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Alfred James Hansen MM

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Alfred James Hansen MM
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Personal Information
Date of Birth not known 1887
Place of Birth Karridale, Western Australia
Death 18 Apr 1963, aged 75
Place of Death Palmyra, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 28 years, 6 months
Description 5'10½" (1.79m) tall ; 164 lbs
74.389 kg
; medium complexion ; blue eyes ; dark brown hair ; tattoos both forearms
Occupation Mill hand
Religion Church of England
Address Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Frances May Hansen
Military Information
Reg Number 5021
Date of Enlistment 20 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion, 13th reinforcement / 7th Brigade, 2nd Division
Date of Embarkation 18 Jul 1916 ‒ 9 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A48 Seang Bee
Date of Return 16 Jun 1919 ‒ 24 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On RMS Ormonde
Fate Wounded in Action 11 May 1917 2nd Bullecourt
Returned to Australia
Monument Jarrahdale Honour Roll
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals Military Medal
British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1910 Wellington Mills, mill hand; 1914 - 1916 Jarrahdale, mill hand.

On 12 Dec 1914 Alfred married Frances May Waterhouse (b.1891) in St John's Church, Fremantle. Frances died 12 Aug 1973 aged 82 in Beaconsfield. Frances was a waitress in Fremantle prior to their marriage.

War Service

Signed up in Jarrahdale, and entered Blackboy Hill camp on 20 Mar 1916. Two weeks later he was allocated to the 13th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion, sailing with them to England.

On arrival in England was sent to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone to prepare for trench warfare in France and Belgium. While there he was admitted to the Fargo Hospital with tonsillitis.

On 13 Dec 1916 he proceeded overseas to France on the HMT Victoria from Folkestone. Taken on strength of the 28th Battalion in France on 18 Dec 1916 as the battalion relocated from St Vaast-en-Chaussee to Buire via Vignacourt. On 11 Mar 1917 Alfred was wounded in action while in the line in front of Warlencourt. Treated first by the 6th Australian Field Ambulance on 12 Mar 1917 who forwarded him to the 45th Casualty Clearing Station the same day. On 13 Mar 1917 he was transferred to the 11th Stationary Hospital at Rouen. Released to base units on 18 Mar 1917, he returned to the battalion on 5 Apr 1917, but was hospitalised again on 1 May 1917 with illness, rejoining the battalion ten days later.

Appointed Lance Corporal on 15 Oct 1917, the day after he was awarded the Military Medal. Promoted to temporary Corporal on 6 Nov 1917, he was hospitalised again due to illness (VD) on 4 Feb 1918, reverting to Lance Corporal. After reporting to the 7th Australian Field Ambulance he was transferred by Ambulance Train to Wisques where he entered the New Zealand Stationary Hospital on 6 Feb 1918. This occurred after a period of English Leave from 14 Jan to 3 Feb 1918. Discharged from the 39th General Hospital le Havre on 28 Mar 1918 (53 days ineffective service).

On 11 Apr 1918 while on his way to rejoin his unit, he sought out the 20th Casualty Clearing Station which transferred him to the 39th General Hospital in Abbeville on 12 Apr 1918 before again being admitted with VD again from 12 Apr 1918 - 6 Jun 1918 (57 days). On 20 Jun 1918 he reverts to Private at his own request, and from this point on he is in and out of hospital until the end of hostilities.

On 27 Jun 1919 Alfred's wife is advised that he had been sentenced to a term of imprisonment from 11 Jan 1919.

At a Field General Court Martial held at the 39th General Hospital, Le Havre between 22 Dec 1918 and 11 Jan 1919, he was charged along with 7 others (one of whom was a British serviceman):
"While on Active Service, joining in a Mutiny by combining amongst themselves to release Prisoners from No 1 Field Punishment Compound on 14 Nov 1918."
He was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years in Military Prison commencing 11 Jan 1919. Punishment was confirmed by Brig Gen A.R. Burrows, Base Commandant Havre, and he was sent to No.2 Military Prison at Garve. Transferred to Southampton from Le Have on 30 Jan 1919 to undergo sentence in England. Three of his co-accused were found not guilty, while the other four were found guilty and given sentences from 2 to 5 years. Hansen's defence counsel was Lieut. JD Dwyer a Barrister in the Supreme Court of WA.

The sentence was suspended on 25 Apr 1919 by Brig Gen T. Griffiths Commandant AIF HQ, and on 28 Apr 1919 Alfred reported sick to hospital until 6 May 1919 when he was released to No 5 group in Weymouth

Discharged 5th Military District 1 Sep 1919.

Award Commentary

Military Medal

"For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. At the attack on WESTHOEK RIDGE on 20th September 1917 - as a stretcher bearer he worked without ceasing under the heaviest fire, and showed absolute disregard for personal safety. His cheery manner helped everyone near him, and he set a really wonderful example."[1][2]

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1922 - 1925 Jarrahdale, mill hand; 1928 at 24 Gold street, South Fremantle, labourer; 1931 - 1943 Lot 292 (66) Oakover street, East Fremantle, lumper; 1949 at 49 Clayton street, East Fremantle, lumper; 1954 - 1963 at 31 Elvira street, Palmyra. Following Alfred's death, Frances moved to 7 Wood street Fremantle in 1968 and in 1972 to 18c Davis park, South Fremantle. Children were Alfred, Denis and Francis.

Notes

A transcript of the Court Martial is held with Alfred's individual records in the Australian Archive NAA B2455 Barcode 4255708

  1. Commonwealth Gazette No 31 dated 7 Mar 1918.
  2. London Gazette dated 11 Dec 1917 Second Supplement

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