Biography

Birth date: 1890
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Death date: 11 September 1914
Death place: Pacific Islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, Kabakaul
Final rank: Captain
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
  • Australian Army Medical Corps

Brian Colden Antill Pockley was born at North Sydney, New South Wales, on 4 June 1890. Pockley studied medicine at the University of Sydney and was a medical practitioner when the First World War broke out in 1914. At the age of 24, he applied for a commission in the Australian Imperial Force and was appointed as a captain in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF). He departed Australia to serve with the ANMEF in German New Guinea on 19 August 1914.

Captain Pockley was part of the first landing force of the Naval Brigade at Kabakaul on 11 September 1914. During the advance towards a German wireless station, Able Seaman William Williams was shot in the stomach, becoming the first Australian casualty of the First World War. After tending to Williams, Pockley gave his Red Cross armband to another naval serviceman, Stoker Kember, so Kember could carry Williams to the rear. Shortly afterwards, Pockley was also wounded.

Pockley and Williams were taken aboard HMAS Berrima, where they both died that afternoon. The author of "The Australians at Rabaul", S.S. Mackenzie, later wrote, "Pockley's action in giving up his Red Cross badge, and thus protecting another man's life at the price of his own, was consonant with the best traditions of the Australian army, and afforded a noble foundation for those of Australian Army Medical Corps in the war."

Pockley, with Williams, was buried at Herbertshohe cemetery on 11 September 1914. On 11 July 1919 Brian Pockley's remains were reinterred at Rabaul Cemetery on 11 July 1919, with full naval and military honours. In 1950 his grave was among the First World War graves that were relocated to Rabaul War Cemetery (Bita Paka), Papua New Guinea. Pockley's brother, Lieutenant John Graham Antill Pockley, served with the Australian Army in the First World War and was killed in action, in France, on 30 March 1918.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Captain
  • Date of Death: 11 September 1914
  • Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: Australian Army Medical Corps
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

096849

RAPOPO - BITA PAKA ROAD, NEW BRITAIN, 1945-09-19. AN AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL IN THE KABAKAUL AREA BEARING THE INSCRIPTION: "IN THIS VICINITY FELL THE FIRST AUSTRALIANS IN THE GREAT WAR - 1914-18". NAMES ON THE MEMORIAL INCLUDE CAPTAIN B.C.A. POCKLEY, AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL CORPS; LIEUTENANT...

096849

097147

THE GRAVE OF CAPTAIN BRIAN COLDEN ANTILL POCKLEY, THE FIRST MEDICAL OFFICER KILLED IN THE 1914-18 WAR, IN THE RABAUL CEMETERY. MANY HEADSTONES IN THE AIF SECTION OF THE RABAUL CEMETERY WERE BROKEN BY THE JAPANESE AND USED IN PILLBOX DEFENCE AND FOR OTHER ODD PURPOSES.

097147

A02679

The graves of Lieutenant Commander Elwell, Royal Navy (RN), Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC), A B Courtney (Walker), and A B Street, who fell at the capture of Kabakaul, German New Guinea.

A02679

H11881

The graves of Able Seaman (AB) W G V Williams and Captain (Capt) B C A Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps. Both died on the ship HMAT Berrima during the afternoon of 11 September 1914, after being wounded during the landing of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) at...

H11881

H03244

The graves of Able Seaman (AB) W G V Williams and Captain (Capt) B C A Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps. Both died on the ship HMAT Berrima during the afternoon of 11 September 1914, after being wounded during the landing of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) at...

H03244

H17206

The graves of Able Seaman (AB) W G V Williams and Captain (Capt) Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps. Both died on the ship HMAT Berrima during the afternoon of 11 September 1914, after being wounded during the landing of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force...

H17206

J01888

Graves of Australian soldiers of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) killed in action at the landing at Kabakaul in 11 September 1914. The original burial place of Elwell and Pockley was at Herbertshohe, reinterred in another cemetery at Herberthohe around c 1915-1916 and...

J01888

J00186

The graves of Able Seaman (AB) W G V Williams and Captain (Capt) Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps. Both died on the ship HMAT Berrima during the afternoon of 11 September 1914, after being wounded during the landing of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force...

