Cornielius Harold (Con) Kerrison

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Cornielius Harold (Con) Kerrison
Personal Information
Date of Birth 17 Feb 1906
Place of Birth Armadale, Western Australia
Death 29 Sep 1979
Place of Death Bunbury, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 33 years, 8 months
Description 5'9" (1.75m) tall ; ; medium complexion ; blue eyes ; dark hair
Occupation Firewood contractor
Religion Congregational
Address c/- Mrs A Candish, Mandurah
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Mavis Kerrison
Military Information
Reg Number WX530
Date of Enlistment 9 Nov 1939
Rank Warrant Officer Class 2
Unit/Formation 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1940 ‒ 19 May 1940
Transport Details HMT Y3 Nevasa Fremantle to El Kantara, Egypt
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 16 Feb 1942 ‒ 17 Mar 1942
Transport Details HMT Durban Castle Middle East to Adelaide
2nd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 5 Nov 1944 ‒ 13 Nov 1944
Transport Details HMT Katoomba Townsville to Aitape, New Guinea
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 1 Aug 1945 ‒ 7 Aug 1945
Transport Details HMT Taroona New Guinea to Sydney
Journey Dates 9 Sep 1945 ‒ 16 Sep 1945
Transport Details RMS Maloja Sydney to Fremantle
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia (twice)
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry: 1937 Caves road, Busselton, fuel merchant

War Service

Enlisted while in Busselton and was allocated to the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion, which was part of the 6th Australian Infantry Division. On 7 Dec 1939 they moved to the eastern states to train with the rest of the division, before returning to Perth in early April 1940. While in Sydney he was promoted Temporary Corporal on 10 Jan 1940 before spending two days in the Prince of Wales Hospital with hemorrhoids.

On 20 Apr 1940 his rank of Corporal was confirmed, and the battalion boarded HMT Y3 Nevasa for Kantana in Egypt where they disembarked on 19 May 1940. After arriving in the Middle East, the 2/11th trained in Palestine and Egypt. A decision to reorganise Australian infantry brigades along British lines, with three battalions instead of four, meant the 2/11th was now part of the 19th Brigade, but it remained part of the 6th Division. On 25 Jul 1940 Corneilius was admitted to 2/1st Australian General Hospital with sand fly fever, returning to the battalion at Gaza Ridge on 30 Jul 1940.

The battalion went into action for the first time at Bardia on 5 Jan 1941 and, as part of the Allied advance into Italian-occupied Libya, subsequently fought at Tobruk on 21-22 Jan 1941, and later to secure Derna airfield on 25 Jan 1941. It was advancing to the south of Benghazi when the Italians surrendered on 7 Feb 1941. Returning to Palestine, Cornielius could be considered lucky in that he was admitted to the 8th British General Hospital on 28 Mar 1941 suffering with an Inguinal Hernia, and thus did not go to Greece and Crete from which very few returned. On 5 Apr 1941 he was transferred to the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital in Gaza, and on 18 Apr 1941 to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot at Dimra. Well again, he was released on 12 May 1941 to the 19th Australian Infantry Training Battalion at Dimra and then he rejoined what was left of the 2/11th Battalion on 8 Jun 1941.

Promoted Sergeant on 19 Jul 1941, he was sent to the Middle East Tactical School on 23 Jul 1941, but was again in need of medical attention on 31 Jul 1941 when he was seen by the 2nd New Zealand General Hospital with a severe case of sinusitis. Released to the training course on 8 Aug 1941 he rejoined the battalion the next day. Early 1942 was spent in garrisoning Syria.

Along with the rest of the battalion, Cornielius boarded the HMT Durban Castle on 16 Feb 1942, and disembarked in Adelaide on 17 Mar 1942. The battalion was used to carry out defensive duties in Western Australia until 6 July 1943 when it transferred to Queensland. Cornielius was promoted Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 on 5 Dec 1942 before illness struck again. On 22 Dec 1942 he was seen by the 4th Australian Casualty Clearing Station which on 28 Dec 1942 passed him on to the 110th Australian Base Hospital. On 18 Jan 1943 he was well enough to rejoin the battalion, and on 6 Jul 1943 they entrained for Queensland. Suffering with dysentery, Cornielius was treated by the 2/7th Australian Field Ambulance who had him admitted to the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital from 29 Sep 1943 until 15 Oct 1943.

