Private Cyril Blaxland
18th Battalion & 5th Machine Gun Company, AIF
Service Number: 4367
Born: 1881, Hunters Hill, NSW
Died: 1 October 1917, Zonnebecke, Ypres, Belgium
Cyril Falkner Blaxland was born in 1881 at Hunters Hill, the son of John Gregory and Margaret Camden (nee Goodridge) Blaxland, the great grandson of explorer Gregory Blaxland, and of early Penrith settlers, John and Sarah McHenry. Blaxland completed his education at Kings School, Goulburn. At the time of his enlistment, he listed his occupation as farmer.
Blaxland enlisted on 19 October 1915 and was allocated to the 11th Reinforcements, 18th Battalion. Before he left, Blaxland filed his will on 6 March 1916 with McDonalds, solicitors in Penrith. He embarked on HMAT Nestor on 9 April and proceeded to England. After a period of training, he was sent to France on 10 September. He joined his unit in the field on 30 September, just prior to his battalion’s move from Belgium to a southern position on the Western Front.
On 23 December, Blaxland was admitted to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance with an infectious disease. He was transferred to Rouen and then to the 51st General Hospital at Etaples. He did not rejoin his unit until on 11 February 1917. The 18th Battalion was by then involved in the advance on German forces during their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was involved in heavy fighting around Warlencourt before taking part in the second Battle of Bullecourt between 3 and 4 May.
On 20 May, Blaxland was transferred to the 5th Machine Gun Company. In August, he spent two weeks in a rest camp before taking leave in England in September. He was killed in action on 1 October and according to Gunner West, Blaxland was digging gun pits on Haanebeek Creek. While having breakfast in the trench he was killed by a piece of high explosive shell. He was buried on Westhoek Ridge.
Blaxland left his estate to two sisters, Marjorie Simpson who lived in England, and Noel Campion, wife of Reverend Campion who was also living in England, and to his mother. They received the income from his three farms at Lambridge, tenanted by Garnet Honeman, Gordon Honeman and George Willett. An ex-nuptial daughter, Marion Wallworth, whose mother was Amy Wallworth of Pyrmont, was granted a pension of £1 per fortnight. She was not mentioned in his will. In post war correspondence, Blaxland’s mother was unaware of her existence stating that her son ‘was much too straight and honorable a man to have gone over to France without telling me he had left someone dependent on him’. The authorities decided Blaxland’s daughter should receive the British War Medal.
- Perth Cemetery (China Wall) Zillebeeke, Belgium
- Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
National Archives of Australia B2455, BLAXLAND C F
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing No: 0420606