John Waldegrave Packer

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John Waldegrave Packer
Personal Information
Date of Birth c 1879
Place of Birth Norfolk, England
Death 26 Jun 1952, aged 72
Place of Death Chidlow, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 35 years old
Description 5' 7" (1.70m) tall ; 138 lbs
62.596 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Ship's Fireman
Religion Roman Catholic
Address c/- Mrs Madden, Forrestdale, East Jandakot, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Mary Packer
Military Information
Reg Number 1885C
Date of Enlistment 17 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements transferred to 34th Battalion, B Company HQ / 9th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 9 Aug 1916 ‒ 25 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades
Date of Return 18 Jan 1919 ‒ 24 Feb 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A38 Ulysses
Fate Wounded in Action 17 May 1917 Armentiès
Wounded in Action 7 May 1918 Morlancourt
Prisoner of War 7 May 1918 Morlancourt
Returned to Australia
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1913 - 1916 at 11 Church street, South Fremantle a shop employee. Appears to have moved to Forrestdale at time of enlistment.

War Service

A month after entering Blackboy Hill camp, John was initially allocated to the 15th recruitment draft for the 28th Battalion, but on 9 Jun 1916 he was transferred to the 2nd reinforcement draft for the 44th Battalion.

On arrival at Plymouth in England John was sent to the 11th Training Battalion to finish his training. On completion of training he was transferred on 10 Nov 1916 to the 34th Battalion, at Amesbury in England, and on 21 Nov 1916 the 34th Battalion proceeded to France via Southampton and Le Havre.

On arrival they moved to the Armentiès section of the line which they entered for the first time from Nov 27th to Dec 3rd 1916. Christmas was spent in billets near Steenwerck, Belgium. In Feb and Mar 1917 he attended two courses at the 3rd Division's Base Depot at le Havre.

On 17 May 1917 the 34th Battalion was in action at Touquet on the French-Belgium border 4 km north east of Armentiès when the Germans launched a raiding party on the Australian lines. Australian casualties were four diggers who were Killed in Action and John who was wounded when he received a Gunshot Wound to his right arm. He was first treated by the 11th Field Ambulance, before spending time in a rest station.

He returned to his unit on 1 Jun 1917 and a week later was promoted Temporary Corporal. Three months later he was promoted to Stretcher Bearer Corporal, and then Sergeant on the same day, 12 Sep 1917. Sick in hospital for 1 day in November, on New Year's Eve he was granted leave for a fortnight in England.

During the attack on the German lines on 7 May 1918 John received a shell wound to his left elbow. His Company ('C' Company) had by then advanced beyond their intended target and found themselves behind enemy lines and totally surrounded. Of the 58 members of 'C' Company that advanced, all but 14 were captured. Of the 14, only two returned to their earlier position, indicating a severe fight having taken place before the bulk were captured.

Formally noted as a Prisoner of the Germans on 19 Jun 1918, John was repatriated to England on 25 Nov 1918 via Dover. [1].

Discharged 5th Military District 10 Apr 1919.

409th Casualty List advises that John of Forrestdale is a POW, when a previous list had shown him wounded.[2]

The 413th Casualty List has him POW, previously reported Missing. List 451A is a list of POWs arriving in England and it includes John.

When John was captured, his personal effects were sent home, comprising a French watch, 3 note books, a photo, some cards and letters.

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1922 farmer at Forrestdale; 1931 back at Church street, Fremantle; 1936 in Elliott road, Chidlow where he remained until his death, no occupation given. In 1936 and 1937 Mary is still shown in South Fremantle, but afterwards at Chidlow.

In 1927 an uncle in the UK enquires of his address, and mentions that John's wife's father lived at Forrestdale.

John's Death notice does not mention any children.[3]


Not included on Banjup, Gosnells, Canning or Spearwood memorials.

  1. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - John Waldegrave Packer". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  2. "409th CASUALTY LIST.". Western Mail. XXXIII, (1,696). Western Australia. 28 June 1918. p. 35. Retrieved 25 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "Family Notices". The West Australian. 68, (20,574). Western Australia. 28 June 1952. p. 24. Retrieved 25 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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