David James WAGNER

David James WAGNER

David James Wagner (Photograph courtesy of his grand-daughter Anne Dollin)

David James Wagner (Photograph courtesy of his grand-daughter Anne Dollin)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4911), David James Wagner was born at Marrickville, Sydney, N.S.W. He gave his age as 18 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as Bread Carter. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 4 ½ inches tall, weight 8 stone 1 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Church of England.  He claimed to have no previous military experience. It was noted on his enlistment form that he had been rejected previously by the Australian Imperial Force due to a deficient chest measurement. He completed his medical, and was attested on the same day, at Springwood on the 8th November 1915. He was one of two local recruits who joined the Coo-ees at Springwood.

Although Dave Wagner’s age was recorded as 18 years of age on his enlistment papers, he was actually only 16 years and 10 months old at the time, and was one of the youngest of the Coo-ees to enlist.[1] His service record contains a consent form signed by his father Arthur Wagner.

After completing the march he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Nancy [sic] Heights, Blue Mountains, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, W. [sic] Wagner, Nancy Heights, Blue Mountains, N.S.W. [Nancy Heights should have been recorded as Valley Heights, Blue Mountains, N.S.W.]

Along with many of the Coo-ees, Private Wagner departed Sydney on the HMAT Star of England on the 8th March 1916. He arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916. On the 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On the 2nd June 1916 Private Wagner left Alexandria aboard the Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseille on the 8th June 1916.

On the 6th July 1916 Private Wagner was shot in the chest while he was with the 45th Battalion when it was manning the front line in the vicinity of Sailly Sur La Lys, France. He was evacuated to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance at Fort Rompu near Erquinghem, then on the 7th July 1916 to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearance Station at Trois Arbres. On the 13th August 1916 he was transferred to the 32nd Stationary Hospital at Wimereux. On the 15th August 1916 he was moved to the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples.

On the 11th September 1916 Private Wagner rejoined the 45th Battalion when they were training and refitting at Victoria Camp near Renninghelst, Belgium.

On the 7th June 1917 Private Wagner was admitted to Hospital sick. He rejoined the Battalion on the 13th June 1917.

On the 14th August 1917 Private Wagner was admitted to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance with diarrhoea. He rejoined the Battalion on the 22nd of August 1917.

On the 31st May 1918 Private Wagner was detached to the Headquarters of the 12th Infantry Brigade. On the 29th January 1919 Private Wagner returned to the 45th Battalion.

On the 4th February 1919 he was sent to the 39th Stationary Hospital at Le Harve, France. On the 7th February 1919 Private Wagner was admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford, England sick. He was discharged from Hospital on the 15th March 1919. Then on the 20th March 1919 Private Wagner was readmitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital sick. He was discharged on the 21st April 1919.

Private Wagner commenced his return to Australia on the 12th May 1919 aboard the Port Napier, arriving in Australia on the 5th July 1919. He was discharged on the 19th August 1919.

The Blue Mountains Echo reported on 5th September 1919 that at a recent welcome home event held for four returned soldiers at Springood Hall that the chairman called Private Wagner ‘Springwood’s “Coo-ee’’’ whom ‘everybody knew as “Our Davy”’’, and that Private Wagner when he spoke ‘paid tribute to the Women’s Sewing Circle, “Let me tell you,” he said, “that the things they sent to the fighters were greatly appreciated. I am glad to be home; but when I was away I can tell you I looked for the letters which helped me to keep in touch with the home folk”’.[2]

[1] ‘The talk of the town’, The Mirror of Australia, 2 September 1916, p. 2, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/105136203

[2] ‘Springwood’s soldier sons’, The Blue Mountain Echo, 5 September 1919, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108245547

One response to “David James WAGNER

  1. Thank you for sharing the story of this brave young man. I am so glad
    he was able to return home.

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