No.4454 Lance Corporal John Henry Field
John Henry Field was born on 23 November 1881 to James Field (a horse keeper) and Harriet 'unknown' at Leytonstone, Essex in England. His baptism is recorded on Ancestory.com, but not his parents' marriage.
There is a possible match in the 1891 Census of England in 1891, with a John H Field (age 9, born in Leytonstone) living at 2 Gosfield Street, St Marylebone, London, with his grandmother Mary Allison (widow), and his mother, "Henrietta" Field. Both women were Lace Milliners.
John Henry Field is not in the 1901 Census of England, however there was a Henry Field residing at Hackney in London, with an occupation of Milkman. His place of birth was Leyton, Essex, England. This is a very close match.
A Henry Field, of the right age (27 years) arrived at Brisbane, Australia, on 20 January 1910, per Ophir. [Could this have been how he came to Australia?]
John Henry Field enlisted in the A.I.F. at Bacchus Marsh on 11 March 1915 as a Private, and was sent to Broadmeadows Camp for training. He completed his training on 7 May 1915 and was appointed to 'A' Company of the 24th Battalion.
On his Attestation papers, he stated that he was 32 years old, but the Embarkation Record states that he was 22, ten years younger. This is possibly a typographical error.
Three days after completing his basic training Private John Henry Field, Service No. 191, embarked with the 6th Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Battalion, 'A'Company, at Melbourne per HMAT Euripides A14 on 10 May 1915. The embarkation record states that he was single, Church of England, formerly a Labourer, aged 22 years. There is no entry in the columns for "address at date of enlistment" and "Name of Next of Kin".
On 15 August 1915, Private Field was transferred to the 5th Field Company Engineers. He then became a Sapper, and his Service number changed to 4454. His age was again recorded as 32 years.
On 21 October 1915, they left their base at Zeitoun, and embarked from Alexandria as reinforcement with the M.E.F. He arrived at Anzac on 4 November 1915.
John returned to Alexandria in Egypt per Manitou on 09 January 1916, and was admitted to the A.C.C. Hospital and then the No.2 Australian General Hospital at Tel-el-Kebir on 21 January 1916. He was suffering with Haemorrhoids. After recovering, he re-joined his unit at Tel-el-Kebir on 18 March 1916.
His first breach of military discipline occurred on 23 May 1916 when he failed to attend a parade at Ferny Post. For this he was awarded one days loss of pay.
John embarked overseas with the British Expeditionary Force ex Alexandria per Manitou on 17 June 1916. They disembarked at Marseilles in France on 25 June 1916.
He was absent without leave on 17 July 1916 and was awarded 3 days loss of pay. A more serious crime occurred on the 18 August 1916 when he was found drunk on Active Service. The penalty was 21 days loss of pay.
On 16 October 1916, he was admitted to Hospital in Boulogne France suffering from diarrhoeic, and didn’t return to duty until the 10 December 1916. While he was at the Etaples Base he was absent without leave for several hours, and that attracted seven days loss of pay.
On returning to duty, he was taken on strength with the Australian General Base Depot, on 14 December 1916. He then became a member of the 8th Field Company Engineers.
On 30 April 1917, he was apprehended after being absent without leave for a total of 60¾ hours. For this crime he forfeited 17 days pay.
After a 10 day leave break in London England, he failed to return and was declared absent without leave between the 12 August 1917 and the 18 August 1917. This attracted a forfeiture of 22 days pay, amounting to £5.10.0
John Field took one months approved leave again in November/December 1917, and this was when he married Florence Edith Lilian Looney at West Ham, Essex, on 1 December 1917. Her address was 23 Melford Road, and she later moved to 166 Stamforth Road, Seven King’s, Essex, England. The new Mrs Field didn’t come to Australia, but this wedding appeared to be a turning point in John’s life. (Florence’s surname was spelt Lorney in John’s Army file, and Looney in the English civil records.)
After returning to France on 14 December 1917, he kept out of trouble, and on the 27 February 1918, he was appointed to Lance Corporal.
