Jan 29, 2015

Alwin Clarence DALITZ (1894 - 1969)

Alwin Clarence Dalitz was born in Pimpinio, Victoria, Australia on 18th April 1894. His parents were Heinrich Daltiz and Maria Elisabeth Wuttke. He had 13 siblings.

On 12th June 1915 Alwin enlisted in the AIF at Dimboola. At time of enlistment, he was 21 years of age with a fair complexion, light blue eyes, sandy hair and had noted his religion as a Methodist.

After three months of training he embarked Melbourne on board the SS MAKARINI bound for Gallipoli.

He joined his unit at Gallipoli on 13th November 1915 and the following day the 14th Battalion commenced tunneling at Durrants Post.
at Durrants Post, Gallipoli

according to the Battalion diary on 18th November, "Quiet all day. some shrapnel in the morning, ground very wet and muddy after the nights rain".

By the 18th December, the Battalion was at Mudros in Greece after sailing on the HMS HAZEL, then being transferred to the HMS ZEALANDRIA reaching Alexandria in Egypt late December.



In February 1916 the Battalion was at Moascar (Egypt) and Tel-El-Kebir in March for further training.

Much of this detail can be found in the War diaries of the 14th Battalion as seen here:

parts of the 14th Battalion diary entries

Towards the end of March 1916 the Battalion were on the move again with one entry reading:

"marched out for Moascar at 0600 in heavy mist. Halted at 11am & continued march @ 1400 thru very heavy sand, weather hot, arrived Moascar 1715. Distance 17 1/2 miles"

and another ...

"as on previous mornings marched out at 0640 for Serapeum along fresh water canal. Very hot & dusty. halted at 11am. continued march at 1200. Crossed Suez Canal and arrived in camp at 1400. distance 11 1/2 miles"

31st March 1916 found the 14th Battalion at Serapeum in Egypt, they were on their way to Alexandria to "embark for abroad". Little did they know what was in store for them on the "Western Front".

By June they had arrived in Bailleul, Basse-Normandie, France. By the 17th The Battalion marched to "Fort Rompu" as Erquinghem-Lys was impossible for Australian, the name of the principle street was chosen. … here the battalion were quartered in wooden Army huts, about sixteen men each.

The Battalion marched to "Fort Rompu" as Erquinghem-Lys was impossible for Australian, the name of the principle street was chosen. … here the battalion were quartered in wooden Army huts, about sixteen men each.

28th June 1916 the 14th Battalion were in the trenches at the Bois-Grenier line where there was much heavy fighting. Just a few days later the diary mentions: "

Heavy artillery & trench mortars and at the same time shelled the surrounding countryside with shrapnel, the bombardment completely flattened all our trenches. Enemy were soon advancing on our position ....."

"11 July 1916 remainder of 30th Battalion arrived at midnight, complete relief of trenches and all communication by 2.00am and command handed over."

"Remainder of Battalion - when relieved - marched to Billets at Jesus Farm ( About 1 mile the other side of Erquingham )"

Alwin Dalitz was promoted to Sergeant on 14th August 1916.

By the 26th August 1916 Alwin was at Albert and bound for Mouquet Farm along the Labapaume Road.

Two days later he was badly wounded with gunshot wounds to the groin and pelvic area.  On this same day there were 3 KIA and 40 wounded from the 14th Battalion.

Alwin was transferred to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, then onto England.  He did not return to duty until five months later on 16th January 1917.

By the 11th April 1917 he was at the Battle of Bullecourt .....

Bullecourt, a village in northern France, was one of several villages to be heavily fortified and incorporated into the defences of the Hindenburg Line in 1917.

In March 1917, the German army had withdrawn to the Hindenburg Line in order to shorten their front and thus make their positions easier to defend. This move was rapidly followed up by the British and empire forces, and they launched an offensive around Arras in early April 1917.

To assist the Arras operations, an attack was launched on Bullecourt on 11 April 1917 by the 4th Australian and 62nd British Divisions. The attack was hastily planned and mounted and resulted in disaster. Tanks which were supposed to support the attacking Australian infantry either broke down or were quickly destroyed. Nevertheless, the infantry managed to break into the German defences. Due to uncertainty as to how far they had advanced, supporting artillery fire was withheld, and eventually the Australians were hemmed in and forced to retreat.

The two brigades of the 4th Division that carried out the attack, the 4th and 12th, suffered over 3,300 casualties; 1,170 Australians were taken prisoner - the largest number captured in a single engagement during the war.

Bullecourt, more than any other battle, shook the confidence of Australian soldiers in the capacity of the British command; the errors, especially on April 10th and 11th, were obvious to almost everyone'. Charles Bean, Official Historian.

This is when Alwin Clarence Dalitz was captured by the Germans and became a POW interred at Limburg.

His brother - Carl Dalitz - was killed in action at the Battle of Bullecourt three weeks later on 3rd May 1917.

Carl Walter Dalitz

is remembered with honour 

at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France.

There is no known grave.

from the diary of the 14th Battalion

Red Cross missing & wounded information

on 25th December 1918 Alwin Dalitz was repatriated back to England along with other POW's and by March 1919 returned to Australia on board the HMAT KHYBER. Arriving in Melbourne on 12th May 1919.

Alwin Dalitz married Constance Anne Holland in 1924 and died at Nhill in Victoria on 29th January 1969.

a blog post titled:


further information on 14th Bn at Gallipoli from the blog titled:

John Francis Coyle

Major Durrant returned shortly before the departure to Gallipoli, giving required training and orientation to the new officers and men. The strengthened battalion then embarked from Mudros harbour for Anzac Beach on the 31st of October, 1915. They travelled with the 14th & 15th Battalions on the SS Osmarich and landed in two stages on that night and the next day. The troops marched from the landing spot, having bivouaced in Water-Course Gully overnight to reach and relieve soldiers at Durrants Post on the 3rd of November, 1915.

This outpost, near to the approaches of Chunuk Bair and Hill 100 was a major front-line stand. The efforts of these soldiers through-out November included many reports of successful sniper attacks on the enemy, including the innovative use of the new “telescope” rifles. There was also much to be done in the work of tunnelling, trench digging and reinforcement of the post (“every available man involved in the construction of underground winter quarters”).
On the 24th of November, 1915, it is stated in the War Diary the “Ruse of Silence” (effective for 48 hours) is commenced. This was a very important tactic to eventually allow the Anzac troops to withdraw in December but at this time it was still a strategy only known to the top officers.

It was also during this time that the Gallipoli area suffered horrendous storms & deluges that washed away embattlements. During all of November and into December the brave Diggers at Durrant’s Post completed scouting patrols, employed sharp-shooters and snipers to attack the enemy positions. The majority of the ‘fresh’ men continued the work of holding the ground that had been secured at such a high cost of lives lost, by both the Australian and particularly, in this area, our New Zealand brothers.

The official account says that on the 15-16th of December preparations and preliminary evacuations took place while laying charges, destroying equipment that could not be transported. The report also suggests that they prepared automatically firing rifles, on delayed timers, that would fool the enemy after they left. The evacuation then took place for these men on the 18th and 19th of December with Captain Twynham playing a major part in getting his men out safely.



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