REL/00793 Front and reverse
Entry on Australian War Memorial website:
Small aluminium shield. Engraved on the obverse is, '528 PRIVATE C E URRY 25TH APRIL GALLIPOLI HMS SCOURGE 5TH JUNE GERMAN OFFICERS TRENCH 6TH AUGUST LONE PINE EVACUATED 20TH DEC 19TH APRIL LAVENTIE 28TH MARCH FRANCE'. Engraved on the reverse is, '526 C E URRY 6TH AUGUST LONE PINE DARDENELLES'.
Associated with the service of Private Charles Edward Urry, 1 Battalion, AIF. Born in 1897 in Sydney, Charles Urry was nineteen years old and working as a carpenter when he enlisted in the AIF on 17 August 1914. At the time he was also a member of the Militia (33 Infantry Regiment). 526 Private C E Urry embarked aboard HMAT Afric from Sydney on 18 October 1914 with 1 Battalion B Company . After seeing action on Gallipoli and at the Somme, Private Urry was killed in action near Ypres, Belgium on 11 September 1916.
This shield was carried by Private Urry during his service. It is believed that just prior to embarkation in Australia, several B Company men had these shields made up by the Battalion armourer. Each soldier engraved his service number and name into the shield and added 'battle honours' as the war progressed. The shield was sent to his mother after his death, as part of his personal effects. Private Urry's brother, 6169 Private Alfred Thomas Urry served with 19 Battalion, AIF during the war. He returned to Australia in 1919.
This poignant unofficial insignia of war indicates both a sense of identity amongst B company and a 'coat-of-arms' for lower-ranked soldiers: a working man's heraldic shield, if you will. The company conscripted their armourer to make these aluminium badges to be taken on campaign. Urry engraved his with combat locations and dates, as well as 'german officers', 'HMS Scourge', 'evacuated'. They sit in striking contrast to the glorious, gold, sophisticated badges of the company commanders. See General Sir John Monash, for example.