Private Robert Forland
1st & 53rd Battalion, AIF
Born: 1896, Condoblin, NSW
Died: 19 July 1916, Fromelles France
Robert Carrington Forland was born in 1896 at Condobolin NSW, the son of Joseph and Jane Forland. Prior to enlisting, Forland had served with the 16th Platoon, B Company 42nd Infantry Battalion for 14 months at Condobolin. He had attempted to join the Light Horse but after one month’s service failed the riding test.
Forland enlisted on 20 August 1915 and was allocated to the 15th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion. He embarked aboard HMAT Star of England on 8 March 1916 and upon arrival transferred to the 53rd Battalion. Forland left for France aboard Royal George on 19 June 1916 and disembarked at Marseilles on 28 June 1916.
He was wounded in action on 19 July 1916 during the Battle of Fromelles. Forland was seen badly wounded by another soldier later in the raid, sitting in a shell hole between the German first and second lines of defence. His fellow soldier said that he would come back and get him later on but owing to heavy shell fire and the enemy pressing, he had to return to his own line.
Forland was not seen again and a Court of Inquiry held on 2 September 1916 ruled that Forland had been killed in action on 19 July 1916.
Shortly after receiving the news of his death, Forland’s family received a letter from Max Gavel, a fellow soldier from Condobolin, stating that only a fortnight before (mid September 1916), Bob Forland had written to his brother Syd from one of the base hospitals. This led to a flurry of letters between the family and the military authorities who notified the family that their son had been killed in action at Fromelles. He laid buried in a mass grave until 2008 when DNA testing identified his remains. He was laid to rest in 2012.
- Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, Fromelles, France
- Honor Roll, Memorial Park, Condobolin
- Honor Roll, Condobolin Public School
National Archives of Australia: B2455 FORLAND R C