Next of Kin plaque : Private George Alexander Getting, 5 Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps, AIF

Accession Number REL/03154
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Date made c 1921-1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'GEORGE ALEXANDER GETTING'.

History / Summary

Born in Sydney in 1898, George Alexander Getting was employed as a cadet draftsman at the Lands Department when he enlisted in the AIF on 15 October 1915, claiming to be 18 years old, when in fact he was a year younger. After initial training and specialist first aid training he was posted as a private, service number 10002, to the 11th Reinforcements for the 5th Field Ambulance. He left Sydney on 9 March 1916 aboard HMAT A71 Nestor.

Getting joined the 5th Field Ambulance in France in August, after a posting to the Australian Dental Corps in England. While working as a stretcher bearer near Passchendaele, Belgium on 4 September 1917, he received a shrapnel wound to the back. The metal fragment passed close to his spine and lodged in a lung. Getting was treated by his own field ambulance, where he was described as conscious and talking, then taken to a casualty clearing station at Corbie, before being transferred to the 7th Canadian General Hospital at Etaples. There he wrote to his brother, Frank Edmond Getting, an Australian midshipman then serving with the Royal Navy in HMS Glorious, and to relatives in Paris saying he was 'getting on tip top'. However, after three days he developed septicemia from which he did not recover. He died at the hospital on 18 October and was buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery. Getting had not written to his parents, perhaps not wishing to alarm them, and by an oversight they were not notified that he had been wounded and only received news of his death, causing great distress to his mother.

This commemorative plaque was sent to Getting's father, Paul, who was the Superintendent of the Quarantine Station at North Head in Sydney. The Getting's younger son, Frank, by then captain of HMAS Canberra (I), died of wounds received during the battle of Savo Island in August 1942.