John William MEREDITH

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MEREDITH, John William

Service Number: 3543
Enlisted: 23 August 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Machine Gun Company
Born: Anglesea, Wales, June 1892
Home Town: Naracoorte, Naracoorte and Lucindale, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Racehorse owner/trainer
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 20 September 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Frances War Memorial, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Naracoorte War Memorial, Naracoorte and District Town Hall Honour Board WW1
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World War 1 Service

23 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3543, Adelaide, South Australia
12 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3543, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3543, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Adelaide
20 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3543, 3rd Machine Gun Company, Menin Road

John William Meredith

Born 1892 at Castellior, Llansadwrn, near Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales.
Son of William Meredith, Master Mariner, and Mary Anne Williams (nee Chambers).
His father, born 1850 at Caernarfon, Wales, was a mariner's son and became a sailor from 1861, becoming a certificated Mate 1875 and Master 1878.
Mary died at sea August 1894 and was interred a few days later at Llandegfan churchyard, Anglesey, where her mother had been buried in 1883; and her father was also interred there in 1897.
William Meredith as master of the "Annie Thomas" set sail from Cardiff for Acapulco, but the vessel was reported missing as of 30 July 1899. This left John William Meredith orphaned at the age of about 7.

John William Meredith was later educated at the County School, Llangefni, Anglesey and appears on the school WW1 Memorial as "John W.Meredith, Llangefni, Ypres 1917". The use of Llangefni in this context suggests that perhaps he was resident locally during the time he was educated - Llangefni is the county town, in the centre of Anglesey, and some miles away from the other localities named in this narrative.

In April 1911 he enlisted at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, as Private 10554 in the Welsh Regiment. He described himself as a collier and gave his age as 18 years, signing a Regular Army 12-year contract. After training he joined the regiment's 2nd Battalion; but after less than two years service (all in the British Isles) he bought himself out for £18 and was discharged in February 1913. In passing he acquired a 3rd Class Army Certificate of Education, which should have been simple enough for someone with a secondary school education like his. His next of kin was apparently an uncle Owen Chambers of Naseby, Northamptonshire.

According to a relative, he emigrated to Australia that same year, and by 1915 had settled at Frances, near Naracoorte, S.Australia as a "Racehorse owner / trainer". On enlistment at Adelaide he gave his age as 23 and next of kin a "friend" - actually his uncle Owen.

After his death in action in 1917, Owen duly received his medals and memorial plaque, but his will seems to have been made in favour of a cousin, Suna (?) Chambers of Oundle, Northamptonshire. Another relative, Mr. H.J.Chambers of Breeze Hill, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, was also mentioned.

On Anglesey he is commemorated on his school war memorial in Llangefni; and on the Menai Bridge (Llandysilio) war memorial on Church Island in the Menai Straits, as "Private J.W.Meredith 10th Australian I.F. 20th Sept. 1917 Flanders". On the family grave marker in Llandegfan churchyard he appears below his parents' details as "Also son of the above No. 3543A Pte. J.W.Meredith 10th Battalion Australian Infantry, killed in action at Glencorse Wood near Ypres, France (sic) Sept. 20th 1917 aged 26". Also listed as "Meredith, J.W., Castellior" on the Llansadwrn parish war memorial.
Just across the Menai Straits in Bangor, Gwynedd, his name "Meredith J.W." is carved on the Llansadwrn, Anglesey panel of the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch which commemorates the Great War dead of the seven counties of North Wales.

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