Forrest William (Fos) USHER

USHER, Forrest William

Service Number: 2674
Enlisted: 12 June 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 58th Infantry Battalion
Born: Essendon, Victoria, 1894
Home Town: Violet Town, Strathbogie, Victoria
Schooling: Violet Town State School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Main Ridge, Victoria, 1968
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Memorials: Violet Town Honour Roll, Violet Town Primary School Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

12 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2674, Melbourne, Victoria
26 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2674, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Anchises, Melbourne
26 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2674, 7th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2674, 7th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
21 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 7th Infantry Battalion
26 Jul 1916: Wounded Sergeant, SN 2674, 7th Infantry Battalion, Pozières, GSW (arm, foot, thigh)
11 Oct 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Sergeant, 58th Infantry Battalion
26 Mar 1917: Wounded Sergeant, SN 2674, 58th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, 2nd occasion - GSW (forearm)
12 May 1917: Wounded Sergeant, SN 2674, 58th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (Second), 3rd occasion - Shell wound
8 Mar 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 2674, 58th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Elsa Reuter

USHER Forrest William 2674 SGT
58th Battalion

Forrest William, Fos to his family and friends, was the eldest son of Joseph and Janet (née Turnbull) Usher. He was born in Essendon in 1894 followed by his younger brother John in 1896. Then the family moved to Violet Town where their father Jos, was quoted in Don Chambers book as being a ‘practical tailor . . . producing  suits to order from fifty shillings’. There were two more children, a son Frederick and a daughter Ena born in 1904 and 1907 respectively.

On 12 June 1915 when Fos was 21 he enlisted in Melbourne.  After the usual preliminary training he embarked on HMAT Anchises bound for Egypt. He arrived at Alexandria on 20 November in time to be deployed to 7th Battalion on Gallipoli. After the evacuation of Gallipoli he returned to Alexandria and then sailed to Marseilles.

He en-trained north to be taken on strength by the 58th Battalion, 15th Brigade to take part in the fierce fighting on the battle fields around Fromelles and Pozieres.  During his tour of duty he was promoted to the rank of SGT.

Fos was wounded on three occasions.  The first was on or about 24 July 1916 when he received shrapnel wounds to his right arm, foot and thigh during the Battle of Pozieres. On 28 March the following year near Bapaume he received a gunshot wound to his left forearm. He had just returned to duty at Bullecourt when he sustained multiple compound fractures to his right humerus and radius. He was invalided to hospital in England. When he was well enough he returned to Australia per Hospital Ship No 2. 

Fos was discharged on 08 March the following year as medically unfit.

In 1921 he married Lillian Stephenson and had three sons and a daughter. Their eldest sons, both now deceased served in WW2, Trev in the Army and Mel in the Navy. His grandchildren were always intrigued at how he could swing his lower arm in a complete circle like a propeller, a legacy of having his elbow shot away in 1917.

According to the Electoral Rolls he worked as a clerk, living with his wife and children at 49 Sandringham Street, Sandringham.

In 1966 Lillian died at the age of 67; Forrest died two years later at the age of 74.

They were both cremated at the Springvale Crematorium.

Service Medals:  1914-15 Star, British Service Medal, Victory Medal

Memorials: Main Honour Board, Memorial Hall, Violet Town
                 Violet Town State School Honour Board
                 Copper Plaque affixed to exterior wall, Memorial Hall, Violet Town

Sheila Burnell