Archibald Pursell

Archibald Samuel Pursell (1895 - 1962)

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Archibald Samuel Pursell
Born in Balmain North, New South Wales, Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1921 in Mosman, NSWmap
Descendants descendants
Father of [private daughter (unknown - 1980s)], , [private son (1920s - 1970s)], [private son (1930s - unknown)] and
Died in Chatswood, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile manager: Paul Bech private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 8 Aug 2019 | Created 21 Nov 2010
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Archibald has....seen service since 1914, chiefly in Gallipoli, Armenia, Russia, and Roumania, and has been twice wounded, and decorated with the 3rd and 4th Order of St. George. (from the late Czar of Russia).

SMH, Saturday 1 April 1916, More war stories.



Australia is now represented in many fields of the war. A cable message in yesterday's issue stated that a small British force -- the armoured car section of the Royal Naval Air Service, which was lent by the British Government to the Russian Government --- had been operating In Russia. The message added that it was the only British force operating in Russia, and, although small, it contained representatives, from Australia and New Zealand. Among its members is Petty-officer A. S. Pursell, son, of Mr. A. B. Pursell, of Pitt-street, city. Young Purcell took part in the operations at Suvla Bay, where he was wounded. In a letter to his father, he describes some of the hardships the British section mentioned is experiencing. He says:- "Excuse writing, as my hands are that cold I can hardly write, at all, We are in an exceedingly cold climate, just the reverse of the Dardanelles, but we are all sticking it well, although we have had many difficulties and hardships to contend with. I am glad to say, however, that I believe we are through the worst of these.

Once during the voyage we encountered a terrific gale, and we were nearly gone. We are in a very out of the way place just now, so I expect I won't hear from you all for some time yet. Yesterday (Christmas Day) was spent under difficulties, but, considering circumstances, it went off very well. There is plenty of snow and ice about in this climate. We have fatigue parties working all day, keeping the ship clear of snow and ice. You can imagine how cold it is when a cup of water will freeze during the night in our living and sleeping quarters in the hold.

From the above it looks as if this British armoured car section was with the Riga outpost force, an account of which appeared some weeks ago in the press, as follows:-"A little while back we heard a good deal about the German armoured cars on the Riga roads, but now we learn that the Russians are receiving valuable service from vehicles of the same class, which co-operate with the infantry in lunges on the enemy's advanced positions."

SMH, Wednesday 21 February 1917, More on his exploits during World War 1.




The R.N.A.S. Armoured Car Unit, lent by the British Government to the Russians, has been doing good work in the Eastern area of the war. Sometime ago the cables advised us of its operations in Roumania This unit will probably put up the record for variety of experiences in connection with the war.

Leaving England in the winter, after an eventful journey through the Arctic circle, they journeyed across Russia en fete, and reached the Caucasus and Armenia, fighting the Turks and Kurds there, and now they are assisting the Roumanians.

Petty-offlcer A. S. Pursell, of A. B. Pursell and Co, Sydney, who is with this R.N.A.S. unit, in writing to Australian friends tells some interesting experiences.

They got a grand reception, and then came south by train to Vladi-Caucas on the European side of the Caucasus. En route they stopped at Moscow, where they were entertained by the British residents and by the British Club. A special service was held in the English Church there, and they were escorted to tho service by Cossacks. At every town across Russia they stayed at they were given a big reception with bands etc, and several banquets. In fact, it was more or less a triumphant parade from north to south. Their biggest receptions were at Alexandrovsk, Moscow Rostov, and Vladi-Caucas. At these places the people went more or less mad over them, but they didn't mind-they thoroughly enjoyed it. They had big route marches through various towns, and it took the police all their time to stop the people rushing them, and then they did not succeed They were smothered with flowers on every occasion.

The Russians are ever marvelling at their ages, they cannot understand why they are not at school. Of course, they are all clean-shaven, and when put alongside a Russian regiment, with all their hair on, they look like a lot of school boys.

There is quite a large population of English people In Russia, and being the first Tommies they have seen it can be quite understood how they treat them and the Russians are not beaten by the English

At Moscow they went over the Czar's Palace.

Vladl-Caucas is a paradise in itself. They waited there some time for their cars, and were billeted in a big army college situated in a lovely park at the foot of snow-clad mountains about two miles outside the town. Livlng there was absolutely a luxury after what they had previously experienced. The heat during the day was very great.

From Vladl-Caucas they went on to Asia Minor, and about the border were inspected by the Grand Duke Nicholas. On tho way they passed through Tiflis and Kars, which is described as the muddiest place over seen. They had a fine trip across the mountains and the cars worked well, although they had sometimes to reverse four or five times in some of the bends of the mountain roads. At other times they had to let thelr cars down with ropes and pull them up with ropes.

Tho latest advice from Petty-officer Pursell states that it took about four months for a letter to get from Australia to where he is. He says -'You will he glad to know that we have at last been enjoying a few 'scraps,' at least B squad has. We have been (strafing' Turks and Kurds round about Mt Ararat and the Garden of Eden, and I am glad to say the work has been of some purpose and appreciated by the 'Ruskies' to the extent of a few crosses and medals and the Grand Duke's compliments. In our first 'scrap' we were ambushed by Turks and Kurds, and while it lasted the going was hot, but the three cars concerned, namely, ours, the 'Volcano,' and the 'Viking' and a Lancashire transport came out OK. The transport was simply riddled with bullets and I can't understand how her crew came out with only two slightly wounded. Of course in the armoured cars we were all right, although one of the 'Viking's' crew were slightly wounded. In our other scraps we took the offensive, and blew of a Turk's magazine, made 2000 of them drop their arms and run, besides capturing several hostile villages. The roads were simply awful, and knocked the cars about to such an extent that we are now refitting in Kars. We expect our next sphere of operations will be Roumania "

SMH, Wednesday 6 February 1918, Article on his wartime exploits.

SMH, Wednesday 28 May 1919, Article on his return from the war.

Lieutenant A. S. Pursell, R.A.F., of Mosman, has returned to Sydney from Europe. Previously to joining the Royal Air Force he was in the Royal Naval Air Service, and was at Gallipoli, and afterwards with the British armoured cars under Commander Sir Lockyer Lampson, in Russia, Armenia, and Roumania, where he received the 3rd and 4th medal of the Order of St. George, from the late Czar. He has now resumed his civilian position in the office of A. B. Pursell and Co., insurance brokers.

He was appointed Managing Director of his fathers business, A. B. Pursell and Sons in 1946.


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