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.