Students at the University of Sydney

Students and World War I

Over 1800 members of the University were engaged in active military or naval service in World War I. In addition to graduates and University staff, a large number were undergraduate students.

The women students of the University formed an organisation for women's work in connection with the Red Cross and other services, and rendered valuable assistance.

Of those who enlisted, 197 gave their lives. Over 240 decorations were won, including one Victoria Cross awarded to Lieut. Percy Valentine Storkey, a student in the Faculty of Law.


The Sydney University Company 1918

The committee of the Undergraduates' Association, feeling that a more organised effort would be of advantage, attempted the task of raising among the undergraduates a University Company, the members of which might be trained together and travel together to the seat of war before being divided as reinforcements required by the various units.

The committee enlisted the sympathy and services of Assistant Professor Holme as honorary organiser of the company.

The effort was very successful, with 180 joining the company after medical examination.

Shortly before 10.00am on Friday 20 September 1918, they left Union Hall at the University and marched to the recruiting office to enlist. They carried a recruiting banner decorated with the blue and gold colours of the University, and each had the Sydney University Company badge with colours attached. All faculties were represented – Arts, Law, Medicine, Science, Engineering – and they included a number of third-year medical students. Several members of the company had already enlisted.

With enlistment formalities over, the company returned to the University and proceeded to "pitch camp" in the oval.

By permission of the military authorities, the company went into camp on the University grounds on Monday 23 September for training over the following four weeks. They were placed under the charge of Captain Robert Rainy Harper, DSO Croix de Guerre, of the 20th battalion of the AIF, a returned University man unfit for further active service, and Lieu H Heydon, and attained to a high degree of efficiency, reflecting credit on their officers.

The company were removed to Liverpool for further training on 25 October 1918, and were to remain there until their embarkation on 16 November.

However, after the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918, they were disbanded.

Gallery
The Sydney University Company logo

The Sydney University Company logo, photo G3_224_0531, University of Sydney Archives.

The Sydney University Company standard

The Sydney University Company standard, image, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

The University Company in front of the Quadrangle

Preliminary parade of the University Company in front of the Quadrangle, photo G3_224_1002, University of Sydney Archives.

1918

The column of Sydney University boys marching to enlist on 20 September 1918, photo, The Mirror, 27 September 1918, National Library of Australia.

1918

The students who marched to the recruiting office on 20 September 1918 to enlist for active service, photo, The Sydney Mail, 25 September 1918, Google News archive.

Training officers

Training officers, with Captain Holme centre front, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

NCOs

NCOs, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

No 1 platoon

No 1 platoon, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

No 2 platoon

No 2 platoon, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

No 3 platoon

No 3 platoon, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

Guard of honour

Guard of honour for the visit of the French Mission to Sydney University on 1 October 1918, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

Inspection

Inspection by General Pau on 1 October 1918, photo, Hermes, November 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval between 23 September and 24 October 1918, photo G3_224_2800_2, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_3, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_4, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_6, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_7, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_5, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp on University Oval

At camp on University Oval, photo G3_224_2800_1, University of Sydney Archives.

At camp at Liverpool

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool between 25 October and 11 November (Armistice Day) 1818, photo G3_224_2801_5, University of Sydney Archives.

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool, photo G3_224_2801_4, University of Sydney Archives.

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool, photo G3_224_2801_3, University of Sydney Archives.

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool, photo G3_224_2801_6, University of Sydney Archives.

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool, photo G3_224_2801_2, University of Sydney Archives.

Liverpool

In camp at Liverpool, photo G3_224_2801_1, University of Sydney Archives.