Sinigear: Alfred George

Alfred Sinigear was born at Norwood, South Australia, on 5th May 1897.

The only son of George and Ellen Sinigear, Alfred attended both Coromandel Valley Public School and Adelaide High School. After leaving school, he was employed at Elders before enlisting.

Family lore has it that Alfred wanted to enlist but his father forbade it. His parents eventually signed a letter giving their permission for him to sign-up as he had threatened to enlist under an assumed name. A copy of this letter is held in his Army files.

Alfred enlisted at Keswick, South Australia, on 25th June 1915. He was 5’7” in height, weighed 134lbs (approx. 61kg), had brown eyes and dark hair. He had three years experience as a Senior Cadet, his religion was stated as Methodist and he was a member of the Blackwood IOOF and local sporting teams.

After initial training, Alfred was promoted to Corporal, No.16, “A” Company, 32nd Battalion on 16th August 1915 before departing for overseas service aboard the HMAT Geelong three months later. His battalion disembarked at Suez, Egypt, on 16th December and remained there in training until being transferred to France. Whilst in Egypt, Alfred was hospitalised during March and April 1916 with both mumps and influenza.

The 32nd Battalionn departed for France from Alexandria, Egypt on 17th June 1916, arrived at Marseilles on the 23rd, but was soon sent to the northern region of France as part of the 8th Brigade, 5th Division, AIF.

On July 19th and 20th, the 32nd Battalion was engaged against German forces as part of the tragic battle of Fromelles that resulted in 5,544 Australian casualties within 24 hours. As at January 2018, this remains the worst single day’s losses in conflict in the history of the Australian Military Forces.

The 32nd Battalion suffered 70% casualties with Alfred, then 19 years of age, being listed as killed-in-action. His body was never recovered and he is presumed to be amongst the dead in the cemetery at V.C. Corner Fromelles, France. His name is listed there with those believed buried in a mass grave. 

On 4th November 1916 Alfred's mother was awarded a weekly pension of 20/- (20 shillings or, in today's currency, $AU2.00). That was also the day that his father, George, died. Alfred's medals and a memorial plaque were sent to his mother in 1922.

Alfred Sinigear is listed on the honour rolls of both Coromandel Valley Public School and Adelaide High School. A photograph of him was included in the 1916 Adelaide High School magazine and another is held in the Australian War Memorial photographic collection (ref. P09020.004).

Research by Geoff Lock, 2015