Private Edwin Bunyan
19th Battalion AIF
Serial Number: 4672
Born: 3 October 1891, Emu Plains, NSW
Died: 8 October 1917, Passchendaele, Belgium
Edwin (known as Edward) Bunyan was born at Emu Plains, the seventh son and tenth child of William and Sarah Ann (nee Poll) Bunyan. He attended Emu Plains Public School and after leaving school, Bunyan worked as a grocer’s assistant for six years for A Chapple at Emu Plains. According to his obituary in the Nepean Times, Bunyan was a keen sportsmen and a good rifle shot. In April 1916, on the eve of leaving for the war, he was presented with a money belt and other mementoes by the people of Emu Plains, and also a safety razor and pocket book by A Chapple.
Bunyan enlisted on 27 January 1916 at Casula and was allocated to the 12th Reinforcements, 19th Battalion. His brother, Irwin and two cousins also enlisted at the same time. Irwin was killed on 11 May 1917 and a cousin, Leslie Victor Poll, who served with the 36th Battalion, was killed on 3 October 1917. Bunyan left Australia aboard HMAT Ceramic on 4 April 1916 and arrived in Alexandria on 29 May. He was transferred to England aboard HMT Megantic, arriving in Portsmouth on 7 June. After several months training at No 5 Training Battalion, Bunyan joined his unit in France during September. The 19th Battalion attacked near Flers between 14 and 16 November, in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.
In January 1917, Bunyan was attached to the Lewis Gun School and during his time there he was awarded 10 days forfeiture of pay for being found out of bounds at the English Bar in Cucq. In 1917, the 19th Battalion was involved in the advance on German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter-stroke by the Germans. The Battalion took part in the second Battle of Bullecourt between 3 and 4 May 1917.
In August, Bunyan was attached to the Corps School as a batman for short period. At the end of August, he took leave in England and on his return to the front, was attached to the Bomb School as a batman. On 8 October 1917, Bunyan was killed in action, one of 310,0000 casualties suffered by the British Expeditionary Forces during the Battle of Passchendaele. According to his family he had many close calls as a despatch runner.
- Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
- Honor Roll, Emu Plains Public School
- War Memorial, Emu Plains
National Archives Australia: B2455 BUNYAN E