Arthur Albert MEARS MM

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MEARS, Arthur Albert

Service Number: 466
Enlisted: 29 August 1914, Pontville, Tasmania
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 12th Infantry Battalion
Born: South Bridgewater, Granton, Tasmania, Australia., 12 September 1888
Home Town: Gormanston, West Coast, Tasmania
Schooling: Bridgewater State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Miner
Died: Illness-cardiac syncope [ heart complications following surgery. ], Queen's Hospital Sidcup, Kent, United Kingdom, 7 March 2019, aged 130 years
Cemetery: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Pirbright, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
IV I 6
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bridgewater State School HR, Hobart Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

29 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 466, 12th Infantry Battalion, Pontville, Tasmania
20 Oct 1914: Involvement Private, SN 466, 12th Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1914: Embarked Private, SN 466, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Hobart
1 Oct 1916: Honoured Military Medal, 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62 Date: 19 April 1917

Help us honour Arthur Albert Mears's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Arthur Alfred Mears (born Ernest Arthur Albert Mears) was the sixth child of Alfred Thomas Mears and Mary Ann Askey of Granton, Tasmania. He was a 27-year-old miner and still living in Tasmania when he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in August 1914. Two of Arthur’s brothers, Leslie and Clarence, also enlisted with the AIF.

4540 Pte Clarence William MEARS, 12th Bn, killed in action, 11 May 1917.

3800 Driver Leslie George MEARS, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 3 March 1919.

Previous military service
Served for 1 year 10 months in the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery; purchased discharge.
Enlistment date-19 August 1914
Place of enlistment-Pontville, Tasmania
Unit name-12th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number-23/29/1

Unit embarked from Hobart, Tasmania, on board Transport A2 Geelong on 20 October 1914-Age at embarkation-27.

Arthur served with the 12th Battalion throughout the war; first in Gallipoli, where he was temporarily transferred to the Brigade Headquarters, and then in France after re-joining his battalion. In October 1916, Arthur was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field.’

In May 1917, Arthur was hospitalised for gunshot wounds to the left buttock and shrapnel wound to the right hip. Although the wound was serious enough for him to be sent to the No. 6 Australian General Hospital, he returned to his unit two weeks later.

Arthur’s second wounding in September 1917 was more serious as he suffered a gunshot wound to the left jaw that resulted in the loss of his chin and mandible. Arthur was eventually transferred to the Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, England in October 1917 for treatment.

Pioneering plastic surgery was performed at Sidcup, where Dr Harold Gillies developed the first skin grafting and plastic surgery techniques to treat the World War One soldiers left wounded with severe facial disfigurements.  Arthur’s father was told by telegram in October 1917 that he was ‘improving’ and by November 1917 he was pronounced ‘out of danger.’

Arthur continued his treatment at Sidcup for the whole of the next year, although he does not appear to have been staying permanently at the hospital as he was granted leave for short periods in between being admitted to the hospital. His father was sent telegrams stating that he was ‘improving.’

Despite his lengthy treatment, Arthur died on 7 March 1919 from cardiac syncope after an operation to graft part of his rib onto his face. He was buried in the Australian Military Burial Ground, Brookwood with full military honours, but unfortunately none of his family was able to attend.  They were however sent a brief description of the proceedings.

Arthur’s brother Clarence William also died from wounds in 1917, but fortunately Leslie returned to Australia in 1919.

Information about Arthur Mears was provided by the Museum of Melbourne.  Arthur Mears is a subject in the exhibition WW1 Love and Sorrow at Melbourne Museum.

 

Private Arthur Mears' medical notes (PDF)

Medical diagrams for Private Mears (PDF)

[These images are reproduced with permission of the Royal Australasia College of Surgeons.]

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Military Medal

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62-Date: 19 April 1917

Deaths Mar 1919   Mears Arthur A 30 Bromley 2a 1017.

[The age, 30, stated on death registration may be incorrect.]

Commemorated on Bridgewater State School Roll of Honour, Bridgewater, Tasmania and on the on the Bexley Roll of Honour in England.
 

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