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Alfred Gittins

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Alfred Gittins
Gittins Alfred Sep 1938.jpg
Gittins Alfred & wife.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1892
Place of Birth North Perth, Western Australia
Death 27 Nov 1938, aged 46
Place of Death Belmont, western Australia
Age at Enlistment 24 years, 7 months
Description 5'5 ½" (1.66m) tall ; 146 lbs
66.224 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Brickmaker
Religion Church of England
Address Karragullen, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Alfred Gittens
Military Information
Reg Number 7450
Date of Enlistment 28 Mar 1917
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion, 25th Reinforcement / 4th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 29 Jun 1917 ‒ 25 Jul 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A30 Borda Fremantle to Plymouth
Date of Return 12 Dec 1918 ‒ 18 Jan 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A71 Nestor
Fate Wounded in Action 19 Apr 1918 near Hebuterne
Wounded in Action 4 Jul 1918
returned to Australia
Monument Kelmscott War Memorial (North panel)
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Electoral Roll entries 1916 & 1917 list him as a woodcutter in Karragullen.

War Service

When Alfred first offered himself, he was found to be unfit for military service[1] However, the internal newsletter at Blackboy Hill camp records that he had accepted the call to colours.[2]

On arrival in England Alfred undertook training with the 4th Training Battalion (26 Aug till 2 Oct 1917) at Codford before spending from 2 Oct until 9 Oct 1917 at the No. 2 Command Depot Weymouth. Returning to Codford briefly he was then transferred on 20 Oct 1917 to the Overseas Training Battalion at Longbridge Deverill. Training completed, Alfred was shipped to France on 30 Jan 1918 and joined the 16th Battalion on 9 Feb 1918.

On 19 Apr 1918 he suffered a GSW to his left leg and was treated at 1/3 EL Field Ambulance before being admitted on 21 Apr 1918 to the 8th General Hospital in Rouen from which he was discharged on 24 Apr 1918.

He returned to his battalion on 30 Apr 1918 but contracted Influenza and spent time with 12th Australian Field Ambulance, and 47th Casualty Clearing Station from 20 May 1918 before again rejoining his unit on 4 Jun 1918.

On 4 Jul 1918 Alfred was wounded in action again, this time a shell wound to the left side of his chest requiring treatment by 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 5th Casualty Clearing Station, and the 12th General Hospital in Rouen before being embarked on the HMHS Grantully Castle for England on 16 July.

The 16th Battalion's Unit War Diary entry for 19 Apr 1918 reads
..."Fri: 19.4.18. As uneventful a day as yesterday. Weather cold but fine. Mud drying up. Casualties to 6 a.m. 20.4.18 Four wounded."
The War Diary entry for 4th Jul 1918 reads ....
"Thu 4th July. The 4th Division, assisted by the 11th and 6th AUSTRALIAN Infantry Brigades attacked and captured HAMEL; VAIRE and HAMEL WOODS, and the spur beyond. Narrative: ......Weather splendid for such an operation. Casualties not heavy. Officers - 2 killed, 3 wounded. Other Ranks 11 killed, 62 wounded."

In England, Alfred was admitted on 17 Jul 1918 to the 4th London General Hospital where he remained undergoing treatment until 1 Oct 1918 when he was released to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. On 25 Oct 1918 he was well enough to be granted a period of furlough before again contracting Influenza, necessitating another stint in hospital before he was able to again join the queue to go home.

Discharged 5th Military District on 24 Mar 1919.

The West Australian 29 Jul 1918 p.5 Casualty List 419 included a reference to Alfred being wounded on 29 Jul 1918.[3]

Newspapers of the day published a list of passengers aboard the Troopship HMAT A71 Nestor returning to Australia, including Alfred.[4]

Post War

The Daily News has a story about the untimely death of two old men, aged 67 and 73 living opposite the Gittens' Belmont house in what was described as a lonely shack.[5]

Married Adelhaid Hease in 1923. Electoral Roll entries from 1925 to 1936 place them in Belmont (labourer); Adelhaid remains there after Alfred's death (101 Epson Ave) until her own on 29 Apr 1987. Sons Alfred Stephen (1924 - 2012), Keith (1929 - )

References

  1. "UNFIT.". The Daily News. XXXV, (13,067). Western Australia. 29 December 1916. p. 8 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. The Camp Chronicle 5 Apr 1917 p.3
  3. "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIV, (5,090). Western Australia. 29 July 1918. p. 5. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. "RETURNING AUSTRALIANS". Kalgoorlie Miner. 25, (6149). Western Australia. 17 January 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. "Police Do Not Suspect Third Party In Belmount Riddle". The Daily News. LVI, (19,799). Western Australia. 9 September 1938. p. 1 (HOME Edition). Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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