Henry John Robert Saint

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Henry John Robert Saint
HJR Saint.jpg
1891 photo - courtesy Mark Saint
HJR Saint family.jpg
1913 photo of Henry & Gertrude with John, Dorothy and Philip - courtesy Mark Saint
Personal Information
Date of Birth Nov ? 1871
"Nov ? 1871" contains a sequence that could not be interpreted against an available match matrix for date components.
Place of Birth Speedhurst, Tunbridge Wells, England
Death 8 Nov 1941, aged 70
Place of Death Cheltenham, Sydney, New South Wales
Age at Enlistment 40 years, 10 months
Description 5'6" tall ; 140lbs
63.503 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; dark hair
Occupation Farmer
Religion Church of England
Address Henry street, East Cannington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Gertrude M Saint
Military Information
Reg Number 981
Date of Enlistment 10 Sep 1914
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 12th Battalion
Date of Embarkation 2 Nov 1914 ‒ 5 Dec 1914
Ship Embarked On HMAT A7 Medic Fremantle to Alexandria
Fate WIA Gallipoli
Monument none at present
Medals Queens South Africa Medal
King's South Africa Medal
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Henry was in Cape Town at the out-break of Boer War in South Africa and volunteered for the local forces, joining the South African Mounted Irregular Forces, serving as a Lieutenant stationed in Cape Town. According to the medal roll, he was attached to Headquarters Staff. He later received the Queen’s South Africa clasp Cape Colony and King’s South Africa Medal with both clasps South Africa 1901 and 1902.

Henry returned to Southampton, England on the 6 July 1902 on board the “Dunvegan Castle.” He married Gertrude Mary Robertson on 1 Nov 1904 at St Luke’s Church, St Marylebone, London UK. In the 1911 Census Henry was residing with his wife and children John Lionel Francis, Dorothy Elizabeth and Philip Henry, at “Rondebush” 1 Fletcher Road South, Tankerton, Whitstable. The house was named after a suburb of Cape Town.

Henry and his family sailed from Liverpool on 11 Sep 1913, on board S.S. Medic of the White Star Line, via Tenerife, and Cape Town. On the manifest Henry was described as an electrician. They disembarked in Albany, on 17 Oct 1913 and travelled by train overnight to Perth where they took up residence in Henry Street, East Cannington. The property was a weatherboard bungalow.[1]

War Service

Early records covering the period 10 Sep 1914 to 10 Aug 1918 are not included in the Archives.

Enlisted at a time when the 12th Battalion (joint SA and WA) was being raised, so it is probable that he trained with them, and travelled with them to Egypt. (A letter on file from son John advises that he sailed on the HMAT A7 Medic so he was one of the initial battalion members on the first convoy. It also states that he was not involved in the landing. (A letter dated 28th June 1921 from Henry states that he was a member of the first contingent.)

The first entry on Henry's Conduct sheet is dated 5 May 1915, at Mustapha, a base in Egypt where he was charged with having been AWOL from 4:00 pm 5 May until 11:00 am 8 May 1915. Amongst other things Mustapha was the location of a large British Convalescent Depot so perhaps Henry missed the landing due to illness. Henry was found guilty of being AWOL and lost 4 day's pay. Reinforcements for the battalion arrived on Gallipoli on 6th, 7th, 12th and 26th of May, and then again on 16 June. (Family story has it that he served for some time on Gallipoli, so a late May arrival at Anzac Cove is most likely.

Henry's records include an entry dated 8 Aug 1915 noting that he had a shell wound to his left leg and he had been treated aboard HMT Tunisian. The 12th Battalion had been in the trenches at Lone Pine from 6 - 10 August 1915. He boarded HMT Cawdor Castle on 10 Aug 1915 for a return to Gallipoli (from Mudross ??), where he was able to rejoin the 12th Battalion on 15 Aug 1915.

