Name: Robert John Beaton MM
Service number: 3241 A
Unit served: 50th Battalion
Robert was married to Rose Eva and had 2 children when he enlisted. He was 5 foot 2 inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair and he weighed 123 pounds at enlistment. He was a member of the Church of England.
Robert John Beaton enlisted in AIF on the 16th August 1915 in Adelaide South Australia. He was assigned to the 50th Battalion at age 29.
Robert left Australia for the Western Front from Adelaide on the 27th October 1915 on the H.M.A.T A24 Benalla.
On the 5 of February 1916 he was admitted to hospital in Cairo for rheumatism and was discharged back to duty on the 6th March..
On the 17th of March he was allotted to and proceeded to join the 10th Battalion.
After a month with the battalion he was assigned to the 50th Battalion. After disobeying orders he was given 5 days Field Punishment Number 2 for disobeying an order. He spent 5 days on the detail doing labour jobs within the battalion like cooking and cleaning. He left Egypt on the 5th June aboard the Arcadian, arriving in Marseilles France on the 12th of June 1916.
On the 16th of August he was admitted to hospital for sickness and on the 27th he was admitted to the 3rd General Hospital with influenza.
On the 2nd of October 1916 he was taken back to strength by the 50th. On the 17th he was charged for drunkenness while on active service and received 28 days Field Punishment No 2. He remained with the battalion for the remainder of the 1916 and the early through 1917. During this time he would have endured the coldest winter in Europe for over 40 years while alternating between front line duty, support work and training. Early in 1917, the German Army retreated back to the Hindenburg Line. The Allied Army pursued them trying to cut them off before they reached the well prepared and strongly fortified lines. On the 2nd of April, the 50th Battalion was involved heavily in an attack on the town of Noreuil. Later in the summer the 50th moved to Belgium where it took part in the Battle of Messines in June and the Battle of Polygon Wood in September. It was during this battle that Robert was recommended for the Military Medal for showing conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while working at a forward ammunition dump. After both NCO’s were wounded Robert took charge and under heavy shell fire ensured that his battalion was supplied. He was awarded his medal on the 14th October. The winter of 1917- 1918 was again spent in trench routines. Early in spring the Germans launched a major offensive and re-took much of the land that they had lost in the previous 2 years of fighting in a few days. On the 5th April the 50th Battalion was involved in the repulse of the largest German attack launched on Australian forces at Dernancourt. Then on the night of the 24th April, the battalion was involved in the daring attack that retook the village of Villers-Bretonneux that had been captured by the Germans the day before. On the 30th June in the line near Vaire-sur-Corbie, Robert received a shell wound in the back which penetrated his lung. He was conscious when he was evacuated to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station at Crouy. He died of his wounds there at 5.15 pm on the 2nd July 1918.
Age at Death: 32
Cemetery Details: Crouy British Cemetery Crouy-Sur-Somme