J00186

P03078.004

Members of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) bringing Captain (Capt) Brian Colden Antill Pockley, the medical officer, on board HMAT Berrima, his face is covered by his pith helmet. Capt Pockley was wounded after he set out to find Able Seaman (AB) W. G. V. Williams who...

P03078.004

H19316

Studio portrait of Captain (Capt) Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC), Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF). Capt Pockley was shot on Bita Paka Road near Kabakaul, 11 September 1914, removed to HMAS Berrima where he died of his wounds; the first...

H19316

Private Record

Pockley, Brian Colden Antill (Captain, b.1890 - d.1914)

Collection relating to the service of Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, AAMC & AN&MEF, New Britain, 1914. Collection consists of handwritten copies made by Pockley's sister of: (1) a diary compiled by Captain Pockley during his period of active service; (2) letters written by Captain Pockley to... Maker: Pockley, Helen D Antill

1DRL/0548 (With records)

Hill, Gerald Ashby (Lieutenant-Commander)

Collection relating to the service of Lieutenant-Commander Gerald Ashby Hill, RAN, German New Guinea, Malaysia and Mediterranean, 1914-1918. Collection consists of a photostat copy of the log book of the Australian Destroyer, HMAS Yarra, written by Lieutenant-Commander Gerald Ashby Hill, RAN... Maker: Hill, Gerald Ashby

1DRL/0351

Bollard, Arthur Ross Bramwell (Bandsman, b.1894 - d.1952)

Collection relating to the service of Bandsman Arthur Ross Bramwell Bollard, HMAS Australia. Collection consists of a memoir written by Bandsman Bollard in which he recorded (in diary style) the day to day activities on board HMAS Australia, between 30 July 1914 and 24 September 1914, including... Maker: Bollard, Arthur Ross Bramwell

3DRL/6061

Bowen, Rowland Griffiths (Commander, OBE K St J, AN&MEF and RAN)

NAVAL SIGNAL RE AN&MEF LANDING ON NEW BRITAIN. PROCLAMATION RE OCCUPATION OF NEW BRITAIN. REPORT RE LANDING, DEATH OF CAPT POCKLEY AND WOUNDING OF BOWEN. REPORT RE SAME INCIDENT BY A/B ANNEAR. REPORTS ON ADVANCE AT KABA KAUL BY G R PALMER, AND CMDR CUMBERLEDGE. PAPERS AND REPORTS Maker: Bowen, Rowland Griffiths

3DRL/7734

Doyle, Alec Broughton (Rear Admiral, b.1888 - d.1984)

UNOFFICIAL RECORD OF HMAS PARRAMATTA (1914) AND TRANSCRIPTS OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM DOYLE TO THE POCKLEY FAMILY (1914) Maker: Doyle, Alec Broughton

PR85/073

Lane, Cyril Herbert Dodson, (Major, b.1888 - d.1915)

Collection relating to the service of Major Cyril Herbert Dodson Lane, AN&MEF and 18 Battalion, AIF, New Britain, Egypt, Gallipoli, 1914-1915. Collection consists of copies of letters and diary extracts written by Major Lane while on active service. Location of original letters and diary unknown. Maker: Lane, Cyril Herbert Dodson

1DRL/0406

Henderson, John Keith (Captain)

Collection relating to service of Captain John Keith Henderson, 13 Battalion, AIF (and previously of Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, New Guinea), New Guinea, Gallipoli & France, 1914-1916 . Maker: Henderson, Alan Stuart

1DRL/0342

Film

Rabaul Cemetery, Japanese build compound to hold war criminals

During the Japanese occupation of Rabaul, the European cemetery was used as a dump. Scenes show extensive damage and desecration of graves by Japanese troops. Japanese prisoners are seen constructing a compound to house war criminals while awaiting trial. Also arrival at Rabaul of 32 (VX63396)...

F07355

The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps, First World War

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind...

PAFU2014/339.01

Digitised Collection

Handwritten copy of letter from Brian Colden Antill Pockley, 1914

Handwritten copy of letters relating to the First World War service of Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps and the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force. The original letter was written by Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley to his family whilst aboard the...

RCDIG0000391

Letters relating to Brian Colden Antill Pockley, 1914

Handwritten copies of letters relating to the First World War service of Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps and the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force. The original condolence letters were written by men who served with Pockley in the Australian Naval &...

RCDIG0000392

Timeline

Date of birth 1890
Date of death 1914-09-11