Albert Ernest Elkington
From Our Contribution
Albert's original grave marker. Photo City of Gosnells Historic Photograph Collection
|Date of Birth||13 Jan 1894|
|Place of Birth||Charters Towers, Queensland|
|Death||23 Aug 1918|
|Place of Death||Chuignes, France|
|Age at Enlistment||22 years, 6 months|
5'6" (1.65m) tall ; 124lbs|
56.245 kg; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
|Occupation||Cleaner (acting fireman)|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||East Cannington, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr. William Henry Elkington|
|Reg Number||908 &6755|
|Date of Enlistment||10 Sep 1914 & 1 Aug 1916|
|Unit/Formation||11th Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement, allotted to 11 Platoon, C Company|
|Date of Embarkation||9 Nov 1916 ‒ 10 Jan 1917|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A8 Argyllshire|
Wounded in action 19 Mar 1918 (gassed) |
Killed in action 23 Aug 1918
Gosnells War Memorial |
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Australian War Memorial
British War Medal |
One of seven children to Welshman William Henry Elkington and his wife Sarah Ann Stream, Albert was working for the Western Australian Government Railways as an acting foreman at the time of his enlistment. This might be an exaggeration as the Electoral Rolls for 1916 and 1917 have him living in Spring Park road, Midland Junction, a cleaner. Of interest, his father William Henry Elkington stood for election at an Extraordinary Election in November 1915, to fill the Councilor vacancy for Cannington Ward due to the seat of Mr R. D. Higgs having been declared vacant. The other candidate standing for the seat was David Lewis Fagence. The polling date was set for 6 November 1915, and the polling places would be at Road Board Hall, Maddington and Mr Renou’s residence at East Cannington. The result was a win for William who continued in office until 1919.
First enlisted on 14 Sep 1914 as 'Ernest Albert Elkington'. On 16 Sep 1914 his landlady wrote to military authorities complaining that he owed her £1/1- ($2.10) for unpaid board. On 20 Sep he was charged with Neglect of Duty and fined 5 shillings (50c). The same entry includes 'Discharged'.
On entering camp on 1 Aug 1916 he has enlisted again, but this time as Albert Ernest Elkington. Albert was allocated to the 80th Depot Company for basic training. On 9 Aug he was re-allocated to the 23rd Reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, and then on 4 Sep 1916 to the 22nd draft for the 11th Battalion, travelling with them to England aboard HMAT A8 Argyllshire, departing 9 Nov 1916 and arriving at Devonport on 10 Jan 1917.
On arrival in England he was sent to the 3rd Training Battalion to prepare for service in the trenches, and on 3 May 1917 he proceeded to France through Folkestone. In Étaples he was held at the Base Depot for several days for further specialist training, joining the 11th Battalion on 10 May 1917 at Bapaume where they were resting and re-organising. On 30 May 1917 he was sent to a rest depot until 9 Jun 1917 when he rejoined the battalion. On 17 Jun 1917 he was charged with being absent from a Church Parade without permission, for which he was awarded 5 days Field Punishment No. 2. The 11th Battalion then participated in the Third Battle of Ypres on the 31 July 1917, a battle better known as Battle of Passchendaele.
In November the 11th Battalion was withdrawn to the area around Boulogne until early December for rest, and to replace losses, before returning to Messines near Ypres in late December. On 31 Jan 1918 Albert was granted a period of leave in the UK, rejoining the battalion on 9 Feb 1918. On 19 Mar 1918 near Messines he was wounded in action (gassed). Seen by the 1st Field Ambulance he was passed to the 64th Casualty Clearing Station the same day and placed aboard an Ambulance Train on 22 Mar 1918 for the 3rd Stationary Hospital at Wimereux. On 24 Mar 1918 he was evacuated to England aboard HS Jan Breydel and admitted to the Horton County of London War Hospital in Epsom. On 12 Apr 1918 he was released into the care of the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital. This was followed by the grant of furlough from 17 Apr until 1 May 1918. Albert was 45 minutes late reporting to No. 4 Command Depot in Hurdcott for which he was admonished.
On 15 Jul 1918 he was posted to the Overseas Training Brigade where he was AWOL from midnight 30 Jul until he was apprehended in Westbury at 6:45pm on 1 Aug 1918. Two days Field Punishment No. 2 and the forfeiture of 4 day's pay was his reward. On 8 Aug 1918 he returned to France through Folkestone, rejoining his battalion on 15 Aug 1918. In France, on 23 Aug 1918 the 11th Battalion was a part of the attacking force that assaulted German positions near Chuignes. While the operation was a stunning success exchanging 1,000 allied casualties for 2,000 German prisoners and many more killed an wounded, Arthur was one of those who did not see the day out.
Arthur has a detailed Red Cross File  covering the circumstances of his death. While details vary greatly from one version to another, especially the location of his death, all agree that he was killed by a shell (concussion).
"Killed 23.8.18" Of C Company, 11 Platoon. On the 23rd August at Sunken Road on the left of Proyart, we were resting on the way up to the front line about 8:30 in the morning. Was killed outright by shell concussion. I saw him after it happened, there were no marks on him. Was buried on the spot at Sunken Road, about 1½ miles from village; number of men buried here. Cross was erected by Battalion, but I haven't seen his grave. He was buried by Lance Corporal H Hilliard of C Company and he told me where his grave was. Elkington was working on railways in W. Australia when he enlisted. Was mate of mine. Knew him as "Elkie". 286 Pte D. Riordan 11 Platoon C Coy
For further information on this soldier, or for more information about the history and heritage of the City of Gosnells, please contact the Heritage Coordinator on 9391 6011