Robert John PENNY

Badge Number: 1359, Sub Branch: State

PENNY, Robert John

Service Number: 4552
Enlisted: 3 September 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Canterbury Victoria, September 1897
Home Town: Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Motor Mechanic
Died: Natural Causes, Morphettville, South Australia, 4 July 1978
Cemetery: North Brighton Cemetery, S.A.
Memorials: Mount Gambier RSL Pictorial Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

3 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4552, 10th Infantry Battalion
7 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4552, 10th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Miltiades embarkation_ship_number: A28 public_note: ''
23 Jul 1916: Involvement Private, SN 4552, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
Date unknown: Wounded SN 4552, 10th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Robert John Penny


Robert John Penny was born in September of 1897, in Canterbury, Victoria. At some stage, before he turned 18 he and his family moved from Canterbury, Victoria to Commercial Street, Mount Gambier, South Australia. Before joining the AIF, Penny worked as a Motor Mechanic. Penny did not have a wife and he was a Methodist, which is a denomination of Christianity.

On the 3rd of September 1915, Robert John Penny went to his local enlisting depot in Adelaide and officially joined the AIF. When he enlisted his medical statistics were, Age: 18, Height: 5 foot 6 ½ inches or 168 cm, Weight: 159 lbs or 72 kg, Chest: 35½ inches/38½ inches, eyes: blue, hair: brown. Penny was enlisted as a Private and joined the 10th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement. His service number was 4552.

On the 7th of February 1916, Penny boarded the HMAT A28 Miltiades for Suez, Egypt to go there to train as a soldier. Less than a month after disembarking at Suez Penny caught some type of disease and went straight to hospital in Tel-El-Kabir on the 9th of April 1916. This started a string of illnesses that Penny had throughout the war because his immune system was damaged so he kept on getting sick over and over. Later he was transferred to a more substantial hospital in Ras-El-Tin. When Penny was discharged from hospital on the 4th of May 1916 he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion. He then travelled to Alexandria and set sail for England on the 13th of June 1916.

On the 23rd of June 1916, Penny disembarked at Plymouth in England. Penny was then transferred back to the 10th Battalion and went to France to join the battle. After spending about a year in the battle Penny got sick with a disease that is unknown and he went to the field hospital on the 13th of July 1917. This disease then continued to get worse and he was transferred to Rouen Hospital, then to Wandsworth Hospital in England and finally to Dartford hospital where he was diagnosed with Trench Fever. Some of the symptoms of Trench Fever include high fever, severe headaches, pain when moving your eyes and muscle soreness. 

After just over a month in Dartford Penny was discharged from hospital on the 22nd of August 1917 and he returned to France and into the 10th Battalion again. The 11th of August 1918 was a bad day for Penny as he was ‘Wounded in Action.’ Penny had been shot twice in the forearm and thigh. He was transferred straight to B’ham Hospital in England for treatment. Penny then got sick again and this time with tonsillitis, so he transferred back to England again into hospital. Robert John Penny was discharged on the 30th of January 1919, after his 3 years and 299 days of duty in the AIF. He returned to Adelaide and lived the rest of his life there. Penny was awarded three medals for his time and effort in the war. These medals were: The Star medal, the British War medal and the Victory medal. Penny died on the 4th of July 1978, he has a plaque in the South Australian Garden of Remembrance and will forever be remembered.


How Robert John Penny showed the ANZAC Spirit:

Robert John Penny showed great ANZAC spirit through his time in the AIF in many ways. The first way he showed the ANZAC spirit was just simply by enlisting. There was no pressure on people to enlist into the war, but Penny saw that his country needed him. So, he stood up to fight and protect Australia, even though he may die in doing so. The second way Penny showed the ANZAC spirit was through mateship, as every soldier needed to show mateship to stay alive because the battalion needed to work together. The final and most impressive way Penny showed the ANZAC spirit was through his determination and commitment to the AIF. Penny got sick or wounded multiple times and went to 13 different hospitals in the space of 3 years. Penny chose every time to go back ad fight not to give up and go back home.