Cusack one of five to survive

MATTHEW Paul Cusack was one of the fortunate few who returned from World War I alive.

A 21-year-old milkman, he was the first of five brothers to say goodbye to Fremantle for the uncertainties of war, boarding the HMAT Anchises on September 2, 1915 as part of the 28th Infantry Battalion 3rd reinforcements.

He was deployed to Gallipoli as soon as he arrived in Egypt, but was evacuated alongside other Australians in December.

Matthew spent the next two months in the Suez Canal defence line before embarking for France in March 1916.

While at the Western Front in Armentieres, Matthew contracted mumps and spent several weeks in hospital.

The Somme was his next port of call and the 28th Battalion was tasked with capturing a part of the German line near Pozieres, but the Germans knew they were coming, and a bullet hit Matthew through the right arm during a machine gun barrage.

He spent another couple of weeks in hospital and underwent more training before rejoining the 28th Battalion on October 30.

Despite leaving Fremantle as a private, Matthew rose up the ranks, becoming a Corporal in 1917 and serving in a number of battlefields including at Flers and Lagnicourt.

On May 1 he became an instructor in England, specialising in bombing instruction for the next six months.

He returned to the French battlefields in October when his unit was in the middle of the third battle of Ypres.

Matthew was seriously wounded on October 30, 1917 when a shell exploded nearby � the shrapnel hitting him in the hand, arm and legs.

Doctors believed the wound to his hand would restrict his movement too much for him to continue to be involved in the war, and he was sent back to Fremantle aboard the HMAT Borda in April 1918.

He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on September 25, 1918.

Amazingly, all five Cusack brothers returned from World War I alive.

After the war, Matthew opened a cabinet making workshop in Holland Street, repaired yachts and married in 1928 before serving again in World War II.

Visit www.anzacfremantle.com.au for more information on the Fremantle men who served.