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Episode 449             Episode 451
Episode 450

Maurice Wilder-Neligan
Sun, 2018-Jul-29 00:45 UTC
Length - 3:14

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Sunday, 29 July 2018 is Maurice Wilder-Neligan.

Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder-Neligan, (4 October 1882 – 10 January 1923), born Maurice Neligan, was an Australian soldier who commanded the South Australian-raised 10th Battalion during the latter stages of World War I. Raised and educated in the United Kingdom, he was briefly a soldier with the Royal Horse Artillery in London, after which he travelled to Australia where he worked in Queensland. He enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 20 August 1914 at Townsville, under the name Maurice Wilder, giving Auckland, New Zealand, as his place of birth. A sergeant in the 9th Battalion by the time of the Gallipoli landings of April 1915, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the second highest award for acts of gallantry by other ranks. He was quickly commissioned, reaching the rank of temporary captain before the end of the Gallipoli campaign. During his time at Gallipoli he was wounded once, and formally changed his name to Wilder-Neligan.

Arriving on the Western Front with the substantive rank of captain, he led a "most brilliant" raid on German trenches near Fleurbaix, and although severely wounded in the head, stuck to his command until the operation was successfully completed. For his actions he was appointed as a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the second highest award for gallantry by officers. When he returned from hospital, he was promoted to major, and was in temporary command of his battalion during the Second Battle of Bullecourt in May 1917. In July, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed to command the 10th Battalion. He led that unit during the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge in September and was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in June 1918. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the capture of Merris in July, for which he was awarded a bar to his DSO, again for gallantry. He continued to skilfully lead his battalion throughout the Hundred Days Offensive and up to the Armistice of 11 November. During the war, in addition to decorations already mentioned, he was awarded the French Croix de guerre and was mentioned in despatches five times.

After the war, he worked as a district officer in the Australian-administered Territory of New Guinea, where he died at the age of 40, probably of complications from his war wounds. He was buried on Garua Island, New Britain. Considered by many to be rather eccentric, he was also a successful tactician, a skilful organiser, and highly regarded for his treatment of the soldiers under his command.

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