An outstanding Australia Battle of Amiens 18th August 1918 Military Medal to
Private G.E. Barnard, 23rd Australian Infantry, AIF, an original member of the battalion, he served with the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli in September 1915 and later on the Western Front from April 1916. His M.M. was awarded for coolness and courage of the highest order when in the face of heavy machine gun fire and bombing attacks, he ran out a telephone line to within 20 yards of the enemy trenches, and as German reinforcements were coming up called down Stokes mortar fine on them with great success all the while under grenade attack from the enemy trenches.
Military Medal, GVR, correctly named to: (961 PTE G.E. BARNARD. 23/AUST:INF.)
George Edward Barnard was born in Croydon, Surrey, England. He later emigrated to Australia with his parents, settling in Moonee Ponds, Victoria where he worked as a Leadlight importer. With the outbreak of the Great War he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Forces on 9th April 1915, aged 18, giving his next of kin as his father - Joseph Barnard, of Sydenham Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria.
He joined the 'C' Company, 23rd Infantry Battalion, as a Private (No.961). He was one of the Battalion originals - the 23rd Battalion was raised in Victoria in March 1915 as the third battalion of the 6th Brigade. After initial training it left Australia and arrived in Egypt to complete its training. Barnard embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 10th May 1915.
As part of the 2nd Australian Division, the 6th Brigade landed at Anzac Cove in early September, and the 23rd Battalion was soon manning one of the most trying parts of the ANZAC frontline - Lone Pine. The fighting here was so dangerous and exhausting that battalions were relieved every day. The 23rd manned Lone Pine, alternating with the 24th Battalion, until they left Gallipoli in December 1915.
Barnard himself was admitted to hospital sick with an abscess and diarrhoea on 23rd September 1915, having been admitted to the 6th Field Ambulance a day earlier, and was considered sick enough to be put aboard the hospital ship 'Grampion' and evacuated to England on 28th September being admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Bristol on 11th October 1915.
The Battalion was posted to France in early 1916, and Barnard rejoined it on 9th March 1916. On 10th April 1916 the Battalion was moved into the line, and occupied forward trenches in the Armentieres sector in northern France. This relatively gentle introduction to the Western Front was followed in July by the battle of the Somme, with the battalion taking part in the horrific battles of Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, after which it was estimated that the Battalion lost 90 percent of its original members, however Barnard made it through unscathed.
After manning the frontline through the bleak winter of 1916-17, the battalion's next trial came at the second battle of Bullecourt in May 1917. After the failure of the first attempt to capture this town, by troops from the 4th Australian Division, the new attack was heavily rehearsed. The 23rd Battalion succeeded in capturing all of its objectives, and holding them until relieved, but, subjected to heavy counter-attacks, the first day of the battle was the battalion's single most costly of the war. Barnard is noted as AWOL from 11th May, however he then appears to have returned from hospital on 18th May. On 19th June he is again admitted to hospital this time suffering from trench fever, being admitted to the 1st London General Hospital. He was continually in and out of hospital through to 13th March 1918 when he rejoined the 23rd Battalion.
In April 1918 the 23rd helped to turn back the German spring offensive, and then took part in the battles that would mark the beginning of Germany's defeat - Hamel, Amiens, and Mont St.Quentin, the fighting for the latter resulting in the battalion's only Victoria Cross, awarded to Private Robert Mactier.
Barnard himself was decorated with the Military Medal for his bravery 'at Herleville, east of Amiens, during operations on the 18th August 1918, this man in the face of heavy machine gun fire, ran out a telephone wire and established a telephone within 20 yards of the enemy. Although the enemy were being reinforced and he was subject to severe bombing he remained at his post and directed the fire of the Stokes guns on the enemy re-inforcements coming forward with great success. His coolness and courage were of the highest standard.' His award was published in the Commonwealth Gazette No.109 on 15th September 1919.
The Battalion fought its last battle around the town of Beaurevoir between 3rd and 4th October. It left the front for the last time on the night of 5th October and was resting when the Armistice was declared on 11th November 1918. The 23rd Battalion was disbanded in Belgium on 30th April 1919, Barnard as one of the originals had returned to Australia on 9th March 1918.
With quantity of research.