Ernest John (Ernie) UNWIN

UNWIN, Ernest John

Service Number: 6854
Enlisted: 10 May 1917, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 49th Infantry Battalion
Born: London, England, 22 January 1902
Home Town: Paddington, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carter
Died: Natural causes, Mackay, Queensland, Australia, 28 April 1979, aged 77 years
Cemetery: Mount Bassett Cemetery, Mackay, Qld
Section 1, Line T, Plot 49
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World War 1 Service

10 May 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6854, Brisbane, Queensland
14 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6854, 26th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
14 Jun 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6854, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Sydney
29 May 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 49th Infantry Battalion
9 Feb 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 6854, 49th Infantry Battalion

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

Biography contributed by John Edwards

Les McFadzen (Warrant Officer I Rtd, Royal Australian Engineers) writes;

"Uncle Ernie was born in London, England, on the 22nd January 1902, being the second son of William John Unwin and Ellen Jane, nee Sullivan.  His older brother, William Baden Unwin, was born in 1900.  In 1903 the young family emigrated from England to Canada where a third son, Frederick James, was born in 1904.  In 1907 a daughter, Ellen May, was born in America in Seattle, Washington.  A few years later the adventurous family migrated to Australia.

The story I heard while researching the family history was that William, after settling in Australia with his family, walked out on his wife and children and enlisted in the A.I.F.  His son, Ernest, then ran away and also enlisted in an attempt to find his father.  However, sometimes the facts are more interesting than the fiction associated with family stories!

William John Unwin (service no. 6853) enlisted in Brisbane on the 20th April 1917.  He had been working as a wharfie but gave his occupation on the enlistment form as “tattoo artist”.  He is described on this form as being “tattooed from head to foot”.  On the enlistment form he nominated his wife, Ellen Jane, as his next of kin, although he stated that he had no children, when in fact he had four.

After his enlistment the two oldest boys, William Baden (aged 17) and Ernest John, known as Ernie, (aged 15), also left home.  They must have located their father at the Enoggera Army Camp, because on the 10th May 1917, they also joined up even though they were both under the legal enlistment age of 18.  The boys were allocated consecutive regimental numbers to their father – 6854 (Ernest) and 6855 (William) as they all must have been allotted to their units at the same time while being trained at Rifle Range Camp in Enoggera.

Their father signed the parental consent form for both boys as they were under 21 and also forged the signature of his wife.  This is obvious when comparing the signatures on all three Attestation forms as it is the same writing for both father and mother.  It was not until August 1917 that proof of age in the form of a birth certificate was required..." - READ MORE LINK (