George Francis Jack NEEDHAM

Poppy

NEEDHAM, George Francis Jack

Service Number: 27571
Enlisted: 27 January 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Second Class Air Mechanic
Last Unit: Australian Flying Corps (AFC)
Born: Burra, South Australia, 14 May 1889
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College
Occupation: Accountant (Adelaide Union Bank)
Died: Accidental (Injuries), Leighterton, England, 23 April 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Leighterton Church Cemetery
War Grave with Private Memorial - Inscription: There is no death
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial (South Australia), Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, St. Peter's College Fallen HB, University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll Mitchell Bldg*, Unley Arch*, Unley HB01 Town Hall*
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World War 1 Service

27 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 27571, Adelaide, South Australia
20 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 27571, 14th Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Borda, Melbourne
20 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 27571, 14th Field Artillery Brigade , Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Apr 1918: Involvement Australian Flying Corps, Second Class Air Mechanic, SN 27571, Australian Flying Corps (AFC)

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Son of Richard John Needham (d. 1911) and Emma Plumb Needham (nee Leach d. 1916)

Biography

From the book Fallen Saints 

George Francis Jack Needham was born at Burra, South Australia and later with his brother, Charles attended St Peter's College. After leaving school, he was employed as an accountant with the Union Bank of Australia in Adelaide and served four months in the Engineer Corps at Broken Hill.

He enlisted in Adelaide on 27 January 1916 but was transferred to Maribyrnong Victoria where he joined the 6th quota of reinforcements for 14th Field Artillery Brigade; he sailed from Melbourne aboard HMAT Borda on 20 October.

He disembarked at Plymouth on 1 January and at the end of the month was admitted to 2 Auxiliary Hospital, Southall England suffering with Influenza but was discharged fit for duty on 2 February and marched out to No 3 Camp, Lark Hill.

His accountancy skills were not wasted and on 13 February 1917, he was attached to Administrative HQ, London for duty with the Commonwealth Bank at Depots within the U.K.  He was attached to the Australian Flying Corps on 30 September and on 4 October was appointed a cadet and marched in to the flying school at Reading the following day. 

In January 1918, he was transferred to the 5th Training Squadron at Shawbury for elementary aviation training and then marched in to 25th Wing Headquarters for higher level training on 25 March; he was posted to 7th Training Squadron.

At 10.30 a.m., on 23 April 1918 while flying solo during a training flight at Leighterton Aerodrome, Gloucestershire, his aircraft went into a spin at 2,000 feet. He attempted to wrestle the machine out of the spin but with the right upper rear main spar broken away and with part of the wing missing the plane slammed into the ground.

According to statements made at the Inquiry by the first on the scene Sergeant Ridgwell and the Medical Officer, 27571 Air Mechanic Class II, George Francis Jack Needham, Australian Flying Corps was killed on impact; he was 28 years of age. [i]

George’s brother, Gunner Charles Needham (OS) was killed in action on 4 October 1917.



[i] National Archives of Australia: B 2455, Needham George Francis Jack / 7994575, viewed 3 January 2006

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