FENTON, John Wilfred

NAME:  John Wilfred FENTON                                                                                                     







UNIT:  5th Field Artillery Brigade (Late 4th Field Artillery Brigade)

EMBARKED:  18 November 1915

TROOPSHIP:  HMAT A18 Wiltshire

RANK:  Lieutenant

FATE:  Died of Wounds – Boulogne France – 19 June 1918

AWARDS:  Military Medal

John Wilfred FENTON

John Wilfred FENTON

John Wilfred Fenton was born in Hamilton in 1893, the son of John Fenton and Helen Laidlaw of Lantana in Gray Street, Hamilton. John Fenton Snr was a stock and station agent, a Hamilton Councillor for fourteen years and Mayor from 1904-06.  John Jnr, known as either “Jack” or Paddy,” attended Hamilton College and then Geelong College in 1909 and 1910.  After school, he returned to Hamilton and managed his father’s rural property.  He was a fine athlete both at school and after and played for Hamilton’s Caledonian Football Club.

John enlisted in July 1915 and left Australia on 18 November 1915 bound for Egypt with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, 11th Battery. With him was his Caledonian Football Club teammate, William Brake.

MEMBERS OF THE 4TH FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE, 11th BATTERY IN COLLINS STREET, MELBOURNE PRIOR TO DEPARTURE OVERSEAS. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1223066

On December 18, exactly a month later, John’s mother Helen passed away from illness aged 55.  By March 1916, John was in France.

During December 1917 while serving in France, John Fenton was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. He was in the area of the Bellwaerde-Westhoek Ridge area when a shell hit a group of men, killing one. John along with some other men went to the aid of the injured, removing them from danger, dressed their wounds and took them to the Dressing Station. They went back a second time to check on the welfare of two other men. John was also promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.

On 2 March 1918, John transferred to the 5th Field Artillery Brigade and was promoted to Lieutenant. Meanwhile, at home, John’s brother David had enlisted. Six months later John was gassed at Ribemont on 31 May 1918. The shell burst at his feet and John was hospitalised suffering the effects of mustard gas. He died in hospital on 19 June 1918 and was buried at the Boulogne Cemetery in France. 

BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C333207

John is remembered on the Hamilton War Memorial and a tree was planted for him in 1918 along Clarke Street’s memorial avenue.  A memorial for John is also on the Fenton family grave at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.



Australian War Memorial – 4th Artillery Brigade

Australian War Memorial – Honours and Awards (Recommendations) – John Wilfred Fenton

Australian War Memorial – Honours and Awards – John Wilfred Fenton

Australian War Memorial – Roll of Honour – John Wilfred Fenton

Australian War Memorial – Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files – John Wilfred Fenton

Australian War Memorial – WW1 Embarkation Roll – John Wilfred Fenton

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France – John Wilfred Fenton

Discovering Anzacs – WW1 Service Record – John Wilfred Fenton

Geelong College – John Wilfred Fenton

Newspaper articles from Trove – John Wilfred Fenton

The AIF Project – John Wilfred Fenton

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