In 1954 the townspeople of Tinonee gathered at the School of Arts Hall to honour those who had fought in past conflicts. The memorial took the form of a porch with an encased honour roll.1 Of the 19 who enlisted for WW1, 12 were killed in action with two being awarded the Military Medal.2
One of those Military Medals was awarded to Private Maynard Basham.3 Maynard enlisted at 18 and was placed as a gunner in the 45th Battalion. On arrival in France, he became sick with influenza and was in hospital four times in ten months. Despite these bouts of illness, Maynard made his mark in the field.4
Between 27 March and 30 April 1918, the French town of Dernancourt became the scene of desperate fighting when German troops launched a series of attacks aimed at breaking through the British front. The Australians repulsed the Germans at first but stronger attacks came.5
On the night of 1 April 1918, Maynard was part of a patrol sent out to reconnoitre Dernancourt after a bombardment. On reaching the village they were stopped by a German post. Without hesitation Maynard rushed the post allowing the patrol to advance and obtain further information. This was one of many occasions that Maynard had displayed such courage.6
The 5 April 1918 was a fateful day. During fierce fighting Maynard received a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Within 24 hours he had died. On 9 April 1918 Maynard’s actions from 1 April were recommended for a Military Medal. It is doubtful that Maynard knew of this honour before his death. He is buried at Gézaincourt.7
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Northern Champion,19 March 1954.
2 Register of War Memorials in NSW https://www.warmemorialsregister.nsw.gov.au/content/tinonee-war-memorial-hall
3 NSW BDM, Birth Index of Maynard Basham, 16878/1897.
4 NAA: B2455, Basham M.
5 AWM, Attacks on Dernancourthttps://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E152.
6 NAA: B2455, Basham M.