George Morris (aka KERR) JONAS

JONAS, George Morris (aka KERR)

Service Numbers: 2837, 2837B
Enlisted: 19 June 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Lance Sergeant
Last Unit: 46th Infantry Battalion
Born: Collingwood, Victoria, October 1887
Home Town: Northcote, Darebin, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Motor driver (post war Shop assistant at Foy & Gibson)
Died: Died of Illness (war service related), Caulfield, Victoria, 5 September 1925
Cemetery: Strathallan Cemetery, Victoria
Section D1
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World War 1 Service

19 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2837, Melbourne, Victoria
10 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2837, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of Victoria, Melbourne
10 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2837, 7th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
31 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 46th Infantry Battalion
26 May 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 46th Infantry Battalion
17 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, SN 2837, 46th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, Gassed
26 Aug 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, SN 2837B, 46th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days", 2nd occasion - Gassed
2 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, SN 2837B, 46th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour George Morris (aka KERR) Jonas's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Biological Father George Jonas and (m. 1884) Mother Ellen Jonas (nee Hooper).
1915 lived at 10 Shaftesbury Parade, Northcote, Victoria

Foster-Father James Spence Kerr
(b. 18/05/1869 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland - d. 2/6/1927 (58) Preston, VIC) and
Foster-Mother Fannie Amelia Kerr (nee Nicholls)
(b. 1872 Avoca, VIC - d. 21/02/1932 (60) Preston, VIC)
both are buried with George at Strathallan Cemetery (Preston Cemetery).

Brother in service:
1670 Private William Frederick Horace Jonas - 51st Infantry Battalion
(previously 4257 10th Reinf. 23rd Inf. Btn - failed to re-embark Fremantle)

Born 1893
Occupation: Bootmaker;  Lived at 10 Shaftesbury Parade, Northcote, VIC
05/07/1915  enlisted into WWI
18/07/1916  embarked Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A48 Seang Bee
                   as a Private with 51st Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
Returned to Australia
1923 - married Gertrude Orchard

George's siblings:
Ernest (b.1895)
Amy (b.1886)
Elsie Myrtle Emmaline Elsie (b.1899) - m. 1920 Alfred Edward William LAWRY
Henry (b. 1885 Colllingwood - d. 1893 Fitzroy North, VIC).

Foster Brother:
Private 1967 Albert James Kerr - 46th Infantry Battalion
Born 1893 in Yea, VIC
15/01/1915  enlisted into WWI
17/04/1915  embarked Port of Melbourne, VIC onboard HMAT A20 Hororata
                   as a Private with 14th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
14/12/1918  returned to Australia
1944            passed away in Melbourne, VIC (50 years of age)

Foster siblings:
Olive Isabell Kerr   b. 1896 in Essendon, VIC - d. ___ Fitzroy, VIC
William Victor Kerr  b. 1898 in Clifton Hill, VIC - d. 1969, Reservoir, VIC
Edgarita Jean Kerr  b. 1901 in Northcote, VIC - d. ___, Reservoir, VIC
Effie Nicholls Kerr   b. 1902 in Preston, VIC - d. ___, Preston, VIC

George was described on enlisting as 27 years 8 months of age; 5' 3" tall; 8 stone 9 lbs;
fresh complexion; blue eyes; light brown hair; Methodist

19/06/1915   enlisted into WWI in Melbourne, VIC

19/07/1915   appointed to 9th Reinf. 7th Battalion, Seymour Camp

10/09/1915   embarked Port of Melbourne, VIC onboard HMAT A16 Star of Victoria
                    as a Private with 7th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement

08/01/1916   admitted to Overseas Base, Cairo, Egypt

20/01/1916   taken on strength, 7th Infantry Battalion, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt

22/01/1916   suffered from Influenza, admitted 2nd Field Ambulance
23/01/1916   transferred to 2nd Australian General Hospital, Cairo, Egypt
26/01/1916   transferred to 2nd Auxillary Hospital, Cairo
03/02/1916   transferred to Australian Convalescent Depot, Helouan
07/03/1916   discharged to duty
09/03/1916   rejoined battalion at Serapeum

