Allan James DENMEAD

Allan James DENMEAD

Per his military service record (regimental no. 3017), Allen James Denmead was born at Goulburn, N.S.W. [His first name is spelt elsewhere as Allan]. He gave his age as 27 years and 8 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as labourer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 inches tall, weight 10 stone 8 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no previous military service. He was attested at Bathurst by Captain Eade on the 28th October 1915.

His preliminary medical examination report on his Application to enlist form in his service record, signed at Bathurst on 22nd October 1915, noted that he ‘has Varicose Veins in legs & willing to have them operated on’. His medical certificate was not signed during the march.

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

His medical certificate was signed at Liverpool Camp on 13th November 1915, however this had the note “signed in error”. Whilst at Liverpool Camp Private Denmead went before a medical board on 29th November 1915 where he was deemed unfit for military service due to having Varicose Veins in both legs. He was discharged on the 13th of December 1915.

The National Advocate reported that ‘Private Denmead joined the “Coo-ees” at Bathurst, but on arrival in Sydney he was discharged to undergo an operation’, and ‘on recovering he again enlisted’.[1]

On 28th June 1916 he re-enlisted at Bathurst under the name Allan James Denmead. He claimed 7 weeks previous military experience at Liverpool with the A.I.F. before being medically discharged. He stated that his trade or calling was butcher on this attestation paper. He attended the Showground in Bathurst and underwent a medical which he passed [his varicose veins not being noted], and he was attested on 28th June 1916 at Bathurst. He went into camp and began training as part of the 7th reinforcements for the 53rd Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 69 Rocket Street, Bathurst, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his wife, Mrs. Mary [Ester] Jane Denmead, 69 Rocket Street, Bathurst, N.S.W.

Private Denmead departed Sydney on the HMAT A11 Ascanius on 25th October 1916. He arrived in Devonport, England, on 28th December 1916. He was sent to the 14th Training Battalion at Hurdcott, England.

On 28th February 1917 Private Denmead departed Folkestone aboard the SS Golden Eagle for France. He arrived at the 5th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples on 1st March 1917. On 21st March he joined departed the 5th Australian Division Base Depot bound for the 19th Battalion, having been transferred from the 53rd Battalion. On 23rd March 1917 Private Denmead joined the 19th Battalion whilst it was at the village of Grevillers in France repairing billets and roads.

Private Denmead was with the 19th Battalion as it saw action around Noreuil, France, in April 1917.

On 3rd May 1917 the 19th Battalion was part of an attack on the Hindenburg Line in the vicinity of Bullecourt, France. During this unsuccessful attack Private Denmead was reported Missing in Action.

A Court of Enquiry held by the 19th Battalion on 11th December 1917 reported that he was now listed as Killed in Action on the 3rd of May 1917.

His family inserted the following notice in the National Advocate (17/1/1918 p. 2):

‘Honor Roll. DENMEAD,–Private Allen James Denmead, killed in action at Bullecourt on May 3rd, 1917, aged 29 years. Previously reported missing on that date.
In a soldier’s grave he’s lying,
Somewhere in Bullecourt he fell,
Little we thought when he left us,
It would be our last farewell.
Loving remembrance will last forever.
Inserted by his loving wife Ettie, and children Rose, Harold, and Daisy’.[2]

Private Denmead has no known grave and his name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

A.J. Denmead's name on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2015)

A.J. Denmead’s name on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2015)

Private Denmead’s name is commemorated on panel 88 on the Australian War Memorial First World War Roll of Honour.

[1] ‘A “Cooee” Missing’, National Advocate, 8 June 1917, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158485185

[2] ‘Advertising’, National Advocate, 17 January, 1918, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158501973

 

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