John Esperance Blair

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John Esperance Blair
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Personal Information
Date of Birth 15 Jul 1896
Place of Birth Esperance, Western Australia
Death 1962, aged 66
Age at Enlistment 19 years, 9 months
Description 5'6" (1.67m) tall ; 142lbs
64.41 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Clerk
Religion Presbyterian
Address 2 Kelvin road, Maddington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Thomas Bell Blair
Military Information
Reg Number 5813
Date of Enlistment 5 Jun 1916
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation 27th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 30 Oct 1916 ‒ 28 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A16 Port Melbourne
Date of Return 12 Dec 1918 ‒ 18 Jan 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A71 Nestor
Fate Wounded in Action 29 Aug 1918
Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

From 17 Jun 1912 until 23 Sep 1913 John was a Cadet in the Audit Section of the WA Government Railways with a salary of £50 per annum. He was 'dispensed' with following a shorthand test which he failed.

War Service

John entered camp on 5 Jun 1916 and spent the first few weeks training with the 72nd Depot Company before being allocated to the 5th reinforcement draft for the 44th Battalion on 20 Jun 1916. This was changed to the 27th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion on 5 Sep 1916, and he embarked with them on 30 Oct 1916 for England, as a Lance Corporal for the voyage.

On arrival at Devonport three days after Christmas Day, he was assigned to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone to prepare for France. On 8 Feb 1917 he proceeded overseas to France via Folkestone aboard SS Invicta, and on 12 Feb 1917 was taken on strength of the 27th Battalion.

On 17 May 1917 he was again appointed Lance Corporal, but reverted to Private on 28 Jun 1917. John enjoyed a period of UK leave from 19 Jan until 4 Feb 1918, and soon after his return was appointed Lance Corporal a third time on 15 Mar 1918. He was promoted Temporary Corporal on 12 Jun 1918.

John was wounded in action on 29 Aug 1918 during the capture of Bianches as the Australians moved towards Peronne and Mont St Quentin. On 29 Aug 1918 he was seen first by the 6th Australian Field Ambulance and then by the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station who after providing basic medical attention for bullet wounds to his neck and both thighs, forwarded him the next day to the 12th General Hospital in Rouen. Evacuated to England on 2 Sep 1918, he had reverted to Lance Corporal while his wounds were treated. On the next day John was admitted to the Cheltenham VA Hospital where he remained receiving treatment until he was released to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Hurdcott on 24 Oct 1918. Checked out he was then released to enjoy another period of leave from 24 Oct - 7 Nov 1918.

When he returned form leave, it was to the 1st Command Depot where his return to Australia was prepared.

Discharged by the 5th Military District on 22 Feb 1919.


Post War

On 14 Feb 1934 John married Neva Birch in South Australia.

Electoral Roll entries: 1929 Mataranka, Northern Territory, labourer; 1936 - 1937 at Comet Vale, WA, miner; 1943 at 109 MacDonlad street Kalgoorlie, miner; 1954 a farmer at Baandee with Neva; 1958 at 109 MacDonald street, Kalgoorlie, prospector

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