31/03/1916   transferred to the 46th Infantry Battalion

02/06/1916   proceeded to join British Expeditionary Forces, ex Alexandria
08/06/1916   disembarked into Marseilles, France

26/05/1917   promoted to Lance Corporal

02/07/1917   promoted to Corporal

17/10/1917   gassed in action
18/10/1917   admitted to 15th Casualty Clearing Station
21/10/1917   transferred to 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen, France
26/10/1917   transferred to 2nd Convalescent Depot, Rouen, France
28/12/1917   transferred to 11th Convalescent Depot, Rouen, France
05/03/1918   still in Convalescent Depot, Rouen, France
28/03/1918   discharged to Base Depot, Buchy, France
19/04/1918   rejoined 46th Battalion

26/08/1918   promoted to Lance Sergeant

26/08/1918   2nd occassion - shell gassed in action in France
                    admitted 12th Australian Field Ambulance
29/08/1918   transferred to 12th General Hospital, Rouen, France
30/08/1918   invalided to England, ex France
31/08/1918   admitted to 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford
02/10/1918   transferred to 3rd Auxillary Hospital, Darford, England
13/11/1918   transferred to No.2 Command Depot, Weymouth, England
07/12/1918   marched in to No.1 Command Depot, Sutton Veny, England
15/01/1919   left England for return to Australia onboard 'HT City of Exeter'
02/03/1919   disembarked into Melbourne, VIC

02/06/1919   discharged from service

Medals:        1914/15 Star (7250); British War medal (222340) & Victory medal (22100)

05/09/1925   George died of ongoing health issues (related to gassing in service)
                    at Caulfield Military Hospital

buried in:      Preston Public Cemetery
                    Plot: Strathallan Cemetery, Section D1.
*** with his Foster parents James Spence Kerr and Fannie Amelia Kerr (nee Nicholls)***

He was buried with full military honours at the Strathallan Cemetery, the original cemetery in Preston which became part of the larger Preston cemetery in the same year.

The Age, Monday, 7 September 1925. (Trove)
JONAS -On the 5th September, at Caulfield Military Hospital, George Morris, loved son of Ellen and the late George Jonas, of 10 Shaftesbury Parade, Northcote, loving brother of Mabel (Mrs Gilbert), William (Preston), Ernest, and Elsie (Mrs A Lawry), aged 37 years 10 months.
Home at last. Thy will be done.

The Age, Monday, 7 September 1925. (Trove)
JONAS (KERR) -On the 5th September, at Caulfield Military Hospital, effects of gas, George Morris (Morrie), late 46th Battn., dearly loved foster son of Mr and Mrs Jas. S Kerr, "Leith," Wood Street, Preston, and loving foster brother of Bert (returned), Olive, Will, Rita (Mrs Cole), Effie and Fannie, late Foy and Gibson's.
Father, in thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now our loved one sleeping.

George's death was reported in "the Leader" under the heading "Funeral Of An Anzac" after he died at the Caulfield Military Hospital from symptoms attributed to him being severely gassed in 1917 and again in 1918, records revealing he spent over six months in hospital in France and England on the second occasion before being repatriated to Australia.

"The Leader" did the case of researchers no favours suggesting he was "Sergeant Morry Jones" and extensive searches of AWM and National Archives revealed no one on a matching name. Alternative to "Jones" finally revealed "Jonas" in Victorian Death Records.  There are also discrepancies between archives and the Leader report.

His attestation papers show his father (also George) as next-of-kin at 1 Shaftesbury Parade Northcote and medals were distributed to a G. Jonas at this address in 1921, but "the Leader" at the time of his death suggested his nearest relatives were his foster parents, Mr and Mrs Kerr of Wood Street, Preston.

There are no deaths of a George or Elizabeth Jonas recorded between 1888 and 1920, even if they were deceased, "foster parents" seems odd given he was around 31 years of age when he arrived back in Australia.

His attestation also suggested he was a Motor Driver, the Leader report showing as an assistant at Foy and Gibson's department store, although this of course could have been post - war

Submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  17/02/2017.  Lest we forget.