Brian Colden Antill Pockley

in College 1909-13; son of F.A. Pockley, medical practitioner, and Helen Pockley; at school at Shore; MB.

Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps; killed in action at Herberthohe, near Rabaul, New Britain, on 11 September 1914, aged 24.

Obituary in The Pauline, by his friend Dudley Williams:

Possessed of a high mental ability, a sound physique, and the will to turn his natural advantages to account, [Brian] made his influence felt in every walk of school and university life. At the Church of England Grammar School he passed his Junior and Senior, the former with seven A’s; … while at University, after gaining a number of credits and distinctions during his course, he graduated in medicine with second-class honours. He also captained the school XV to victory, captained the G.P.S. combined XV, won the Athletic Shield for two successive years, obtaining on the first occasion a record number of points, rowed in the second crew, and was a lieutenant in the Cadet Corps. Passing on to the University, he was awarded blues for football and athletics in the first year, building up for himself in several seasons a well-earned reputation even amongst University three-quarters, and representing N.S.W. He served on all kinds of committees. He was a member of the football, athletic, swimming, and rowing committees at school; college treasurer and inter-collegiate delegate at college; and a member if the Sports Union, football, and athletic committees at the University; and at different times secretary of the football club, treasurer of the athletic club, and secretary of the Medical Society. After graduation he was appointed a resident at Sydney Hospital, where he remained until the outbreak of war, when he volunteered for active service, was appointed a Captain in the Army Medical Corps, and despatched to New Guinea with the First Australian Expeditionary Force. On September 11th, he accompanied a party of naval reserves which landed to capture the wireless station near Simpsonshafen. The party was ambushed, and a skirmish ensued. The enemy was concealed in pits on either side of the road, which was mined, and natives were firing from the trees. A wounded sailor after being attended to had to be sent to the rear, and in order to guarantee his safety Brian gave the sailor who was attached to him as orderly his own red cross badge. Unarmed and deprived of his sole protection, he was returning to the firing line when he was shot from a trench. The bullet entered his chest and struck his spine. He knew that he was mortally hit, but while he remained conscious, he continued to give directions for the care of the wounded. He died a few hours later soon after he had reached the transport. He was buried in the cemetery at Herbertshohe with full military honours, his body dressed in his uniform and wrapped in the Union Jack.

…  [T]hose who passed through college with Brian, and in particular those who enjoyed the privilege of his friendship, soon recognised what an uncommon chap he was and what a personal influence he exercised over all with whom he came in contact. Fearless, generous, reasonable, determined, unselfish and full of thought for others, combining all the best qualities that a man can possess, he yet concealed them beneath a friendliness and geniality, a naturalness, and an interest and readiness to take part in everything, which made him universally popular and a welcome companion at all times, at all places, and in all moods. He was so honest and yet so modest, so firm yet so very sympathetic, that he won the hearts of all; and when the sad news arrived the sense of personal loss, the knowledge that his place would never be filled, dwarfed every other consideration; and even the satisfaction that he held such imperishable honour in death seemed trifling and inadequate compensation for all that his life and presence meant to his family and his friends. He cannot be forgotten.