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From Bank to Battlefield

Arthur Oscar Rigg

Photo of Captain Arthur Oscar Rigg
 

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Arthur Rigg was living in Melbourne when he enlisted on 21 May 1915. After attending Melbourne Church of England Grammar School, Arthur chose to follow in his father's footsteps and enter a career in banking, successfully attaining a position as clerk in the Commonwealth Bank's Melbourne Office.

Arthur's commanding officers were quick to recognise his potential, and shortly after he enlisted he was sent to Officers Training School. He excelled in the courses that he undertook and received a promotion to 2nd Lieutenant before embarking overseas in January 1916. After arriving in England, Arthur joined the 5th Infantry Battalion. However, before joining his unit in the field, he was selected to attend the First Rifle Course at the School of Musketry in Tidworth.

Arriving in France in December 1916, Arthur joined the 5th Battalion in the Somme Valley where they were to spend their first freezing winter on the Western Front. Here, Arthur was able to put his training into practice and proved himself to be a dedicated and highly capable officer. By March 1917 he had earned a promotion to Lieutenant. For the next 12 months Arthur remained on the front pursuing the Germans as they retreated to the Hindenburg Lines, before he moved to Flanders to fight in the Third Battle of Ypres.

In January 1918, Arthur was appointed adjutant which placed him in charge of the organisation, administration and discipline of the battalion. He held this position throughout 1918 and carried out his duties with an unwavering dedication through the unrelenting attacks of the German Spring Offensive and subsequent Allied attacks of the Hundred Days Offensive. Arthur's actions during this period resulted in his promotion to Temporary Captain and caused his commanding officer to recommend him for the Military Cross, stating that Arthur had been “untiring in his efforts, both day and night, in making the operation a success, and it was due to his good work in the position of adjutant that these operations were successful”. This recommendation was not successful, but a second recommendation based on his actions in September 1918 resulted in Arthur being mentioned in despatches.

After peace was declared, Arthur travelled to Edinburgh where he married Mary Wingrove. They returned to Melbourne and Arthur resumed work at the Commonwealth Bank where he enjoyed a long and successful career.

WWI Service Summary 21 May 1915, enlisted
28 January 1916, embarked HMAT A32 Themistocles
11 February 1920, discharged
Rank Captain
Service Number 1003
Age at enlistment 24
Role at Bank Clerk

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