Young Gallipoli soldier's medals preserved
author: Lorrie Liston
The framed medals and effects of Gallipoli soldier, Private Noel Gambetta (SPC 1912), pictured above, have been preserved forever after being spotted on an online auction website recently.
The beautifully-framed memorabilia was purchased by Xavier College in Melbourne, where Noel was also a student, with his older brothers.
The framed display contains the World War I display medal trio and effects of the early enlisted member of the 24th Battalion AIF.
Noel was just aged 18 years when he was shot while talking to his older brother Archibald Gambetta on November 29, 1915 at Lone Pine.
He was originally buried at Browns Dip Cemetery and his body was later exhumed and reburied at the Lone Pine Cemetery.
The inscription on the plaque in one of the framed displays reads:
99 Private Noel Gambetta
Signaller 24th Battalion AIF
Private Noel Gambetta enlisted at Geelong, Victoria on 4 March 1915 aged 18 years and 2 months. He embarked on 10 May 1915 at Melbourne on the shop A14 H.M.A.S “Euripides” and disembarked firstly at Egypt before going on to Gallipoli. He was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis on 2 August 1915 suffering from tonsillitis and a month later on 2 September 1915, he was wounded in action suffering a crushed back and ankle. The 2nd Australian Field Ambulance at Gallipoli initially treated him, before he was evacuated on H.M.S “Maheno” to St Elmo Hospital at Malta. He returned to Gallipoli on H.M.T. “Karoo” on 26 September 1915. Unfortunately, on 29 November 1915, he was killed in action at Lone Pine. At the time of his death he was aged 18 years and 10 months. Initially, he was buried in Browns Dip Cemetery 500 yards south of Anzac Cove, however, in April, 1923, his body was exhumed and re-interred in the Lone Pine Cemetery, Anzac Cove. His grave details are Plot 1, Row C, Grave 28, and his epitaph reads: “Third Loved Son of Christopher I. Gambetta. R.I.P”
The framed display, now preserved at Xavier College, includes the:
Original WW1 Trio, impressed named to 99 PTE. N. GAMBETTA 24/BN A.I.F.
Original WW1 ‘Rising Sun’ hat badge and set of collar badges
Original ‘Australia’ shoulder titles
Set of reproduction 24th Battalion colour patches
Original WW1 brass ‘Signaller’ sleeve badge and backing plate
Reproduction cloth ‘Signaller’ sleeve patch
Original WW1 cardboard painted plaque that was probably done by one of his family after his death
Photograph of him taken after he enlisted and before embarking to Egypt
Engraved plaque outlining his war service record details
In addition, this lot includes a large original portrait photo taken in 1915. It has been mounted on a stiff cardboard backing and is the same as the photo in his framed display but much larger. A copy of his war service record and other research documents relating to his parents, the WW1 service of two of his three other brothers and a copy of his family tree were also included.
Private Noel Gambetta’s story is also included in St Patrick’s College’s book “Our Bravest – SPC Old Boys in the wars – Volume 1: The Great War (1914-18), written by SPC College Archivist Catriona Banks.
Copies of the book can be purchased for $40 and in a gold-embossed, special edition box for $100. For more information, contact Alumni and Foundation Officer Lorrie Liston on (03) 5322 4442 or email@example.com