Basil Kelley

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Basil Kelley
Kelley Basil.jpg
edited from photo held in City of Gosnells Photographic Collection Basil Kelley standing under grass trees
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1892
Place of Birth Willesden, Middlesex, England
Death 10 Jun 1918
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 11 months
Description 5'5½" (1.66m) tall ; 125lbs
56.699 kg
; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Stores assistant
Religion Church of England
Address Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Kelley
Military Information
Reg Number 988
Date of Enlistment 10 May 1915
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion C Company
Date of Embarkation 9 Jun 1915 ‒ 2 Jul 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A11 Ascanius disembarked in Suez
Monument Gosnells War Memorial
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Primary School Honour Roll name misspelt on all 3 Gosnells memorials
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Migrated to Australia c1909 and settled in Gosnells. Friendly with Gosnells resident Leila Mitchel, with plans to marry post war. (During the War, Leila Michel was involved in photographing the families of soldiers, the images later forwarded onto the serving individual. She was one of only two girls to take photography classes at the Perth Technical College c1915. In 1922 she married George Brown and later Gosnells baker William Keehner.)

War Service

Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 10 May 1915 and while he was initially set to be a member of the 7th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, he was quickly transferred to C Company of the 28th Battalion that was forming up at Blackboy Hill camp.

On arrival in Egypt the battalion was sent to Abbassia near Cairo and began with 14 day's isolation. Training followed until 3 Sep 1915 when they transferred to Alexandria by train and boarded HMT Ivernia for Mudros Harbour where on 10 Sep 1915 they transhipped to the HMT Sarnia for Anzac Cove. On 13 Nov 1915 Basil was hospitalised at 13th Casualty Clearing Station with Jaundice and was evacuated on 19 Nov 1915 to Malta aboard HMT Galeka where he entered St Patrick's Hospital on 24 Nov 1915. Discharged to ALL Saints Casualty Clearing Station Malta on 15 Dec 1915, he was transferred to St David's Hospital on 4 Jan 1916.

On 12 May 1916 he embarked on HMT Arcadian for the journey back to Alexandria, and barely had he landed then he boarded HMT Minnetonka in Alexandria on 2 Jun 1916 for England, arriving in Plymouth on 12 Jun 1916. On arrival he was sent to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone where on 26 Jun 1916 he was charged with having been AWOL from 2pm on 20 Jun to 2pm on 24 Jun 1916. Absence counted as 5 days, he forfeited 12 day's pay

Basil proceeded overseas to France on 9 Aug 1916, and following time in the base depot, joined the 28th Battalion on 24 Aug 1916 at Tara Hill near Albert just before they went into the front line trenches north east of Pozières. On 10 May 1917 Basil was appointed Lance Corporal and on 8 Jul 1917 he was promoted Temporary Corporal, a rank that was confirmed on 20 Oct 1917. In the meantime he had been granted UK leave, and was absent for the battalion from 17 Jul till 13 Aug 1917. Five days after he was promoted Corporal he was made Temporary Sergeant and from 20 - 29 Dec 1917 he enjoyed leave in Paris.

Promoted Sergeant on 1 Feb 1918 he was detached to the 6th Training Battalion at Fovant. From 21 Feb till 23 Mar 1918 he attended a Musketry Training Course at Tidworth, qualifying 1st class with a fair knowledge of the Lewis Gun. On 29 Apr 1918 he proceed overseas to France again, rejoining the 28th Battalion on 8 May 1918 in the outskirts of Amiens where they were in Divisional Reserve.

At 9:45 pm on 10 Jun 1918 the 28th were one of three Australian Battalion's carrying out an attack on enemy positions at Morlancourt. Despite casualties being described as light (less than 50 men from the 28th Battalion), Basil was one of those killed in action. Buried near where he fell, his grave could not be located post WW1, and he is memorialised on the Villers-Bretonneux memorial.

  • Villers Bretonneux Memorial
  • Section of the 28th Battalion panel at Villers-Bretonneux


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