Adams, Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn

No 67 (Australian) Sqn, attached to No 22 Reserve Sqn RFC

Athol Adams came from South Yarra, Victoria, where he was born on 18 May 1894. He worked as a Clerk after leaving school and was 20 when he enlisted in the 5th Infantry Battalion as a Sergeant in Melbourne on 17 August 1914. His instant promotion was due to his previous 5½ years service in the Senior Cadets, much of it at the rank of Lieutenant. On 1 October he was promoted to Colour Sergeant and departed from Melbourne on HMAT A3 Orvetio the same day. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 3 February 1915.

As a part of the AIF’s 2nd Brigade, the 5th Battalion landed at Gallipoli from the transport ship Novian on 25 April 1915, and was involved in the heavy fighting that followed the landing. 2Lt Adams served with his battalion on the Peninsula, and was wounded on 2 May, sustaining gunshot wounds in the thigh and right forearm, before being evacuated on 16 May. After medical treatment, he returned to Gallipoli on 20 June, and was promoted to Lieutenant the following day. On 29 August he was evacuated to Lemnos due to enteritis and did not rejoin his unit until 7 January 1916, after the evacuation. He then transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps on 5 February before transferring to the AFC on 27 June, where he served as an observer with No 67 (Australian) Sqn and formally qualified as an observer on 2 September. During the campaign against the Senussi in Egypt, he flew with Capt A Murray Jones in a reconnaissance mission from Shusha to distant oases in October 1916.

On 7 November 1916 he was appointed as a Flying Officer (Observer), and was posted to the RFC’s No 3 School of Military Aeronautics at Aboukir for pilot training on 22 December. He was badly injured in an aircraft accident on 19 February 1917 when flying Avro 504A 7989. After the crash he was taken to No 17 General Hospital, but died of shock as a result of a skull fracture sustained in the crash.

Lt Athol Adams is buried in grave B.9 at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. In March 1920 Harold Smith, a former NCO with No 22 Training Sqn RFC/RAF in Egypt, wrote to the Australian Department of Defence and enclosed photographs of wreaths on Lt Adams’ grave, with a request that they be forwarded to the family.

Back to ROH Menu