CASTLEDINE, George Ernest, Spr., VX10044
(KIA 18 Apr 1941, Greece)
The first soldier from the Shire of Eltham to pay the ultimate price in the Second World War was Sapper George Ernest Castledine.
George was born 18 May 1914 in North Hampton, England, the son of Arthur Frederick and Annie Castledine of ‘Abington’ (now known as ‘Araluen’) on the Old Eltham Road, Lower Plenty. A blacksmith by trade, George was engaged to Miss Jean Simonson of Montmorency when he enlisted on 23 January 1940 at Lower Plenty. His next of kin was his mother Annie, his father having died in September 1933. He was assigned to the 2/2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers, 6th Division.
Following training, the 2/2 was deployed to North Africa in mid-1940. They first saw action in January 1941 in the Western Desert in support of the 16th Brigade’s attack on Bardia and the capture of Tobruk. Further action was seen around Derna and Barce before the 6th Division was relieved and withdrawn to Mersa Matruh in Egypt.
The 6th Division arrived in Greece in late March and were joined by New Zealanders and British forces in early April. On April 6th, the Germans began their invasion of Greece sending in 27 Divisions. After arrival in Greece, the Australians were transported north towards the Yugoslav border taking up defensive positions around the Florina Valley. The 2/2 supported several of the 6th Division’s brigades but the campaign was short lived, the Germans quickly overwhelming the Allies. George was killed in action on April 18th. Nine days later the Allies were driven off the mainland, George’s unit heading to Crete without him.
On May 3rd, Annie became the first woman in the district since the Great War to experience their world shattered by telegram.
“It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that VX10044 Sapper G. E. Castledine has been killed in action April 18th & desire to convey to you the profound sympathy of the Minister for the Army and the Military Board. – Minister for the Army”
An obituary was published in the Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser, Friday, 9 May 1941, p 2
“SAPPER G. E. CASTLEDINE
Advice has been received of the death in action of Sapper George Ernest Castledine, son of Mrs. A. Castledine of Lower Plenty.
Deceased was very well known in the Eltham district, and was engaged to Miss Jean Simonson of Montmorency.
This was the first fatal casualty to be reported among those who enlisted from the Eltham Shire.”
The following notices were published in The Age newspaper in memory of George: –
The Age, Tuesday, 6 May 1941, p1
- CASTLEDINE. —Killed in action, April 18, Spr. George, the loved finance of Jean. Loved, remembered, longed for always.
The Age, Wednesday, 7 May 1941, p1
- CASTLEDINE. — On April 18. killed in action. Spr. George Ernest, loved son of Mrs. A. Castledine. Lower Plenty; loved brother of Annie, Lil, Gladys, Joyce, Lila, Syd, Les and John, aged 26 years. Always remembered.
George is buried in the Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece, Grave 2. E. 4.
CASTLEDINE, Spr. GEORGE ERNEST, VX.10044. A.I.F.
2/2 Field Coy., Royal Australian Engineers.
18th April 1941. Age 26.
His life was one of sacrifice
“Life is eternal
Love will remain”
Son of Arthur Frederick and Annie Castledine, of Lower Plenty, Victoria, Australia.
◊ ◊ ◊
LEST WE FORGET
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
ROLL OF HONOUR
Soldiers of the Shire of Eltham remembered on the Eltham Roll of Honour for their supreme sacrifice; located in the Eltham War Memorial Hall
- Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/
- Electoral Roll Records via Ancestry.com
- Family history search , Births Deaths Marriages Victoria https://my.rio.bdm.vic.gov.au/efamily-history/-
- Service Records, National Archives of Australia https://www.naa.gov.au/
- World War Two Nominal Roll, Department of Veteran Affairs, Australian Government https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/ww2
- Wikipedia contributors. (2020, May 18). 2/2nd Field Regiment (Australia). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2/2nd_Field_Regiment_(Australia)&oldid=957290851
Read the stories of all the men from the Shire of Eltham who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War and to whom the Eltham War Memorial is dedicated.