On 23 Dec 1943 His rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 was confirmed, and he spent from 30 Jan 1944 until 29 Feb 1944 as an instructor at the HQ 1st Australian Armoured Corp. On 16 Sep 1944 qualified at the 1st Australian Army Regimental Training School's RSM & CSM Course No 4. and on 5 Nov 1944 the battalion boarded the HMT Katoomba for New Guinea, disembarking at Aitape on 13 Nov 1944.

Cornielius was admitted to the 2/7th Australian Field Ambulance again on 18 Dec 1944 with Otis Externa, returning to his battalion briefly on 26 Dec 1944 before being evacuated to the 104th Australian Casualty Clearing Station. On 26 Jan 1945 he had again rejoined the battalion, remaining with them until he was evacuated to the 2/7th Australian Field Ambulance again on 15 May 1945, and in turn, rejoining the battalion on 24 May 1945.

On 28 Jul 1945 Cornielius was identified as one of the first tranche of men to be discharged and was transferred on paper to Western Command to prepare for discharge with the first step being to Sydney aboard HMT Taroona, arriving on 7 Aug 1945, before boarding RMS Maloja on 9 Sep 1945 for Fremantle where he arrived on 16 Sep 1945. He was demobilised at his own request in NSW on 25 Sep 1945 after service in the Middle East from 20 Apr 1940 until 17 Mar 1942 and in New Guinea from 5 Nov 1944 to 7 Aug 1945.

Post War

Married twice: On 6 May 1934 to Mavis Irene Fyfield b. 14 Mar 1914; and in 1949 to Elizabeth Rose Dunstan.

Electoral Roll entries" 1949 at 9 Wittenoom street, Bunbury, cabinet maker; 1954 - 1958 at 13 Teede street, Bunbury cabinet maker; 1972 - 1977 at 216 Blair street, Bunbury, retired.

'You're Only Mucking Up Both Our Lives'

Strange are the stories Mr. Justice Dwyer hears in the Divorce Court; but few stranger than that of a wife who badly wanted a baby, and, having had her wish fulfilled, then told her husband to clear out for fear she'd have any more. Mrs. Mavis Kerrison was said to have been perfectly frank about it. I've got one child,' she said to her husband, 'and I don't want any more. If I continue to live with you I'll have more!'

And as that argument fairly reeked with logic, Cornelius Kerrison packed up and got. What else could he do? The house he lived in belonged to his wife and her mother and, legally speaking, they had the right to order him out.

So Kerrison went to board with a friend at Busselton, from whence he paid periodical visits to the one and only child of the union. But one day his wife told him she intended supporting the child, and didn't want hubby to dirty the family doormat again.

Much as he disliked it, Kerrison's visits ceased — ceased until he heard that his child had been hurt in an accident. Paternal instinct stronger than all else, he went to the home and asked to see the child.

Saw The Child. And when his wife refused him permission, he used his strength to force his way into the home; saw the kiddie, and went on his way satisfied.

Mavis Kerrison reported him to the police. But, when they had a chat with Kerrison and learned the facts, they refused to take any action.

Kerrison wasn't bitter about the business. When he joined the AIF he made his wife and child an allotment, then sailed overseas. When he returned 12 months later, thinking that absence might have made his wife's heart grow fonder, he visited her again. The reception he got would have frozen an Eskimo in Iceland, he told his solicitor, Mr. P. Barblett.

'I wouldn't make a home with you or any other man!' said Mavis Kerrison in that blunt way she had with hubby.

'One's a Family' Obviously she intended sticking by the slogan of 'One child's a family. 'Well, you're only mucking up both our lives,' said soldier Kerrison, 'I'll take divorce proceedings.' Mrs. Kerrison offered no objection then — or when Mr. Justice Dwyer granted the decree nisi.[1]
Cornelius Harold Kerrison, cabinet maker, of Wittenoom street, applied for possession of his house in Teede-street which is at present occupied by Samuel Eric Williams, engine driver. The case was adjourned for two months.[2]


  1. Mirror (Perth) Saturday 13 June 1942 Page 17, accessed 17 Mar 2019.
  2. South Western Times (Bunbury, WA : 1932 - 1954), Thursday 24 August 1950, page 10 accessed 28 Mar 2019

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