James PITCEATHLY MM

PITCEATHLY, James

Service Number: 2827
Enlisted: 28 January 1916, Toowoomba, Queensland
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 1st Machine Gun Company
Born: Dunning, Scotland, February 1897
Home Town: Pechey, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Memorials: Crows Nest (Qld) War Memorial, Toowoomba Roll of Honour WW1
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World War 1 Service

28 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2827, Toowoomba, Queensland
9 Jul 1916: Involvement Private, SN 2827, 2nd Light Horse Regiment
9 Jul 1916: Embarked Private, SN 2827, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, RMS Mongolia, Sydney
22 Dec 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 2827, 1st Machine Gun Company

James Pitceathly

James Pitceathly was born on the 18th February 1897 in Dunning, Perthshire, Scotland, to Alexander and Annie Gray Pitceathly (nee Moodie). He was the second youngest son, born into a family that would end up with 6 girls and 5 boys (4 of whom would end up enlisting in service in WW1).

On 27 May 1901 he was enrolled in schooling in Dunning. His father's occupation was listed as Labourer and the family were living at "Perth Road" at the time of his enrolment (Perthshire, Scotland, School Registers of Admissions and Withdrawals, 1869-1902). The 1901 Scottish Census has the family living at "Perth Road North Side (going East)" in Dunning.

Alexander and Annie must have dreamed of giving their children a better life, and chose to emigrate to Australia, arriving in Brisbane on the 21 July 1910, aboard the "Waipara" (Register of Immigrants Brisbane 1885 to 1917). By all accounts, the voyage aboard the "Waipara" (of the Queensland line of steamers) was something the immigrants would remember well, with concerts held weekly (including vocal and instrumental mustic, the piano, violin, bagpipes, melodian and mandolin), along with regular dances and games for the children (ARRIVAL OF IMMIGRANTS BY THE WAIPARA. (1910, July 22). The Brisbane Courier, p. 5).

The Pitceathly family settled in the Darling Downs area soon after arriving. At the time of his enlistment (28/01/1916), the Pitceathly family were living at Pechey, on the Crows Nest [railway] line, north of Toowoomba. James was 18 years and 11 months when he enlisted and nominated his occupation as "Farmer". James was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed in at 126 lbs [approx 57 kg], had blue eyes, black hair and a 'fresh' complexion. He noted his religion as "Presbyterian" on the attestation papers and his service number was 2827.

The First World War Embarkation Rolls have him down as a Private with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment - 19th Reinforcements. He and his regiment embarked from Sydney on the 9th July 1916, aboard the "RMS Mongolia". As a private in a 'cavalry' regiment, he was also known as a "Trooper". He and his regiment arrived in the Moascar Isolation Camp (North Egypt) on 12 August 1916. He was transferred to the 1st Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron on 10 September 1916, after the 1st Light Horse had been redeployed with it parent brigade to join the forces defending the Suez Canal and before it rejoined the Allied advance across the Sinai in November 1916. James seemed to suffer illness during June-July 1917, with several stints in hospital in Fukhari and Gamli, Shellal and El Arish. He joined a training squadron in October 1917 at Rafa Beach, went on to Richon and the 1st Australian Machine Gun Squadron.on 4 jan 1918 he proceeded to the School of Instruction at Zeitoun. After another bout of illness, passed 1st Class Vickers Machine Gunner at School of Instruction.

He was recommended for a Military Medal on the 14 July 1918 at Madhbeh, "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, he being the No. 1 of his Gun on VYSE Post continuously served the Gun for 6 hours and by quickly changing his positions engaged the enemy in the front and rear when his post was surrounded and thus caused the enemy many casualties, and by his coolness and daring, materially assisted the post to hold out against overwhelming odds until the Counter Attack re-established the line." He was awarded the medal on 25 July 1918 and it was published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 17 June 1919 (page 1013, position 105).

After further time in Egypt and the Palestine area, he embarked 28 March 1919 per HT Malwa at Port Said for Taranto and was granted one months furlough in the UK.

After returning to Australia at the end of the war, James took a course at Gatton and his services were retained as assistant dairy instructor. He married Beatrice Sarah Eastgate on the 17 December 1924. His elder brother Robert and his younger brother Peter, also married "Eastgate girls". The Pitceathly and Eastgate families had a strong connection.

He then went to Kingaroy factory of the Maryborough Co-op Dairy Assocation Ltd as foreman butter maker, leaving that position to enter the Commonweath service. In August 1943 he was working with the Commonwealth dairy produce grading staff at Brisbane, and was appointed to Launceston, Tasmania. He had spent 15 years in Brisbane judging, and assisting to judge, the nutter and cheese sections of the Royal National Association's exhibition (the "Ekka" to a Brisbanite). For some years he also judged competitions held by the Institute of Dairy Factory Managers and Secretaries (Mr. PITCEATHLY'S PROMOTION (1943, August 12). Queensland Country Life, p. 6).

By 1968 he was living at Church Street, Graceville (Brisbane) and his occupation was listed in the Electoral Roll as 'dairy officer'. His wife passed away in 1974 when James was in his late 70's and he went to live at "Hopetoun Home" a retirement village and nursing home at Cliveden Avenue, Corinda.

James passed away on 4 July 1987, at the age of 90 years. He was cremated and he is commemorated by a plaque at Mt Thompson Crematorium, Holland Park.









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