David Forbes Abernethy

From Our Contribution

David Forbes Abernethy
Personal Information
Date of Birth 1887
Place of Birth Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Death 19 March 1969
Place of Death Scotland
Age at Enlistment 29 years, 4 months
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 144 lbs
65.317 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Farmer
Religion Presbyterian
Address Fair View Farm, Beenup, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , James Abernethy
Military Information
Reg Number 6283
Date of Enlistment 4 September 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 28th Infantry Battalion, 18th reinforcement, 7th Bde, 2nd Div
Date of Embarkation 29 December 1916 ‒ 3 Mar 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A34 Persic
Date of Return 3 Sep 1919 ‒ 17 Oct 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A37 Barambah
Fate WIA 4 Oct 1917 Broodseinde
WIA 1 Jun 1918 Morlancourt area
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

A Serious Charge. "Last night Detectives Purde and Gray arrested at Beenup, David Abernethy, a dairyman. Abernethy who is a native of Scotland, and whose age is 28 years, will appear at the City Court this morning charged with having attempted a serious offence against a girl under the age of 16 years"[1]

Inquiry into a letter signed by "Fair Play" elicited the fact this week that the Attorney-General (Mr Walker) has received a petition from the Beenup district urging the release of D. Abernethy, who, the Minister states, was sentenced to six months' imprisonment some time ago, a jury having found him guilty of indecently dealing[2]. Of that sentence, he has already served two months. The petitioners point out that from their knowledge, acquired in the district, of the man, and of the circumstances of the case, they firmly believe that the case is a very unjust one, and that Abernethy was not guilty. They ask that what they believe to be a miscarriage of justice should be remedied. The Attorney-General, in answer to a question, said that he was making exhaustive inquiries into the matter, and that no decision had yet been come to. The decision of the Minister is not recorded in newspapers and it appears that David served his sentence.

1916 Electoral Roll[3] - Fairview Farm, Beenup, alone.

War Service

Had 4 years previous experience with the Gordon Highlanders prior to emigrating to Australia. 10 days after entering Blackboy Hill camp, David was allocated to the 18th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion. Locals who were included in other reinforcement drafts that shared the voyage to England on HMAT A34 Persic included Alfred Tennyson Needham, George Mouatt Dow, Albert William Barratt, Charles John Mitchell, and Joseph William Smith. A total of 788 Western Australian soldiers were onboard.

On arrival in England he was first posted to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone before proceeding overseas to France via Southampton on 14 Jun 1917 where he entered No 2 Australian Division Base Depot (ADBD).

He was taken on strength by the 28th Battalion on 3 Jul 1917, who were at that time the trenches at Messines. On 4 Oct 1917 the 28th Battalion was providing working parties to support troops holding ground gained in the attack on Broodseinde Ridge. The enemy shelled those working parties and the battalion casualties were 42 KIA, 91 WIA, and 5 Missing. David received a shell wound to his hand and side that was treated progressively by the 64th Field Ambulance, the 41st Casualty Clearing Station, and he was transferred by Ambulance Train on 4 Oct 1917 to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Abbeville.

He rejoined the 28th Battalion on 16 Feb 1918, and in March enjoyed 2 weeks leave in England. On 1 Jun 1918 the 28th Battalion had just been relieved in the front line and was moving back to a reserve position when an enemy plane flew over the top of B Company and dropped two bombs, killing 27 men and wounding another 40, including it would seem David.

His injury was described as a GSW, chest penetrated (severe). He was treated by the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, and the 6th Casualty Clearing Station before being transferred by Ambulance Train on 2 Jun 1918 to the 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital and then on 2 Jul 1918 he boarded HMHS St Denis for transfer to hospital in Shorncliffe (11th General Hospital) and then on 17 Sep 1918 to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, in England. Granted furlough from 4 - 18 Dec 1918 he was transferred to the No 2 Command Depot Weymouth to await repatriation.

Before returning to Australia, he undertook 3 months work experience with the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society (on Jersey Island in the English Channel) in mixed farming from 24 Mar to 24 Jun 1919. In early July 1919 he was granted embarkation leave to Scotland, and reporting back late he was fined 1 day's pay.

He was discharged by the 5th Military District on 4 Dec 1919.

"The following men were medically examined by the recruiting officers today:- Fit... D.F. Abernethy, Beenup." [4]
WOUNDED.."Abernethy, David Forbes (Scotland)..."[5]

WOUNDED..Abernethy, David Forbes (Scotland), wounded second occasion.[6][7]

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1921 & 1925 show him at Byford -in 1925 with brother John and John's wife Mary Agnes. No further electoral roll entries in Australia.

A David Forbes Abernethy died 19 Jul 1960 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and this may be him.


  1. "NEWS AND NOTES.". The West Australian. XXXI, (4,272). Western Australia. 11 December 1915. p. 6. Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. "NEWS AND NOTES.". Western Mail. XXXI, (1,588). Western Australia. 2 June 1916. p. 32. Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "David Abernethy". Ancestry. Retrieved May 3, 2017. 
  4. "THE CALL TO ARMS". The Daily News. XXXV, (12,965). Western Australia. 30 August 1916. p. 8 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. "363rd LIST.". Western Mail. XXXIII, (1,669). Western Australia. 21 December 1917. p. 34. Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. "ROLL OF HONOUR.". Western Mail. XXXIII, (1,697). Western Australia. 5 July 1918. p. 29. Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIV, (5,067). Western Australia. 2 July 1918. p. 5. Retrieved 3 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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