James Scouler COLES


COLES, James Scouler

Service Number: 11871
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 4th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Diapur near Nhill, Victoria, 1 July 1888
Home Town: Collingwood, Yarra, Victoria
Schooling: Geelong College, Victoria
Occupation: Partner in General Store
Died: Killed in action, Pozieres, France, 10 August 1916, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-la Boisselle
Plot I, Row A, Grave 20 Headstone Inscription "GOD BLESS A BRAVE BOY FROM HIS FATHER"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, The Geelong College WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

28 Jan 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 11871, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, Pozières
28 Jan 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 11871, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, HMAT Themistocles, Melbourne
10 Aug 1916: Involvement Sergeant, SN 11871, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, Pozières

Gnr James Scoular Coles

From AWM

11871 Gunner (Gnr) James Scoular Coles. A storekeeper from Collingwood, Victoria, prior to enlistment, Gnr Coles embarked with the rank of Acting Sergeant with the 3rd Reinforcements, 4th Field Artillery Brigade from Melbourne on HMAT Themistocles on 28 January 1916. Later transferring to the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column he was promoted to Sergeant and was killed in action on 10 August 1916. He was subsequently buried in the Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers la Boisselle, France. His brother, 393 Corporal David Henry Coles died of wounds on 20 October 1917. A third brother, 75 Second Lieutenant Arthur William Coles also served overseas.

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Biography contributed by Daryl Jones

COLES, James Scouler (1888-1916)

James Scouler Coles was born on 1 July 1888 at Diapur, near Nhill, the son of George Coles and his wife, Elizabeth Malcolm Scouler.

His father had become a substantial retailer, operating stores at Geelong, Nhill, Diapur, and St James in Victoria, and Wilmot in Tasmania. James was enrolled at Geelong College from 1901 until 1903, and matriculated in seven subjects in his final year. In 1902, he was noted as earning second prize in French in the Middle fourth class.

At the time of his enlistment (No 11871) during World War I at Collingwood on 7 August 1915, he was in partnership with his brothers, Arthur and George in a general store at 288 Smith Street, Collingwood.

James embarked for Egypt with 3rd Reinforcement Group on HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916, then proceeded to France in March.

He was killed in action at Pozieres on 10 August 1916, and his grave was marked with a cross bearing The Geelong College motto, Sic Itur Ad Astra. He was buried in Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers la Boiselle — Grave I.A.20.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 8 Division attacked Ovillers and the 34 Division, La Boisselle. The villages were not captured, but ground was won between them and to the south of La Boisselle. On 4 July, the 19 (Western) Division cleared La Boisselle and on 7 July the 12 (Eastern) and 25 Divisions gained part of Ovillers, the village being cleared by the 48(South Midland) Division on 17 July. The two villages were lost during the German advance in March 1918, but they were retaken on the following 24 August by the 38 (Welsh) Division. Plot I of the Cemetery was made by fighting units after 10 July 1916 and closed in September when it contained the graves of ninety-five soldiers, mainly Australian. It was called variously Gordon (or Gordon's) Dump Cemetery or Sausage Valley Cemetery, from the name given to the broad, shallow valley that runs down from it to Becourt. The remainder of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the 1916 battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery. There are now 1,676 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. In this cemetery 1,053 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to thirty-four casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

His brothers, Arthur William Coles (1892-1982) and David Henry Coles (1894-1917) were also educated at Geelong College.

Source : The Geelong College - http://gnet.geelongcollege.vic.edu.au:8080/wiki/COLES-James-Scoular-1888-1916.ashx?HL=coles