No.2593 Private Richard Cations
Richard Cations was born in 1897 at Yan Yean, Victoria, to Robert Cations and Margaret Evelyn Watts. The other children in the family were:
- Frederick James (R.A.N.) - born 1893
- Alice Evelyn - born 1895
- Christina May - born 1899
Richard took the oath of enlistment at Werribee on 14 July 1915, and completed his medical test the next day. At the completion of his basic training on 2 August 1915, he was appointed as a Private to the 6th Reinforcements / 23rd Battalion, A.I.F. The reinforcements embarked at Melbourne per H.M.A.T. Ulysses on 27 October 1915 and sailed to Egypt via Fremantle.
On 11 January 1916 Richard was taken on strength with the 23rd Battalion, from the 6th reinforcements at Tel-el-Kebir Base in Egypt, after they had returned from the Gallipoli Campaign.
On 19 March 1916, the 23rd Battalion embarked from Alexandria per Lake Michigan to join the B.E.F. in France. They disembarked at Marseilles on 26 March 1916 and travelled by train for three days, before arriving at their new base at Witte, near the trenches at Armentieres. On 4 August 1916, the 23rd Battalion were involved in heavy fighting in the trenches at Pozieres.
During this action, Richard received a gunshot wound to his neck and forearm, and was treated at the 44th Casualty Clearing Station. On the following day he was transferred to the Ambulance train to be evacuated. Richard embarked at Havre for England on 12 August 1916 per Hospital Ship Marama, and was admitted to the Edmonton Military Hospital in Birmingham.
After two and a half months of treatment, Richard was discharged from Hospital on 31 October 1916, and was granted leave in England. After one week, he reported to the Perham Downs Camp on the Salisbury Plain (5 November 1916), and remained there until 17 November 1916, when he was medically classified as "A" and ready to return to the front.
A report of his wounding in France was published in the local press.
Werribee Shire Banner, 14 September 1916, p.2.
On 18 November 1916, Richard marched into 6th Training Battalion at Rollestone, from Perham Downs. It was here that he went Absent without Leave for 30 days over Christmas, between 4 December 1916 and 2 January 1917. After being apprehended, he pleaded guilty to his offence at a District Court Marshall held at Lark Hill on 18 February 1917, and was awarded 20 days in detention. For his offence, he spent a total of 35 days in custody, and forfeited 95 days pay.
On 10 April 1917, he left England from Folkstone, and proceeded to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base at Etaples Camp in France. Several days later, on 16 April 1917, Richard re-joined the 23rd Battalion who were at the Corp Reserve Line, at Beugnatre.
After only two weeks back at the front, he was wounded again on 3 May 1917. The Battalion were involved in a major attack on the famous Hindenburg Line. Richard received a gunshot to his right knee, and was treated by the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, and then the No.114 Ambulance Train. It took him to the 11th Stationary Hospital at Rouen for further treatment. After recovering, he was discharged from hospital at Rouen, and returned to the 2nd Australian Division Base at Etaples on 11 May 1917. On the 14 May 1917, he was able to re-join the 23 Battalion at their camp at Manetz.
Richard next had an incident free eight months at the Front, and was then granted two weeks leave in England, during early February 1918. On his return, the 23rd Battalion were based at Guesques near Calais, and undergoing training for future operations.
After six more months at the front, the 23rd Battalion were camped at Villers Bretonneur. During the fighting on 3 August 1918, Richard was wounded for a third time. He received a gunshot wound to his right thigh and was treated by the 6th Australian Ambulance Casualty Clearing Station. On the 6 August he was transferred to the No.26 Ambulance Train which took him to the 8th General Hospital at Rouen. From there he was invalided to England, and admitted to the No.1 Southern General Hospital at Birmingham.
He was treated there for four months and then discharged to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Sutton Vemy, arriving there on 20 January 1919. After further treatment, he was transferred to the No.2 Convalescent Depot at Weymouth. It was here that the decision was made to end the war for Private Cations.
A letter thanks to the local Red Cross for a Christmas parcel published in the
Werribee Shire Banner, 20 March 1919, p.3.
He embarked from Liverpool per H.M.T. ‘Czar’ on 20 March 1919, and was transhipped at Alexandria to H.S. ‘Dongola’, arriving at Melbourne on 16 May 1919.
On his arrival at the railway station at Werribee later that day, he was met by a large crowd, headed by the president of the Returned Soldiers Committee, Cr. M’Murray.
Werribee Shire Banner, 22 May 1919, p.2.
The community’s appreciation to the returned soldiers was shown to a group of former soldiers, including Richard Cations, at a medal presentation ceremony held in the Mechanics Hall on 25 June 1919. They received individual gold medal created by the Shire of Werribee. This was one of several similar ceremonies held for the returned soldiers.
In December 1919, the Werribee Land Board / Closer Settlement Board, granted allotment No. 7 to R, Cations. It was part of the land presented to the Repatriation Department by Mr G. T. Chirnside. After settling down, Richard Cations married Iris Fitzgibbons in 1921 at the Methodist Church, Queanbeyan, N.S.W., and they lived at Duncan’s Road, Werribee. The Victorian Electrol Rolls show that they remained at Werribee Park between 1919 and 1954. During his time there he was a member of the Werribee Rifle Club, and was a top shot.
Silver Wedding Anniversary Notice in the
Werribee Shire Banner, 21 February 1946, p.2.
The Argus, 23 February 1946, p.18.
Richard Cations died at Heidelberg, Victoria in 1982, aged 85 years.
Medals & Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 22 July 1915, p.3.
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