Cyril Anderson WATHERSTON

WATHERSTON, Cyril Anderson

Service Number: 418
Enlisted: 29 October 1914, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Lincoln, South Australia, 8 June 1887
Home Town: Port Lincoln, Port Lincoln, South Australia
Schooling: Port Lincoln Public School
Occupation: Labourer (Sydney Harbour Trust)
Died: Killed in Action, Fleurbaix, France, 26 May 1916, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Rue-du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Plot I, Row E, Grave No 26, Rue-Du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Bethune, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Port Lincoln & District Honor Roll WW1, Port Lincoln Garden of Remembrance, Rozelle Sydney Harbour Trust Officers and Employees Pictorial Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

29 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 418, 7th Light Horse Regiment, Liverpool, New South Wales
20 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 418, 7th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Ayrshire, Sydney
20 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 418, 7th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
15 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 418, 7th Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC / Gallipoli
18 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion
26 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, 418, 10th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 418 awm_unit: 10 Battalion awm_rank: Driver awm_died_date: 1916-05-26
Date unknown: Involvement 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour Cyril Anderson WATHERSTON's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Son of James and Isabella WATHERSTON of Port Lincoln SA

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Embarkation Roll ( incorrectly records Surname as Watherson

Cemetery or memorial details: Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army.

Cyril Anderson Watherston was one of four brothers and a cousin from Port Lincoln who enlisted, fought and died in WW 1. One other cousin survived.

The Watherston family was historically associated with Boston Island,  which dominates the seaward side of Port Lincoln's spectacular harbour.  The tragic story of the Watherston family is the most profound story of sacrifice by a single family in the course of Australia's involvement with the Great War of 1914 - 18.   Four brothers and a cousin were to give their lives in the country's name.  All died within the first 18 months of Australia's involvement.

This tragedy was preceded by the loss of both parents in a tragic boating accident prior to the war. Cyril had been rowing his parents out to their cutter so they could cross Boston Harbour to attend church.The dinghy capsized and all three were cast into the water.  He made it to shore but his parents drowned.  His other brothers and sister helped pull the bodies of their parents from the sea that had claimed them.  Theeir older sister raised her other siblings.

Each of the brothers found their way into the Marine and Harbours infrastructure that was a feature of every port of note around Australia's coastline, and it is one of the reasons it took so long for their story to surface.  Because they enlisted in different States, they appear on the Memorials of the State in which they enlisted.

Cyril thus enlisted in Sydney where he was working when the war broke out.  He appears on the pictorial Honour Roll for that organisation.

Cyril Anderson Watherston later transferred to the 10th Battalion, a South Australian unit, in early 1916,  when the AIF was re-organised after the withdrawal from Gallipoli.  They had already lost one brother Frank,  who died of wounds at Mudros on Lemnos Island having been wounded at Gallipoli and evacuated there in July 1915.  Cyril presumably wanted to be closer to his remaining brothers.

However within two months Cyril himself was killed near the village of Fleurbaix in what was known as the "Nursery Sector", during the course of a period of familiarisation of the AIF with trench warfare on the Western Front. Cyril was not the victim of a large scale action but rather of a sporadic incident. Barely two months later the area was to be consumed in the conduct and aftermath of the battle named for the village opposite the Front line  - Fromelles.

Port Lincoln historian Geoffrey 'Lee' Clayton has compiled the story of the Watherstones over a period of 14 years after first noticing two "Dead Men's Pennies" at a deceased Estate auction. He susbequenty tracked down the remainder less one already held elsewhee in the family.  See the link in the sidebar.

See the Relationships tab on Cyril's person page to view the other members of the family.




More to follow.........