Private Errol Devlin
18th Battalion AIF, D Company
Service number: 1166/91
Born: 1891, Penrith, NSW
Died: 30 May 1916,Fleurbaix,France
Errol Cappie Nepean Devlin was born in Penrith in 1891 to Sidney and Mary Devlin. At the time of his enlistment, his parents were living at Kia Ora, Darley Road Manly. Devlin had been a clerk before his enlistment on 12 August 1914. He was serving with the Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Tropical Unit, 1st Battalion when it was sent to Rabaul. When Britain declared war on Germany, Australia was asked to destroy the radio stations and to occupy German New Guinea. The ANMEF forces raised the British flag in Rabaul on 13 September and commenced military occupation of German New Guinea. Devlin was discharged on 4 March 1915 and re-enlisted in the AIF at Liverpool on 29 March joining the 18th Battalion.
He embarked for Egypt on the HMAT Ceramic on 25 June 1915. The Battalion trained in Egypt before landing at ANZAC Cove on 22 August. It had not been ashore a day when the battalion was committed to the last operation of the August Offensive, the attack on Hill 60. It lasted until 29 August, costing the battalion half of its men. From letters deposited at the Australian War Memorial Devlin wrote to his family on 30 August stating ‘We landed at the Dardanelles 10 days ago and we now have only 82 men left out of 270 D Coy…our dead are still out there unburied…’.
On 9 January 1916 Devlin arrived back in Egypt. After some further training he was sent to France, disembarking at Marseilles on 25 March 1916. Devlin’s last letter to his family was dated 3 May – somewhere in France. He assured them that he was having a better time of it in France than at Gallipoli. He had plenty of food, beer and champagne, and was living in a house. Devlin observed ‘The country looks lovely over here now, with all of the flowers in bloom’. He collected some of those flowers from a battlefield near Ypes and enclosed them in his letter home. Devlin was killed in action on 30 May 1916 and was buried in Brewery Orchard Cemetery.
- Brewery Orchard Cemetery Bois-Grenier, France
- Honor Roll, Manly War Memorial
National Archives of Australia Search: B2455, DEVLIN E C N
The Sydney Morning Herald: 24 June 1916, pg.12, col.2
Sunday Times: 2 July 1916, pg 25, col. 3