John Whittaker

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John Whittaker
Personal Information
Date of Birth unknown
"unknown" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
Place of Birth Hobart, Tasmania
Death 10 Jun 1917
Place of Death Messines, Belgium
Age at Enlistment 42 years, 9 months
Description 5' 10" (1.78m) tall ; ; ruddy complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Boundary rider
Religion Methodist
Address NOK 'Medic", King street, Rockdale, Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin Sister , Mrs Ada May Winfries
Military Information
Reg Number 3956
Date of Enlistment 23 Oct 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion, 9th reinforcements, transferred to 51st Battalion / 13th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 12 Feb 1916 ‒ 11 Mar 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades
Fate Wounded in Action 14/15 Aug 1916 Mouquet Farm
Killed in Action 10 Jun 1917 Messines
Monument Armadale War Memorial (West Armadale panel)
Menin Gate Memorial
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

On arrival in Egypt was transferred to the 7th Training Battalion in Serapeum, before marching into the newly formed 51st Battalion at Tel el Kebir. Embarked on HMT Huntspill in Alexandria on 7 Jun, and arrived Marseilles 14 Jun 1916.

On 29 July he was admitted to hospital with Influenza, rejoining the battalion on 7 Aug 1916 near Albert in France. At some point during the battalion's unsuccessful attack on Mouquet Farm during the night of 15 - 16 Aug, John received a shrapnel wound to the left side of his head. One of the 195 men wounded, while another 61 were killed and 46 missing after the attack.

Treated by the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station before transferring to 11th Stationary Hospital in Rouen on the 17 Aug 1916, and evacuated aboard HMHS St Andrew next day to the London General Hospital in Wandsworth where he was operated on. Recovering, he was transferred to the Woodcote Park Convalescent Hospital in Epsom. By 3 Oct 1916 he was fit enough to take leave and then on 28 Oct 1916 report to HQ Tidworth Anzac Provost Corps.

On 23 Jan 1917 he had recovered sufficiently to once again proceed overseas on HMT Princesse Clementine from Folkestone.

On 7 Feb 1917 he rejoined the 51st Battalion in the front line at Flers. Four months later the 51st Battalion was part of the attack on the Messines Ridge in Belgium. While the battalion suffered only light casualties, caused primarily by enemy artillery fire, John was one of the 24 killed during the unsuccessful attack.

The Battalion history book records that Whittaker was killed along with 23 others by shelling on the 10th Jun 1917 while waiting in trenches prior to an attack on Odd Trench.[1]

  • Menin Gate Memorial 2015 photo
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission


The only J Whittaker who joined in Western Australia, and his only live relative was a half sister, Ada May Winifred Whitmore in NSW, who received a pension of £2 per fortnight from 30 Aug 1917.


  1. For King & Cobbers by Neville Browning p.138

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