• Robert Thomas Costelloe

Army / Flying Corps
  • 1st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 1st Australian Division

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Enlistment - WW1

    Armadale, VIC, Australia

  • Birth

    Currabubula, NSW, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Robert Thomas COSTELLOE 5th November 1916
    • Posted by AlanEade2317, Tuesday, 7 November 2017

    Robert was born 1st March 1891 at Currabubula, NSW. He was the son (ninth of thirteen children) of James COSTELLOE and Louisa NEWITT. He was known as Bobby and was brought up a Roman Catholic. Between 1912 to 1915 he was a road maintenance man for Peel Shire Council. Bobby was employed as a labourer, and lived in Currabubula when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Armidale Recruiting Office, NSW, on 7th March 1916, six days after his 25th birthday. He had a medical examination at Armidale, NSW, on 7th March 1916. The examiner noted an old injury to his right foot. 01 Mar 1891 **** Born Currabubula, NSW. He was the son (seventh of thirteen children) of James COSTELLOE and Louisa NEWITT. He was known as Bob and was brought up a Roman Catholic. 1912 - 1915 **** Employed as a road maintenance man for Peel Shire Council. 00 000 1916 **** Employed as a fireman on an engine for the railway. 08 Feb 1916 **** Appeared in Tamworth Police Court, charged with riotous behaviour at the Currabubula Hotel on 26th January 1916, after evidence was given, the police withdrew the charges of riotous behaviour. 07 Mar 1916 **** Employed as a labourer. 07 Mar 1916 **** Resided at Currabubula, NSW. 07 Mar 1916 **** Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Armidale Recruiting Office, NSW. 07 Mar 1916 **** Description:- Height: 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) – Weight: 12 stone 7 lbs (80 kg) – Chest: 36½-38 inches (94 cm) – Complexion: Medium – Eyes: Brown – Hair: Very Dark brown. 14 Apr 1916 **** Farewell party at Currabubula Hall for Privates Allan RUSSELL, Percy CHANDLER, and James COSTELLOE. Wrist watches were presented to each soldier, as well as a packet of comforts. Also presented was a tobacco pouch to Private RUSSELL, a safety razor to Private COSTELLOE, and a pipe and case, and a pair of field glasses, a soldier's outfit of a silver knife, fork and spoon to Private CHANDLER. Private Robert COSTELLOE was unable to attend as he was ill in camp, but when recovered he will receive a right royal send-off. 16 Apr 1916 **** Trained at Rutherford, NSW. Appointed to A Company, 1st Re-inforcements, 33rd Battalion. 26 Apr 1916 **** Farewell party at Currabubula Hall for Private Robert COSTELLOE. A wrist watch was presented to him. 04 May 1916 **** Embarked from Sydney, NSW, His Majesty's Australian Troopship A74 Marathon. 09 Jul 1916 **** Disembarked at Devonport, Plymouth, Devon. 14 Jul 1916 **** Training in the 1st Training Battalion, at Larkhill, Wiltshire. 16 Sep 1916 **** Departed England for France. 17 Sep 1916 **** Arrived 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, France. 01 Oct 1916 **** Joined 1st Infantry Battalion. 05 Nov 1916 **** Missing in Action, Gueudecourt, France. 07 Mar 1917 **** Private Robert COSTELLOE has been reported missing for some considerable time, and nothing has been heard of him. It is hoped however, that he is still alive and well. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. James COSTELLOE of Currabubula. The COSTELLOE family is a well known and respected family in the district, and for whom much sympathy is felt. 05 Nov 1916 **** Three companies went over the trench that Sunday morning about 12.30 a.m., some got into German lines, but the others got no further that the barbed wire, when they were repulsed and had to retreat. Stretcher bearers said they saw a few men lying beside the wire. It was very muddy that night. There were three attacks that night and all failed. Private Robert COSTELLOE was killed by a shell at Gueudecourt, France, he died about 15 minutes after being hit. 03 Mar 1917 **** A fatigue party of 50 men were called to Flers to discover about 50 bodies of those killed by shells and machine gun fire on No Man's Land, about 450 yards NNW to the left of Gueudecourt, France, just in front of Bayonet Trench, on 5th November 1916, then to identify and bury them. The area had just been re-taken after being repulsed by the Germans in November. Several men identified Private Costelloe, although his disc was gone, (the disc may have been previously taken and handed in) so they could not be positive, he had not been in the unit very long, he was described as tall, stout, big, dark and young. He was buried in a shell hole where he had fallen. A big cross was erected with all the names of the fallen. Alternatively recorded; small crosses were laid at the head of each grave. 05 Nov 1916 **** The 1st Battalion attack. The 1st Battalion attacked near the intersection of Bayonet and Hilt Trench. They immediately came under machine-gun fire from Hilt Trench. After the first failed attempt another two were made. Each running into the same problems - the mud and the machine-gun fire. After these three failed attempts many men were lost and the attack was finally called off. Unfortunately, due to the multiple attacks, the mud and the ground most of these men laid on being No Man's Land, the bodies had to be left where they lay - some fortunate men were recovered on November 5th. Most of the men of the 1st Battalion who were killed November 5th weren't recovered on that day. Those whose bodies weren't retrieved on November 5th, 1916, were recovered March 3rd, 1917 when the 1st Battalion were in reserve at Bancourt Le Abbey. Burial parties were sent out from C and D Company of the 1st Battalion. They went searching for the missing men reported after the Gueudecourt attack on November 5th. Seventy-four 1st Battalion soldiers were reported missing after the attack, of these seventy-three were confirmed as being killed in the attack near Gueudecourt. There are multiple reports of the burials. Most reports state that the men were buried where they lay in shell holes. These reports also state that there was "...a collection of 50 graves, with one cross erected in the middle bearing all the names." Near by a battlefield cemetery was created called 'Bayonet Trench Cemetery' (all of those buried in this cemetery after the war were moved to Grevillers British Cemetery). Forty of the seventy-three 1st Battalion men killed November 5th, 1916 to this day have an unknown grave. They are remembered on the walls at Villers-Bretonneux, France and Canberra, Australia, as well as Currabubula, Werris Creek and Tamworth War Memorials. Australian Imperial Force, 1st Division, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Battalion, C Company, No.10 Platoon, Regimental Number 1543, Private Robert Thomas COSTELLOE. Medals Awarded – 1914/15 Star Medal, British War Medal D/41 No.40372, Victory Medal D/40 No.39966 The 1914–15 Star is a campaign medal of the British Empire which was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served in any theatre of the First World War against the Central European Powers during 1914 and 1915. To be eligible for the award of the medal, a member must have served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war during the relevant dates of operations in that theatre. The 1914–15 Star was never awarded singly and recipients of this medal were also awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. The three medals were sometimes irreverently referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred after three comic strip characters, a dog, a penguin and a rabbit, which were popular in the immediate post-war era. Pip represented the Star, Squeak represented the British War Medal and Wilfred represented the Victory Medal. Some 2,366,000 medals were awarded to soldiers and supporting personnel of British military forces and the various forces of the British Dominions, India and the Colonies. Robert and James had the following siblings: William, Eliza, Harry, Mary, Michael, Maggie, Dan, May, Jack, Annie and Steve. Daniel COSTELLOE was my great-grandfather. Louisa Newitt had 13 children, 2 with first husband William English, 11 children with second husband James Costelloe. Louisa had 51 grand-children born between 1903 to 1934. No more than three are still alive.