Alan John Burnett EASTERBROOK
Per his military service record (regimental no. 4772), Alan John Burnett Easterbrook was born at Penrith N.S.W. He gave his age as 23 years and 6 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as baker. His description on his medical was height5 feet 11 inches tall, weight 172 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and light brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. He claimed that he had no previous military service. His joined on date on his Attestation paper in his service record is dated 9th November 1915, however he did not complete his medical examination, and his attestation, until 2nd December 1915, at Liverpool.
‘Allen [sic] Easterbrook’ (along with J. Megarrity and W. A. Sutton) was one of the three Penrith men reported as stepping forward to join the Coo-ees ‘amidst the cheers of the audience’, in response to Mr Blacket’s recruitment speech and call of “What do we want, Coo-ees?” and their response of “We want men – men, and plenty of them!”, during the open-air Concert held for the Coo-ees at Penrith on the evening of Tuesday, 9th November, 2015.
After the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.
On 15th December 1915 Private Easterbrook was charged with being Absent Without Leave and he was fined. On 16th February 1916 he was again charged with Being Absent Without Leave and Being Absent from Special Parade. He was fined again. On 21st February 1916 he was again charged for Being Absent Without Leave for two days. He received another fine.
On Allan [sic] John Burnett Easterbrook’s embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was High Street, Penrith, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mrs E. [Elizabeth] Easterbrook, High Street, Penrith, N.S.W. His date of joining is recorded as 9th November 1915.
On 8th March 1916 Private Easterbrook departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, along with many of the other Coo-ees, as part of the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion. He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.
On 7th June 1916 Private Easterbrook left Alexandria aboard the Transport Ionian bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on 14th June 1916.
On 26th July 1916 Private Easterbrook was at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot when he was charged with Falling out of the line of march without a permit and Remaining absent from Training Parade, and he was fined one day’s pay.
On 19th of August 1916 Private Easterbrook joined the 13th Battalion when it was in action around Pozieres, France. Private Easterbrook served through the fighting around Pozieres until 30th August 1916 when he was reported wounded in action. He was admitted to hospital sick on 1st September 1916 in France.
Private Easterbrook’s experience at Pozieres was reported in an article published in the Nepean Times, 18th August 1917 (p. 2):
‘Private Easterbrook gave … a vivid impression of operations, in which he was engaged, culminating in the heroic advance on Pozieres, in which on 29th August, 1916, he sustained casualties – wounds from shrapnel … The attack on that sector of the enemy’s positions at Pozieres in which Private Easterbrook took part was timed for midnight, and in recounting the valiant rush to the German trenches, Private Easterbrook says, “it was about five past twelve when we hopped over the parapet. A good many of our chaps dropped on the way across … Later on that eventful wintry morning he succumbed to the shrapnel “visitation,” and some days afterwards was sent to Boulogne Hospital, France; and was subsequently transferred across the channel to the 1st Eastern General Hospital Cambridge, where he had the best of nursing and medical treatment. On becoming convalescent, Private Easterbrook spent several weeks in sight-seeing in London, and other parts of England, and is loud in his praises of the lavish hospitality meted out to Australian soldiers by the people of England ….’
On 5th September 1916 Private Easterbrook was placed aboard the Hospital Ship St David at Boulogne, France, bound for England. Upon arrival he was admitted to the 1st Eastern General Hospital in Cambridge, England, suffering from Rheumatism. On 10th October he was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Southall, England with Gun Shot Wound back. He was granted furlough in London from 16th to 31st October 1916.
He marched into No. 1 Convalescent Depot at Perham Downs on 3rd November 1916.
On 8th November 1916 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford, England, sick, and suffering from Rheumatism. He was discharged on the 8th of March 1917 and marched into the 2nd Command Depot at Weymouth, England.
On the 23rd May 1917 Private Easterbrook embarked from Devonport on the A33 Ayrshire bound for Australia with Rheumatism. He arrived in Sydney on the 19th of July 1917, and was discharged medically unfit on the 21st of August 1917.
His name is listed on the 1914-1919 Penrith Roll of Honour at Penrith City Memory Park.