David Claud Bauer was born to Julius and Jane Bauer of Avoca Street Randwick on 24 December 1889. He was educated at Melbourne Church of England School before leaving at the age of sixteen to study engineering at Dulwich College, England. On his return to Australia, he took up a position in his father’s pearling business in Broome, Western Australia.

When war broke out Bauer returned to England and enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He trained with the Royal Aero Club and was awarded the Aviator Certificate for High Achievement in May 1916. Bauer was assigned to the Balloon Section which undertook the extremely dangerous work of recognisance of enemy positions and ranging artillery fire. 

Bauer died of Disease (Pneumonia) in Bapaume, France on 3 November 1918.  He was buried in Delsaux Farm Cemetery Beugny.

In June 1919 Bauer was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. His citation read:

“This officer has commanded No. 18 Balloon Section located near the Lille Gate in Ypres throughout the battles of the Second Army in the autumn of 1917. His camp was continually under shell fire from guns of large calibre, and his balloon was hit many times, but nevertheless much important work was done by his section. He showed courage and set a good example to all, and it was largely due to him that work was carried on at all under such conditions.”

His Colonel wrote; “Had he not died in hospital he would have headed the list of recommendations for further decorations.”

  • Captain Bauer is commemorated on the Drummoyne War Service Record, the Australian Virtual War Memorial and the British Jewry Roll of Honour in London

Sydney Harold Banks-Smith was born in Cundletown near Taree in 1893. His parents were Harold Banks-Smith and Florence Dixon. After Harold died Florence remarried Harold Lodge in 1902.

Sydney enlisted on 31 March 1915. He was assigned to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance and served in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. In August 1917 he was selected for Air Mechanic training and was posted to England. After completing his training as Air Mechanic Class 1 on 1 June 1918, Sydney was posted to the 8th Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, where he served as an Air Medic.

Sydney Banks-Smith was killed in an aircraft training accident at Leighterton, Gloucestershire on 3 July 1918. According to his Red Cross Wounded & Missing File, he was taking a test flight with another pilot for the purpose of testing a machine gun and was diving at the target when the aircraft collapsed and crashed into the ground killing both men instantly.  

In a letter to his family, Banks-Smith described his experiences as a stretcher bearer at Gallipoli up to the last night of the evacuation.  Being an ambulance driver in the Middle East and France and then an Air Medic with the Australian Flying Corp at Leighterton, Banks-Smith experienced more than his share of dangers. He was well-liked at the aerodrome and many of his friends attended a full military funeral with one informant remarking “it was hard to think he went through Gallipoli & France in some of the tougher corners and then to be killed here” (Virtual War Memorial).


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