On 4 Sep 1915 Henry was ill with diarrhoea, and after being seen by the 1st Field Ambulance, he was evacuated from Gallipoli to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Mudros on 7 Sep 1915. Diagnosed with measles, he was transferred on 17 Sep 1915 to the 24th Convalescent Depot. Released to the base depot on 7 Oct 1915, and diagnosed with 'debility', he was initially evacuated to Gibraltar on 7 Oct 1915 from Alexandria aboard HMT Caledonia arriving 15 Oct 1915 before being passed on to England aboard HMHS Franconia on 8 Nov 1915. On arrival in England he was admitted to the 4th Southern General Hospital in Plymouth.

Held in the Monte Video camp at Weymouth from 1 Jun until 28 Jun 1916. During that time on 8 Jan 1916 he was charged with "failing to obey a lawful order" For this he was awarded 48 hours detention. He was also debited for the loss of kit. Next, from 28 Jun 1918, he was transferred to No. 1 Command Depot Perham Downs, near Salisbury. Here he was AWOL from midnight 13 Jul 1916 until 8:30pm on 19 Jul 1916, and for this he forfeited 8 day's pay. On 21 Nov 1916 Henry was transferred to No. 4 Command Depot

On 29 May 1917 after moving from one Command Depot to another between 1 Jun 1916 and 18 May 1917, Henry proceeded overseas to France on 29 May 1917 via Southampton. After a period in the 1st Division's Base Depot at Le Havre, Henry joined the 12th Battalion on 18 Jun 1917 near Ribemont after an absence of 21 months. A month later, on 20 Jul 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Anzac Corps School and proceeded to Tidworth in England. On 19 Sep 1917 he was admitted to the Military Hospital in Swanage with scabies, and on 28 Sep 1917 transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital. Here he was granted furlough from 15 - 29 Oct 1917, with instructions to report to Weymouth. Having requested a discharge in the UK, he was returned to London on 13 Dec 1917 to prepare for same.

Discharged on 14 Dec 1917 in London, being permanently unfit for further duty with Nephritis. Henry and his family were awarded pensions from 15 Dec 1917, and on 20 Jun 1918 they were increased to: Henry 30/- per fortnight, his wife Gertrude Mary a pension of 15/-p.f., and their children John Lionel Francis 10/- p.f.; Dorothy Elizabeth 7/6d p.f.; and Phillip Henry 5/- p.f.

An unusual aspect to Henry's story is that his family followed him, and were the obvious reason for his AWOL offences. Gertrude and the family took passage from Fremantle in early November, on the Orient Liner “Osterly" which stopped at Colombo, and arrived at Tilbury just prior to Christmas 1915. The family stayed with Henry's sisters in Kensington, and when Gertrude discovered that Henry was in Egypt, she placed the two oldest children in care or boarding school and then, with Philip sailed on 12 Feb 1915 aboard the SS Orontes for Port Said in Egypt. Gertrude remained in Egypt until early 1916, but following Henry's transfer to England she and Philip sailed for England aboard SS Nyanza, docking in London on 10 Mar 1916.

Post War

Following the death of an Aunt, henry inherited an estate in Groombridge, Kent which he sold in 1919. On 8 Jul 1920 the family sailed for Wellington, New Zealand aboard SS Ruaprha and lived in Christchurch until 1921 when they moved to Armidale in New South Wales. From June 1923 until September 1924 Gertrude and Philip returned to England. This was the first of many individual and/or family returns to England.


For more details of Henry's life story contact the City of Gosnells Heritage Coordinator on (08) 9391 6011.

Henry is not listed on the Gosnells Roll of Honour, nor on the Canning, Victoria Park, Wattle Grove, Welshpool, or Kalamunda Rolls.

Henry appears to have fudged his age to ensure enlistment at a time when 40 was the maximum age for enlistment. At discharge on 14 Dec 1917 he declares that he is 46 years and 11 months old

  1. City of Gosnells Heritage Services

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