The AIF Project

John Joseph GOULDING

Regimental number555
Place of birthHolbeach, Lincolnshire, England
SchoolSouthport State School, Queensland
Age on arrival in Australia6
ReligionChurch of England
AddressO'Connell Street, West End, South Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Height5' 6"
Weight151 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs. Julia Alice Goulding, O'Connell Street, West End, South Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date30 August 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 9 November 1915
Two ships left from Melbourne carrying the 31st Battalion Headquarters and Companies A, B, C and D: HMAT A62, 'Wandilla', on 9 November 1915 and HMAT A41, 'Bakara', on 5 November 1915. It is not possible from the Embarkation Roll to determine on which ship an individual embarked.
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted in Brisbane to serve in South Africa 'but did not go to camp as no more men was (sic) required to go ... ' (details from mother)
FateDied whilst a Prisoner of War 19 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records33
Place of burialPheasant Wood Military Cemetery (Plot IV, Row D, Grave No 1), Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Julia GOULDING, 623 Brunswick Street, New Farm, Queensland
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne; disembarked Suez ex-'Wandilla', 7 December 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 June 1916.

Reported missing, 19 July 1917.

Died while prisoner of war in Germany between 19 July 1916 and 30 October 1916.

On 14 March 1917 it was further noted on the B.103 that Goulding was 'buried in Germany whilst Prisoner of war', but 'this information is unverified and is not to communicated outside the 3rd Echelon.'

On 23 November 1917, H. D. Breenan, the Public Curator in Brisbane and the executor of Private Goulding's estate, tried to clarify the date of Private Gouldings death when he noted in a letter to the A.I.F. pay office in Brisbane, ' ... I notice the Military Certificate of Death states the deceased died whilst a prisoner of War (sic) in Germany between 19th July and 30th October 1916. In a letter from the Comite International de la Croix-Rouge Agence Internationale Des Prisonniers De Guerre, Geneve dated March 7th 1917, to Mrs Goulding, the deceased's Mother[,] it is stated that on the German list of 9th September 1916, it is found that the disc of Goulding J.J. B 31 A. I. C. E. 555, has been sent in. I take it that in the event of the deceased's death being found to be at a later date that the 19th July 1916 that further pay will be made available to this Office.'

Mrs Goulding also tried to clarify tried to obtain information about her son by writing to the Officer in Charge, Base Records, A.I.F. Headquarter London. This letter is undated but is probably written in 1919 and stated, 'I am writing to inquire of my son John Joseph GOULDING, No.555. B. Company, 31st Battalion, A.I.F. who was reported missing since July 19th 1916. I have not received anything belonging to him [since a parcel] was sent from Germany sometime during 1917 with a promise that further inquiries would be made and I would be notified. Have heard no further of him. I have waited patiently with a aching heart for news of him[,] if only I could know that he did not suffer too much from the Huns if he fell in their hands which I have reasons to believe during that dreadful slaughter of Flier-Bay [Fleurbaix] of which thousands of Australian Mothers has (sic) reasons to think seriously. My son left Australia to do his bit for the country he was born in England. He did not stand long but I do hope that something further will be made known to me although three years has passed it seems but as yesterday. I am still waiting. First missing, then Prisoner of war[,] then killed in action. I know he was not the only by thousands but he was my son[,] just lent to me for 35 years and then missing. I know a good son. I believe a good man but I do not know if a good soldier. He has paid the price as many others have done but in all the world there is not love like a mothers (sic)love for her children if she is ever so poor, if a true woman. I have been trying to be patient for three years hoping but just today I thought perhaps you have forgotten[,] but I know that the war just for mothers that dearly loved their boys all over the world. God help them to bear it. The suspense is what makes it so hard. Hoping this mail will bring some tidings or the next but one. I cannot write more and I know you don't want to read more. May I please ask will you try and find any record of him, my boy, and oblige.' In an apparent response to this letter the Officer in charge of Base Records, Melbourne, wrote to Pte Goulding's mother on 3 December 1919 and on behalf his London-based counterpart: 'with reference to a communication forwarded by you to A.I.F. Headquarters, London, concerning your son, the late No. 555 Private J. Goudling, 31st Battalion; the Officer in Charge Records of that Administration requests me to advise you that from inquiries made in Germany, it would appear that his soldier died on 19.7.16, and was buried in the vicinity of Fromelles. An intensive search is now being made with a view to locating unregistered graves, and should the grave of your son be discovered you will be notified through this office. The grave would be photographed and three copies transmitted to you.'

A translation of a German message dated 22 October 1919, also confirmed details originally sent on 30 July 1916, and stated, 'Australian Soldier J.J. GOULDING of the 31st Australian Batt. Fell in the neighbourhood of FROMELLES on 19/7/16.'

The Australian Red Cross, Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau had information on 14 October 1920 that noted, 'Goulding J. J. 31. Btn. Killed in action 19.7.16 in the distr. of Fromelles.'

Red Cross File No 1190813 has statement from 352 Sergeant E. HOLLAND, 31 st Bn (patient, No 9 Red Cross hospital, Calais), 19 October 1916: 'I put [him] on a post in the German trenches on the night of the 19th July. Next morning he refused to leave. The post was heavily bombed amd it was impossible for anyone to get away. This was at Fleurbaix.'

Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner (Panel No 8), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2012) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsOriginally NOK was mother, Mrs. Alice Upton, O'Connell Street, West End, South Brisbane; subsequently Mother, Mrs Julia Alice Goulding, O'Connell Street, West End, Brisbane (7 March 1916); address subsequently, 623 Brunswick Street, New Farm, Brisbane (20 October 1919). From 1923 the next of kin becomes, Brother, Mr W Marshal Goulding, Murwillumbah, New South Wales as the mother died on 19 July 1922.
SourcesNAA: B2455, GOULDING John Joseph
Red Cross file 1190813

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.