Wilson Charles Cooper KEARNS


KEARNS, Wilson Charles Cooper

Service Number: 2574
Enlisted: 10 August 1915
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Innamincka, South Australia, 26 July 1887
Home Town: Kodj Kodjin, Trayning, Western Australia
Schooling: East Adelaide School, St Peters, South Australia
Occupation: Machinist
Died: Died of wounds, France, 2 April 1917, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Plot II, Row D, Grave No. 35.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

10 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2574, 28th Infantry Battalion
2 Nov 1915: Involvement SN 2574, 28th Infantry Battalion
2 Nov 1915: Embarked SN 2574, 28th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Fremantle
3 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
20 Feb 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Date unknown: Involvement SN 2574, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Kearns was born in Innamincka, South Australia, but his parents both died when he just three years of age. He had three sisters and two brothers. It appears from letters, that he was raised by his sister, Laura, who was 11 years older than her young brother.

Kearns was well known on the gold fields as a miner, member of the Miners Union and worked last on the South Kalgurli mine. He was a noted athlete and also fought as a heavyweight boxer for Goldfields title, in 1911, going down to “Kid George”.

According to witnesses in his Red Cross file Kearns was a member of the Battalion scouts. He was known to his mates as ‘Peter’ and was tall and thin, a very good runner, and from the Boulder area of Western Australia. He was seen badly hit in the abdomen when scouting on the 2 April 1917. He was taken to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, near Pozieres, but died of wounds the same day.

Laura eventually received her brother’s medals and effects, as the medals were earmarked to go to Wilson Kearns’s brother, Howard, who was also on active service with the 28th Battalion.