From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||c1895|
|Place of Birth||North Perth, Western Australia|
|Death||11 Aug 1918|
|Place of Death||Lihons, France|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 1 month|
5' 6¾" (1.70m) tall ; 150 lbs|
68.039 kg; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Karragullen, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr Alfred Gittins|
|Date of Enlistment||16 Oct 1916|
|Unit/Formation||28th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement / 13th Brigade, 4th Division|
|Date of Embarkation||29 Jan 1917 ‒ 27 Mar 1917|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A28 Miltiades Fremantle to Devonport|
|Fate||MIA wounded, later confirmed to be Killed in Action 11 Aug 1918 at Lihons|
Kelmscott War Memorial (North panel) |
Australian War Memorial
British War Medal |
On 3 Nov1916, a week after entering Blackboy Hill camp, Stephen was made a signaller and was trained accordingly as part of the 19th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion.
On arrival at Devonport in England he undertook additional training with 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone until 17 Oct 1917 when he journeyed to France via Southampton. On arrival he entered the 2nd Division's Base Depot at Le Havre before being sent forward to join his unit
Stephen joined the 28th Battalion at Steenvoorde, just over the French border from Ypres on 23 Oct 1917, as one of 263 reinforcements. He remained with the 28th Battalion through the winter and then participated in the battles to both halt the German advance of 1918, and then the early battles as they were forced back up the Somme valley.
On 11 Aug 1918 Stephen was one of the "very light casualties" suffered by the 28th Battalion during an attack on the German front lines (9 KIA; 71 WIA). Initially Stephen was recorded as Wounded in Action, but this was to change later to Killed in Action. There is a note in his records which reads "Buried ½ mile east of Vauvillers and ¾ mile south of Framerville. However, it would appear that after the war, his grave was unable to be found and thus he is listed on the VILLERS-BRETONNEAUX MEMORIAL. Son of Alfred and Elizabeth A. Gittins. Born in Western Australia.
Casualty List 432 contains Stephen's death.
On 14 Aug 1930 portion of a list of names to be included in the new State War Memorial on Mt Eliza was published, and Stephen's name and unit (28th Battalion) are on the list of names.
- "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIV, (5,152). Western Australia. 9 October 1918. p. 7. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "STATE WAR MEMORIAL". Western Mail. XLV, (2,322). Western Australia. 14 August 1930. p. 13. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia.