Richard BLAIN

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BLAIN, Richard

Service Number: 2766
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 29th Infantry Battalion
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 23 April 1896
Home Town: Gumeracha, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Schooling: Forreston State School, South Australia
Occupation: Navvy
Died: Died of wounds, Belgium, 27 September 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery XXIV.D.4
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gumeracha Anzac Honor Roll, Gumeracha Our Fallen Heroes WW1 Honour Board, Gumeracha Town Hall WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

25 Mar 1916: Involvement Private, SN 2766, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
25 Mar 1916: Embarked Private, SN 2766, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Adelaide
27 Sep 1917: Involvement Private, SN 2766, 29th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
Date unknown: Wounded SN 2766, 29th Infantry Battalion

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Biography

Foster Son of Mr & Mrs F. Norsworthy
Of Hawthorn Cottage, Gumeracha, Sth Aust.

Biography contributed by Tim Hanna

Richard Blain was born Reginald Bain at the Adelaide Destitute Asylum on 23 April 1896. He was one of several illegitimate children born to Winifred Bain/Bean. His putative father is recorded as James Robinson (deceased). On 10 May 1899 a warrant was issued for the arrest of Winifred Bain for neglecting her child, Dickey Bain. On the 4 May 1899 at a court of committal Dickey Bain, aged 3 years and 1 month, was “sentenced to the Industrial School till 18 years as a neglected child being illegitimate”. On 14 June 1899 he was fostered out to Miss Sarah Norsworthy of Gumeracha and some time between then and 1903 he was transferred to the guardianship of Sarah Norsworthy’s brother, Frank and his wife. From then on he was known as Richard Blain. 

Blain enlisted in Adelaide on 17 January 1916 and was posted to the 32nd Battalion as a private. He was 19 years and 8 months old.

Blain embarked at Adelaide on HMAT ‘Shropshire’ on 25 March 1916. He disembarked HMAT ‘Anchises’ at Suez on 15 April 1916. From 16 to 21 June he was in hospital in the Middle East. On 29 June 1916 he disembarked ex ‘Ivernia’ at Marseilles and was taken on strength on 8 August 1916. From 27 November 1916 to 7 June 1917, when he rejoined his unit in France, Blain spent most of his time in hospital in both England and France with trench feet and scabies. On 30 August he was detached to the 29th Battalion. On 25 September 1917, Blain was wounded in both legs and his right hand at Polygon Wood and died of his injuries on 27 September 1917. He was 21 years old.

Despite this being a time when foster children were often used as cheap labour, the Norsworthy family seemed to have displayed genuine care and affection for Richard Blain. This is shown in the correspondence with the War Department after his death and with their commissioning of a memorial plaque which now hangs in the Gumeracha & District History Centre.

 

Created by Judy Georgiou, 2008

Edited by Tim Hanna, 2021

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