SERVICE NO: 5223
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1890
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hamilton
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 14 January 1916
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Melbourne
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 25
UNIT: 58 Battalion (late 5th Battalion 16 Reinforcement)
EMBARKED: 1 April 1916
TROOP SHIP: HMAT A23 Suffolk
FATE: Died of Wounds – 19 May 1917 – France
John Tully was born John Luke Victor Ball to his mother Emily Jane Ball at Hamilton in 1890. In 1892, Emily married William Richard Tully. John attended St Mary’s Convents School, and the family lived in French Street. By 1912, the Tullys were living in Brown Street and John was working as a labourer. He joined the 11th Light Horse at Hamilton around that time.
On 14 January 1916, John enlisted and was at the Royal Park camp with the 23rd Battalion for a month. He then went on to Castlemaine with the 20th Depot Battalion. Before embarking overseas, John transferred to the 5th Battalion on 18 March and sailed with the 5th Battalion 16th Reinforcements (below) on 1 April 1916.
Once in Egypt. John transferred to the 57th Battalion prior to leaving for France. The battalion arrived in France on 30 June 1916. The following month he had mumps and was admitted to the 24th General Hospital at Étaples. Discharged from hospital on 24 August, he didn’t return to the 57th Battalion, instead he joined the 58th Battalion as a stretcher-bearer on 29 August 1916. On 26 January 1917, the 58th Battalion was at Delville Wood Camp on the Somme.
On that day, in January, John wrote to his mother and told her of the snow. He was grateful for a Christmas gift of socks and a scarf from home. He told her a little of his time over the eight months he’d been at war,
In April 1917, the 58th Battalion was at Mametz on the Somme. They remained there until 8 May when they moved to Bapaume and the Beugny-Vaulx line. By 11 May, the 58th Battalion was on the front at the Hindenburg Line.
Between 2:00 am and 4.30 am on the morning of 11 May, John received a severe wound to his leg from a shell. He was placed on a stretcher but insisted on walking. The South Australian Field Ambulance then took him to the 3rd Casualty Clearance Station. His wounds were so severe he was transferred to the No. 3 Ambulance Train to go to the 1st South African General Hospital at Abbeville, arriving on 16 May, fives after the injury occurred. On arrival, there was no choice but to amputate John’s leg, but he haemorrhaged and he died on 19 May.
Sapper Frank Adams wrote to John’s mother Emily and told her of some of the detail of the events of 11 May. He said John was joking when other men would have been unconscious. She also heard he was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in the field on 11 May 1917. It was supposedly in the unit’s daily orders but after requesting further information from the Defence Department, she was told that was not the case.