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Albert Ernest Elkington

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Albert Ernest Elkington
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Elkington Albert Ernest.jpg
Albert's original grave marker. Photo City of Gosnells Historic Photograph Collection
Personal Information
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
Description 5'6" (1.65m) tall ; 124lbs
56.245 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Cleaner (acting foreman?)
Religion Church of England
Address East Cannington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Henry Elkington
Military Information
Reg Number 6755
Date of Enlistment 1 Aug 1916
Rank Private
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
Fate Wounded in action 19 Mar 1918 (gassed)
Killed in action 23 Aug 1918
Monument Gosnells War Memorial
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Worked 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.

War Service

On entering camp on 1 Aug 1916 he was allocated to the 80th Depot Company for basic training. On 9 Aug he was 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.

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, joining the battalion on 10 May 1917 at Bapaume where they were resting and reorganising. On 30 Aug 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.

On 31 Jan 1918 he 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 Australian 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 before being released into the care of the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital on 12 Apr 1918. Granted furlough from 17 Apr until 1 May 1918, he 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, and on 8 Aug 1918 he returned to France through Folkestone, rejoining his battalion on 15 Aug 1918. While with the Overseas Training Brigade he had been 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.

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 1,00 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 [1] 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
  • Heath Cemetery Harbonnières
  • Albert's grave location


Notes

Albert's father Mr William Henry Elkington was a Member of the Gosnells Roads Board during 1914 - 1919.


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