James Henshaw COMFORT


COMFORT, James Henshaw

Service Number: 11567
Enlisted: 24 September 1915, Victoria Barracks, NSW
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column
Born: Taringa, Queensland, Australia, 8 December 1891
Home Town: Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Coorparoo State School
Occupation: Ironmonger
Died: Nephritis, Ureamia, Illness (Nephrites ureanic), France, 23 November 1916, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Etaples Military Cemetery
XX. B. 11A.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Coorparoo Roll of Honor, Coorparoo Shire Memorial Gates (Greenslopes), Coorparoo State School Honour Roll, Gulgong and Mudgee District Roll of Honor, Mudgee District Fallen Soldiers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

24 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 11567, 2nd Division Artillery, Victoria Barracks, NSW
15 Jan 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 11567, 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column
15 Jan 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 11567, 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, RMS Osterley, Sydney


James Henshaw Comfort #11567 2nd Division Ammunition Column

Three sons of Edith and Frank Comfort enlisted for the Great War within one month of each other. Although two of the brothers were living and working in New South Wales at the time of their enlistment, all three gave their parents’ address; “Yalcogreen”, Bennetts Road, Coorparoo as their home address. It would appear from the Roll of Honour cards completed by their mother that all three boys may have attended Coorparoo State School. James began school at Coorparoo in 1898.

The middle brother, James, was born at Taringa but at the time of his enlistment on 24th September 1915 was working as an ironmonger at Maddeley and Co of Hurstville in Sydney. James was drafted into the 2nd Division Ammunition Column as a gunner and after a period of training in Sydney, embarked on the “Osterley” on 15th January. He arrived in Marseilles via Egypt on 25th March 1916.

The role of the Ammunition Column was to transport both artillery and small arms ammunition from a rail head to divisional and brigade ammunition dumps by horse drawn wagons. The Column was attached to the 2nd Infantry Division and was initially deployed around the Armentieres sector before moving south for the Somme offensives of July 1916. After the Somme campaigns, the 2nd Division moved north again to Flanders for a period of rest and training.

Whilst in camp in Flanders, James reported to the brigade Casualty Clearing Station with diarrhoea. He was eventually sent back to the Australian Hospital at Etaples suffering in all likelihood from typhoid. Whilst convalescing, he was admitted again to hospital with a nasal obstruction and then again to hospital on 11th November as N.Y.D. (Not Yet Diagnosed). On the 23rd November his records show him suffering from Dyspnoea (shortness of breath) and he was listed as dangerously ill. Eventually James was diagnosed with Nephrites Ureanic (a serious infection more commonly known as trench fever) from which he died at 2:45pm that same day. James was buried in the Military Cemetery at Etaples. He was 23 years old.

It would appear that by the time of James’ death, his father was deceased as all correspondence was addressed to his mother. As a widow, she was granted a war pension of 35 shillings a fortnight (the equivalent of half the normal rate of pay for a soldier serving overseas) and received a funeral benefit from the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society. James’ mother as late as 1943 engaged solicitors in London to wind up the estate of James, and his brother Robert.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of William Edward COMFORT and Edith Margaret nee FREDERICK, of Bennetts Rd., Coorparoo, Brisbane, Queensland.


Mr. Braddley, of Hurstville, has received a cablegram stating that Gunner Henshaw Comfort had died from illness. Gunner Comfort was 26 years old, and was well known and  highly respected in Mudgee, where he had been assistant in Messrs. W. Kellett and Sons, Ltd., ironmongery department for over four years. 
Gunner Henshaw Comfort enlisted at Mudgee in August, 1915, and was taken ill in France on October 8 of this year. The date of death is not known. Gunner Henshaw Comfort was a native of Brisbane, and his parents are residing there at the present time. Deceased was the first soldier to leave the employment of Messrs. W. Kellett and Sons, Ltd. His death is greatly regretted by a large circle of friends, to whom and to the bereaved parents the "Guardian" tenders its sincere sympathy.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Paine, of Mount Frome, and Miss Maude Paine, were close personal friends of Gunner Henshaw Comfort, and to them especially his death will be a great  blow.