Henry Arthur Grinsell

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Henry Arthur Grinsell
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1884
Place of Birth Warwick, Warwickshire, Enland
Death 1965, aged 81
Place of Death Burwood, New South Wales
Age at Enlistment 31 years, 11 months
Description 5'6½" (1.69m) tall ; 135lbs
61.235 kg
; fresh complexion ; grey eyes ; black to grey hair ; tattoo right forearm
Occupation Viticulturist
Religion Church of England
Address Mount Pleasant Vineyards, Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin wife , Mrs Ethel Maud Grinsell
Military Information
Reg Number 2808
Date of Enlistment 1 Nov 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation March 1917 Reinforcements
Date of Embarkation 22 May 1917 ‒ 20 Jun 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A42 Boorara
Date of Return 4 Mar 1919 ‒ 31 Mar 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A15 Star of England Ship known as SS Port Sydney at time of embarkation
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Ward Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Henry was the youngest of 11 children to John Grinsell and Helen (Ellen) Bradley. Prior to emigrating to Australia, Henry was working as an iron moulder prior to enlisting in the 7th Dragoon Guards on 4 Mar 1902. He was sent to Shorncliffe Army Camp near Cheriton, Kent, England for training prior to embarking for South Africa on 6 Oct 1902. He saw service in South Africa from 10 Oct 1902 to 8 Aug 1904, returning to the UK on 9 August 1904 where he remained until 10 Sep 1908, when he was transferred to the Army Reserve. In 1906 Henry had married Ethel Maud Sofield in Kent. Two children accompanied them on the SS Rimutaka to Australia, departing 30 Nov 1910, and arriving at Albany on 29 Dec 1910. The family lived in a number of suburbs before moving to Gosnells.

War Service

Entered camp on 1 Nov 1916 and on 7 Mar 1917 he was allocated to the Light Horse reinforcements. However, on 15 Mar 1917 this changed to the Imperial Camel Corps reinforcements. The unit embarked from Fremantle on board ‘HMAT A42 Boorara’ on 22 May 1917 and disembarked at Suez, Egypt on 20 June 1917 and marched to the isolation camp at Moascar and remained there until 13 July 1917, when he transferred to the ANZAC Reserve Depot in Abbassia. On 23 Aug 1917 he was posted to the 4th Battalion, Camel Corps and taken on strength by the 18th Company on 26 Mar 1917.

On 22 Sep 1917 Henry reported to the Camel Corp Field Ambulance with Tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate) in Sheik Nuran and on 24 Sep 1917 he was transferred to the ANZAC Rest Camp in Marakeb where he remained until he rejoined the Camel Corp on 21 Oct 1917. On 4 May 1918 he reported ill again, and on 9 May 1918 the 76th Casualty Clearing Station diagnosed Rheumatism and sent him to the 47th Stationary Hospital in Gaza. On 15 May 1918 he was transferred to the 14th Australian General Hospital at Port Said until 25 Jul 1918, and spent the next several months moving from one details camp to another.

On 1 Jul 1918 when the Camel Corps was abolished and Henry was transferred to the Light Horse Depot. On 9 Sep 1918 he fronted a Medical Board which classed him B3, and so he was sent for stores work in the Moascar Base Depot. Another Medical Board on 4 Jan 1919 classified him 'D' as a result of chronic Rheumatism and Lumbago and so he was returned to Australia as unfit for further service. Discharged at the 5th Military District on 27 Jul 1919

Post War

It was alleged that on the first day Henry returned to his wife that he was violent towards her. That month Ethel obtained a judicial separation and a maintenance order from Henry. Later that year she petitioned for a “desolution of the marriage” and they divorced the following year.

"CRUELTY ALLEGED BY WIFE AGAINST HUSBAND A CLAIM FOR SEPARATION. Ethel Maud Grinsell, claiming separation and maintenance at the City Police Court this morning from her husband, Henry Arthur Grinsell, told a distressing story of cruelty on the defendant's part. Mr. Mr. Joseph conducted her case, while the defendant was represented by Mr. A. C. Braham. Her husband, she alleged, was persistently cruel to her. She had been married since 1906, and there were three children. He allowed her no friends, and once because she had taken the children out for the day he threw her down, kicked her, and smashed a cup in her face. He raged around and smashed things about generally. In 1914 she was getting in dinner one night, and because 'she was not quick enough' Grinsell struck her on the ear. The result was that a child witness bore later was stillborn and had only one ear. Grinsell would not allow her to even speak to her brothers. He also used to thrash the children with a piece of thick hose pipe, and it used to make witness quite sick and faint, but she dared not interfere. In 1915 her husband went to the war, and returned about three weeks ago, and his ill-treatment of her was resumed. Witness could stand it no longer and left his house to stay with some friends. The case is proceeding."[1]

In 1921, Henry married Ida Taylor in Marrickville, New South Wales and applied for some assistance under the War Service Homes Act several years later. In Sep 1924 Henry was living in Bexley, New South Wales, and in Feb 1940 in Belmore, New South Wales.

During World War Two, Henry served as part of the Citizen Military Forces with Regimental No. N257140 as a Private in the 11th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps part time from 15 Apr 1942 until 23 Dec 1943.

Ida died in 1957 while Henry died in 1965 in the district of Burwood, NSW.


For further information on this soldier, or for more information about the history and heritage of the City of Gosnells, please contact the Heritage Coordinator on 9391 6011

  1. Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), Thursday 24 April 1919, page 6

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