The AIF Project

John William PURCELL

Regimental number2162
Place of birthDudley, Newcastle, New South Wales
SchoolAbermain Public School, New South Wales
AddressMeath, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 7.75"
Weight139 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Margaret purcell, Meath PO, via West Maitland, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the Senior Cadets, Area 14B.
Enlistment date4 September 1915
Place of enlistmentWest Maitland, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 18 February 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 19 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records17
Place of burialAnzac Cemetery (Plot I, Row D, Grave No. 7), Sailly-Sur-La-Lys, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Adam and Margaret PURCELL, Neath, New South Wales. Native of Dudley, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: [530] Lt James Adam PURCELL MC, 35th Bn, returned to Australia, 1 November 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 18 February 1916; disembarked Suez, 23 March 1916.

Taken on strength of 31st Bn, Duntroon Plateau, 1 April 1916.

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

Killed in action, 19 July 1916.

Buried New Cemetery, Sailly-sur-La-Lys by Reverend W. Meredith Holliday, 20 July 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2220110, 527 Pte A.H. MARSHMAN, B Company, 31st Bn (patient, 1st Southern General Hospital, Bournbrook, Birmingham, England), 25 July 1916: 'On 19th July 1916 at Fleurbaix, nr. Armentieres, just previous to the attack by the Australians, J.W. Purcell was severely wounded in the head and neck. I tried to render first aid but was immediately afterwards badly wounded in my left arm. I managed to get out of the trench which was in the shallow, and reached the first Field Station. I told them that Purcell was left, but the attack was made almost at once and I am afraid Purcell was left in the trench. He appeared to be in a terrible condition and I fear he may have been left behind to die.'

Second statement, 2125 Pte C. CLARKE, D Company, 31st Bn (patient, 1st Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, England), 18 December 1916: 'Informant states that on the 19th July at Fruemelles (sic) Fleurbaix Purcell was shot through the neck privious (sic) to an advance and was buried outside at Sailly. I was informed of this by Purcell's friend [2149]Freddie Matchett who showed me the grave with the man's name upon it.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PURCELL John William
Red Cross file 2220110

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