Meritorious Service Medal: Lance Corporal Arthur Archibald Dengate, 59 Battalion, AIF

Unit 59th Australian Infantry Battalion
Accession Number REL/12719
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

Meritorious Service Medal (Geo V). Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Arthur Archibald Dengate was born Sussex, England, in 1891, and emigrated to Australia as a young man. He became a driver in Melbourne, and at the time of his enlistment in the AIF in January 1916, was married with one child. Originally intended to be part of the 21st Reinforcements to 14 Battalion, he instead joined 59 Battalion on the Western Front in February 1917, with the service number 6495. Dengate was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in early 1918 for his continued gallantry over the preceding six months. He was gassed in March 1918, but recovered quickly and returned to his unit. In August of the same year he suffered a wound in the left ankle from a bomb fragment, which hospitalised him for some time. He returned to Australia on 23 March 1919. The citation for the MSM reads as follows: ‘During the period 22nd Sept. 1917 to 24th Feb. 1918 this N.C.O. has done steady good work which has not failed to attract the notice his officers. At POLYGON WOOD operations of September 1917 he displayed utter disregard for personal safety. During the advance he continually carried messages from Company to Battalion Headquarters through artillery and machine gun fire. He established communication with the flank Battalion, though the flanks were extremely difficult to locate. Near YPRES his company was subjected to severe shell fire and sustained heavy casualties. L/Cpl. DENGATE volunteered for and was successful in finding stretcher bearers for his company. When the telephone line was cut, he re-established communications by bearing messages through the shell fire, which throughout the night was very severe. His personal example has been a great inspiration at all times.’ A paper accompanying the medal reads as follows: ‘To. No 6495 Corporal A.A. DENGATE, The following message has been received from the Brigadier General Commanding the 15th Australian Infantry Brigade. “The Brigadier congratulates you on having received your decoration and trusts that you may be spared for even greater service. While you may feel some hesitation in advertising your deed I would like you, at the first opportunity to send your photograph to the Australian War Records Section where it will be included in the records of your unit. I would like you to remember that, though your act has been of great service to your country, for hundreds of years hence it will suggest a similar or braver act to others. Will you please therefore take every means to facilitate the compiling of a complete record. Sd/ H.E. Elliott, Brigadier General. Commanding 15th Aust. Infantry Brigade. I wish to add my congratulations to the above. J.J. Scanlan Lieut-Col. Commanding 59th Battalion, A.I.F. 18th July, 1918.’