Henry Albert BLACKWELL


BLACKWELL, Henry Albert

Service Number: 535
Enlisted: 23 October 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 9th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Jamestown, South Australia, 26 December 1890
Home Town: Jamestown, Northern Areas, South Australia
Schooling: Mannanarie and Jamestown State Schools, South Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, At sea, Gallipoli, Turkey, Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Turkey, 29 May 1915, aged 24 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing
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World War 1 Service

23 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Morphettville, South Australia
12 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 535, 9th Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
12 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 535, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Armadale, Melbourne
29 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 535, 9th Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

Henry Albert (Albert) Blackwell

Albert’s mother, Alice was the fourth of George and Jane Cummings’ six children. At the age of 19 she was the owner of 303 acres of land in the Hundred of Cavenagh. Within 3 years she had married John Matthew Blackwell and had her first child that same year, subsequently having four children. Henry Albert (Albert) was her third son born on Boxing Day, 1890. Sadly the second son, Thomas Matthew Ernest died almost 13 years after Albert’s birth. Alice’s married life was certainly a challenge. Sadly it appears her husband, John Matthew Blackwell was a petty thief and not a strong family man as within three years of their youngest child, Alice Ethel (Ethel) being born in 1893, and Albert barely five years old, John Matthew was involved in a number of thefts and had deserted his young family.
Court appearances track his involvement starting in 1896, stealing clothes in Burra, then riotous behaviour at Port Adelaide. By 1898 he was serving a three month jail term in Port Adelaide for stealing a suit, then selling it. Just out of jail the same year he was charged with assault at Jamestown. The following year he was charged with failing to provide for his wife and children, the oldest of whom was just 13 and young Ethel about 6. It appears that John went to Broken Hill but later returned to the Adelaide district where he continued to tangle with the law with episodes of house breaking and theft while also co-living under various assumed names of Mr and Mrs Turner, Williams and Reid.
It is evident that Alice was unable to support her family financially, which may have been the reason she was listed as being in The Asylum in Adelaide. (In that era internment was frequently used as a convenient solution for those having insufficient means of support through desertion, or who had such treatable conditions as depression, as well as those with more severe mental conditions.) Certainly none of her children remained in the Yongala area with John and Ethel living in Parkside and Ernest, the middle son, living in Port Augusta.
At this stage, Albert had attempted to find a variety of farm work as a farm labourer at Bute, then as a boundary rider in New South Wales on the Wanaminta Station before heading to the flourishing Broken Hill Mines hoping for more regular work. This did not eventuate so he returned in winter to live a more settled life at Yongala with Alice’s brother and sister in law, Henry and Sarah Cummings on their farm. Henry and Sarah had nine children of their own, although one of their daughters, Ruby, had died of Scarlet fever. Their two oldest boys, Percy and Stan were about Albert’s age.
Sarah was a generous, welcoming woman who enjoyed her children, encouraging them in music, dance as well as making friends welcome in their quite humble and modest farm home, Spring Hills. This may have provided the stability, love and care the young Albert needed, as he recognised his Uncle Henry as his official next of kin when he enlisted. It is evident his father’s abandonment of the family was fractured beyond repair. It may well explain his outburst and ten days punishment three days into his service for ‘Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military discipline and using indecent language at Mess’. Within six weeks Albert was severely wounded and despite being taken on board the Hospital Ship Gascon, died of his wounds.
It appears Alice continued to be in the Adelaide asylum. To then receive news of the death of her son, Albert so early in the war and that his remains would not be returned as he was buried at sea, must have been devastating for her to lose a second son. Alice did eventually live a long life and was publicly grieved by her sister, Louisa Hazelwood.
Tribute written by Stan Cumming’s granddaughter, Kaye Lee



Private H. A. Blackwell, of the 9th Light Horse (1st Reinforcements), who died on June 23, as the result of wounds received in the Dardanelles fighting, was born at Jamestown on December 26, 1890. A brother and sister of the deceased reside at Kenilworrh-road, Parkside, and another brother, Mr. Ernest Blackwell, is a resident of Port Augusta. Private Blackwell was educated at Jamestown and Mannanarie schools, and was first employed on a farm at Bute. Later he was boundary riding on Wanaminta station, New South Wales, and when the war broke out he was employed in the Broken Hill mines. He then came to the Yongala district and lived for three months on a farm with his uncle (Mr. Henry Cummings). While there he enlisted." - from the Adelaide Advertiser 24 Jun 1915

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Rootswell ID: I308539 Birth Record 26 Dec 1890 in Jamestown, South Australia

Father: John Matthew BLACKWELL b: Abt 1865
Mother: Alice Mary CUMMINGS b: 4 Nov 1864 in Farrell Flat, South Australia

Uncle:    Harry Cummings, Yongala, SA

Eldest brother:  J G Blackwell, Tennant St, Fullarton Estate, Adelaide, SA

On enlisting Henry was 24 yrs 10 mths old; single; 5' 4.5" tall; fresh complexion; blue eyes;
brown hair; Church of England;

23/10/1914      enlisted at Morphettville, SA
                       as a Private in 9th Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron

12/2/1915        embarked from Port of Melbourne, VIC, onboard HMAT A26 Armadale

29/5/1915        admitted to HS Gascon with gun shot wound to both legs,
                       received in action on Gallipoli Peninsula

29/5/1915        died of wounds at sea, Gallipoli, Turkey

buried at sea:   5 miles off Gaba Tepe
                       by Reverand Lee Warner

No known grave

Henry's name is commemorated on Panel 8, The Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey

Henry is commemorated on Panel 7 of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

Medals:           1914-15 Star (25336), British War Meda (9017)l, Victory Medal (8973)
                      Memorial Plaque and Scroll (319885)

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan, 26/4/2016.  Lest we forget.

Thank you to Kaye Bottrall, Jamestown, SA for her information.