Soldiers including Arthur (right) at Harry Rathbone's grave and cross near where he fell in battle at Gaza.

Lest we forget: Arthur and Harry Rathbone

Contributed by Robyn Carter

ANZAC DAY 2021 was a day of recognition for Arthur Rupert Rathbone WW1 and WW2 Service.

A plaque with military recognition was attached to the headstone by family following the Narromine ANZAC 11am service.

A young Arthur Rathbone in uniform
A young Arthur Rathbone in uniform

Arthur Rupert Rathbone enlisted three times to serve his country.

1914 – he joined the AIF with the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment which involved enlistments from the NSW Central West District.

He was injured with gun-shot wound fracture to his thigh at Lone Pine in the August Offensive August 1915.

He returned to his home “Ormonde” Alagalah to recover. While walking to visit the neighbours he tripped on a log and refractured the leg. This delayed his planned return to service.

1917 Arthur re- enlisted to return to Egypt where he was able to transfer back to the 6th LHR to engage in the Sinai-Palestine Campaign.

During the time in Egypt Arthur took leave to travel to the location of the 2nd Gazza Battle where his younger brother Harry Rathbone was killed.

Harry Rathbone
Harry Rathbone

Harry Haw Rathbone enlisted with the 12th LHR – then joined the 4th Australian Machine Gun Squadron.

Arthur and friends of Harry’s squadron found Harry’s body (ID disc ) in the cactus bushes. Arthur re buried Harry marking his grave with a military cross. Harry was later resumed and buried in the Gazza Commonwealth Cemetery.

1918 – The Aman es Salt battle. Arthur was injured again with gun-shot wounds to his ankle and lower limb. He spent eight months in Military hospitals in Egypt. He returned with the troops after peace was declared. Many were ill with Spanish Influenza on the return trip.

Family have custody of over 100 letters written by Arthur to his sweetheart Neva Elizabeth Guthrie from Grenfell. They met when Neva visited her relatives the Lloyd family from Lloydsville, Alagalah.

Arthur and Neva married in Grenfell 1921 then lived on “Warramunga” in the Mungery District where Arthur established his Border Leister Sheep Stud.

1942 – Arthur enlisted as a Training Sergeant. He was released of duties at his request following his father’s death.

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