Ferdinand Benjamin Heinze

June 24, 2015

HEINZE, Ferdinand Benjamin- – – – SPC ?

DoB:- – 1891, Horsham, VIC

Father:– – Benjamin Heinze (Jeweller)

Mother:– – Minnie Frederica, nee Greenwell

Ferdinand Benjamin Heinze was at St Patrick’s with his brother Bernard Thomas (SPC 1905-1912), who also served in the war with the British forces.

Service No:- 1939

Rank:- – Corporal, later Sergeant

Unit:– – 23rd Battalion

Ferdinand Heinze enlisted in the AIF on 18 June 1915. He was 24 years and one month old, five feet, six inches tall, with a sallow complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. The medical report on his enlistment papers stated that he had a full set of teeth! Ferdinand was unmarried, and worked as a watchmaker.

Corporal Heinze embarked from Australia on 26 August 1915. He spent two months at Gallipoli, from October to December 1915. After a brief respite, he proceeded to France, where he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on 27 July 1916. The following year, on 30 March 1917, he was promoted again to the rank of Sergeant.

Between April and November 1917, he was frequently hospitalised suffering from synovitis, an inflammation in the lining of a joint. It is characterised by swelling, redness and warmth; it is usually very painful and is often associated with arthritis. By 5 November, Heinze was evacuated from the front.

In mid-November, Sergeant Heinze was awarded the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal) for his actions near Villers-Bretonneux on 4 July 1918.


HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been pleased to award the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the undermentioned for gallantry and distinguished service in the Field : –


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. During the advance he directed his men through the enemy wire and led them with great dash, himself killing several of the enemy. During consolidation, under heavy enemy opposition, he placed his Lewis gun in -No Man’s Land-, so that a good field of fire could be obtained. Next day he led a small party forward under heavy machine-gun fire, and seized an enemy post 200 yards ahead of the line, capturing six prisoners. He then crawled forward another 50 yards, and made a valuable reconnaissance. He showed fine courage and leadership, and did excellent service.

The above has been promulgated in -Commonwealth of Australia Gazette- No 31 dated 4 March 1919.’

Not long after this event, Heinze was wounded in action at Rouen on 1 September 1918, receiving a gunshot wound in his right thigh. He was invalided back to the UK to receive hospital treatment. By April the following year, Sergeant Heinze was prepared for his return to Australia. He embarked from England on 8 April 1919, and was discharged from the AIF on 15 July of that year.

Upon returning to Australia and civilian life, Ferdinand resumed his career as a watchmaker and jeweller. He married Esther Elizabeth Payne in 1924 when he was 33 years old and they settled in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale. Ferdinand and Esther had one son, John, born in 1930.

Ferdinand Heinze died on 21 September 1966 at the age of 75 years, after having suffered from prostate cancer for seven years. He was buried at the Fawkner Cemetery in Victoria.