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Great Flinders Football League
& Great Flinders Netball Association

2024 ANZAC Round - Football @ Tumby Bay

Updated: May 22

Eyre United vs Tumby Bay


The A Grade football will see a medal presented named after SURG-CAPT Dr B.W. Wibberley Service Number 3871 WWI and S85151 (WWII) 88th F/Ambulance, 56th Brigade, 19th Div MC, MBBS, BSc. MC



Brian W (Bill) Wibberley was born Brighton, Victoria, 12th January 1891 to Brian Wibberley and Marie Anne Wibberley (nee Hunt). He had a sister Nancy. His father was a Methodist Minister and his mother very well educated, tutored him in addition to his schooling.

He attended primary school at Moonta, before attaining a scholarship to attend Prince Alfred College in Adelaide for secondary schooling he was required to have knowledge in Maths. Thanks to his mother and being an exceptional student left PAC with Leaving Honours topping the State in Maths. Was a talented Champion Gymnast winning prizes for this and appears on various Honour Boards on the walls of the old assembly hall. On the completion of secondary schooling he entered Adelaide University to gain his Medical Degree.

In 1914 WWI broke out he was in his final year of Medical School. Started his first year as a Resident Medical Officer at RAH in 1915. May 1915 he volunteered for service in the United Kingdom. Prior to leaving he became engaged to Margery. He and another RMO Dr Hockett-Penny went straight to Tourquet Training School of Royal Medical Army Corps. Later joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. As this was a Mounted Regiment, he was required to wear riding boots (these are in the National Trust Museum in Tumby).

He did not speak often of the war, when he did it was both fascinating and horrific describing frightful conditions endured, mud in the trenches, bravery, comradeship and fatalistic attitude they had to develop to overcome their natural fear of death. During the battle first battle of the Somme July 1916 he barely slept for three days. At the Somme was awarded a Military Cross. Later along with eight others went one morning to Buckingham Palace and was presented his medal by the King. He appeared in the New Year list of military honours, having been mentioned and awarded the M.C. for conspicuous service during the Somme offensive.

He had one story where he and his batman were separated from their fellow soldiers in vain. After searching for hours, evening falling came to a small farm where some soldiers were sleeping. They were invited to stay but decided to push on. On passing the cottage the next morning it had been struck by enemy shell fire, levelled to the ground and all occupants killed. They did find the others, but not before the batman was hit by a rifle bullet, sustaining a superficial wound to his buttock.

He wrote letters about battles at Cambrai, Passchendale and other events. Mostly he treated ANZACS. He was recommended for a bar to his Military Cross, this was never received, presumably there were too many acts of bravery. Somme & Cambrai: These were two of the bloodiest battles of WW1.

Served with 88th Field Ambulance attached to 56th Brigade, Lancashire Fusiliers at Paaschendale and 19 Division, British Expeditionary Forces (BEF), as part of the occupation army. He served in France, Belgium and Germany. He rose to the rank of Surgeon Major before taking his discharge from the British Army in Jun 1919. He received his third star on the completion of his first year of service. When the war ended could speak fluently in German and French reasonably well. He also undertook travel through Germany visiting hospitals looking for wounded allied soldiers. He did find some.

Returned to Australia in July 1919 undertaking a refresher course in General Medical Practice at the RAH whilst he had a lot of surgical experience had to do general practice. Shortly after the course he married Margery in Adelaide.

Was involved in the RAH and the “Spanish Flu” epidemic. To confirm his refresher training he took a number locum positions Adelaide Hills, Yorke Peninsula, and Streaky Bay. Thought about Country General Practice, heard Dr Moore wanted to leave Tumby. Visited, was impressed brought his wife and family in March 1920, staying for over 37 years. He and Margery raised their family of four, 2 boys and 2 girls.

When WWII broke out he enlisted on 31st January 1943 as Captain SN S85151 at Port Lincoln, discharged 25th November 1945.

His eldest son Brian born 21st July 1922 at Tumby Bay choose to enlist in the RAAF, Warrant Officer.

Dr Wibberley (Bill) held the position of President of Tumby Bay Sub-Branch during his time at Tumby.

He retired to Adelaide in 1957 his youngest son, Dr David Wibberley, took over the practice in Tumby Bay. Dr Brian Wibberley said he couldn’t afford to retire and held a job with the Schools Medical Service. This took him all over the country, where he would catch up with old patients. After this worked for the Red Cross Blood Bank which also took him to the country. On several occasions he did locum periods for his son, David, at Tumby Bay. It was during the third occasion he suffered a heart attack and angina after this. He died soon after another heart attack in September 1973, aged 83 years. Margery missed him and died in October 1979, aged 84.

Dr Brian Wibberley was a legend along the East Coast of the Eyre Peninsula for over 30 years. Many locals in the area bear the tag of a “Doc Wibberley baby” with pride and fondness. His efforts have not been forgotten.

His name is on the Tumby Bay Sub-Branch Honour Board. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War, Victory Medals & Military Cross.

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