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Lind, Edmund Frank (1888–1944)

by A. J. Sweeting

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Edmund Frank Lind (1888-1944), medical practitioner and soldier, was born on 23 December 1888 at South Yarra, Melbourne, son of Edmund Frank Lind, an English-born bank-manager, and his Victorian wife Emily Margaret, née Harris. Frank was educated at Camberwell Grammar School and the University of Melbourne (M.B., Ch.B., 1914), and commenced practice at Williamstown.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 20 August 1914 as a captain (he had joined the Melbourne University Rifles in 1910) and was posted as regimental medical officer to the 5th Battalion. At Mena Camp, Egypt, in March 1915 Lind's outspoken criticisms of training conditions led to improvements. He embarked for Gallipoli on 4 April but on 17 April, while his ship was at Mudros, was injured when he fell into the hold, fracturing his skull. He rejoined his unit on Gallipoli on 28 May.

The 5th Battalion was prominent in operations against the Turks at Lone Pine during August. In September it was withdrawn to Lemnos, on 24 October returned to the Peninsula, and on 11 December left finally for Egypt. On 2 April 1916 Lind transferred to the 8th Field Ambulance at Ferry Post with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Promoted temporary major on 8 June he sailed for France, joining the 5th Pioneer Battalion as R.M.O. on 12 July and serving during the costly battle of Fromelles. On 13 October he joined the 9th Field Ambulance training in England and on 14 November was promoted major.

The 9th Field Ambulance embarked for France on 23 November, accompanying the 3rd Division to the Armentières sector. Lind took part in the the battle of Messines in June 1917, organizing and controlling a collecting station for walking wounded. On 22 August he was appointed deputy assistant director of medical services, II Anzac Corps, and served during the Broodseinde and Passchendaele battles. On 11 January 1918 he was appointed D.A.D.M.S., 4th Division, and was again conspicuous in organizing the clearance of wounded during the battle of Hamel in July. Promoted temporary lieutenant-colonel in command of the 2nd Field Ambulance on 1 September, he efficiently organized casualties during the assault on the Hindenburg Outpost Line. On 10 October, while on leave, he was detached for transport duty to Australia, and his A.I.F. appointment ended in March 1919. He had been twice mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Lind married Beulah Rotterdale McMinn on 23 June 1920 at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. After re-establishing himself in medical practice at Brighton he rejoined the Melbourne University Rifles, commanding the unit in 1921-26. In 1926-29 he was a staff officer on 4th Division Headquarters, Australian Military Forces, then was appointed to command successively the 29th and the 29th/22nd Battalions, and from 1934 the 4th Infantry Brigade; he was promoted colonel in 1936 and brigadier in 1938. In 1937 he was chosen—a signal honour—to lead the Australian Military Contingent to the coronation of King George VI.

In July 1940 Lind was appointed to command 23rd Brigade, 8th Division, 2nd A.I.F. The brigade was deployed in the Northern Territory, and Lind had the unhappy experience of seeing his three battalions dispersed, one in March-April 1941 to Rabaul, the 2/21st and 2/40th on the outbreak of war with Japan to Ambon and Dutch Timor. As Lind pointed out, these two under-strength battalions, inadequately armed and lacking air and naval support, faced hopeless tasks. In civilian attire, he had visited Ambon and Timor in May. His representations caused him to lose favour with the chief of the General Staff, and probably cost him command of Sparrow Force in Timor for which he appeared the logical choice.

The brigade was reinforced by two raw militia battalions and Lind was allotted the impossible task of defending some 28 miles (45 km) of coastline. The first Japanese air raid on Darwin in February 1942 caused widespread concern at the prospect of invasion. Veteran A.I.F. troops, newly returned from the Middle East, were rapidly deployed in the Northern Territory. Lind, a victim of large-scale replacement of officers, was removed from command. He flew south on 24 March and on 28 July he was placed on the retired list. In July 1940 he had been appointed C.B.E.

Lind became chairman of the Services and Citizens Party from its formation in 1943 and in August that year unsuccessfully contested Henty at the Federal elections. He collapsed at his South Yarra home on 2 May 1944 and died of acute cardiac failure; he was buried in Box Hill cemetery. His wife, two daughters and a son survived him. Keen-eyed, never given to wasting words and direct in manner and speech, Lind was none the less popular and successful in both military and medical circles.

Select Bibliography

  • A. W. Keown, Forward with the Fifth (Melb, 1921)
  • A. G. Butler (ed), The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War of 1914-1918 (Melb, 1930, Canb, 1940, 1943)
  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1918 (Syd, 1942)
  • Table Talk (Melbourne), 18 Feb 1937
  • Reveille (Sydney), June 1944
  • Herald (Melbourne), 3 May 1944
  • Argus (Melbourne), 4 May 1944
  • Age (Melbourne), 4 May 1944
  • Sun-News Pictorial (Melbourne), 4 May 1944.

Citation details

A. J. Sweeting, 'Lind, Edmund Frank (1888–1944)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lind-edmund-frank-7199/text12451, published in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 25 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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