Per his military service record (regimental no. 4605), John Tarlington was born at Glen Innes, N.S.W. He gave his age as 38 years and 7 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as laborer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 10 inches tall, weight 11 stone 5 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic.

On his attestation paper dated 26th October 1915, John Tarlington claimed previous service of 10 months in South Africa during the Boer War with the New South Wales Mounted Infantry, and 2 months previous service with the 18th Battalion.

John Tarlington had enlisted previously in the AIF on 20th May 1915 (with regimental no. 727) and completed two months training before being discharged at his wife’s request on 8th July 1915. Noted on this previous attestation paper dated 20th May 1915 was that at he had ‘Served 13th Battalion Discharged for breaking leave’. According to a statement in his service record that John Tarlington had made at the time of his 20th May 1915 enlistment, as he was unable to produce a discharge certificate for his previous service, he had enlisted about the ‘middle of November 1914 and was pooled’ to the 13th Battalion, from which he had been ‘discharged the day before embarkation on a charge of “Overstaying leave”’. He was ‘granted 24 hours leave, & returned to camp about 24 hours late, owing to severe illness’ of his wife, and on his return he was told his ‘place had been filled’ on account of his absence , and he was ‘then ordered off the ground by one of the Military Police’.

John Tarlington was in the process of applying to re-enlist in the AIF for the third time before he joined up with the Coo-ees at Blayney. On his initial Application to enlist form in his service record dated 11th October 1915 at Lithgow, John Tarlington gave his address as Coombing Park, Carcoar, N.S.W.  A letter in his service record stated that he would present himself on the 26th October after he had given two week’s notice to his employer. It appears he presented himself to the Coo-ee March at Blayney on the 26th October, instead of returning to Lithgow to enlist.

He completed his medical examination on the 26th October 1915 at Blayney, and was attested by Captain Eade at Blayney on 26th October 1915.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Guildford Road, Guildford, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his wife, Mrs. S. [Susan] Tarlington, Guildford Road, Guildford , N.S.W.

Private Tarlington departed Sydney on the HMAT Ballarat on 16th February 1916. He arrived in Egypt on 22nd March 1916. On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion at Ferry Post, Egypt.

On 14th April 1916 Private Tarlington reported to the 14th Field ambulance sick, and he was sent to the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station, then to the Number 1 Australian Stationary Hospital at Ismalia, Egypt. The next day 15th April 1916 Private Tarlington was admitted to the 1st Dermatological Hospital at Abassia, Egypt. He was discharged on 21st April 1916.

On 23rd May 1916 Private Tarilington was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion.

Private Tarlington left Alexandria on 6th June 1916 aboard the Transport Ionian bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on 15th June 1916. He went to the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples, France. On 21st June 1916 he departed Etaples and joined the 4th Pioneer Battalion the next day on 22nd June 1916 when it was at Armentieres, France constructing defensive works.

On 6th August 1916 the 4th Pioneer Battalion was maintaining Tramway Trench in the ruins of the village of Pozieres which was under heavy German artillery fire during the Battle of Pozieres when Private Tarlington was killed in action. Also killed with him in the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the same day were fellow Coo-ees Oliver James Harmon (who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta), and Karl Alex Frederick Neilson (who joined the Coo-ees at Springwood).

According to his Red Cross Wounded and Missing report, Private Tarlington was killed by a shell as ‘he got on the top of the trench at Pozieres to allow some wounded men to pass along the trench’, and he was buried ‘afterwards just over the parapet of the trench’, and ‘the grave was not marked’.[1]

Private Tarlington has no known grave, and is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France. He left a widow and a son.

Private Tarlington's name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Private Tarlington’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Private Tarlington’s name is commemorated on panel 174 on the Australian War Memorial First World War Roll of Honour.

Private Tarlington’s name is also remembered on the Guildford Soldiers Memorial at the Soldiers Memorial School of Arts Hall at Guildford.

[1] ‘4605 Private John Tarlington’, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files, 1914-1918 War 1DRL/0428,–1-.pdf


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