Robert Henry Fletcher
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||15 Mar 1901|
|Place of Birth||Portarlington, Ireland|
|Death||15 Jun 1967, aged 68|
|Place of Death||Pinjarra, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||41 years, 7 months|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Forestry Department, Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Wife , Mrs Hilda Maude Fletcher|
|Date of Enlistment||18 Oct 1940|
|Unit/Formation||Headquarters 2/1st Australian General Duties Battalion|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||5 Jul 1941 ‒ 25 Jul 1941|
|Transport Details||HMT Aquitania Fremantle to Port Tewfik|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||26 Jan 1943 ‒ 18 Feb 1943|
|Transport Details||HMT Aquitania Port Tewfik to Fremantle via Addu Atoll|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Electoral Roll entry: 1931 - 1937 Location 1234 Yanoning Rock, farmer; 1943 Forestry Department, Jarrahdale, forestry worker.
During 1941, Robert married Hilda Maude Wilbrey (1911 - 1991) in Perth.
Enlisted at Claremont camp, Robert was posted to the camp at Ascot within the week, and a month later on 22 Oct 1940 he was transferred from Ascot camp to Northam where he joined the 1st Training Battalion. On 12 Feb 1941, with basic training completed, Robert marched out of the 1st Training Battalion and joined the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion reinforcements, then undergoing more advanced training with the 13th Training Battalion. Robert was hospitalised with an injury to his left ankle from 23 - 25 Apr 1941. On 6 May 1941 Robert was transferred from the 10th reinforcement draft for the 2/11th Battalion to the 9th draft and was then granted pre-embarkation leave from 6 - 12 May 1941.
Robert embarked on the HMT Aquitania on 5 Jul 1941 before it sailed with the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth as part of Convoy 11A. Sailing from Fremantle on 9 Jul 1941, they called at Colombo for five days before proceeding to Port Tewfik where they disembarked on 25 Jul 1941. On 6 Sep 1941 Robert finally joined the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion at Julis camp near Gaza in Palestine where it was reforming after losing the majority of its men on Greece and Crete earlier that year. However, his stay with the battalion was brief, as on 28 Sep 1941 he was transferred to the Australian Headquarters Guard Battalion's 1 Platoon, A Company. On 9 Aug 1942 Robert was evacuated to the 2/8th Australian Field Ambulance with fibrositis, and a week later on 16 Aug 1942 he was transferred to the 14th British Casualty Clearing Station, and then on 27 Aug 1942 to the 2/7th Australian General Hospital. Four days later he was transferred again, this time to the 2/6th Australian General Hospital. On 9 Sep 1942 he was released to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot, before returning to his unit on 17 Sep 1942.
On 26 Jan 1943 he boarded the L2 (HMT Aquitania??) for Fremantle, as part of the convoy that was code named "Operation Phamphlet. Their route home was complicated by the size of the ships being so large, not all troops could be embarked at the same time, and ships loaded and then waited at anchor off Massawa (Eritrea) in the Red Sea for the rest of the convoy to form up. Instead of travelling via Ceylon they sailed to a secret port built by the allies in the Addu Atoll (southern Maldives) where they refueled before arriving in Fremantle on 18 Feb 1943. On arrival in Australia, Robert was attached for duty to the 20th Brigade headquarters.
On 23 Mar 1943 he entrained at Perth for Adelaide having been classified medically as 'B' - fit for restricted duties. On 30 Jul 1943 he was transferred to the 14th Australian Employment Company in Queensland and on 22 Oct 1943 to the 8th Australian Field Bakery. Three days later on 25 Oct 1943 he was admitted to the 2/14th Australian General Hospital with bronchitis, returning to his unit on 30 Oct 1943. On 4 Nov 1943 until 15 Nov 1943 he was again a guest of the 2/14th Australian General Hospital, who then transferred him to the 2/4th Australian General Hospital until 18 Nov 1943 when he was transferred to the 2/12th Australian General Hospital. On 4 Dec 1943 he was released to the 4th Australian Camp Hospital and they released him to duties on 10 Dec 1943.
Recovered from the bronchitis he was granted 24 days home leave from 18 Dec 1943 until 12 Jan 1944. Returned to Queensland he rejoined the 8th Australian Field Bakery. On 1 Mar 1944 he was evacuated to the 2/14th Australian General Hospital with Rubella, returning to his unit on 14 Mar 1944. On 29 Jul 1944 he was reassessed and classified B2 for medical purposes. On 26 Oct 1945 he was transferred to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot for discharge, and this occurred on 2 Nov 1945.
Electoral Roll entries:1949 Pinjarra, labourer; 1954 - 1958 Forrest street, Pinjarra, truck driver.
Children were Maureen and Raymond.