Kilmore Remembers WWI Veterans – Melville Byron Bass


Melville Byron Bass enlisted at Kilmore on the fifteenth of July 1915, at the age of nineteen years and six months. He stated that he had been born at Terang in Victoria  and was a natural born British subject. His father was Frederick Rudley Bass, a teacher by profesion,  and his mother was Annie Maria Frances Bass (nee Anderson), both of 51 Victoria Street, North Williamstown. He had two sisters, Olive Audley and Iris Beryl.

He gave his occupation as clerk. He had clearly shown some interest in the armed forces prior to enlistment and stated that he was a senior cadet with the Citizen Forces and listed himself as “still serving”.

He was enlisted as a Private in the 23d Infantry Battalion AIF with the service number 4059. He embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A18 ‘Wiltshire’ on 7 March 1916 as part of the 10th reinforcement of the Battalion.

His military service was extensive.He initially spent three months in Egypt. By October 1916 he was in France, where he remained for the duration of the war.

In 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal but appears not to have found the role of officer  congenial and after three months is listed as ‘reverting to the ranks at his own request’.

After the termination of hostilities, he transferred to the Army Pay Corps  in December 1918.

He returned to Australia in 1919 via the ‘Khyber’ and disembarked at Melbourne on the 12th May 1919.

By 1922 he was living in Heathcote where he was working as an accountant in the Bank of Victoria. A letter in his handwriting survives, in which he applied for his war medals to be sent to him via his work address at  Heathcote. He had been awarded the Victory Medal, the British War medal, and the 1914/1915 Star.

He married Mabel Evelyn Savige in 1923. One of their children, also named Melville Byron Bass, died in 1928.

He died in Geelong in 1969, at the age of 74.

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