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From Bank to Battlefield

Walter Harry MacQueen

Photo of Corporal Walter Harry MacQueen
 

Walter Harry MacQueen was the son of Archibald and Sophia MacQueen of Neutral Bay, Sydney. He was employed as a bank clerk with the Commonwealth Bank's Head Office in November 1913 after previous service with both the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales and the Bank of Australasia.

In 1914 he was the first Sydney-based officer of the Bank to serve, joining E Company of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) on 16 August. He was posted as a corporal and three days after enlisting embarked aboard the transport ship HMAT Berrima on 19 August 1914. After a period of training near Townsville, he sailed for Port Moresby to await the arrival of supporting Royal Australian Navy vessels HMAS Sydney, Parramatta, Yarra and Warrego and Australia's first Submarines, HMAS AE1 and AE2.

He took part in the New Britain engagement in Rabaul, the capital of German New Guinea, which was occupied by troops from the ANMEF from September 1914 to the end of the war. He returned to duty with the Bank in 1915 and in 1916 married Francis Price. In 1917 he was transferred to Townsville, then to Hobart, where he served as the Manager of the War Loan Department.

After returning to Sydney he was appointed as an officer in charge of both the George Street and William Street branches and also served as the honorary treasurer of the Australian Mothercraft Society. In 1932 he was appointed Manager of the Taylor Square branch of the Commonwealth Bank, where he remained until his retirement in 1951.

WWI Service Summary 16 August 1914, enlisted, E Company, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF)
19 August 1914, embarked HMAT Berrima A35, Sydney
4 March 1915, discharged from service
Rank Corporal
Service Number 442
Age at enlistment 27 years
Role at Bank Clerk

Source: National Archives of Australia

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