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
1512 Private Alexander Milo (James) Beaton – Bairnsdale Killed in Action 2 September 1916
Bairnsdale born Alexander Milo Beaton, known as Milo, had travelled to Liverpool in New South Wales to enlist with the 13 th  Battalion at the end of 1914 where, unknown to recruiters, he enlisted without any parental permission as a 21-year-old. At the time he was a dental assistant and had just turned 17 years old. He was also a respected member of the Bairnsdale Rowing Club and an active participant in local regattas. He sailed from Sydney in February 1915 and in a letter home in November 1915 said I think I had a pretty good run on the peninsula. I was there for over four months without getting a scratch. Out of the twelve men in our tent in Egypt my mate and I are the only ones left – the last of the gallant twelve. While on Gallipoli he describes the advance (Walker’s Ridge) that started on 5 August. He explains how our brigade advanced for about four miles from the left of our old position under a heavy gun fire of shrapnel and machine gun, but as the enemy was only firing at random very little harm was done. When, however, we were crossing a flat piece of country our own searchlights were swung on to us by mistake and our men began to shout out in protest, giving the alarm to the Turks. Bullets and shells were at once poured on to us in showers, and men began to fall around me. How I escaped God only knows. The chap with whom I was camping was shot dead beside me. He got it right through the stomach, which is about the worst place a man can be hit for it causes intense pain and is nearly always fatal. But that is a subject best left alone, as to me it seems one hideous nightmare. This was the attitude on many of those at Gallipoli and he also reflected the attitude of how many saw their opponents. There is not a slightest doubt the Turks are as brave as the next one. They actually leave their trenches and crawl up to ours and then let drive a bomb amongst us. There is one thing, however, they cannot stand and that is the Australian bayonet. They fear the Australians more than any of the others. I know for a positive fact that they had to bring down Turks from the Russian front to lead their attacks on our positions. The Turks who knew us were not having any, and they had reason on their side, for in all their charges against us they never shifted us an inch, I think if they had their choice a very large percentage of them would surrender, but they fear their German officers. I have seen them when peeping over the trenches, these officers driving the Turks to charge our position at the point of the revolver. It was at this time that a scratch on Milo’s hand became septic and he was conveyed firstly to Malta and then to England while his hand recovered. He then transferred to the 4 th  Pioneers in Egypt and was reunited with many local lads. On 11 June 1916 they landed in France with thousands of other Australians. Just six months later, when Milo was 19 years old he was killed in action on 2 September and buried near Pozieres. In 1919 his body was re-interred in Courcelette British Cemetery, five miles north east of Albert. Lakes Entrance minister, Reverend Birch, had the onerous task of informing his mother who was living at Swan Reach, of her son’s death.
….. the chap with whom I was camping was shot dead beside me