford Road. William was a professor of music (Oboe) and taught Leon Gossans at the Royal Academy of music between 1911-14.  According to the Parish Magazine William had to resign his secretaryship of the Mission Union as he had accepted an army commission. Edwin and his family are buried in Earlsfield Cemetery.