Rank: Private

Service Number: 2857

Units Served: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

Personal Details: My grandmother’s great great great grandfather, John William Fielding was born in 1897. John was born in Yorkshire, England, and he was naturally born British. He moved to Australia when he was 16 with his parents, Mark and Ellen Augusta and lived in Brunswick, Victoria. John had grey eyes and he had a ruddy complexion which just means that he was tanned, and that complemented his brown hair; he was 5 feet and 8 3/4 inches. He was pretty small as his chest measurements were 34/36 inches.  He had two distinctive marks on his left arm which was injection marks.  

Enlistment Details: On the 29th June 1915 John enlisted at Melbourne, Victoria, with his parents’ consent as he was only 18 years old when he signed up. He was examined and he passed and the examining officer considered him fit and healthy for service, and then he was accepted to serve. He was working as a horse driver when he enlisted. 

Details about the War: John disembarked on the 19th of July 1915. On the 3rd of November he was admitted to the hospital ship ‘Mudras’ with Gastroenteritis. He re-joined the unit on the 12th of January 1916. After 7 days of lost pay for hesitating to obey an officer on 19th of January, he proceeded to join BEF in Alexandria on the 26th of March 1916. He then was disembarked in France, Marseilles. He was absent without leave from tattoo and was awarded 2 weeks punishment on the 13th of April 1916 in France. The 8th Battalion was involved in heavy fighting early in the Battle of Pozieres, and John would have been under heavy artillery bombardment or involved in close fighting in the trenches through out this time. After weeks of fighting at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, Australian forces moved north in to Belgium for some relative rest. The 8th Battalion moved in to trenches near Ieper at the end of August 1916. During an exchange of artillery between German and Australian forces, John William Fielding was killed in action in Belgium on the 11th of September 1916.

Age at Death: Unfortunately, John did not return home and he was killed in action at the young age of 19.

Cemetery or Memorial Details: Woods Cemetery, Ypres, West Vlaanderen, Flanders, Belgium.

Grave Reference: Plot 3 Row. C. Grave 7