Lance Corporal David Orchard
Pakenham Upper State School Honour Book
Born: 3 January 1888 - Emerald, Victoria
Enlisted: 4 September 1916 aged 28 years
Unit: 5th Battalion, 23rd Reinforcement (SERN:7068)
Served: Western Front
Died: 1975 - Oakleigh, Victoria
David was born in Emerald, the youngest son of John and Sarah Orchard. The Orchards owned several acres of land at Cockatoo, where David’s father farmed and caught birds for sale at the Melbourne markets, while his mother was the local midwife, who was said to have never lost a mother or child (1). David attended the “Gembrook South” (Pakenham Upper) State School and later farmed on his father’s property (1a) As a young man, David also competed in shooting contests with the Emerald Rifle Club (1b), something that no doubt held him in good stead during the War. David later joined the Postmaster General’s Department (PMG), working as a telephone linesman at the Melbourne GPO (2). In late 1912, he married Ivy Knowles McBride, the daughter of James McBride of “Fernholme”, Cockatoo, who was the local shopkeeper (3). Two of David’s brothers also married McBride girls (4).
When he enlisted in September 1916, David was 28 years old and living in Ascot Vale (5). After being trained at the Royal Park and Domain Army Camps, he embarked for England in late November 1916 with the 5th Battalion. After completing further training in England, David joined the 5th Battalion in May 1917 (6). During the Third Battle of Ypres, the 5th Battalion saw action at places such as Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Passchendaele. In December 1917, David was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal (7). In 1918, the 5th Battalion was in the thick of the desperate struggle to halt the German’s stunning “Spring Offensive” which spectacularly recaptured most of the gains the British had made on the Western Front since 1916. David was subsequently wounded on 10 August 1918 (8) when the 5th Battalion was fighting in the Battle of Amiens, which was part of the Allies’ “Great Offensive”. According to the Pakenham Upper State School Honour Book, David was wounded near Pozieres, which back in 1916 had been the scene of so many Australian fatalities and casualties (9). His wounding was reported back in Australia in the same casualty list as that of another local Digger, Albert Auhl who also originally hailed from Cockatoo Creek (10). David was invalided to hospital in England and was then repatriated back to Australia for a “change” in late November 1918. He was subsequently discharged in Melbourne in February 1919 (11). After the War, David resumed his career with the PMG, becoming a lines foreman and later inspector (12) By the late 1930s, David and Ivy were living in Wonthaggi (13). David enlisted for WWII, serving as a signaller (V376144) from 1942 to 1947 (14). After WWII, David returned to Wonthaggi, but later moved to Dandenong. He died in 1975.
The assistance of Dot Griffin of the Cockatoo Historical Society is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) Information provided by Dot Griffin
(5) (6) (7) (8) & (11) NAA B2455 ORCHARD DAVID
(1a) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Flinders - Pakenham - p. 12
(1b) Box Hill Reporter 3/3/1911, p. 7
(2) & (9) Pakenham Upper State School Roll of Honour
(3) Argus 21/12/1912, p. 13.
(4) Argus 30/4/1910, p. 13
(10) Weekly Times 28/8/1918, p. 42
(12) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - McMillan- Wonthaggi - 1949 p. A3
(13) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Gippsland - Wonthaggi - 1937 p. 52
(14) WWII Nominal Roll - www.ww2roll.gov.au