• James Holmes Fleming

Army / Flying Corps
  • 57th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Lance Corporal
  • Second Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • Sergeant
  • Private

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  • Military Medal (MM)
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
  • Birth

    Macorna, Victoria, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • James Holmes Fleming: from private to officer
    • Posted by Mapping our Anzacs story, Wednesday, 20 November 2013

    James Holmes Fleming, known as Jim was the second child born to George Holmes Fleming and Margaret Fleming (nee McIvor) on 3 July 1883 near the town of Macorna Victoria. He was thirty two years of age when he enlisted on 13 July 1915. This was in the same year as one of his younger brothers, Peter who had enlisted in the February. By the end of June 1916 his battalion, the 57th was in France and he had been appointed to Lance Corporal and by 29 August promoted to Sergeant.On 3 March 1917 Major R.M. Aitchison, temporary Commanding Officer of 57 Battalion recommended Jim for mention in despatches. This NCO (non commissioned officer) during the period from October 1916 to February 1917 served with his unit at Fromelles and on the Somme. His work throughout has been of the highest order and he has at all times shown great coolness and bravery under fire and has been a great example to the men under his command. This devotion to duty is worthy of great praise. Jim continued to serve with distinction. Commanding Officer James Campbell Stewart recommended that Jim be awarded the Military Medal for his bravery and leadership at Beaumetz on the morning of the 24th March 1917 Sgt Fleming showed conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy. During an attack on the village when the enemy has broken through our line, Sgt Fleming successfully organised and led a counter attack, driving the enemy out and regaining position. This fearless conduct and initiative set up a splendid example to his men and regained the position for us at a very critical period . Six months later, east of Glencorse Wood during the period 25th/27th September 1917 Major-General J T Hobbs, commanding 5th Australian Division recommended that Jim receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal. This NCO showed great bravery and devotion to duty. When all the officers of his company had become casualties he took charge of the company, organised and guided carrying parties with ammunition, water and rations for the front line. His work had to be done through heavy shell fire. For two days and two nights he worked unceasingly, and always kept his company in hand. He set a fine example in coolness, energy and devotion to duty. Jim referred to these accolades in a postcard dated 4 October 1917 to his youngest surviving brother Austin. After reporting that there is not much news to tell you from this side he goes on to say a couple of days ago I got a Cable from (undeciphered) and the Commissioner and staff complimenting me on winning the Military Medal. Not so bad of them was it? By 5 November 1917 he was in London. He wrote to his sister Annie I am going to an officers School at Oxford or Cambridge to qualify for a Commission. The course lasts something like 4 months altogether. I will be away from France something like 5 months. So will be well out of it for the Winter. Jim returned to France in the middle of the following year as an officer, Lieutenant JH Fleming MM DCM .He was wounded during the Battle of Hamel 4 July 1918 and sent first to hospital in Rouen and then transferred to England where he was admitted to Wandsworth Hospital with a gun shot wound to his left elbow. By 15 September he returned to France and was part of the September attack on the Hindenberg Line. At Bullecourt late September Jim received a gun shot wound to the left buttock and mouth. It was back to London and the Third London General Hospital at Wandsworth where his jaw was splintered and wired. His wounds gradually healed.The following postcard was sent by Jim to his brother Austin on Armistice Day 1918.  11-11-18 LondonDear AustinJust a line to let you know that I am getting on fine. My wounds are all healed up now. But I still have splints on my teeth. It will take time for the bone in my jaw to knit. But it will be quite ok again. Just news this morning the Germans have signed the Armistice. No more fighting. Expect to be coming home soon. Fancy that hard to believe isn't it now. Austin must ring off for the present but heaps of love to all.Your affect bro JimHe did not get home until May 1919.