Captain Eustace James Colliver

Ranks Held Captain, Lieutenant
Birth Date 1892-07-09
Death Date 1951-03-06
Final Rank Captain
Service Australian Imperial Force
Unit 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1919-01-01
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23

Eustace James Colliver was born at Norwood, South Australia, on 9 July 1892 to William Henry and Emily (nee Champion). He completed his initial schooling at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, before moving to Melbourne during February 1912 to study for the ministry. Colliver returned to Adelaide and was working as a Clerk at Millbrook Reservoir when he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 15 June 1915.

Colliver was one of three brothers who joined the AIF during the First World War. The youngest brother, William Gordon Colliver, was 19 years old when he enlisted on 14 August 1915. He was attached to the 32nd Battalion before transferring to his brother’s unit, the 43rd Battalion. William was killed in action during the Capture of Mont St. Quentin and Peronne on 1 September 1918. The eldest brother, Norman Champion Colliver, enlisted on 29 December 1916 and served with the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station.

Before entering camp, Colliver and a small group of recently enlisted men from the local district were given farewell socials. During the first social held at Chain of Ponds in August 1915, it was noted that Colliver’s ‘sterling character won much esteem’, and he received a pocket wallet from his employer, a set of pipes and a tobacco pouch from the defence rifle club he was a member of, and a watch. A month later at nearby Kersbrook, Colliver was farewelled with a fountain pen and pocket book from Pastor Pascoe, whilst the tennis club tendered a compass and knife.

Colliver spent almost one year training at numerous camps around Adelaide including two stints at Officers’ School. During this period he was promoted to the rank of sergeant on 16 December 1915, and 2nd lieutenant on 2 April 1916. Colliver embarked from Outer Harbour, Adelaide, with the 43rd Battalion aboard HMAT Afric on 9 June 1916, and disembarked at Marseilles on 20 July 1916. The unit entrained to Le Havre and proceeded to Larkhill Camp via Southampton to complete their overseas training before returning to France via the same route on 25 November 1916.

After one week in France, Colliver was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. During his subsequent period of service, he was promoted to captain on 1 November 1917, and appointed adjutant to the 43rd Battalion on 30 January 1918. Colliver was awarded the Military Cross (gazetted 1 January 1919) for service rendered during operations on the Somme from March to September 1918. The recommendation noted that ‘Colliver carried out his duties as Adjutant in a highly efficient manner. By his untiring energy and devotion to duty under very trying circumstances he greatly assisted in the success achieved by his Battalion.’

Colliver was mobilised for his return to Australia on 23 April 1919, left France five days later and subsequently spent six weeks at Codford Camp in England. He departed Southampton aboard HMAT Themistocles on 12 June 1919, and disembarked at Melbourne on 8 August 1919. Soon after he proceeded to Adelaide and married Hilda Mary Pascoe at Christian Church, Hindmarsh, on 9 September 1919.

Members of the 43rd Battalion held a reunion in December 1919, subsequently formed a club, and thereafter celebrated their embarkation for active service overseas with an annual reunion dinner. Colliver was a prominent member of this club, and served in several roles including that of president. Similarly, he was an active member of the Mitcham branch of the RSL, and served as president for a period. In this role at the unveiling of a soldiers’ memorial at Mitcham during April 1929, Colliver stated that ‘true love was sacrifice, and the sacrifice of life was the perfect expression of love.’

Eustace James Colliver died suddenly in Victoria on 6 March 1951.



Date of birth 09 July 1892
Date of enlistment 15 June 1915
Date of embarkation 09 June 1916
Date of recommendation honour or award 30 September 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 02 March 1919
Date returned to Australia 12 June 1919
Date of death 06 March 1951