Roy (Royal) COURTNEY MM

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COURTNEY, Roy

Service Number: 1213
Enlisted: 27 April 1915
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd Pioneer Battalion
Born: Launcestion, Tasmania, Australia, April 1891
Home Town: Inveresk, Launceston, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Killed in Service, To Be Determined, Hornsby Military Hospital, Launceston, Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 29 July 2019
Cemetery: Carr Villa Memorial Park, Tasmania
Plot 54 block B2 , Carr Villa General Cemetery, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Launceston Cenotaph
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World War 1 Service

27 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1213, 26th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1213, 26th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1213, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Brisbane
10 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 2nd Pioneer Battalion
24 Dec 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 2nd Pioneer Battalion
25 Feb 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 2nd Pioneer Battalion
14 Mar 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1213, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, GSW to right shoulder and back, left side
15 Oct 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1213, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, Montbrehain, Deep shrapnel wound to head, lived for ~8 months before dying in the Hornsby Military Hospital, Launceston. Was awarded MM for this action.
29 Jul 1919: Involvement Corporal, SN 1213, 2nd Pioneer Battalion
17 Oct 1919: Honoured Military Medal, 'During the attack on BEAUREVOIR Line, north of ST. QUENTIN, on 3rd October, 1918, this N.C.O. had charge of a section of road to be cleared and opened up for advance of Artillery. Despite persistent shell fire and the danger of falling debris from buildings, he cleared the road through the village, allowing the waiting artillery to proceed. His coolness and determination were a fine inspiration to his men until he was severely wounded. This N.C.O. did very gallant work during 3rd/5th October, 1918.' (Battle of Montbrehain)

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

Contributed from Michael Ganey for the Montbrehain Centenary 5/10/2018

Courtney, Roy. Service Number 1213.

Roy was born ‘Royal’ Courtney in 1891 to Isaac John and Elizabeth Alice Courtney in Launceston Tasmania. He had two older brothers and two sisters.

He schooled at Invermay state school and as a young adult spent five years in the 41st Australian Artillery based in Launceston. He was a member of the rowing club and played football for the North Launceston Football club.

He listed himself as a carpenter when he enlisted in Claremont Tasmania on the 27 April 1915 and was assigned to the 26th Battalion. He embarked with the battalion from Brisbane on the HMAT Aeneas on the 29th June 1915 and he landed at Gallipoli with the 26th Battalion on the 12th of September 1915. He served there until the evacuation and then transferred to the newly formed 2nd Pioneer Battalion in March 1916 and then proceeded to France.

In December 1916 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then to Corporal in February 1917. In March 1917 he received serious wounds to his shoulder and back and eventually found himself in hospital back in England.

While in hospital he would have learnt that his older brother, Private William Courtney, was killed in action at Bullecourt on the 11th April while serving with the 13th Battalion. William has no known grave.

Roy’s wounds took some time to heal and he was not able to rejoin the battalion until the 23rd June 1918.

He was recommended for a Military Medal for actions at Beaurevoir.

‘During the attack on Beaurevoir line North of St Quentin on the 3rd October 1918, this NCO had charge of a section of road to be cleared and opened up for advance of the artillery. Despite persistent shell-fire and danger of falling debris from buildings, he cleared the road through the village, allowing the awaiting artillery to proceed. His coolness and determination were a fine inspiration to his men until he was severely wounded.’ His Military Medal was noted in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 119 dated 17th October, 1919.

He was in fact severely wounded again at Montbrehain on the 5th 1918. He received a penetrating shrapnel wound to the head which left him paralysed on the left side of his body. He was operated on in France to remove bony debris and shell fragments and not all of the shrapnel and bone fragments could be removed. He was finally taken to England in December where they tried to graft a rib bone to his skull.

He was finally evacuated back to the Hornsby Military Hospital in Launceston Tasmania by March 1919. He suffered headaches bouts of fitting and unconsciousness and his condition slowly worsened until he died at the hospital on the 29th July 1919. On the 7th July 1919 he had been ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ by General Rawlinson. It would seem unlikely if Roy ever knew this.

His family placed a thank-you message in the Launceston Examiner on the 10th August 1919.

Mr. and Mrs. Courtney and family desire to tender their heartfelt thanks to all kind friends for expressions of sympathy, letters and cards od condolence, and floral tributes received in their recent sad bereavement.  They wish to specially mention Lieut. Colonel Harrap, North Esk Rowing club, and Railway band, for their assistance.

The family also placed an ‘In Memoriam’ notice in the Examiner on the 29th July 1920.

On Active Service.

COURTNEY. – In sad and loving memory of our dear son and brother, Corporal Roy Courtney, who died at Hornsey Hospital on the 29th July, 1919, from wounds received in France.

 

Calmly sleep our darling loved one,

Pain no more shall mark your brow;

All your toil is o’er forever,

You are resting happy now.

A soldier released from duty,

Who stands at his maker’s Throne.

 

Private Royal Courtney lies in the Carr Villa Cemetery in plot 54 block B2 in Launceston.

He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Holy Trinity Church in Launceston.

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