Service Number: 631
Enlisted: 19 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Overland Corner, South Australia, Australia, 3 December 1889
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Cleaner
Died: Died of Wounds received in Action at Gallipoli, 12 May 1915, Ras-El-Tin Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt, 22 May 1915, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery
Grave Reference: Row M. Grave 154,
Memorials: Adelaide Holy Trinity Church WW1 Honour Board 1, Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Port Augusta RSL Hall Circular Honour Roll, Soldiers' Memorial Band Rotunda
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 631, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 631, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
12 May 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, 631, Admitted into Ras-el-Tin hospital, Alexandria Hospital on 22-05-1915 wounded, received in action. Died of wounds on the 22-05-1915

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

Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Story of John Featherstone 

John Featherstone fought in World War I (1914-1918). His parents are Samuel Featherstone and Florence Eliza nee Collis. He was born on the 3rd of December 1889 at Overland Corner, South Australia. He lived in 220 Currie Street, Adelaide, South Australia. He went to a public school in South Australia and attended the Church of England. He worked as a cleaner. When going into the war Featherstone was 24 years and 7 months, 5 feet and 7 inches, a weight of 145 lbs with a chest measurement of 34 inches. His complexion was dark with dark hair as well as light brown eyes.

His previous military service was in the 1907-1908 D Company Infantry, Citizen Military Forces, Pt Pirie, SA which he served for 1 year. On the 19th of August in 1914 Featherstone went to Morphettville in South Australia to serve in the world’s first world war. He was 24 years of age at the time of enlistment. His rank of enlistment was private and served for the Australian Imperial Force in the 10th Battalion. His AWM embarkation roll number was 23/27/1 and regimental number was 631. He then went for training in Morphettville at Morphettville camp until his embarkation date which was on the 20th of October, 1914. Along with getting embarked Featherstone got a patch that was divided into purple over light blue to indicate that he was in the 10th Infantry Battalion. His unit embarked from Outer Harbour, Adelaide, South Australia, on board Transport ‘A11 Ascanius.’ This ship was a transport and steam passenger ship for troops. Captain F. Chrimes Master was sailing and they left the harbour by 4.30pm. The total number of people on board was 1004 which included 31 officers, 969 men, 2 sister nurses, 1 YMC representative and 1 man in access of establishment. They arrived at Fremantle Wharf on the 25th of October at 8 am on a Sunday. On the 31st of October, they left the wharf at noon and dropped anchor from 1pm – 2pm. At 7.15am on the 9th of November something operated and intercepted a message from Cocos Island it was an S.O.S. One of the ships reached Sydney streamed at 11.15am the following message was received: “EMDEN BEACHED AND DONE FOR.” There was great enthusiasm + cheering on board when this was communicated to their troops. This is because HMAS Sydney announced their first victory in the Royal Australian Navy. The 10th Battalion were currently on the Indian Ocean on board ‘A11 Ascanius’ when they collided with troopship “Shropshire” with the result that a hole 26 feet long was made on the portside forward bow of the “Ascanius”. The collision alarm was therefore sounded. All, including Featherstone, remained in their troop decks until ordered to assemble on boat deck. They stood on deck in perfect order and silence until 5.30am, by which hour it had been ascertained that the ship was not taking water. On Sunday, 6th of December they reached Alexandria, Egypt and commenced unloading. They disembarked the next day and trained in Cairo. They left half the battalion under Major Harcombe. They started moving at 8.30am, left by rail at 5.30pm, travelled by electric tram car from Cairo to Mena and reached camp at Mena about 4am. They stayed at the Mena Camp until the 28th of February in 1915 at noon. At 8am the next day they went on board under Lieutenant Col Lee. They reached Lemnos on Thursday the 4th. They reached Dardanelles, Turkey by the 23rd on Friday. On the 9th of May, 1915 at Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey the Australians launched an offensive on the enemy lines at Quinn’s Post, but the Ottoman counter attack erased any gains. On the 25th of April the 3rd Brigade (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Infantry Battalion) was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 and so was the first ashore at around 4:30 am. Men were exhausted, and their nerves were shattered after 96 hours of continuous fighting in their trenches with no sleep. Every night before dark the enemy shelled their trenches + fired heavy bursts of rifle fire.

After the continuous fighting in Gallipoli, Featherstone wounded on the 12th of May in 1915. He was then transferred to Egypt and admitted into Ras-el-Tin hospital in Alexandria. John Featherstone died of wounds in Ras-el-Tin hospital, Alexandria. He was then buried at Chatby War Memorial Cemetery (Row M, Grave No. 154), Egypt. A train memorial was held for John Featherstone and many other fellow soldiers.


Anzac Qualities

Anzac started on the 25th of April in 1915 and was reaffirmed in eight months fighting on Gallipoli. Sadly, there was no military victory, but Australia showed some great qualities and the soldiers represented our country well. Some examples are courage, endurance, initiative, discipline and mateship. All these qualities can be known as the Anzac Spirit. John Featherstone showed great courage by going into war, not only did he fight for his country, but he died for his country. The best meaning of Anzac can be found in what Charles Bean’s wrote:

"a powerful driving sensation that can only be felt. It is a feeling that burns in the heart of every Australian and New Zealand countryman. A warm, tender, fiery, even melancholy ideal that nurtures intense patriotism in the innermost soul of everybody." 

He writes that Anzac is not about being on the battlefield and not something that can be seen but rather a feeling in you. As the battle against Gallipoli went on the Anzac Spirit progressed and could be worn as a badge of honour. This can be by simply, helping out a friend no matter of what the consequences are and knowing that they would do the same if your positions were reversed. The Anzac characteristics are what make up Australia’s nation. It can be seen every day in, everyday Australians, suburban neighbour hoods, sporting fields, places of Academia and Science. The Anzac Spirit is still alive to this day and should be carried on through generations and generations.



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National Archives of Australia n.d., Featherstone, J, accessed 10 March 2019, <>.

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