Service Number: 3656
Enlisted: 5 June 1917
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Millicent, South Australia, 24 March 1895
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Service, France, 25 April 1918, aged 23 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide The 50th Battalion Commemorative Cross, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Glencoe Soldiers Memorial, Millicent War Memorial, Mount Gambier War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

5 Jun 1917: Enlisted
4 Aug 1917: Involvement Private, SN 3656, 50th Infantry Battalion
4 Aug 1917: Embarked Private, SN 3656, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Themistocles, Melbourne

Help us honour Roy Leslie Hutchesson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Keith Harrison

Excerpt of speech given at the dedication of 50th Battalion Memorial, Pathway of Honour, Adelaide on 13th August 2013

3656 Private Roy Leslie Hutchesson, a farmer of Glencoe in the state’s South East, was a single man of 22 years who enlisted in Mount Gambier on 27 May 1917. Roy was the oldest of three, with a younger brother and sister, and I am told that he had determined that the time had come for him to serve his country.

On the 4th of August 1917 he embarked in Melbourne for his adventure, disembarking in Glasgow some two months later. He finally arrived in France in January 1918 and was taken on strength as one of the 10th Reinforcements to the 50th Battalion. For some short three months he served with the Battalion before falling in the assault on Villers-Bretonneux. His service record shows nothing of great significance. He appears to have been a somewhat unassuming character, only of a
slight build and with a limited education. A country boy loved by many but expecting of little. I understand his family, especially his father, took the loss very badly.

Despite the return of his effects – which were modest and only extended to a few personal items – I understand the family refused to believe he was lost, something I understand was common for those who suffered such a loss. Indeed the Red Cross records show that later in 1918 a returned friend stated to the family that Roy had only been “wounded but not seriously” and hence a flurry of letter resulted to affirm the facts. Sadly, his loss was confirmed and what I can only assume was a friend and a fellow member of the 10th reinforcement wrote: “he was C Company. On night of 24/25 April during our attack at Villers Bretonneux, was killed outright by shell. I saw him lying on the field, but did not stop to examine him, as things were too warm. I did not see it actually happen, Know nothing of burial, came from South Australia” 3676 LCPL E. C Miinns.

I am told that his parents mourned his loss until the day they died. His father was said to be a broken man. His photo in uniform remained always displayed on the polished sideboard in a bowl of fresh rose petals and his young brother always carried the burden of trying to live up to his brother's memory. His name is etched on the National War Memorial in Adelaide, and in the memorials in the SA country towns of Glencoe, Millicent and Mt Gambier. His name also appears on the Wall of Honour at the Australian National Memorial at Villers Bretonneux as one of those who has no known grave.

I mention Roy as he was just one of many thousands of ordinary Aussie boys who served in the Battalions of the AIF. He was merely one of the 720 from the 50th Battalion who made the supreme sacrifice. But he was my wife’s Grand Uncle, my motherin-law’s uncle and her father’s older brother.
Today we do honour to Roy and all those who served in the 50th Battalion. Some made the supreme sacrifice but all paid a terrible price.
May you all Rest in Peace.
Lest We Forget.
Doug Strain - President 10th Battalion AIF Association 13/8/2013