Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
2109 Sergeant Arthur William Armstrong – Bendoc/Swan Reach Killed in Action 29 July 1916
The first of four children born to William Hamilton Armstrong and Annie Simpson, the family were living in the Bendoc area when Annie died in 1901 : the same year their youngest child named after her mother was born. William was a school teacher and remarried three years later to Mary Ann Cameron and another six children were born with two of these sons serving in the World War II. The family spent some years at Sunnyside where he went to school and then the family moved to Johnsonville where William was head teacher. In 1915 William relocated the young members of his family to Fish Creek when he took up teaching there. Arthur remained in the district working as a timber hewer and after spending eleven months with the 13th Gippsland Light Horse, at 23 years old, he enlisted on 29 March 1915 in Bairnsdale. By September he was on the Horarato sailing for the front. In November he wrote home we all sadly miss our own dear green surroundings, being amongst the sand and flies over here. Arthur, by this time was at Zeitoun Camp in Egypt, eight miles from Cairo, stuck in the middle of a sandy waste with no shelter except for the huts which were built purely for shade. They had landed at Suez and travelled overland by train which for many miles ran parallel to the canal and through numerous little half acre oasises of green vegetables growing out of dry sands. Once in the Nile Valley he gave a hint of his faith mentioning how it landed one right back in Bible history. … For hours on end one never loses sight of extensive plantations, no wonder the Egyptians worship the Nile, as their very existence depends on it.  Arthur then reached Cairo, which according to him, no pen that was ever driven could ever describe the absolute filth of the place. … My nose is not over sensitive to obnoxious smells, but the native quarter of Cairo is over the fence. I am not particularly anxious to go back again. He also mentions that he ran into an old pal on the first night in Cairo who had gone across with the first contingent and that he had been wounded no fewer than five times. He got the shock of his life when he met him. Their days in camp were long, rising at 5.30am, first parade at 6.30am, sold work till 8.30am then breakfast. From 9.30 to 11 it was parade, then a one-hour break before instruction from 12 to 1pm. The men then had a break for their dinner before work again till 5.30pm. It was well known in the Johnsonville community that Arthur had a strong desire to get to the front and others in their letters home reported that he looked well. The following February Arthur was appointed Corporal and then, after being transferred to Belgium he was made Sergeant on 11 March 1916. On 29 July 1916, just four months after his promotion, Arthur died at the 3 rd  casualty clearing station from gunshot wounds he received in action. It is difficult to know if Arthur was aware of his brother Alfred’s attempts to join him, however, young Alfred, who enlisted with the consent of his parents, was rejected as medically unfit for service and died just two years later when struck by a falling tree. Two of his half-brothers served in WW2, Oliver being killed in action in 1942 and Sydney who returned home safely and married Emma Faithfull and settling in Omeo. Arthur is remembered on the St John’s Church, Metung honour board and at the Puchevillers British Cemetery, France. His book of poems, letters and prayer book being returned to the family amongst his possessions.    
….. we all sadly miss our own dear green surroundings