John Thomson ARNOT


ARNOT, John Thomson

Service Number: 5967
Enlisted: 19 February 1916, Auburn, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 13th Infantry Battalion
Born: Aberdeen, Scotland, 1 April 1891
Home Town: Lidcombe, Auburn, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Plumber
Died: Killed in Action, Hebuterne, France, 28 March 1918, aged 26 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

19 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5967, 13th Infantry Battalion, Auburn, New South Wales
22 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5967, 13th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 5967, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wiltshire, Sydney
28 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5967, 13th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Private John Thomson Arnot, No. 5967. 13th Bn. A.I.F.
28th March, 1918. Aged 27. Son of Eliza Stuart (formerly Arnot) and the late John Arnot; husband of Helen I. Arnot or 23 Normanby Road, Auburn, New South Wales. Born at Aberdeen, Scotland.

John Thomson Arnot died on March 28th, 1918 near the cemetery at Hebuterne. Witness accounts say he died from shrapnel to the head. He was buried where he fell and a cross put on the grave. His effects were taken to be sent home to his grieving wife (He was married 3 weeks before embarkation). Correspondence tells the family, that they were unable to locate his grave later on and his personal effects were lost when the ship taking them back to Australia was sunk. To add to this unfortunate situation, because John Arnot was charged with being AWOL after being hospitalised for trench foot, his family was, for some time, denied a pension and it was only through pleas from his mother and wife that a pension was granted. 

A letter received by the family on July 6, 1956 requesting information regarding John Arnot's military details reads:

"I am very sorry that I am unable to give the exact location of your late brother's resting place. On his death he was buried in the Field, during the fighting on the Western Front. After the cessation of hostilities, although so many graves were located, the markings on these graves had been obliterated by the fierce fighting that had occurred in the area on several occasions and it was impossible for possible identification to be made.

However, it is known that the late John T. Arnot lies with his comrades who also died in the Somme Valley - it is quite likely that his grave is marked as that of an Unknown Soldier - and his name has been commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, to those whose graves are known only to God. His name appears on Part I of the Memorial and in the Memorial Register the following entry is shown:

"2102 Private John Thompson Arnot, 13th Battalion of Auburn, NSW. A plumber prior to enlisting, he embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Wiltshire (A18) on 22 August 1916. He was killed in action on 28 March 1918 when struck by a shell in a bunker at Hebuterne (near Arras), France, aged 27. He has no known grave and is remembered with honour on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France." - SOURCE (