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Kevin James Higgins

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Kevin James Higgins
Higgins Kevin James.jpg
Higgins Kevin James 2.jpg
1940 Greta Camp, NSW courtesy Ancestry.com
Personal Information
Date of Birth 29 Oct 1909
Place of Birth Armadale, Western Australia
Death 17 Jan 1977, aged 68
Place of Death Boulder, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 30 years, 6 months
Occupation Blacksmith
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Edwid Timothy Smiddy Higgins
Military Information
Reg Number WX2499
Date of Enlistment 26 Apr 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 6th Division Petrol Company
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1940 ‒ 7 Jun 1940
Transport Details HMT T1 Aquitania Sydney to Port Tewfik, Egypt
Transfers
Journey Dates 10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Pennland Alexandria, Egypt to Pireaus, Greece
Journey Dates 25 Apr 1941 ‒ 26 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Thurland Castle Megara, Greece to Suda Bay, Crete
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1945
Transport Details plane Germany to England
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 16 May 1945 ‒ 17 Jun 1945
Transport Details unknown ship Liverpool to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW Crete, Greece 1941
Returned to Australia
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45



Pre War

War Service

Kevin undertook his medical at Mt Magnet, and enlisted at Northam camp on 26 Apr 1940 where he was taken on strength of the General Reinforcements. On 21 May 1940 he was allocated to the 6th Division Petrol Company, and entrained for the eastern states for training on 21 May 1940. The day before he had been charged with being drunk while on duty, and had been fined 10/- ($1).


On arrival in Sydney he was transferred to the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) on 25 May 1940. Kevin was AWOL from 6:30am until 6:30pm on 8 Jul 1940 for which he was awarded 7 days Confined to Barracks. Granted pre-embarkation leave on 9 Aug 1940, he boarded HMT T1 HMT Aquitania on 30 Aug 1940 in Sydney and disembarked in Palestine on 30 Sep 1940 and posted to AHQ Second Echelon. On 15 Nov 1940 he completed his training and was posted to the Army Service Corps who in turn on 3 Jan 1941 detached him to the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade's Composite Company.


On 25 Jun 1941 he embarked for Greece, where on 7 Jul 1941 he spent some time in the 26th British General Hospital before being posted as Missing, believed POW on 5 Aug 1941, confirmed by the Red Cross on 29 Aug 1941. Actual date of capture was given as 31 May 1941. On 30 Nov 1942 he was being held in Camp 57 with Prisoner Number 3200 in Greece, but on 15 May 1944 he was said to have been transferred to German Stalag VIII A, with prisoner number 33051. On 1 May 1945 he deplaned in the UK as a recovered prisoner and was taken on strength by the 1st AIF Transit Camp. Subsequently he was granted Proficiency pay from 20 Apr 1945.


Kevin embarked in Liverpool on 16 May 1945, and disembarked in Sydney on 17 Jun 1945. Placed on a train he was in Perth three days later and was granted leave until 27 Jul 1945. On 23 Jul 1945 Kevin was admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital Perth. Charged on 28 Aug 1945 with having been AWOL for 8 hours on 18 Aug 1945, (still classified as being on Active Service), he forfeited the day's pay and was fined 10/- ($1). Discharged from hospital on 20 Sep 1945, he spent the rest of his time in the Army in the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot at Point Walter before being discharged on 16 Oct 1945.

Post War

Married Valda Jean in October 1974

In April 1946 Kevin was elected Vice-President of the Kelmscott-Roleystone Sub Branch of the RSL.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 at 40 Richardson street, Boulder, blacksmith; 1958 at 300 Hannan street, Kalgoorlie, blacksmith; 1963 - 1968 at 239 Burt street, Boulder, blacksmith with Phyllis Edith in 1968. 1977 Valda at 239 Burt street before moving to Cottesloe. Valda died on 10 Sep 2012 in Kelmscott, aged 91.

P.O.W. RELEASED. Mrs M. O'Halloran, of 175 Hay street, Perth, has been advised by her brother, Driver K. J. Higgins, of Kelmscott, that he has arrived safely in England after spending nearly four years as a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. Dvr Higgins escaped from Greece with seven British soldiers and they were at sea in a small boat for nine days. Near Crete they were captured by Italians.[1]
FATAL COLLISION. Gosnells Woman's Death. A woman was fatally injured when a sedan car in which she was a passenger ran into the back of a truck in Wheatley-street, Gosnells, on Saturday night. She was Mrs Jean Ogg (26) of Wheatley street, Gosnells. The accident happened within sight of Mrs Ogg's home. It was reported to the police that she was seated in the back seat of a sedan car driven by Kevin James Higgins, of Second-avenue, Kelmscott, a recently repatriated prisoner of war, when it struck the back of a truck near the intersection of Dorothy and Wheatley streets. Higgins and a woman named Jessie Clarke, of the Gosnells Hotel, received abrasions and were taken with Mrs Ogg by the St John ambulance to the Perth Hospital. They were allowed to go home after treatment, but Mrs Ogg was admitted suffering from internal injuries and shock. She died at 11.30 pm.[2]
FATAL ACCIDENT. Returned P.O.W. Acquitted. Very shortly after his repatriation following several years' Incarceration in P.O.W. camps in Europe he was captured in Crete-Pte Kevin James Higgins, A.LF., was involved in a road accident at Gosnells, and the occurrence led to

his appearance before Mr Justice Dwyer and a Jury in the Criminal Court yesterday on a charge of manslaughter. It was alleged that Higgins unlawfully killed a young married woman named Jean Brunga Ogg, who died in the Perth Hospital on the night of July 21 from injuries sustained earlier in the evening when a motor car in which she was a passenger, and which was driven by Higgins, collided with a motor truck driven by Henry James Bennett, near the intersection of Wheatley and Dorothy streets, Gosnells. Mr K. W. Hatfield prosecuted for the Crown, and the accused was defended by Mr N. P. Lappin.

The substance of the Crown case was that Higgins, like Mrs Ogg and others in the car, had been drinking prior to the accident; that one of the passengers twice warned Higgins that there was a truck on the road ahead of the car; and that at the second warning the accused swung the car to the right, but not in time to prevent it from colliding with the rear of the truck, which at all times was on its correct driving side of the road.

Higgins, testifying in his own defence, asserted with emphasis that on the occasion in question he was perfectly sober and was travelling slowly and cautiously. The truck appeared to be stationary in the centre of the road; but as Higgins was about to pass it, it veered to the left, and the rear of the truck swung out and collided with the car. The jury retired for only 20 minutes before bringing in a verdict of not guilty.[3]
Arm Crushed Railway Carriage Accident. Kevin Higgins (36) of Second avenue, Kelmscott had an arm crushed and two arteries severed in Gosnells last night. Higgins and several others were passengers in a train from Perth. At Gosnells station, Higgins was about to alight, but having opened the door, he waited for the other passengers to alight first. As he moved, the door was slammed back, catching his right arm and crushing it severely. The wound was bleeding so profusely that he was taken to Kelmscott for medical attention. It was found that two arteries had been severed and he was taken by a St John ambulance to the Perth Hospital for further attention. Higgins, an ex-prisoner of war was recently discharged from the army.[4]

Notes

  1. The West AUstralian Wed 2 May 1945, page 4
  2. The West Australian 23 Jul 1945 Page 6
  3. The West Australian 4 Oct 1945 Page 4
  4. The West Australian 2 Feb 1946, page 13

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