James Oliver (Oliver) CASS


CASS, James Oliver

Service Number: 2282
Enlisted: 28 June 1916, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Pioneer Battalion
Born: Whixley, Yorkshire, England, 12 September 1890
Home Town: Pyap, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Archbishop Holgates School
Occupation: Engineer
Died: Died of wounds, France, 7 September 1918, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery, Picardie
Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Loxton Soldiers Memorial Rotunda
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World War 1 Service

28 Jun 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2282, Melbourne, Victoria
18 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2282, 3rd Pioneer Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2282, 3rd Pioneer Battalion, HMAT Karroo, Melbourne
6 Jul 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2282, 3rd Pioneer Battalion, Shrapnel wound (left leg)
6 Sep 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2282, 3rd Pioneer Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days", 2nd occasion


James Oliver Cass's story was written and recorded by his great great nephew Josh Loxton as part of the ANZAC Spirit prize 2017.
Please use the link below to read the full story of James Oliver Cass


Private James Oliver CASS

James Oliver Cass was the third child born to James Joseph and Annie Louisa Cass on September 12th 1890 in Whixley, Yorkshire England.
Known as Oliver he was educated at Archbishop Holgates School in York. After finishing his education he bagan as a mechanical engineering apprentice with his younger brother John at Mann's Patent Steam Cart & Wagon Company, Leeds.
After completting his apprenticeship in 1912 he travelled to Chile where he worked for the Chilian Eastern Central Railway Company to drive and take charge of steam tractors stationed at Lebu, Chile.
Returning to England in 1913 his family decided by mid 1914 to immigrate to Australia. With his parents, elder sister and four other brothers they settled at Pyap West in the Loxton District. They bought 1887 acres of uncleared farming land and began to establish their farm.
War was declared soon after they settled so by December, Oliver's elder brother had enlisted. On June 28th 1916 Oliver also enlisted, he joined the 3rd Pioneers Battalion, 3rd Reinforcements in Victoria. The 3rd Pioneers was an engineering battalion which obviously was chosen due to his past engineering experience.
Oliver left Australia on HMAT A10 "Karroo" on September 18th 1916 from Melbourne arriving in Plymouth, England on November 15th 1916. Staying for the next four months in England until February 28th 1917 when he was sent to France. In France his unit was positioned on the France-Belgium border where he participated in general maintenance, construction and upkeep of the trenches and weaponry. On Jun 6th 1917 whilst preparing for the battle of Messines, Oliver was wounded by a piece of shrapnel in his left leg. He was shipped back to England to recover at Lewisham Hospital. He spent the next 6 months in England.
Oliver had a fiancee in Yorkshire, Carrie Kirby. In letters back home she is often mentioned as in this to his mother on his birthday Sept 12th 1917 "I hope by my next birthday I shall be home in SA & if possible have Carrie with me".
On December 19th he was considered fit for service and was returned to France. Back in France he performed general maintenance and assisted in the repairing of a railway track. He was not involved in much action until June 918 when he was transported to Villers-Bretonneux where his unit provided support.
On August 8th 1918 the start of the 100 day offensive, the retreating Germans blew up the Chippily Bridge. The 3rd Pioneers were given the task to fix the bridge which they achieved in 6 days. Tools and materials were used from nearby German dumps.
On September 2nd 1918 Oliver's brother Bouchier lost his life at the battle of Mont St Quentin. Just three days later while advancing towards Buire Wood outpost near Tincourt, Oliver was sprayed with machine gun fire. He was taken to the dressing station and died on September 7th at 41st Casualty Clearing Station. He was 27 years old.
He is buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

James Oliver CASS was born in 1890 in Whixley, Yorkshire, England

His parents were James Joseph CASS and Annie Louisa BURTON who married in England in 1886

One of his brothers, Charles Bouchier CASS (SN 934) was killed in action on 2nd September, 1918 & another brother John CASS (SN 754) returned to Australia in 1919 and later served in WW2