No.3901 – Samuel Thomas Podger – 51st Battalion AIF
Sam was born on 23 April 1891 in Victoria to Charles and Annie Podger. In 1897 his family relocated to Western Australian.
According to his war records, Sam worked for some time as a shunter for the Government Railways as well as a book binder. He lived with his family in 48 Ellen Street, Fremantle before the family relocated to 179 King Street, Fremantle.
In 1911, at 20 years of age, Sam joined the 11th Infantry Battalion in which he did a three year stint as a volunteer.
On 20 November 1915, Sam once again signed up with the military but this time he joined the 9th reinforcement of the 28th Battalion. Enlisting at Blackboy Hill, he was described as being 24 years and eight months old, 5ft 7inches (172cm), of fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, and weighing 122lbs (61kg).
He also signed the following oath, as did all of Australia's World War One soldiers.
Sam is pictured here and is in the bottom left corner.
On 12 February 1916, Samuel Podger embarked on the HMAT Miltiades and on 2 April 1916 was transferred to the 51st Battalion.
Now in Alexandria, Egypt, on 5 June 1916, the 51st Battalion joined the British Expeditionary Forces and on the ship Invernia, Sam landed in Marseilles, France on 12 June 1916 bound for the Western Front.
One day which marching, Sam fell out of line without permission and was consequently fined 10 days pay. On 19 August 1916, he was hospitalised with "septic heel” which mostly likely was the reason for him falling out of the march. He was discharged from hospital on 28 August.
While fighting in or near Pozieres on 9 September 1916, Sam was wounded by exploding shell, and was found by some Canadian soldiers buried and unconscious. Sam spent a week in a Canadian hospital base before being transferred to Wareham Hospital in Dartford, Kent. There he complained of headaches, back pain and dizziness, and also appears to have had tachycardia (a fast heart rate).
After being discharged from hospital, Samuel reported back to Australian officials and received furlough from 15 to 26 November.
On 27 November 1916 Sam returned to France and by 27 January 1917, had marched into Estaples. Once there, on 7 February 1917, he rejoined his old unit in the field. Sadly, only six days later, on 13 February 1917 Samuel Thomas Podger was killed in action.
Samuel Thomas Podger rests at the Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers, in the Somme, France.
His personal effects were returned to the family, including his identity disc, 2 metal rings, testament, sleeve link and photos.
Medals and dog tag (front):
Medallion and thanks from King George:
Many thanks to Brian Richardson, Great Nephew of Samuel Thomas Podger, for sharing this story and ephemera. And special thanks to Garry Cascoigne for doing the research and collating the photos and records.