PRIVATE EDWIN MARTIN
1ST APRIL 1918 AGE 23
BURIED: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE
On the 28 March 1918 the 40th Battalion Australian Infantry were rushed up to the front to try and close the gap that was developing between the British 3rd and 5th Armies under pressure from the German offensive. The Germans were held for a short while but eventually the Australians were forced to withdraw, having suffered huge casualties, among them Private Edwin Martin.
Martin was first treated for a fractured femur, and for gun shot wounds in his thigh and side at a Field Ambulance on the 28th. He was passed the same day to a Casualty Clearing Station. Four days later he was admitted to a hospital in Etaples. Here his left leg was amputated but he died that same day, 1 April 1918.
Martin's brother, Howard Martin, chose his inscription - who was sacrificing who? Christ sacrificed himself on the cross to save mankind. I would suggest Edwin Martin sacrificed himself.
There was no conscription in Australia, every Australian soldier was a volunteer. It was a deeply controversial issue but despite there being two referendums on the issue, the public never voted for it. Martin enlisted on 14 November 1916, just two weeks after the first referendum had voted 1,087,557 in favour and 1,160,033 against; a majority of 72,476 against conscription. Martin sacrificed himself for what he saw as his duty.