Moreton Stanley Noble

Rank: Company Sergeant Major

Service Number 3211

Unit Served: 50th Battalion

Personal Details: Moreton was born in Fulham in 1892 to parents, Marion, and George. He attended a public school and also spent time at a Bible College in Melbourne, where, according to his father, he was studying to be a Minister of the Gospel. He listed his trade as a carpenter. He was 5’ 8 ¾” tall which was above average at the time, weighed 170 pounds and had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was described as “big made, clean living and conscientious” by the men who knew him.

Military Details: Moreton enlisted on the 25th June 1915 at Mitcham at the age of 23 years and 4 months. He was originally appointed to the 10th Reinforcement of the 10th Battalion. During his training he was made corporal, but reverted to a private when he joined the battalion. He embarked from Adelaide on the 14th September 1915 aboard the “HMAT Ballarat”. He was taken on strength by the 10th Battalion on 25th November 1915 at Mudros, on the island Lemnos, in the Mediterranean where units that were about to or had just fought on Gallipoli were based. The 10th Battalion had just been evacuated from Gallipoli and never returned there before the full evacuation in December. The battalion returned to Egypt for further training, and on the 16th February, as part of the re-organisation of the AIF, Moreton was transferred to the 50th Battalion. On the 1st March he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On the 5th June 1916, the 50th left Alexandria bound for France where they arrived in Marseilles a week later. The battalion then travelled north to the Somme, where it took part in a number of battles, most significantly the Battle for Mouquet Farm on the 12th – 15th August. A week after this, Moreton was promoted to Corporal. The next major engagement for the 50th was at a village called Noreuil on the 2nd April 1917. This was a fortified village that the Germans were using as a base for rear guard actions as the main body of the army was moved back to the Hindenburg Line. The 50th Battalion was tasked with clearing the village but faced fierce resistance and suffered many casualties that day. A month after this on the 1st May, Moreton was promoted to Sergeant. June saw the Battle of Messines, followed by Passchendaele in September and October. During this time he was once again promoted, this time Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer II). There is no record of Moreton being recommended for any awards or medals but he was obviously seen as a brave and exemplary soldier to have been promoted as he was. On the night of the 24th/25th April of 1918, the 50th Battalion played a significant role in the re-capture of the village of Villers-Bretonneux, which had a fallen into German hands earlier that day, and due to its strategic significance, needed to be regained urgently. During this attack, Moreton was hit in the head by machine gun fire and almost inevitably died instantly. One eye- witness account says that he was rushing an enemy machine gun post when he was hit. He was buried a few days later where he fell, but his body was later exhumed and re-buried in Adelaide Cemetery.

Date of death: 25th April, 1918

Age at Death: 25 years old

Cemetery Details: Adelaide Cemetery Plot III Row G Grave 1