Edward DEACON

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DEACON, Edward

Service Number: 2627
Enlisted: 19 July 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England, 15 July 1891
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Bear Street, Wotton-under-Edge and Fosdene School,Charlton, London
Occupation: Electrician
Died: Killed in Action, France, 5 August 1916, aged 25 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Unley Arch of Remembrance, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

19 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, South Australia
27 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2627, 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2627, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Benalla, Adelaide

Edward Deacon


Edward Deacon was the second child and eldest son of the family. His father was James Thomas Silas Deacon and his mother Eliza Hunt; his sibling were- his older sister Myra (Mrs Edwin Peake), his younger sister Freda (Mrs J Lang) and his young brother- James Hunt; Edward was born in 1891 in the Market Town of Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire and attended school there until the family moved to London when Edward was just a young boy. Here, after living for a while in Raeburn Street, West Brixton and Victoria Road,Charlton they settled at 30 Halstow Rd, Westcombe Park. In London Edward attended Fosdene school and later was trained and became an electrician.

In 1912 the family boarded The Ballarat’ at Tilbury Docks and sailed to Adelaide to be with the eldest daughter who had come out to Adelaide in 1910 as a nanny to the Birks family; later she married the son of one of Adelaide’s Premiers. Here the family lived first at 27 Albert Street, Goodwood, then at 354 Cross Road, Clarence Park

Edward’s occupation on arrival in Australia was given as a Fitter and Turner Improver and later he is noted as being an Electrical Engineer. From the S. A. Railway Appointments Book covering the years 1898-1917 we learn that he was employed as an Electrical Wireman and S.T. Depot at Thebarton on 1 Jan 1914; this was the Electrical Workshop of the S. A. Railways. Here, he was very popular with his workmates as seen from his In Memoriam notices. His hobbies included coins and stamps and he was also known to be very musical..

Perhaps it was the death of his 20 year old Wotton friend and cousin Walther Wathen in the war that decided Edward to enlist- but on 19 July, 1915, 4 days after his 24th birthday Edward enlisted and was accepted into the 27th battalion of the AIF at Unley.

After training at the Mitcham Camp at Colonel Light Gardens Edward embarked for Service overseas on 27 Oct 1915 on the ship, the H M A T Benalla as a Pte in AIF 27th Battalion. 6th Reinforcements.

In Egypt Edward did trenching training, was stationed at Heliopolis and was hospitalized in Abbassia on 2 Feb 1916 with mumps, before going out to France.

From his Service Record we read that 21 March 1916 his Unit boarded the H. T. Oriana in Alexandria and arrived in Marseilles 5 days later; 3 months later his Unit proceeded to join the 2nd Divisional Base in Etaples and 2 weeks after that they moved to join the 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion; on 15 July 1916 he rejoined the 27th Battalion.

In the early morning of 5 August 1916, at Pozières, a heavy German counter attack was launched. This was turned back with considerable cost, and Edward was one of the 40 killed. He was buried but the location of his grave is unknown.

His name is listed on: Australian National Memorial in the Villers-Bretonneux War Memorial and Cemetery: The National War Memorial, Canberra; The South Australian National War Memorial, Adelaide; Memorial Arch, Unley, SA; Honour Roll, Unley City Hall, SA; Honour Roll Adelaide Railway Station, SA; War Memorial, Wotton under Edge, Honour Roll, Wotton under Edge Town Hall, The Tabernacle Chapel’s Sunday School Honour Board Wotton under Edge GLS, ENG. His 4 page story appears in the book held in the Commonwealth War Museum - First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge, by Bill Griffiths.

The above was collated by his niece- Mrs Dalece Pope, nee Deacon


++++++ EDWARD DEACON 1891-1916 ++++

“Think of what a man should be; he was that and more."

