Archibald Henry Reynolds (1885-1980)

Daniel Non is a student intern volunteering at the RAHS. During his time here, he has decided to research the library collections and write about aspects of history that are of interest to him.

A photograph of Archibald Henry Reynolds taken from his diary. The photgraph was taken in November 1914 just after his enlistment in the AIF [RAHS Manuscript Collection].

As the observance of the First World War Centenary comes to an end, I have decided to investigate the life and military service of Archibald Henry Reynolds – a veteran of the 1915 Gallipolli campaign. The RAHS Library Manuscripts Collection holds his original diary. I have used this document and several other artefacts donated to the RAHS to recreate his story.

Archibald Henry Reynolds was born on the 3rd of April, 1885 in Triabunna, a small town on the Eastern coast of Tasmania. At the age of 5, he and his family moved to Glenorchy, a few kilometers South of Triabunna. There, Reynolds became a champion runner for which he received a Silver Medal. He attended high school for two years before beginning work as an accountant’s assistant. He worked several jobs before enlisting into the Australian Army on the 11th of September, 1914. He was immediately assigned to the AIF 9th Battalion stationed at Enoggera in Queensland. After a few weeks of basic training, he and his battalion were shipped to Egypt aboard the Leicestershire. From there Reynolds and his company made a quick stop on the island of Lemnos before heading to their final destination, the Peninsula of Gallipoli. His battalion landed on the beaches of Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915. Reynolds claimed in his diary that he was one of the first men on the shore: “Lieutenant Chapman and Jim Bostock his runner, were credited as the first two men to land. I was not very far behind.”

His Gallipoli campaign was cut short on 29 May 1915, when he “collected three wounds”. He was dragged off the beaches on a stretcher and sent to an Indian hospital ship. Reynolds never served in the field again, deciding to hold a desk job for the rest of the war. He was officially discharged on the 25th of March, 1919. For his service he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star Medal, a Department of Defence Returned from Active Service Badge, Returned Services League of Australia Badge and an Australian Imperial Forces Queensland Badge. The RAHS holds these medals in their collection.

Reynolds lived out the rest of his life in Australia holding several jobs before passing away in 1980. His life and service is what many consider to be the epitome of the ANZAC Spirit, having charged bravely into battle.

From Left to Right: 1914-1915 Star Medal, Australian Imperial Force BN Queensland Badge, Commemorative 1915 Anzac Medallion, Returned Services League of Australia Badge and Department of Defence Returned from Active Service Badge.
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