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Augustus James Oates, known as Gus, was 23 years old, single and employed as a bricklayer when he enlisted in the 8th Infantry Battalion at Ballarat on the 18th August 1914. He had served with the militia unit in Ballarat, and because of his record was enlisted as a Sergeant, and posted to the Signals Section. Sergeant Oates, as a member of the 8th Battalion, took part in the Landing at Anzac Cove in the second wave on 25th April 1915. He survived those first few confused days of heavy fighting and confusion. Once the Landing was consolidated and the troops had dug trenches, and established their routines life was a bit easier. Constant sniping and shooting was carried out by both sides. On the 29th April 1915 Sergeant Oates transferred to the 7th Infantry Battalion as the Signals Officer and was promoted to Lieutenant.
He was posted as Adjutant on Battalion HQ on 15th October 1915- a significant indication of his value as an officer. On the 20th February 1916 Lieutenant Oates was promoted Captain, and employed on Regimental duties, rather than Signals Officer. In March 1916 the battalion sailed for France and the Western Front. At this time Captain Oates was approached by the British Indian Army. He was offered promotion to Major, better pay and a chance of further action. Captain Oates accepted the offer and on 12th February 1918 he resigned from the AIF and transferred to the Indian Army. He was accepted into the 2nd Battalion of the 67th Punjabi Infantry Regiment. Later he was posted to Wazaristan and Afghanistan. During his period in Afghanistan he awarded the Military Cross after a successful battle against the Afridi tribe. After the end of WW1 he was sent with his unit to Arabia to assist in putting down an Arab rebellion. In 1923 Major Oates returned to Australia and settled at Balmoral in Victoria. On 4th June 1917 Miss F Doncaster, a Lucas girl, planted Tree No. 53, an elm, in his name in the Ballarat Avenue of Honour.