Roby Helliwell

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Roby Helliwell
Abercromby R Helliwell A Helliwell R Helliwell.jpg
Roby Helliwell on the right - The Westralian Battalion, N Browning, page 375
Personal Information
Date of Birth 16 Dec 1894
Place of Birth North Fremantle, Western Australia
Death 29 Jul 1961, aged 67
Place of Death Hollywood Repat Hospital, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 1 month
Description 5'9" (1.75m) tall ; 148lbs
67.132 kg
; fresh complexion ; hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Shunter
Religion Methodist
Address Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr. Isaac Helliwell
Military Information
Reg Number 585
Date of Enlistment 7 Feb 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, C Company, transferred to the 28th Battalion
Date of Embarkation 6 Jun 1916 ‒ 21 Jul 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A29 Suevic
Date of Return 9 Dec 1918 ‒ 15 Jan 1919
Ship Returned On SS Leicestershire
Fate WIA 4-6 Nov 1916 Gueuedecourt
WIA 1 Jun 1918 Heilly
WIA 2 Sep 1918 Peronne
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Ward Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry 1916 Gosnells, shunter

War Service

Entered the Blackboy Hill camp on 7 Feb 1916, and on 26 Mar 1916 he as transferred to the Claremont camp where he was an inaugural member of 'C' Company, 44th Battalion. It appears that he travelled with them to England, aboard HMAT A29 Suevic departing Fremantle on 6 Jun 1916 and arriving at Plymouth on 21 Jul 1916. Along the way Roby was charged with being AWOL from 2pm on 26 Jun 1916 until 8am on 27 Jun 1916. (Most likely in either Durban or Cape Town) His punishment was a reprimand and loss of 2 day's pay. Roby is noted as proceeding overseas to France to join the 28th Battalion on 14 Oct 1916, and after some final training in the Division's Base Depot he joined the 28th Battalion on 30 Oct 1916 when they were in billets at Dernancourt.

Roby was soon into action when the battalion was part of an abortive attack on Gird Trench at Gueudecourt on 4 Nov 1916, and the subsequent battle to return to their original position. The battalion's losses were 59 killed, 172 wounded and 50 missing. Roby's injury was a gun shot wound to the left shoulder. Seen by the 1st Anzac Main Dressing Station on 6 Nov 1916, he was sent to the 38th Casualty Clearing Station the next day, before being placed on an Ambulance Train on 15 Nov 1916 for Rouen. In Rouen he was admitted the same day to the 1st Australian General Hospital, and on 20 Nov 1916 they evacuated him to England aboard HMHS Asturias from Le Havre.

In England he was admitted on 21 Nov 1916 to the 3rd Australian General Hospital before being released on furlough from 18 Jan to 2 Feb 1917. On 25 Jan 1917 he reported to the No.4 Command Depot in Wareham. Reclassified by a Medical Board as B1a3. On 7 May 1917 he was transferred to the Australian Army Veterinary Corps before proceeding overseas to France through Folkestone on 16 May 1917, where he was taken on the strength of the Australian Veterinary Hospital the next day. On 14 Oct 1917 Roby was on the move back to the 28th Battalion which he rejoined on 28 Oct 1917. Granted leave in the UK, he was absent from 20 Feb until 6 Mar 1918. On 1 Jun 1918 the 28th Battalion were coming out of the line at night when a German plane dropped two bombs on 'B' Company. 27 men were killed and another 40 wounded, Roby amongst them. His injury was a shrapnel wound to his left forearm, but he remained in France to receive medical attention until he rejoined the battalion on 18 Jun 1918.

On 2 Sep 1918 Roby was wounded in action a third time, when the battalion attacked German positions east of Mont St Quentin to make their gains at Mont St Quentin and Péronne secure. Injured with a shrapnel wound to his left arm, Roby was seen by the 5th Field Ambulance who passed him on the next day to the 37th Casualty Clearing Station, and then on to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen on 3 Sep 1918. Roby was again evacuated to England on 4 Sep 1918 where he was admitted to the Boscombe Military Hospital in Hants. On 1 Oct 1918 he was discharged to a short furlough before reporting to the Littlemoor Camp in Weymouth on 10 Oct 1918. His early return to Australia is listed as medical - due to a hernia. Roby sailed for home aboard the SS Leicestershire on 9 Dec 1918 and he disembarked in Fremantle on 15 Jan 1919. He was discharged as medically unfit by the 5th Military District on 8 May 1919 so it is probable that he received further medical treatent prior to discharge.

Award Comment

Published in the Australian Operations Headquarters Routine Order NO 30.

"Congratulated for Gallant Conduct at 1.45 am on 1 Jun 1918, a hostile aeroplane bomb was dropped wounding and killing a number of men. Tho' badly wounded himself, Pte Halliwell, immediately and without thought of his own condition, attended the dressing of wounds of those about him and would not cease his labours or have his own wounds dressed till all others had been done.

Post War

On 22 Apr 1922 Roby married Marian May Holroyd (1902 - 1993). Marion died on 29 Apr 1993, aged 90. Daughter Joyce May (1923-1979); son Robert Edward (1925 - 1986).

Electoral Roll entries: 1925 - 1937 at 10 Griver street, Claremont, goods porter; 1943 - 1958 at 5 Emmerson street, North Perth, railway employee


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