BADENOCH Archibald Montgomery

born: 22 May 1902 Port MacDonnell South Australia
died: 1 November 1942 El Alamein Egypt.

Parents:  Ebenezer Badenoch, Rose Elizabeth Williams
Siblings:  James Ebenezer, Dorothy Jean, William Henry, Marjory Olive, Vernon Thomas, Hilda Rose.

Archie as he was known grew up in the Port MacDonnell area and like many local lads was a keen sportsman and played cricket and tennis.  He also had a passion for horse racing.  After completing his education at the Mount Gambier High School, he worked in his father’s butcher shop until he joined the South Australian Police Force at the age of 23 years.

He spent the next eight years stationed at the Thebarton Police barracks before being transferred to Mount Gambier, Frances and then Tarcoola where he was stationed for about 6 years as a mounted constable.  Archie visited Mount Gambier in June 1940 then enlisted into the AIF on 22 June 1940 at the rank of private.  His service number being SX6469. He was 38 years of age.

Archie was taken on strength with the 2/43rd Australian Infantry Battalion (9th Division) at Woodside, South Australia on 2 July 1940 and with his leadership skills gained in the Police Force he was quickly promoted to corporal on 3 July 1940, and then sergeant on 8 November 1940 and was allocated to the mortar platoon in the Headquarters Company. His unit left Adelaide by train for Melbourne on 28 December 1940 and then embarked the Mauretania at Melbourne for service overseas on 29 December 1940. He disembarked in the Middle East on 2 February 1941.  Serving in North Africa at Tobruk during the garrison siege Archie received shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder on 11 August 1941 and was evacuated to the 4th General Hospital at Dimra on 12 August 1941. Archie would re-join his unit on 18 August 1941. The division later went on to Syria and then Lebanon for rest, training, and garrison duties. With the Germany and Italian armies reaching El Alamein the 2/43rd division was rushed to the front arriving in time for the first battle of El Alamein at Ruin Ridge. With second battle of El Alamein in October 1942, the division was held in reserved but joined the main attack in the Blockhouse area on the night of 31 October 1942.  The fighting the following day saw the battalion suffer more than 100 casualties, including Archie, who showing initiative and great courage had moved forward from his mortar platoon’s position to gain a better vantage point from which to direct fire.  Archie was killed when a shell exploded nearby.

Archibald Montgomery Badenoch was the first police officer from South Australia to be killed in World War II and in his honour the South Australian Police Force named a motor launch the Archie Badenoch in tribute to all South Australian police officers who served in the War.

It should also be noted both Archie and his brother William John who was also killed in action at the age of 20 in France during World War 1 were both in the same battalion.

While Archie was buried in the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at El Alamein, he is remembered on a gravestone in the Lake Terrace Cemetery Mount Gambier.

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), Tuesday 17 November 1942, page 1
National Archives of Australia: NAA: B883, SX6469
Australian War Memorial: The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (SX6469) Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, 2/43rd Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

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