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Percy James Blake

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Percy James Blake
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Personal Information
Date of Birth 24 Dec 1884
Place of Birth Wentworth, New South Wales
Death 5 Jan 1961, aged 75
Place of Death Victoria Park, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 30 years, 1 month
Description 5'8" (1.73m) tall ; 154 lbs
69.853 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Storekeeper
Religion Church of England
Address Mundijong, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Andrew Blake
Military Information
Reg Number 4680
Date of Enlistment 4 Feb 1916
Rank Driver
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 17 Apr 1916 ‒ 14 May 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A60 Aeneas
Date of Return 1 Jun 1919 ‒ 8 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On SS Somali
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Mundijong Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1910 - 1916 Norseman a grocer's assistant, with his brother Robert. Enlisted at Norseman.

War Service

After six weeks initial training, Percy was allocated to the 12th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion, and he travelled with them to England.

On 14 Oct 1916 Percy proceeded overseas to France on HMT Victoria, and on 30 Oct 1916 he was taken on strength of the battalion at Dernacourt.

He was reported missing on 7 Nov 1916 and 2 days passed before he was again in the battalion's midst. The battalion's War Diary entry for the time gives us an indication that shear exhaustion would have played a part in him becoming detached from the rest of the troops.

"Relieved by 18th Battalion. Troops on relief moved back to MONTAUBAN Camp, reaching there at intervals during the day. The journey out was most trying for tired troops and all were in a fatigued condition. Everyone very wet and covered in mud."[1]

On 20 November he reported sick (pneumonia) to hospital in France and on 14 Dec 1916 he embarked on HMHS Western Australia at Rouen for England where he was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley on 16 Dec 1916.

Recovered he was granted some leave and on 14 Feb 1917 he reported to the No 4 Command Depot at Wareham. On 17 Mar 1917 he was transferred to the No3 Command Depot at Hurdcott, and on 3 April he was transferred again, this time to the 70th Battalion.

on 21 Apr 1917 he reported sick to the 16th Field Ambulance Hospital, and he remained with them until 10 May, when he returned to the 70th Battalion.

On 14 Oct 1917 he departed Hurdcott for France via Southampton and six days later was again with the 28th Battalion, having joined them at Steenvorde in northern France, with 115 other reinforcements. Given his reduced capacity he was appointed a driver on 3 Nov 1917, and apart from a 1 day visit to hospital on 9 Sep 1918 he remains with them until it is time to head back to Australia.

At the time of the Armistice the battalion was resting and rebuilding in the small village of Berteaucourt, north-west of Amiens. Soon after the Armistice the 28th Battalion and the rest of the Australian 7th Brigade is initially earmarked as part of the British 4th Army to relocate to Coblenz as part of the Army of Occupation. They began their move on 23 Nov 1918, travelling through Amiens and Peronne by train, and then marched via stops at Busigny, Ribeauville, Grand Fayt, Beaufort, and Cousolre into Belgium. At this point it was decided that the Australian troops would not proceed into Germany, but wait in Belgium for their return to Australia, with the 28th Battalion basing itself in Marcinelle, some 2 miles from the large industrial city of Charleroi.[2]


Post War

In 1923 Percy married Ruby Etta McKenzie in the Williams District. Ruby died 11 Nov 1981 aged 86 in Como. Electoral Roll entries - 1925 - 1931 Woglin street, Wickepin storekeeper; 1936 - 1958 at 367 Albany road, Victoria Park, business manager;

Notes

  1. 28th Battalion War Diary November 1916 AWM4 23/45/20 - November 1916
  2. The 28th Battalion AIF - A Record of War Service. Henry K. Kahn. Hesperian Press.

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