Henry Thomas Cockram
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||16 Apr 1891|
|Place of Birth||Cannington, Western Australia|
|Death||30 Dec 1956|
|Place of Death||Victoria Park, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||25 years, 2 months|
5'2½" (1.59m) tall ; 118 lbs|
53.524 kg; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; brown hair
|Religion||Church Of England|
|Address||Albany road, Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Mother , Mrs Betsy Cockram|
|Date of Enlistment||24 Jun 1915|
|Unit/Formation||11th Battalion, 10th Reinforcement to D Company, transferred to 51st Battalion / 13th Brigade, 4th Division|
|Date of Embarkation||
13 Oct 1915 ‒ unknown|
"unknown" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A32 Themistocles Fremantle to Port Suez|
|Date of Return||13 Feb 1917 ‒ 12 Apr 1917|
|Ship Returned On||HMAT A38 Ulysses Plymouth to Fremantle|
Wounded in Action 14/16 Aug 1916, Mouquet Farm |
Returned to Australia
|Monument||Kelmscott War Memorial (West panel)|
1914-15 Star |
British War Medal
An earlier attempt by Henry to enlist was rejected due to his not meeting the height standard.
World War 1 Service
Henry entered Blackboy Hill camp on 24 Jun 1915, and was sent to the 15th Depot Company to begin his training. A week later on 1 Jul 1915 he was allocated to the 11th Battalion's, 10th reinforcement draft with whom he completed his Australian basic training and then travelled with them to Egypt on board HMAT A32 Themistocles which departed Fremantle on 13 Oct 1915 for Port Tewfik in Egypt. On arrival in Egypt he continued his training for another 7 - 8 weeks before he was allocated to 'D' Company of the 11th Battalion, joining them on 7 Jan 1916 at Tel-el-Kebir.
However, he was to be caught up in the doubling in size of the AIF and its subsequent re-organisation prior to becoming involved in fighting on the Western Front. On 1 Mar 1916, in Serapeum as part of this restructuring and expansion of the Australian forces he became one of the first members of the new 51st Battalion, with whom he travelled to France from Alexandria on 5 Jun 1916 aboard the HMT Ivernia, arriving in Marseilles at 7:00am on 11 Jun 1916. The battalion disembarked the following day following the unloading of stores, and entrained for Abbeville.
The date of his injury is not specified other than that he had received a gunshot wound to his left thigh, left leg and head during the 51st Battalion's attack on Mouquet Farm and the subsequent shelling and counter attack by the Germans during 14/16 Aug 1916. 302 casualties were sustained by the 51st Battalion during their two day stint in the front line. Few details of his treatment are included in his records, other than that by 17 Aug 1916 he was in the 23rd General Hospital at Étaples and that on 30 Aug 1916 he was placed aboard the HS Stad Antwerpen in Calais for the trip to England where he was then admitted to the 4th Northern General Hospital in Lincoln.
He remained with them until he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital on 9 Nov 1916. On 28 Nov 1916 he was discharged to No. 2 Command Depot in Weymouth where he was processed for early return to Australia aboard HMAT A38 Ulysses which sailed on 13 Feb 1917 and arrived in Fremantle on 12 Apr 1917. As some time passed before he was discharged by the 5th Military District on 30 Jun 1917, it is likely that he spent time in the 8th Australian General Hospital during that time.
240th Casualty List...previously reported severely wounded; H.T. Cockram (Kelmscott) progressing favourably...arrives home aboard a Hospital Ship.
Stood unsuccessfully for election to the Jandakot Roads Board's East Ward (Forrestdale, Westfield).
In 1916 and in the 1925 to 1943 Electoral Rolls he is an orchardist living in Kelmscott.
World War 2 Service
Served as a Private with Regimental Number W32235 from 1 Sep 1941 until 12 Nov 1945. He was 50 years and 4 months old at the time of his enlistment, and although Divorced at enlistment, on 23 Nov 1943 he remarried, this time to Emma Norris, giving his address as 14 Barton street, Kalgoorlie where he had been serving on detachment from his parent unit. At re-enlistment it had been noted that he had a bullet wound to the left buttock, and that he had named his daughter Betsy from Kelmscott as his NOK.
Enlisted at Claremont and was immediately trade grouped as a Driver HT III and joined the 9th Auxiliary Horse Transport Company. On 12 Nov 1941 he was detached to Harvey, rejoining his unit on 2 Apr 1942 and was immediately detached to Parkston (Kalgoorlie) until 30 Oct 1943. On 31 Apr 1943 he was posted to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps Pool before embarking on SS Marella for Victoria on 15 Dec 1943. Arriving in Melbourne on 26 Dec 1943 he was transferred to the 24th Australian Employment Company. From 6 Mar 1944 until 5 Nov 1944 he was detached to the 2nd Australian Base Ordnance Depot. Returned to his unit , his health was assessed as 'B2' and soon after, he was granted leave, detraining in Kalgoorlie on 3 Jan 1945. He returned to the NSW detachment of the 24th Australian Employment Company and on 6 Sep 1945 returned to the parent unit in Victoria. On 21 Oct 1945 he was transferred to a Holding unit before returning to WA on 21 Oct 1945 where he was discharged on 29 Oct 1945.
During the period 1939 - 1945 some unit names changed more than once. In the case of Australian Employment Companies they were also known as Works Companies, Labour Companies, Labour Units, or Labour Corps. For sake of consistency I have adopted the term Employment Company. The role they played did not change with title. They were established to ensure that the Australian Defence Force had a large force of soldiers dedicated to essential labouring tasks, providing the physical labour needed to maintain the war effort and support the fighting forces.
Of the total of 39 Companies, 11 were part or fully manned by non British citizens known then as 'aliens'. These alien companies were not issued with arms. The 24th wasn't one of the alien companies.
- "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXII, (4,555). Western Australia. 6 November 1916. p. 7. Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "THE ROADS BOARDS.". The West Australian. XXXIV, (4,998). Western Australia. 12 April 1918. p. 8. Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia.