Military Cross: Chaplain Ignatius Ernest Bossence, 4th Battalion Imperial Camel Corps, AIF

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Palestine, Jaffa
Accession Number RELAWM17085B
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Military Cross (Geo V). Engraved reverse with the recipients details, unit and date of the action. The original engraving on the reverse reads, 'THE REV. I. E. BOSSENCE Chaplains Dept. A.I.F.'. A later inscription was added above and below and reads, 'IBN-IBRAK' and '3/12/17'.

History / Summary

Ignatius Ernest Bossence, a Roman Catholic priest serving at Gundagai, New South Wales, joined the AIF in September 1916, at the age of 29. A keen boxer, he took his boxing gloves and punch ball with him to England, and then to France, where he was appointed chaplain to the 7th Battalion. He later served at a number of hospitals in Egypt before being attached to the 4th Anzac Battalion of the Imperial Camel Corps.

When the battalion attacked Bald Hill, near Jaffa in Palestine, on the night of 3rd/4th December 1917, Bossence advanced with the first assaulting line under heavy shell, machine-gun and rifle fire. He rendered first aid to the 33 men who were wounded in the attack and helped to get them to safety. For his actions he was awarded the Military Cross, the citation for the award noting his conspicuous gallantry and 'his fine example of courage and cheerfulness had a most inspiring effect on the men.'

Bossence returned to Australia in August 1918. His brother, Francis Bossence, was killed at Lone Pine, Gallipoli on 7 August 1915, while serving in the 3rd Battalion.