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Private Arthur Ernest Dean

Pakenham & District War Memorial

Born: 23 May 1890 - Windsor, Victoria                                              

Enlisted: 15 July 1916 aged 26

Unit: 2nd Pioneer Battalion, 6th Reinforcement (SERN:2962)          

Served: Western Front            

Died: 16 August 1979 - Melbourne, Victoria


Arthur was a son of William and Amelia Dean. When he enlisted on 15 July 1916, Arthur was a 26 year old farmer / horse driver living in the Toomuc Valley, where his brother Charlie also lived (1). Before the War, Arthur had been a keen local cyclist (2). In August 1915, Albert represented Toomuc Valley on a committee chaired by Bill Stephenson to organise a dance in aid of the fund for wounded and sick soldiers (1a). This initiative eventually became a major ongoing fund raiser for the Pakenham Red Cross during the War. Arthur was allocated as a private to the 2nd Pioneers Battalion 6th Reinforcement. The Pioneers were an army engineering unit. Arthur embarked for England in October 1916, stopping along the way at Sierra Leone in West Africa, which must have seemed very exotic to a young man from Pakenham. Arthur then spent nearly a year in England, training (including as a signaller) and doing duty at an army hospital before being taken on strength with the 2nd Pioneers in France in January 1918 (3). In July 1918, the 2nd Pioneers were operating in the Somme Sector, including logging, timbering dugouts and constructing bridge-guards (4). On 17 July, the Germans heavily gassed the valleys around Villers-Bretonneux (5). Arthur was hospitalised suffering from an eye ulcer caused by mustard gas. This effectively ended his War. Arthur returned to Melbourne in late 1919 (6) and was discharged in February 1920. 


In May 1920, Arthur was officially welcomed back to Pakenham (7). The previous month, he had been groomsman at the wedding of his friend, Albert Nye from Pakenham Upper (8). By 1923, Arthur had left the district and moved to Elsternwick. That year, he also married Susan Horner. Arthur worked for the Melbourne tramways until the 1950s. He died in 1979 aged 89. 


(1) & (3) NAA B2455 DEAN A E

(1a) Dandenong Advertiser 5/8/1915, p. 2       

(2) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 5/1/1911, p. 3        

(4) AWM 4 14/14/26 Unit Diary July 1918  

(5) NAA B73 H86533 Part 1 

(6) Pakenham Gazette 10/10/1919 p. 2

(7) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 20/5/1920, p. 4

(8) Pakenham Gazette 21/5/1920 p. 3