James Carlyle Wells AFFLECK

AFFLECK, James Carlyle Wells

Service Number: 282
Enlisted: 20 August 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Woodend, Victoria, 1891
Home Town: Broken Hill, Broken Hill Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer/Cab Driver
Died: Result of War Gas, Palmyra, WA, 10 January 1928
Cemetery: Fremantle Cemetery, W.A.
Presbyterian Mon EE 0306
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World War 1 Service

20 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, Adelaide, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
1 May 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, GSW (back)
26 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 50th Infantry Battalion
2 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 50th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, 2nd occasion - GSW (knee)
5 Apr 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 50th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, 3rd occasion - GSW (wrist)
18 Jan 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 282, 50th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Mannat Bains

James Carlyle Wells Affleck, was born in 1891 in Woodend, Victoria. His father was John Affleck, was an engine fitter but died before James’s enlistment. He was the brother of William Affleck, beloved husband to Mary Ann Affleck and a fond father to Norman J Affleck. James worked as a labourer and later a cab driver. He was experienced as a School Cadet and, prior to his enlistment, was once convicted by civil power for three months of furious driving.

Affleck enlisted in the AIF on 20th August, 1914 in Adelaide, South Australia. At the time of enlistment, he was 23 years old, 5 foot six inches tall with fair hair and blue eyes and scars under his jaw. Affleck was admitted and assigned the rank of Private and the service number 282.

On 20th October, 1914, Affleck embarked with the 10th Battalion, G Company, aboard HMAT Ascanius. He then boarded the ship Ionian to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.). At this time, the M.E.F. commanded all the allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. Affleck's battalion, as a result, were dispatched to Gallipoli on 25th April, 1915. During the attack, James was severely wounded from a gunshot wound in the back and in result was taken to the hospital immediately for treatment.

On 15th May 1915, Affleck was transferred to England for duty.

A year later, on 26th February, 1916, James was transferred to the 50th Battalion, 13th Brigade, part of the 4th Division. His division was dubbed as ‘The Barrier Battalion’ and filled with majority of men from South Australia. The Battalion immediately proceeded to Egypt.

On 5th June, 1916, Affleck and his battalion embarked to join the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F) in Marseilles, France.

In the coming year, on 13th April, 1918, Affleck was severely wounded in action and was immediately transferred to City London Military Hospital in England. He suffered from gunshot wound in right thigh and wrist, thus losing a lot of blood. Seven days later, James was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. Due to the injuries he was placed on furlough from 4th to 18th May, 1918. Soon after, on 2 May 1918, Affleck was charged with being temporarily absent from service from 11am on 18th May till 10am on 26th May, 1918, reasons unknown. The next month, he embarked for France, evidently for his final post before returning to his home country, Australia.

On 28th August 1918, James disembarked at Folkestone, England upon return from duty in France. Two days later, he was transferred to the A.I.F Headquarters to return to Australia.

15th September 1918, was that auspicious day when James returned to Australia after serving for 4 years and 152 days for the A.I.F in World War 1.

Prior to his return, James had met a widow named Mary Ann Douglason while on duty in Scotland. On 14th May, 1918, he married Mary Ann on 93 Commercial Street, Dundee, Scotland. James was 27-years-old at the time while Mary Ann was 26 and worked as a linen weaver. The two also had a son who went by the name Norman J Affleck. It is unknown whether James returned to Scotland to live with Mary Ann after returning to Australia from War.

James received three medals for his service. He achieved the 1914-1915 Star for his dedicated service from 1914-15. On 11th May, 1921, he received the British War Medal, a medal instituted by King George V in 1919 to mark the end of war. The Medal was awarded to soldiers from the Navy, Army and Mercantile Marine. Under the witness of his son, James received the Victory Medal on 8th August, 1922. The Victory Medal commemorated the win of Allied Forces over Central Powers and was awarded to the soldiers that served between 5th August 1914 to 11th November 1918.

James Carlyle Wells Affleck passed away on 10th January, 1928, aged 37. The cause of his death is unclear however in a letter written by his son to the Repatriation Department, Norman mentions that his father had died in 1928 as a result of War Gas. Therefore, one can assume that Affleck had died because of the after effects of inhailing poison gas. He was buried at the Fremantle Cemetery in Palmyra, Western Australia. There is a small gravestone on his grave that memorializes his beloved wife, Mary Ann Affleck who died in 1992, living to be a century old.  

James Carlyle Wells Affleck, died as an honourable soldier of World War 1. He and many soldiers like him survived the war but also witnessed the horrors of warfare that were bound to haunt them. It is these soldiers of World War 1 that helped gain Australia an important position in history. James C.W Affleck and every other fallen and survivor who served for His Majesty in the war shall always be remembered, as their names will continue to glory in the pages of history.

Lest We Forget.