Conrad Arthur John FORD


FORD, Conrad Arthur John

Service Number: 6072
Enlisted: 3 July 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 18th Infantry Battalion
Born: Berrima, New South Wales, 1894
Home Town: Granville, Parramatta, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, Bullecourt, France, 4 May 1917
Cemetery: Grevillers British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Granville St Mark's Anglican Church Memorial Windows, Granville War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

3 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6072, Sydney, New South Wales
25 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6072, 18th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6072, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Sydney
3 May 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6072, 18th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (Second), GSW (legs)

First Fleet cousin descendants at the Western Front.

Conrad Arthur Ford was born in 1894 in Berrima, NSW, the son of Frederick Ford and his wife Florence, nee Hines. His cousin, Leonard Irvine Hines was born in Berrima in 1896, son of Florence’s brother Thomas Uridge Hines and his wife Mary Anne (nee Patten).
Both of these boys were the 3rd great grandsons of First Fleet Marine Private James Williams and Neptune convict, Rachel Watkins, via their daughter Anne and her husband Thomas Howard, via their daughter Sarah and her husband William Hines, via their son Thomas Hines and his wife, Sarah Webb. Both were killed in France.
Their parents had been raised in the Southern highlands of NSW and were part of a close-knit extended family. However, times were changing and both families moved when the boys were young. The old family property Hiramdene, at the foot of the Gib, was not large enough to sustain the next generation of Hines children and their offspring.
Conrad’s family consisted of three sisters and two brothers, with two further sisters dying in infancy. His family moved to Granville, along with many other branches of the extended family, as well as his grandparents, in around 1896.
Leonard had six brothers and a sister, with another sister having died in her infancy. His father, Thomas, taking his eldest son Norman with him, had moved to Northern NSW, where they both worked to raise the funds to establish their own farm. By 1906, Leornard’s family was reunited and living on their own farm at Jackson’s Creek, near Murwillumbah.
Despite the distance, this generation of Hines descendants remained in close contact, with letters still surviving telling of the joy of occasional visits to each other.
In 1913, cruel fate visited Conrad’s family. Father, Frederick, despite struggling with ill health, often worked away from the family for lengthy periods at Burrinjuck where he was involved in the development of the dam. In early 1913, Con’s eldest brother, George aged 22, also went to work there, however three weeks later, George drowned when a raft capsized and he fell into the water. This was a sad time for the family, and their grief was compounded when father, Fred, died of heart failure at Burrinjuck, only 9 weeks later.
The “In Memorium” entries in the newspapers in early 1915, show how keenly the family were still feeling the losses of Frederick and George. Mother, Florence, must have watched with anxiety, the growing political tensions in Europe in the following year, Britain’s declaration of War on Germany and the early involvement of the Australian forces, culminating in the Gallipoli landing in 1915.
But it was only a matter of time before the war would affect both families.
On 27th August 1915, Leonard enlisted at Brisbane and was taken on 13th reinforcements, 9th Battalion. He embarked for France, via Egypt, on HMAT Kyara, 3rd January, 1916, arriving at Alexandria on 29th March. On 25th May, 1916, he joined his Battalion in France at Etaples Clearing Station and on 29th July, aged 20, he was killed at Pozieres. Witnesses advised that Leonard was killed by machine gun fire, at about 12.30 in the afternoon in the charge against German lines. He was buried on 30th July, with a funeral conducted by Reverend W E Dexter.
In the meantime, Conrad had enlisted at the Sydney Showground on 3rd June, 1916, giving his next of kin as Miss Annie Bell. He was sent to Dubbo for two months of training, returning to Liverpool on 21st August. He must have used his pre-embarkation leave to marry Annie, for her name is changed on his records to Ford and her address, to the same address as his mother.
Conrad embarked with the 18th Battalion “A” reinforcements on the ship Ascanius initially to Devonport, Tasmania and then arrived in England at Folkstone, on 20th March 1917. Like all troops heading for the front, the 18th Battalion reinforcements were routed through Etaples, in France for final training and assignment, before joining their Battalions. On 7th April, Conrad joined the 18th Battalion at the Hindenberg Line where he survived the first battle of Bullecourt.
Like Leonard’s, Conrad’s time at the front was also short lived. He was wounded in action on 3rd May, 1917, sustaining gunshot wounds to his legs and transferred to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station at Grevilliers, near Bapaume. Conrad died from his wounds on the following day and was buried in the Grevilliers Medical Cemetery with a service conducted by the Reverend T.C.Waters.
Conrad’s wife, Annie, received a cable on 19 May, 1917, to advise that her husband had died at the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station on 4th May, 1917,of wounds received in action. Despite several letters from Annie seeking further information, this was unable to be provided until October, 1917, when Annie finally received advice regarding the issue of Conrad’s death certificate and the process for claiming a pension.
Annie continued to live with Conrad’s mother Florence for some years, then disappeared from the definitive records, hopefully to find happiness elsewhere.
Leonard and Conrad were the beloved cousins of my grandmother, Lillian Mytle May Wallace and they were honoured by her, when their names were joined at the birth of her next born son, christened Leonard Conrad.

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"6072 Private Conrad Arthur John Ford, 18th Battalion of Granville, NSW. A labourer prior to enlisting, he embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Ascanius (A11) on 25 October 1916. He was wounded in action on 3 May 1917 during the second battle of Bullecourt, France, and died at the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, France on 4 May 1917, aged 22. He is buried in the Grevillers British Cemetery, France." - SOURCE (