Monday 14 January 2013 by Dianne Rutherford. 4 comments
Military Heraldry and Technology, News

My name is Thomas Mittwollen. I’m 16 years old and I am in year 10 at Bulli High School on the South Coast. I am currently doing work experience at the Australian War Memorial. In December I was put in Military Heraldry and Technology for one day and was asked to write a biography for Carl Renner.

Carl, son of Harry and Anna Renner, was a farm labourer from Manly, Brisbane. He enlisted in the AIF on 1 June 1915 at the age of 19 years and 5 months. Carl also had an older brother, Otto who served with the multiple infantry battalions from 1915 to 1918. Otto spent the majority of the war in hospital and being in trouble until he was gassed in 1918. He was returned to his unit when the war ended and was eventually discharged, returning home relatively intact.

25 Battalion colour patch 25 Battalion colour patch

Carl was assigned to ‘’D’’ company of the 25thInfantry Battalion and was sent to Gallipoli. After about a month, Carl was admitted to hospital with rheumatism. He was discharged about 5 months later during March 1916. By this time the Gallipoli campaign was over and the 25thBattalion had being integrated into the BEF and was being sent to France. About 3 months after arriving in France he was wounded in action with gunshot wounds to the left arm and right thigh during the first battle at Pozières. He was admitted to hospital on 31 July 1916.

Villers-Bretonneux Villers-Bretonneux

Carl was discharged from hospital during September, 1916. He was restricted from going into combat for a few months to help with recovery and as a result remained in England until 1918. During his time in England he faced two disciplinary charges. His first offence was allowing a prisoner under his care to go into a pub and get a drink. His punishment was forfeiting his pay for 3 days.  The second was for not wearing a belt on the parade ground, for which he forfeited one day of pay. Nevertheless he returned to duty during April of 1918 and re-joined the 25thBattalion in France on 11 May. Carl Renner at the age of 22 was killed in action in France at Villers-Bretonneux on 17 July1918 by a shell whilst on a ration party. A witness, Private Tillyard, was about 3 yards away from him when he was hit and later was a part of the original burial team. Carl had been involved in an attack on German lines at the time of his death. He is buried at Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, France. He was later memorialised in his home town. His name is also located on panel 106 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.

Not much remains of Carl’s military career except for a few service medals and badges such as his Australian rising sun badge, Carl’s 25th infantry shoulder badges, a 1914-15 star, a British War medal, a Victory medal and a mothers and widows badge which his mother received after his death. Unfortunately there are no known photos of Carl-not even the family knows what he looked like.

REL43932 - REL43937.003 The collection of Carl Renner


Leanne Legg

RIP Carl Renner. Well done Thomas - a great job.

Catriona Kelly

Good job Thomas. A very interesting story. Lucky you getting work experience at the AWM.


Great writing Thomas, that was a really interesting read. It was an especially nice touch to talk about what was left behind - the medals - and what wasn't - no photographs. I liked that a lot.


Another really good piece - you are very fortunate to get a work experience placement at the AWM! I was very interested to see the brass 2 and 5 numerals to identify his battalion as the AIF obviously used colour patches extensively. Would be a handy project for another student to investigate the extent of this practice as it seldom appears in photos of the period though no doubt examples do exist.