HOOD, John

Service Number: 36
Enlisted: 24 August 1914, Maryborough, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Montreal, Canada, 5 July 1880
Home Town: Maryborough, Fraser Coast, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Storekeeper
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World War 1 Service

24 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 36, Maryborough, Queensland
24 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 36, 9th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Omrah embarkation_ship_number: A5 public_note: ''
24 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 36, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Omrah, Brisbane
26 Dec 1914: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 36, 9th Infantry Battalion, "Deserted" in Egypt - not heard from again

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Deserted from the AIF on Boxing Day 1914 in Egypt - never seen again - but not before sending his local newspaper this account of their journey to Egypt...


How our troops are faring on board ship will no doubt be often a matter of interest to the many relatives of the men who are now on the high seas, and perhaps some few details of the every-day occurrence on board together with an outline of any special incident will be appreciated by the many readers of the "Chronicle," who have sons or brothers of friends with the trooos. As is no doubt well known, we called at Melbourne and Albany, having had a very fine trip along the coast of Australia, with very little sea-sickness among the men. The dreaded Bight proved to he a hoax, as far as we were concerned, as there was hardly a ripple to disturb the smooth face of the ocean all the way across. We had an epidemic of influenza, though, which largely detracted from the joys of the trip. On the night we left Albany a very fine concert was given by various officers and men of the force, the Maryborough boys doing their share. The departure from Albany on November 1st was one of the most magnificent sights one could imagine, the ships of all the Australian units steaming from the outer harbour, and forming up into three lines, with the New Zealand ships (10) coming up in the rear. These were 45 ships in all with troops on board, and as one looked along the moving lines, it was hard to realise that we were going to war; it looked more like a parade. To add to this impressiveness, we had an escort of five men-of-war — the Sydney, the Melbourne, the Pyramus, the Minatour (flagship of the China Station), and the Japanese cruiser Ikuba. We had not long left Albany before a mild epidemic of measles broke out. The cause of the epidemic was that at Albany we had taken on board over 100 Victorian troops from the transport Hororata. While they had been on that boat, one of their men had contracted the disease, and some of his comrades caught the infection, and developed on board the Omrah; consequently the ship has had quite a few cases to deal with. There were no serious cases, however, and the disease, had been pretty well stamped out, thanks to having a vigilant medical officer.

The days are much alike on board ship, only an occasional "wireless" relieving the monotony, and these have not always been of a cheerful character. But just before we reached Colombo we had quite an exciting time. We were nine days out from Albany (about twenty miles from Keeling island) on the 9th November, when at 7 o'clock in the morning the news was passed that the Sydney had been detached from the squadron to engage a German warship, which was in the act of destroying the wireless station. Everyone had been on the lookout for the ubiquitous Emden, and it was hoped that the object of the chase would be that slippery craft. So you can imagine our excitement, when about two hours later a message came through from the Sydney that a German warship had been driven ashore and set on fire, and that the Sydney was endeavouring to pick up the crew. At Colombo we had 44 of the prisoners put on board, and there was quite a few slightly wounded (shell splinters) among them. She, the Emden, had had a good run, and the Germans take their defeat with good grace, and while away their time with games, etc. Very few of them can speak English, however, and the present writer has to frequently act as interpreter. They are mostly young fellows, well built, and of perfect physique, and seem a fairly happy lot. As one of them said, "Jemand muss seiner ungluck haben"  (Everyone must have his bad luck), and it is quite on the cards that before the war is ended we shall — or some of us— be in the same position. But we hope not, but if we do have the ill-luck to be taken, we hope they will treat us as well as we are treating them.  We stayed two days at Colombo, but as no one was allowed ashore we only had a look at it from the ship's side, and many of us had to content ourselves with reminiscences of former visits to the "G.O.H." (Grand Oriental Hotel) and the Galle Face, and we intend to pay a visit to each of them on our return trip. We expect to be in Aden to-morrow (25/11/14), and then we shall go on through to the Mediterranean; but where we go to, or what we are going to do, we know no more than our prisoners. The captain of the Emden is a son of the late German Chancellor (von Bulow), and one of the officers is a nephew of the Kaiser. The men say some of their officers were fine men, but that others were particularly bad (mostly the understrappers). One thing is certain; it is a great mistake for our folks to think that these Germans have no heart for the fight, for they are just as keen for their side as we are for ours, judging by those with whom we have come in contact, although they seem friendly enough and show no "dirt" while prisoners. Though, of course, it wouldn't pay them if they did. 

Headquarters, 9th Infantry. 3rd Inf. Brigade, 1st Australian Division, England." - from the Maryborough Chronicle 13 Jan 1915 (