John - known as Athol - was a Bank Manager with the National Bank in Perth, WA when he enlisted in Perth in the AIF on the 16th of October 1915, aged 40. Initially he was a private, then a Sergeant and finally appointed as a Second Lieutenant in February 1916. Athol embarked aboard the HMAT A46 Clan McGillivray with the 20th Reinforcements, 11th Battalion in September.
In January 1917 Athol spent two weeks in Fargo Military Hospital, England, suffering from bronchitis. He joined the 11th Battalion, D Company, 16th Platoon, in France in March. Three weeks later on the 14th of April he was captured by the Germans and sent to Karlsruhe Camp as a prisoner of war (POW).
STATEMENT (abridged) by Lieutenant StuartService Record
Early in the morning , I found myself in an exposed position with both wings "in the air", and with a sunken road between me and the remainder of my Company. Before this however, the Boche, had attacked us in the dark. We fought him off for about four hours. He got into the sunken road and thus cut us off from the rest of the Company.
Judging by the number of the enemy I could see - I after-wards found their strength to be at least two divisions - I gave up all hope of being relieved. At night they attacked us again on one flank. By this time seven of my men were killed, and two men were badly wounded and requiring immediate medical attention.
As we had no ammunition left, beyond a very few rounds, we could offer no resistance to the enemy whose number I estimated at 300 men. I therefore decided my only course was to surrender.
Here my men were interrogated by German officers Next day we walked to Sormain and entrained there for Douai where I was separated from the men and after staying three days in a filthy room with very little to eat, I was taken by stages through Belgium to Karlsruhe.
After six weeks there I was moved to Strohen, remaining eight months, and from there went on to Furstenberg which place I left on December 9, 1918 to take up repatriation work in Copenhagen.
I left Copenhagen on February 8,1919 on the hospital shipFormosabound for Cherbourg, with sick and wounded prisoners of war - French, Italians and some Serbs.
I eventually arrived at Southampton on February 16, 1919.
Whilst Athol was a prisoner of war he was promoted to Lieutenant. After arriving back in England in February 1919 he was granted three months leave before he embarked for home aboard the Morea in October and arrived back in VIC some time later. His appointment was terminated in January 1920 and he resumed work at the National Bank of Australasia, Victorian staff.
Athol died at Surry Hills, VIC in 1929, aged 53.
He is listed on the Roll of Honour for Bacchus Marsh and District, published in The Bacchus Marsh Express on the 21st of December 1918 and also on the Roll of Honour of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Bacchus Marsh, held by the Bacchus Marsh Uniting Church.
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Last updated by lee, Sun, 07 Jun 2015 12:59:19