41st Battalion AIF
Date/Place of Birth: 1891 Penrith NSW
Date/Place of Death: 2 August 1917, near Warneton, Belgium
Biographical Details: George Patrick Dykes was born in 1891, the son of Edward and Caroline (nee Halia) Dykes. Prior to enlistment, Dykes was employed as a draper.
Service Details: Dykes enlisted on 23 February 1916 and served with the 11th Depot Battalion from 22 March 1916 until 19 April 1916 before serving with the Reserve company from 19 April 1916 until 14 May 1916. Dykes left Australia aboard A64 HMAT Demosthenes on the 18 May 1916, disembarking at Plymouth England on 29 July 1916. Dykes then underwent training in Britain and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 22 October 1916. On 30 November 1916, Dykes marched into the 3rd Division Australian Training Battalion at Hurdcott and was sent to the war front on 12 January 1917 aboard the Princess Clementina. Dykes marched into the 3rd Divisional Base Depot on 15 January 1917 and joined his unit in the field four days later. The 41st Battalion had arrived in France in November 1916 and spent the bleak winter of 1916–17 alternating between service in the front line, and training and labouring in the rear areas. Dykes was detached for duty with the 3rd Divisional School on 4 February 1917 and rejoined his unit on 11 March 1917. He was appointed Temporary Corporal on 10 April 1917 and promoted to Corporal on 25 May 1917. The 41st Battalion had a supporting role at Messines on 7 June and at the end of the month, the 11th Brigade was ordered to establish a new front line west of Warneton, in full view of the Germans. Work carried on night and day under heavy shellfire and the period became known to the battalion as “the 18 days”. At the beginning of August, the 41st Battalion was holding ground captured by other battalions in a feint attack on 31 July 1917. Enduring continual rain, flooded trenches and heavy shelling many of the battalion’s platoons dwindled from 35 men to less than ten. On 2 August 1917, Dykes was killed instantly. According to eyewitnesses, Dykes was killed about 5 pm while holding a Roman strongpoint in front of the Warneton line. He was buried in a shell hole.
Memorial Details: Dykes is commemorated on Memorial Panel 133, 29 Ypres (Menin Gate), Ypres Belgium.
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau File : 0980404
National Archives of Australia Search: B2455: DYKES G P