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18 November 2009

Private Eric Leland Light of Coromandel Valley

Image: Courtesy of Bryan and Margaret Burton

Eric Leland Light was a son of John and Jane Light and was born and raised in Coromandel Valley. He attended Coromandel Valley School and worked as a house painter and decorator before the war.

He enlisted at Adelaide on 17 March 1916 and was allocated to the 13th reinforcements to the 27th Battalion, one of the battalions recruited from South Australia. After a stint at the Mitcham Camp, he embarked on the 'Bulla' at Adelaide on 24 June 1916, and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 24 August 1916.

After a short period of training, he crossed to France and was re-allocated to the 32nd Battalion (a mixed SA/WA unit) joining them on 13 October 1916. Five days later he went sick to hospital with the mumps, , but returned in early November, only to be hospitalised with trench feet in early December. He spent some time in England recovering and undergoing training, crossing the Channel back to France to join his original unit, the 27th Battalion on 20 October 1917. In early February 1918 he was detached for duty with the 7th Brigade Signals Section as a 'pigeoneer' (sending, receiving and looking after homing pigeons). The 7th Brigade included the 27th Battalion, and was heavily involved in the fighting to stop the German Spring Offensive in March and April 1918 and follow-up battles at Morlancourt, Hamel and Amiens later that year.

After a couple of weeks leave in England in October 1918, Eric returned to 27th Battalion on 23 October, a little over two weeks before the war ended. He spent six months on leave in England taking advantage of the AIF Employment Scheme and working as a decorator, before finally leaving to return to Australia in November 1919. He was discharged on 30 December 1919.

Eric Light died on 25 January 1962 aged 65 and was cremated at Centennial Park. he is remembered via a plaque on the Columbarium Walls at Centennial Park, and his name is inscribed on the Coromandel Valley War Memorial.

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