Vernon Claude Witney

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Vernon Claude Witney
Witney Vernon Claude.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1891
Place of Birth Kapunda, South Australia
Death 7 Feb 1982, aged 90
Place of Death Manning, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 23 years, 3 months
Description 5' 6½" (1.69m) tall ; 134 lbs
60.781 kg
; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair
Occupation Baker
Religion Church of England
Address Prospect road, Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Joseph Witney
Military Information
Reg Number 1187
2857A
Date of Enlistment 25 Sep 1914
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement / 3rd Bde, 1st Div & 51st Battalion, 7th Reinforcement / 13th Bde, 4th Div
Date of Embarkation 22 Dec 1914 ‒ ?? Jan 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A32 Themistocles
Date of Return 13 Dec 1915 ‒ 14 Jan 1916
Ship Returned On HMAT A62 Wandilla
Date of Return 9 Nov 1916 ‒ 11 Sep 1918
Ship Returned On HMAT A36 Boonah
Fate Wounded in Action 9 Jun 1917 at Messines
Wounded in Action 20 Apr 1918 at Meteren
Returned to Australia (twice).
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Armadale panel)
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1916 Korrelocking, farmer.

War Service

Landed at Gallipoli on day 1, but his reinforcement group were used as a general working party until 10 May when he joined the 11th Battalion where he was allocated to A Company. Appointed Lance Corporal on 4 Sep 1915. The next day, 5 Sep 1915 he was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, and transferred to Mudross with pyrexia later labelled as enteric fever, where he was taken on board HMHS Salta, before being shipped to Alexandria, arriving on 9 Sep 1915.

On arrival he was admitted to Bombay Presidency Hospital, and then on 14 Oct 1915 moved to 1st Australian General Hospital Heliopolis, followed by time in Port Said and the Convalescent Depot there before being sent home from Suez for "3 months change" on 13 Dec 1915.

Vernon returned to duty on 6 Apr 1916, and on the journey to England he was admitted to the ship's hospital on 11 Nov 1916. On arrival in England he was sent to the 13th Training Battalion at Codford before proceeding to France on 9 May 1917.

Reverted from Acting Sergeant to Private on arrival in France. Taken on strength of the 51st Battalion on 13 May 1917, and although they were the reserve battalion for much of the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 - 9 Jun 1917, the rifle companies were attached to either the 49th or the 52nd Battalions, which were active in the battle late on the night of the 7th. Vernon, as a member of A Company was in support of the 49th Battalion who were the centre unit in the attack, and was one of the 107 casualties suffered by the 51st Battalion while on loan to the front line units, receiving a severe GSW to his left forearm.

Seen first by the 77th Field Ambulance in Belgium, he was transferred to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen, France on 10 Jun 1917. He embarked on HMHS St George for England on 26 Jun 1917 and was admitted to the University War Hospital in Southampton the next day.

After a period in the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford and some leave in England, Vernon returned to France on 25 Sep 1917 rejoining the 51st Battalion on 6 Oct while they were reorganising at Steenvoorde. As part of the reorganisation, he was promoted Corporal on 12 Oct 1917. On 25 Mar 1918 Vernon was issued with a revised Regimental Number (2857A).

On 20 Apr 1918 the 51st Battalion's billeting area was heavily shelled and although they made use of what cover could be found in ruined cellars, etc, casualties resulted. Vernon received a shrapnel wound to his right leg and was seen by the 11th Australian Field Ambulance before entering the 22nd General Hospital at Dannes-Camiers.

Invalided to the UK aboard the HS Princesse Elisabeth on 23 Apr 1918, he was admitted to the Devonport Military Hospital on 24 April before being transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford on 27 May 1918.

Following 2 weeks leave it was decided to send him home until he was fit enough to return to battle.

On arrival in Australia he was discharged on 3 Oct 1918

Post War

Vernon married Lillian Maude Ainger in Perth during 1921. Lillian died 28 Dec 1941 in Mt Lawley aged 50.

In 1942 Vernon married again, this time to Ann Malley who died 22 Nov 1986 in Mt Lawley aged 94.

Electoral Roll entries - 1921 - 1937 at 43 Third avenue Maylands, tramway employee; 1943 - 1963 moved to 44 Second avenue Maylands. 1967 - 1977 he was living at 13 Mettam street Trigg.

Notes

Brother of Percival Charles Witney.


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