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The Book Thief

Austin Albert Heritage (1888-1959)

In July 1915 Austin applied to the School of Instruction, in hope of gaining a commission as an officer. He passed, and Lieutenant Heritage was allotted to ‘A’ Company, 12th Battalion in February 1916.
He soon gained a reputation for being resourceful in securing additional rations. The Battalion history tells the story of ‘Big Stuff’ as he was sometimes known, securing a supply of precious eggs at an exorbitant price from a resourceful local.
While his brother Keith would not survive the onslaught at Pozieres, Austin did go on to take part in the battle for Mouquet Farm and Ypres, before returning to the Somme again in 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry, despite being wounded.

A studio portrait of five officers. In the centre is Lieutenant (Lt) Austin Albert Heritage, 15th Reinforcements, 12th Battalion, of Launceston. A bank clerk prior to enlisting on 27 May 1915, he embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Ballarat on 18 February 1916.
A studio portrait of five officers. In the centre is Lieutenant (Lt) Austin Albert Heritage, 15th Reinforcements, 12th Battalion, of Launceston. A bank clerk prior to enlisting on 27 May 1915, he embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Ballarat on 18 February 1916.

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