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Biography contributed by Carla Didone

Edward Deacon had quite an eventful childhood, as he was constantly moving from place to place. He was born on the 10th of July in 1888 and of the second child and oldest son of his parents James Thomas and Eliza Deacon. His birth and schooling took place in a market town near Bristol called Wooton-under-Edge, Gloucester. Ever since he was little Edward had a fascination with stamps, coins and was also known to be very musical. Edward was a part of a large family with his older sister Myra, his younger sister Freda and his younger brother James. The Deacon family then later relocated to London and lived on Raeburn Street, West Brixton then Victoria Road, Charlton then settled at 30 Halstow Rd, Westcombe Park. Edward then decided he had to travel to London to pursue his schooling at Fosdene school, then later lead to his training of an electrician. A lot of movement for this family, but this wasn’t the last of their moving, their journey to Australia was about to begin.

In 1910, Edward’s older sister Myra travelled to Adelaide as the Birks family hired her as a nanny. However, this then led to marriage in which Myra married one of Adelaide’s premiers. Although this was a happy and joyful time for the Deacon family, many arguments and dilemmas were caused, which resulted in the Deacon family having to move to Adelaide in 1912 by bordering The Ballarat’ at Tilbury Docks and sailed to a new life. They primarily lived at 27 Albert Street, Goodwood, then at 354 Cross Road, Clarence Park. Even though Edward had moved countries, his occupation persisted. On his arrival, he was employed as a Fitter and Turner Improver then later became an Electrical Engineer. On the 1st of January 1914, he was employed as an electrical wireman at Thebarton. From his Memoriam notices, it is recognised that he was very popular with his workmates and was a fun person to be around. 

Edward supposedly enlisted because of the death of his 20-year-old cousin called Walther in the war, which left a spark in Edward’s heart, which was a contributing reason why he enlisted. Nine days after his 24th birthday on the 19th of July 1915, Edward enlisted in Keswick, South Australia. He was accepted into the 27th battalion of the AIF at Unley. He practised his training at the Mitcham Camp at Colonel Light Gardens, and from there, the real war life began. He embarked on the ship called HMAT Benalla as a Prohibited Transaction Exemption in the AIF 27th Battalion for service overseas on the 27th of October 1915. Edward’s time in Egypt where he was stationed at Heliopolis, was not the best of times as he was involved in trench training, which was said to be the worst type of training as you could imagine. However, the worst factor of his times in Egypt was the fact that he was hospitalised in Abbassia with the mumps on the 2nd of February before his journey to France began.

Edward’s unit moved quite a lot throughout the war. His unit boarded the H.T. Oriana in Alexandria on the 21st of March then five days later arrived in Marseilles, France. Then three months later Edwards’s unit proceeded to join the second Divisional Base in Etaples, France. The unit then continued on their journey by moving to join the 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion two weeks later. Then finally his unit rejoined with the 27th Battalion on the 15th of July in 1916.

On the 5th of August 1916, Edward’s life was about to end. This was the day a heavy German counterattack was launched at Pozières and resulted in 40 soldiers from the Allies killed in action. Edward was one of the 40 people killed in battle. He is commemorated in Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, but the location of his grave is unknown.

Edward is well remembered with his name being listed on the Australian National Memorial in the Villers-Bretonneux War Memorial: The National War Memorial, Canberra; The South Australian National War Memorial, Adelaide; Memorial Arch, Unley, SA; Honour Roll, Unley City Hall, SA; Honour Roll Adelaide Railway Station, SA; War Memorial, Wotton under Edge, Honour Roll, Wotton under Edge Town Hall, The Tabernacle Chapel’s Sunday School Honour Board Wotton under Edge GLS, ENG. Edward also has a four-page story written about him in a book held in the Commonwealth War Museum. The book is called ‘First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge' by Bill Griffiths. 

Edward Deacon passed with love and pride in his heart and is remembered through generations of his family today. He earnt the 1914-15 Star Medal, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The 25-year-old, Edward Deacon is a man marked in history and died with Australia’s pride written in his heart. 




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