WARTLEY, Michael Emanuel John

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Enlistment Address

Collie NSW

Service Number

2297

Unit

45th Battalion,

Comment

Tooraweenah Kookaburra

Fate

RTA 10.4.1919

Information

Private Michael Emmanuel John Wartley was a 21 year old labourer of Collie NSW when he enlisted on January 12, 1916 at Tooraweenah and marched with the Tooraweenah Kookaburra’s to Bathurst. The medical examination described him as 5’7” tall; 125 lbs (57kgs), dark complexion, dark brown eyes, black hair and no distinctive marks. His religion was Roman Catholic and his mother Mary Wartley was his next of kin.

Michael trained at Bathurst until he embarked on August 22, 1916 at Sydney on the A18 ‘Wiltshire’ with the 45th Battalion. They arrived at Plymouth England on October 13, 1916. Within days, Michael was admitted to hospital with the mumps. After further training he left for France on December 22, 1916 and was with the 45th Battalion on New Years Day 1917. On February 26, 1917, like many others, he suffered from Trench Feet and was evacuated to hospital in England, the Voluntary Aid Hospital in Cheltenham. While in Perham Downs he was absent without leave for 8 hours and fined 1 days pay.

On June 22, 1917 he rejoined the unit in the Catacombs known as Hill 63. Michael experienced the fighting at Menin Road and Passchendaele and the desolation of Ypres. On September 29, 1917 he was held in custody and accused of desertion; a Court Martial was held on November 4, 1917. He claimed he was not guilty but he was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years detention. However the sentence was suspended and he was back with his unit within days.

On February 6, 1918, Michael was missing in action, a Court of Inquiry was held on the 7th June and found he was a prisoner of the Germans. In January 1919, he was repatriated from Germany back to England and on April 10, returned to Australia on the ‘Medic’, arriving May 31, 1919. Michael was discharged on August 30, 1919 and was issued with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal