Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Daniel Herbert Anthon (1890–1951)

by J. B. Hopley

This article was published:

Daniel Herbert Anthon (1890-1951), soldier, was born on 9 August 1890 at Petersham, New South Wales, son of Daniel Christopher Anthon, Danish master-mariner, and his wife Eliza Alice, née Brown. After a primary school education he worked as a clerk and in 1912-14 was employed in Port Moresby by Burns Philp & Co. Ltd, merchants and shipowners.

Anthon enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 3 May 1915, was posted to the 20th Battalion and embarked for Egypt seven weeks later. He first saw action at Gallipoli towards the end of August when his battalion relieved the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at The Nek, and then served at Russell's Top until the evacuation. Anthon was promoted corporal on 17 March 1916 and next day left Egypt for the Western Front where he fought in the early stages of the Somme offensive—at Le Bridoux in May and June and at Pozières in July. On 7 August, during the battle for Pozières Heights, he was wounded and did not rejoin his unit until November. Promoted sergeant next month, he was sent to England for officer training and, on being commissioned second lieutenant in June 1917, returned to the front. During the battle of Menin Road he was wounded for the second time but remained on duty and was awarded the Military Cross for 'great initiative in superintending and consolidating after the battalion objective had been gained at Hannebeek Wood'. In October he was promoted lieutenant.

In the early months of 1918 Anthon was involved in patrolling and raids and on 11 March was wounded again; for bravery at Mont St Quentin on 30 August, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for capturing a strongly held machine-gun post, raiding a trench and taking fifty-four prisoners. A month later, near Beaurevoir, he ran forward through heavy machine-gun fire and, single-handed, captured an enemy-held farm; this action earned him a Bar to his Military Cross. His final honour was mention in a dispatch by Sir Douglas Haig.

Anthon returned to New South Wales in June 1919 and was discharged from the A.I.F. in October. On 3 May 1922 he married Violet Mary Stacy at Croydon. After farming at Wildes Meadow and Bowral in 1921-28 he was employed by Southern Portland Cement Ltd at Berrima as a foreman and later as a clerk. He was active in local affairs as a justice of the peace, churchwarden and Oddfellow. During World War II he served with the 2nd and 13th Australian garrison battalions and commanded military detention barracks at Holsworthy in 1941 and Orange in 1942-43. While demanding a rigid standard of discipline from the soldiers in his charge he was regarded as a fair man. In 1946 he was awarded the Australian Efficiency Decoration, and was placed on the retired list in June 1948, with the rank of major.

Survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, Anthon died from heart failure at his Moss Vale home on 4 September 1951, and was buried in the local Anglican cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The Story of Anzac, vol 2 (Syd, 1924), and The Australian Imperial Force in France, vols 4, 6 (Syd, 1933, 1942)
  • London Gazette, 28 Dec 1917, 1 Feb, 8 Mar, 11 July 1919, The War Diary of the 20th Battalion (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

J. B. Hopley, 'Anthon, Daniel Herbert (1890–1951)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 16 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (Melbourne University Press), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


9 August, 1890
Petersham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


4 September, 1951 (aged 61)
Moss Vale, New South Wales, Australia

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