While fighting at Daours in Northern France on the 24 April 1918, he was gassed. For this he was treated by the 20th Casualty Clearing Station and the 4th Casualty Clearing Station. He was then transferred by the 5th Australian Train to the 6th General Hospital at Rouen, where he was admitted on the 26 April 1918. Two days later he was evacuated to England by the Panama, where he was admitted to the 5th South General Hospital at Portsmouth on 29 April 1918.
Two months later on 14 June 1918, Lance Corporal Field was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford in England, and he was granted two weeks leave. After his leave he was to report to the No. 4 Com. Depot.
While in London on 1 July 1918, Lance Corporal Field was charged with being absent without leave for one hour. The penalty was just an admonishment from Major C.H. Howard.
On 2 August 1918, John Field was transferred from the No. 4 Com. Depot, to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill, England. After two weeks he moved on to the Engineer Training Depot at Brightlingsea in Essex. He attended a Lewis Gun Course at Tidworth in England between 26 September 1918 and 11 October 1918.
On 8 December 1918, he was moved from the Engineer Training Depot to R.B.A.A. at Heytesbury, for his return to Australia. There was a delay, and he was sent to Headquarters A.I.F. at Sutton Veny on 2 February 1919. While there he was granted leave until he embarked on 2 March 1919, and returned to Australia, per Derbyshire.
He was discharged from the 3rd Military District on 12 July 1919.
On 21 July 1920, John Henry Field re-joined the Australian Military Forces at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne. His Attestation details were; Number 642, in the Royal Australian Engineers Corps.
On 23 August 1920, he was at a Detachment on Swan Island, when he applied for a discharge from the R.A.E. as soon as possible. This was granted, and he was discharged at his own request 43 days later, on 1 September 1920. His intended place of residence was listed as unknown. On discharge he chose not to apply for a pension.
There is no record of John’s wife coming to Australia with him.
He then worked for the Melbourne Fire Brigade, before moving to Western Australia.
John Field wrote to the Army on 22 June 1936 from Carnamah in Western Australia. He had taken up land under the ‘Group Settlements’ Scheme, but had failed. He said that he had been burnt out in February 1934, and he considered that he was now on the human scrap heap. He had nobody in the world, and was seeking help to get back to Victoria where some members of his old unit remained. He particularly asked for duplicates of his discharge papers and his War Service Medals which he had lost in a fire.
John Field eventually died in Western Australia in 1959 (aged 78), and was buried in Perth.
Medals & Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star Medal
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
There were three soldiers named J H Field who served in World War 1, and none had a known connection with Werribee. The closest match was Lance Corporal Field.
1. No 3222 Bdr. John Henry Field, 5th Div. Artillery H.Q. He enlisted from Moorabbin on 16 September 1914, and returned to Australia on 8 September 1919. He then resided at Caringbah, New South Wales.
2. No 4454 L/Cpl John Henry Field, 8th Field Coy Engineers. He enlisted from Bacchus Marsh on 11 March 1915, and returned to Australia on 2 March 1919. He then resided in Victoria, before moving to Western Australia.
3. No 5087 Pte Joseph Henry Field, 15th L.T.M. Bty. He enlisted from Brunswick on 1 February 1916, and returned to Australia on 16 January 1919.
The name Field, J.H. from Werribee first appeared in The Werribee Shire Banner’s Roll of Honor on 23 December 1915, p.5. The closest date match is John Henry Field from Bacchus Marsh.
A.E.T.D. - Australian Engineers Training Depot
B.E.F. – British Expeditionary Force
R.B.A.A. – Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery
Swan Island was a submarine mining station near Queenscliff, Victoria.
[The 5th Field Coy (1) (Victoria) [Second Division] was renumbered 8th Field Coy on 18 January 1916 and reassigned to the 5th Division in February 1916.]
Engineer colour patches –
There is a photo of soldiers in Hut 4, R.B.A.A. at Heytesbury at https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/5408611161/