John Francis Grabham MM

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John Francis Grabham MM
Grabham John Francis.jpg
photo Linton Reynolds May 2023
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1897
Place of Birth Kelmscott, Western Australia
Death 15 Nov 1918
Place of Death Amiens, France
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 5 months
Description 5'2" (1.57m) tall ; 100 lbs
45.359 kg
; fresh complexion ; grey eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Orchard hand
Religion Church of England
Address Roleystone, via Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Step Father , Mr James Edward Grabham
Military Information
Reg Number 3800
Date of Enlistment 30 Aug 1915
Rank Driver
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement, transferred to 51st Battalion / 13th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 22 Nov 1915 ‒ 14 Dec 1915
Ship Embarked On RMS Mongolia
Fate Died of Influenza 15 Nov 1918 in the 41st Stationary Hospital, Amiens, France
Monument Kelmscott-Armadale Parish Roll of Honour
Roleystone Honour Board
Australian War Memorial
Medals Military Medal
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

War Service

1915 Sep edition. "Has gone into camp from Roleystone and along with Keith Podger, and Harris Smith was given a send off on Saturday 13th September."[1]

Initially intended to be one of the 12th Reinforcements to the 11th Battalion, he was transferred to the 13th Reinforcement draft for 12th Battalion.

In Egypt in early Jan 1916 while with the 3rd Training Battalion he contracted mumps and was admitted to the 4th Australian Auxiliary Hospital on 4 Jan 1916 at Abbassia before transferring to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Heliopolis on 31 Jan 1916. He was released to the British Red Cross Hospital on 14 Mar 1916, and discharged to duty on 29 Mar 1916.

On his return to the 3rd Training Battalion at Serapeum, it was not long before he was transferred to the 51st Battalion on 19 Apr 1916. John sailed from Alexandria to Marseilles with the 51st Battalion on the HMT Ivernia, arriving in France on 12 June 1916.

With some medical restrictions resulting from his mumps, he was detached to the battalion's Pack Transport Section on 2 Jun 1917, and on 1 Oct 1917 was appointed Driver. In the meantime he was awarded the Military Medal on 3 Jul 1917 for actions earlier in June. He spent from 20 Mar - 8 Apr 1918 on leave in the UK, and from 1 - 16 Jul 1918 John was detached to the 4th Division's Pack Troop.

Died of influenza/Bronchial pneumonia on 15 Nov 1918 after being first admitted to 13th Field Ambulance on 8th November before then being transferred to 41st Stationary Hospital, Amiens where he died a week later.

  • Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery 2015 L.Reynolds
  • Grabham John Francis 1.jpg
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission

"Mrs Grabham, of Roleystone, Kelmscott has been informed that her son, J.F. Grabham has been awarded the Military Medal. (for work with the Divisional Pack Transport Troop, which carried supplies, water and ammunition forward to the front line sector."[2]

GRABHAM-Died of pneumonia in France, on November 14 after three years' active service. John Francis Grabham, M.M. (Frank), beloved youngest son of H. Grabham, Roleystone, Kelmscott and J. E. Grabham (on active service): brother of G. D. Rouse, Goulburn New South Wales; E. J. Rouse (returned), and Mrs G. T. Rowell East Fremantle. Peace, perfect peace.[3]

Award Comment

Military Medal Recommendation date: 13 June 1917 [4]

'From 5th to 12th June 1917 near MESSINES these N.C.O.s and men [6704 W. BERRY, 4315 F. McKENZIE, 4838 J.J. O'BRIEN, 8460 F.E. NELSON, 6317 P.S. CHARLWOOD, 2085 A.W. SIMMONS, 2206 W.W. ARBERY, 3250 K.C. BASSETT, 3800 J.F. GRABHAM] were employed with the Divisional Pack Transport Troop which was used nightly in taking up supplies, water and ammunition to the various Battalion Headquarters. The various convoys came nightly under heavy shell and machine gun fire and their work was carried out in the dark and under trying conditions. In some cases the supplies were taken up to within a few hundred yards from Front Line. These N.C.O.s and men have been selected in order of merit out of the 77 N.C.O.s and men employed, as having set an example of coolness under fire and determination in carrying out their duties.[5][6]
JF Grabham (MM recipient) was one of eight men of the 51st that died of influenza in November 1918. 48 others were taken ill with it.[7]

Post War

In 1919 James' mother had moved to Third road, Armadale.


Initially buried in the Dury Hospital Military Cemetery, he was later exhumed and moved to the VILLERS - BRETONNEUX MILITARY CEMETERY, Plot 12, Row AA, Grave 7 . The reason for exhumation was that access to his original grave was only via the courtyard of a "lunatic" asylum.

Son of James Edward and Harriet Grabham, of Third Road, Armadale, Western Australia. Born at Kelmscott, Western Australia.

Note his enlistment place of birth is given as Sydney, New South Wales. In his Will, he reveals that his correct name is John Francis Rouse (Mother's maiden name), aka Grabham.


  1. The drill of the Foot-Hills 191 Sep edition, page 7.
  2. "MISCELLANEOUS.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,875). Western Australia. 17 November 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 29 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "Family Notices". Western Mail. XXXIV, (1,721). Western Australia. 20 December 1918. p. 27. Retrieved 29 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. accessed 28 Apr 2018
  5. "Government Gazette Proclamations and Legislation". Commonwealth Of Australia Gazette (219). Australia, Australia. 20 December 1917. p. 3377. Retrieved 29 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. London Gazette 16 Aug 1917, page 8427, position 44.
  7. For King & Cobbers - 51st Battalion AIF p 320

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