George Charles Owens
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||30 Mar 1908|
|Place of Birth||Perth, Western Australia|
|Death||29 Dec 1972, aged 64|
|Place of Death||Moora, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||32 years 8 months|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Armadale, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Brother , Mr Arthur Joseph Owens|
|Date of Enlistment||16 Dec 1940|
|Unit/Formation||1st Australian Field Bakery (AIF)|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||5 Jul 1941 ‒ 25 Jul 1941|
|Transport Details||HMT Aquitania Fremantle to Port Tewfik|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||30 Jan 1942|
|Transport Details||unknown Port Tewfik to Bombay India|
|Journey Dates||13 Feb 1942 ‒ 16 Mar 1942|
|Transport Details||SS Esperance Bay Bombay to Fremantle via Colombo, Ceylon|
|Journey Dates||28 Mar 1942 ‒ 31 Mar 1942|
|Transport Details||USAT Monterey Fremantle to Adelaide|
|2nd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||23 Aug 1942 ‒ 12 Sep 1942|
|Transport Details||SS Van Heemskerk Townsville to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||2 Jan 1943 ‒ 6 Jan 1943|
|Transport Details||HMT Duntroon Milne Bay to Townsville, Queensland|
|3rd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||31 Dec 1943 ‒ 4 Jan 1944|
|Transport Details||USAT Sea Pike Townsville to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||23 Feb 1944 ‒ 27 Feb 1944|
|Transport Details||HMT Katoomba Milne Bay to Bowen, Queensland|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia (Medical)|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Electoral Roll entry: 1931 Yalgoo, labourer
Enlisted at the Claremont Recruiting Centre on 14 Dec 1940, and on 18 Dec 1940 he reported to the No 3 Training Battalion at Northam camp. On 14 Jan 1941 he was transferred to the 13th Australian Infantry Training Battalion and on 11 Mar 1941 he was identified as being a member of the 8th reinforcement group for the 2/28th Battalion. George was later shifted into the 7th reinforcement group for the 2/28th, but then a week later, on 23 Apr 1941, he was transferred from the 13th Australian Training Battalion to the 2nd Training Battalion. On 28 Apr 1941 he was re-allocated to the Australian Army Service Corps Training Depot, and on 29 Apr 1941 George was posted to the 6th reinforcement draft for the 7th Infantry Division Supply Column at Claremont.
Following pre-embarkation leave from 29 Apr until 4 May 1941, George embarked in Fremantle on 5 Jul 1941 for the Middle East, aboard HMT Aquitania. They sailed 9 Jul 1941 as part of convoy US 11A, reaching Port Tewfik where they disembarked on 25 Jul 1941. Initially held in a base depot, on 13 Sep 1941 George was taken on strength by the 7th Division's Supply Column as the Division's troops returned to Palestine after seeing action at Tobruk, Syria and Lebanon. On 13 Nov 1941 George was admitted to the 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance for treatment for tonsillitis, and two days later he was sent to the 2/1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, who in turn passed him to the 2/7th Australian General Hospital at Kafr Balu in Palestine on 18 Nov 1941. Discharged to the Services Training Regiment on 4 Dec 1941. He was taken on strength by the 7th Division's No 6 Company AASC on 19 Jan 1942, and posted to the 1st Australian Field Bakery (AIF) on 23 Jan 1942.
A week later on 30 January he and his unit embarked for their return to Australia. They travelled first to Bombay where they waited for ships to bring them home. George travelled the second and third legs of the journey aboard SS Esperance Bay, departing Bombay on 13 Feb 1942 via Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where they apparently waited some time before departing that port for Fremantle on 1 Mar 1942, where he finally disembarked on 15 Mar 1942. On 20 Mar 1942 George was charged with having been AWOL from midnight 17 Mar 1942 until 10:30am on 20 Mar 1942. It seems that during that time he married Minnie Ethel Nilsson in Perth. He was fined £1 ($2) and forfeited 3 days pay. He then embarked on USAT Monterey for Adelaide on 27 Mar 1942, and disembarked four days later on the 31st. He was then posted to the 2/2nd Australian Field Baking Company.
George embarked in Townsville on SS Van Heemskerk on 23 Aug 1942 for Milne Bay in Papua, disembarking on 12 Sep 1942. On 20 Nov 1942 George was admitted to the 2/1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering with Diarrhoea and he was treated by them until 18 Dec 1942 when he returned to his unit. On 1 Jan 1943 he was again in need of medical treatment, this time for Malaria and he was admitted to the 10th Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 1 Jan 1943 where the decision was taken to return him to Australia.
On 2 Jan 1943 George boarded HMT Duntroon which at this time was acting as a hospital ship, in Milne Bay. The ship disembarked George in Bowen, Queensland on 6 Jan 1943. Here he was placed on the 1st Australian Ambulance Train for the south the same day, and after transferring to 3rd Australian Ambulance Train on 8 Jan 1943 he was admitted to the 113th Australian General Hospital at Concorde in Sydney on 8 Jan 1943. Following treatment he was discharged on 25 Jan 1943 and on 19 Feb 1943 he was transferred to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot while he regained strength. On 12 July the process was reversed with him being sent back to Queensland to rejoin his unit. On 3 Aug 1943 he was part way there, having marched into the 13th Australian Personnel Staging Camp at Oonoonba in Townsville.
George was admitted to the 2/14th Australian General Hospital at Pallarenda, Townsville on 6 Sep 1943, for investigation of Urethritis before being transferred to the 126th Australian Special Hospital at Charters Towers on 13 Sep 1943. Following treatment he was released on 19 Oct 1943 for leave in Western Australia, entraining in Perth for return to Queensland on 20 Nov 1943.
He departed Australia for a third time on 31 Dec 1943 through Townsville aboard USAT Sea Pike, disembarking at Milne Bay in New Guinea on 4 Jan 1944. In need of medical treatment for chronic conjunctivitis, he was admitted to the 110th Australian Casualty Clearing Station from 16 - 21 Jan 1944 after which he embarked at Milne Bay on 23 Feb 1944 aboard HMT Katoomba, then acting as a Hospital Ship, for Australia. George disembarked in Bowen, Queensland on 27 Feb 1944. George was discharged 10 Mar 1944 on medical advice and for return to Essential Services.
Electoral Roll entries: 1949 Clearview Hostel, Wellington street, Northam, labourer; 1954 at Cadoux, farmer; 1954 at 288 West Coast highway, Scarborough, truck driver; 1963 at 196 Westview street, Scarborough, labourer;
Daughter Mrs Dianne Thompson lived in Canberra. In letters to the Army Records Office she described how her father worked in the country and in remote locations rather than remain in the urban towns where his health issues may have made him unemployable. She and her mother blamed his Army service for his problems.