Francis Levi BURGESS

Badge Number: S6329, Sub Branch: Gawler
S6329

BURGESS, Francis Levi

Service Number: 3112
Enlisted: 5 October 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 3rd Light Horse Regiment
Born: Warnertown, South Australia, 25 November 1889
Home Town: Watervale, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Gardener
Died: Natural Causes, Gawler, South Australia, 5 May 1973, aged 83 years
Cemetery: Willaston General Cemetery, South Australia
19 FF 1. Buried with Wife and Son.
Memorials: Watervale Public School Roll of Honour WW1
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World War 1 Service

5 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3112, 2nd Depot Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
5 Feb 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Clan MacCorquodale, Adelaide
5 Feb 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Base Light Horse, 24/3 Reinforcements Light Horse
12 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, No reason for demotion given.
26 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 1st Light Horse Regiment, Taken on Strength 1st Light Horse Training Regiment from Isolation Camp
24 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Battles of Gaza
24 Apr 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 3rd Light Horse Regiment
2 May 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, AIF Headquarters (Egypt), Taken on Strength from Details - Shellal, Palestine. E.E.F. (Egypt Expeditionary Force)
6 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper
29 Oct 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Esani
31 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Battle of Beersheba
20 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Amman Raid (First)
20 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Es Salt Raid
6 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper
20 Sep 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Rejoined from Rest Camp
28 Sep 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3112, Injured 23rd September 1918. Admitted to Receiving Station on 28th September 1918 in Jericho. Transferred through several Clearing Stations until admission at AGH.
2 Oct 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 10th Australian General Hospital , Transferred to Port Said. Suspected Rheumatic Fever or Malaria. Pathology clear.
11 Nov 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 3rd Light Horse Regiment
12 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal
30 Nov 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, E.E.F. (Egypt Expeditionary Force)
15 May 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HT Orari
4 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 3112, 3rd Light Horse Regiment

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Biography contributed by Belinda Holmes

Born on the 25th of November 1889 in Warnertown, South Australia, Francis Levi Burgess was the son of Francis and Mary Helen (nee Dack) Burgess. Even before the war, Francis and his family were well-known and regarded in the local community, participating in the local horticultural and viticultural scene, particularly ‘pruning matches’. Francis Junior was a member of the Watervale Rifle Club for two years and it would be these skills that would prove invaluable in the years to come.

At 26 years of age, Francis, still single (and slightly balding), enlisted in Adelaide on the 3rd of October 1916. He was appointed to the 24th Reinforcements of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment who were currently encamped at Mitcham, south of Adelaide. After completing his basic kit out and training, Francis embarked as a Lance Corporal on the HMAT Clan Maccorquodale from Outer Harbor on the 5th of February 1917. With him, was his mate, Harold Percival Baker, (3113), from Watervale.

It is not known if anything occurred on the trip over to Egypt, but upon his arrival, Francis’ rank was noted as Trooper. This may have occurred due to a lack of availability for another Lance Corporal. After spending some time in the Isolation camp at Moascar, Francis was Taken on Strength to the 1st Light Horse Regiment for a month, but then transferred back to the intended 3rd Light Horse Regiment on the 24th of April 1917. This was just days after the start of the Second Battle of Gaza which would last for months.

On the 2nd of May 1917, Francis was Taken on Strength from detail and sent to Shellal in Palestine (Egypt Expeditionary Force). After taking a break at the beach in October, Francis was transferred back to the 3rd Light Horse who were based at Esani at the time. From this point, Francis endured the Battle of Beersheba, the Amman Raid, and the Es Salt Raid. With the capture of Gaza, the Turkish position in southern Palestine collapsed. The 3rd Light Horse Regiment participated in the Advance to Jaffa that followed and was then committed to operations to clear and occupy the west bank of the Jordan River.

After these consecutive campaigns, Francis was sent to the Rest Camp at Jerusalem for three weeks. Upon his return to the 3rd Light Horse, the final British offensive of the campaign was launched along the Mediterranean coast on the 19th of September 1918, with the ANZAC Mounted Division taking part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan aimed at Amman. It was during this time that Francis was wounded.

Francis was transferred hurriedly through a series of Receiving and Clearing Hospitals; Jericho, Jerusalem, Kantara, and finally onto the 14th Australian General Hospital in Port Said on the 2nd of October 1918. Francis was still in hospital when Turkey surrendered on the 30th of October 1918.

In November, Francis marched out to the 1st Light Horse Depot in Moascar and then onto the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, arriving on the 29th of November 1918. They embarked for their trip home aboard the HT Orari on the 16th of March 1919, arriving two months later. During this trip, Francis was ill again with influenza and malaria but managed to survive. Francis was discharged from service on the 4th of August 1919.

After the war, Francis and Harold returned to Watervale and both were welcomed with a party at the Foresters Hall. Well over a hundred people were in attendance. He continued to improve his expertise in horticulture. Francis married a local Watervale woman named Doris Jean Hordacre at Penwortham on the 26th of September 1923 and they had two children, Ada and Edward. Later, the family would move south to Gawler. Francis is buried in the Willaston General Cemetery with his wife, Doris and son, Edward.

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