Peter Edmanson



Peter EdmansonPeter Edmanson.

Citation for exceptional service promulgated in the London Gazette on 6 March 1947. Citation for exceptional service promulgated in the London Gazette on 6 March 1947.

Peter Edmanson aged 84 in 2006. Peter Edmanson aged 84 in 2006.

Barbara and Peter Edmanson. Barbara and Peter Edmanson.

peter alan edmanson – VX15631

Peter was born on 25.04.1922 at Deniliquin, in NSW, where his parents had a farm at Balranald. There were three other sons, Ken, George and Boyd. All sons are still living long and happy lives (c. 2011).

It is recorded that Peter spent a year with the Militia – 115th Bty. 15th Field Brigade – before joining the A.I.F.

When WW2 broke out, eighteen year old Peter lied about his age (as so many did then), declaring his birthdate as 25.04.1919 when he enlisted for service at Mt. Martha on 13.05.1940. He was formally enlisted into the A.I.F. at Caulfield Racecourse on 17.05.1940 & posted to the 2/8th Field Regiment as a Gunner at Puckapunyal

Peter had been a Bank Officer with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Brunswick Branch before his enlistment

The Regiment embarked from Melbourne on H.M.T. Strathmore on 16.11.1940 & upon disembarking in the Middle East on 19.12.1940, Peter was immediately evacuated to 54 British General Hospital & later 27 BGH at Kilo 89 with Measles. He was discharged back to the Unit on 01.01.1941. Later that month, he was Graded Group 2 Signaller & in August, Peter attended an R.A.F. Ground Operators’ Course for 6 days

There were many firm friends from the Unit who kept in touch for years after the war – Allan Guy & Peter Vanderkelen amongst so many others. Peter remembers the sound of the bagpipes coming from the Scottish Regiment, the 51st Highland Division camped nearby

Between 08.06.1942 & 15.06.1942, Peter found himself evacuated to 2/3 Field Ambulance for P.U.O. – a fever of unknown origin. He made it back in time to fight on the El Alamein front, in line to the final effort which was one of the greatest battles of WW2. In the family records, they have a message ‘Behind El Alamein’ communicated from the Commander in Chief, stating “that you (the Regiment) have done well, you have turned the retreat into a firm stand & stopped the enemy on the threshold of Egypt” Peter embarked in the Middle East “L4” on 31.01.1943 for the journey home & they disembarked at Melbourne on 25.02.1943

On 17.06.1943, Peter was charged with the offence of being AWL from 0700 hours 03.04.1943 until 2330 hours on 04.04.1943. He was fined 3 pounds plus 7 days detention by the C.O. with automatic forfeiture of 2 days pay = Total forfeiture of pay 9 days
On 30.06.1943, he was appointed Lance Bombardier & later on 04.08.1943 he was Graded Group 2 O.P. Assistant & then appointed Bombardier on 05.08.1943

Between 29.11.1943 & 18.12.1943, Peter attended the Naval Bombardment Course # 9 for Technical Assistants at Flinders, Vic. He was a keen student who worked hard & he passed second out of twelve. He was transferred to 1 Aust Naval Bombardment Group on 23.12.1943 & later detached to 3 Shore Fire Control Party on 11.02.1944 & “A” Bombardment Troop on 04.07.1944

He was later detached to AITAPE Force X1 (US Army) on 15.08.1944 & emplaned to Cairns to embark on USS “Alexander Majors” on 31.08.1944. Peter disembarked at Finschafen PNG on 04.09.1944 & emplaned back to Townsville upon his cessation of detachment to the US Army

After some time in 2/1 Aust CCV & 9th Div. Recuperation Camp for recurring Sacroiliac Arthritis, Peter was finally transferred back to the 2/8th on 20.11.1944

The Regiment embarked on USNS “David C. Shanks” at Townsville on 06.05.1945, bound for Morotai Island & arriving ten days later. On 30.05.1945, Peter embarked on LST 584 for British North Borneo

“The first landing was at Miri, on the west coast of North Borneo, where the oil fields were. Here we were landed by the Yanks & after an initial bombardment by the accompanying warships, we set off in “ducks”
The forward Observant Party – Peter Bolton (Captain), Peter Edmandson (his aide), Roly Ling & Geoff Bydder (signallers) landed with the infantry
We were supposed to be taking up post some little distance inland, but as soon as we reached the shore, that was it, as the Yanks wanted out. In this landing, the guns were landed on a small island, just off the shore. I would have imagined that some infantry would have been landed either with, or just before, the guns, but as it turned out there wasn’t a soul on the island” – (as observed by Geoff Bydder)

“B” Troop suffered its only casualty at this landing - Lance Bombardier, Jim Condick – VX53514 - died of wounds on 10.06.1945. “He was fatally shot by some idiot Yanks who, after the gunners went ashore, came in firing. I understand that it took some effort to stop his Bombardier, Frank Arnott, from taking an Owen Gun to them” – (observed Geoff Bydder)

Peter went out to find the hapless communications / wireless fellow caught in the crossfire. He was Mentioned in Despatches – for Exceptional service in the field SWP area – on 24.06.1946, with the award being gazetted in London & Commonwealth of Australia on 06.03.1947

The bravery of Peter & his fellow comrades cannot truly be imagined. Peter speaks very little of his war effort but the family feel very proud & fortunate to have his notated war diaries in their possession

On 31.10.1945, Peter was transferred out to Vic. GDD for discharge (longserving) via Labuan Depot & transported back to the mainland on HMS LST 321. He disembarked at Brisbane on 21.11.1945 & was finally discharged on 06.12.1945

Returning from the war, Peter returned to the Commonwealth Bank, firstly in Mildura & then working with new immigrants at Broadmeadows, Vic. He married Barbara Crofts from Mildura & they have three children: Jane, John & Tony. Moving from Melbourne to Mildura, Peter & Barbara owned a citrus farm for 20 years. Peter was always an innovator, being one of the first to install under-tree irrigation for more efficient water usage; to growing avocadoes very early on; to setting up a packing shed & establishing a tourist venture to show visitors the complete works of a citrus farm

In 2011 – Peter is 89yo & has a long & wonderful 64 year marriage to Barbara. They have recently retired to Anglesea, Victoria & Pete would agree that life has been full of amazing experiences.

(This account of Peter Edmanson was provided by the family in 2011.)


The following obituary was published in The Age newspaper on 4 May 2012. (The graphic was scanned from a xeroxcopy, then rotated to square up the text.)

Obituary of Peter Alan Edmanson