SERVICE NO: 3039
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1893
PLACE OF BIRTH: Warrnambool
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 16 August 1915
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Melbourne
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 21
UNIT: 8th Battalion (late 24th Battalion 7th Reinforcements)
EMBARKED: 26 November 1915
TROOPSHIP: HMAT A73 Commonwealth
FATE: Killed in Action – 28 July 1916 – Pozieres, France
Stanley Coleston was born in Warrnambool in 1893 to Harry Coleston and Bridget Hoy. From around 1905, Bridget and her children were living in Brown Street, Hamilton, but there is no trace of father Harry from that time. The Colestons later moved to Griffin Street and Stanley attended Hamilton Elementary School, then trained as a carpenter. He moved to Maffra and worked for Mr McAdam who also became a close friend of Stanley’s.
Stanley enlisted on 16 August 1915 and left Australia in November with the 24th Battalion 7th Reinforcement bound for Egypt. While Stanley was in Egypt, his brother Joseph Roy Coleston enlisted on 2 February. On 24 February, Stanley transferred to the 8th Battalion and then on to France on 31 March 1916. They boarded a train and travelled to Steenwerck in northern France, arriving on 4 April. By May, the 8th Battalion was at Fleurbaix and spent time in the trenches there until mid-June.
Between 23 July and 27 July 1916, the 8th Battalion was part of the Battle of Pozieres. Eighty-one men from the battalion were killed, over 260 wounded and sixteen missing. At 3:00 am on 27 July, after a few hectic days, they rested in Sausage Valley before moving on to Vandencourt on 28 July. No casualties were reported in the unit diary from and including 28 July until the end of the month, however, Stanley Coleston was reported as killed on 28 July 1916. It is possible he was killed on the 27 July before the battalion moved on to Sausage Valley. He was buried near Pozieres, but his grave was never found.
Bridget Coleston received news of her son’s death on 29 August 1916. The Hamilton Town Hall flag was lowered to half-mast the following day as a sign of respect. On 9 December 1918, Stanley’s brother returned home safely to Australia.