Henry Zouch STEPHENS

STEPHENS, Henry Zouch

Service Number: Medical Officer
Enlisted: 11 October 1915
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital
Born: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 24 October 1875
Home Town: Burnie, Burnie, Tasmania
Schooling: Hutchins School Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Stroke and heart failure, Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia, 5 September 1954, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Privately Cremated
Cremation Memorial at Carr Villa Memorial Park Launceston TAS
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

11 Oct 1915: Involvement Captain, 1st Australian General Hospital
11 Oct 1915: Embarked Captain, 1st Australian General Hospital, HMAT Nestor, Melbourne
11 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, Medical Officer, 1st Australian General Hospital
21 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance
14 Nov 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 3rd Field Ambulance
29 Jun 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Major, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital
17 Oct 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, Medical Officer, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital

Help us honour Henry Zouch Stephens's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sue Smith

Henry Zouch Stephens was born on 24th October 1875 at Hobart Tasmania.  He was the youngest of 6 children born to his parents Thomas and Jane Stephens.  He had 2 older brothers...Edward and Maxwell...and 3 older sisters...Alice, Millicent and Mary.  Henry was educated at Hutchins School in Hobart, an Anglican School. 

After completing his schooling he obtained his medical licence at St Thomas’ Hospital in England graduating in 1900 with the degrees MRCS and LRCP.  He was the Senior House Surgeon at Macclesfield Infirmary at Cheshire for 12 months and then for 12 months he served as a ship’s surgeon. 

In 1903 he returned to Australia settling in Casino NSW where he set up his own medical practice.  During his time in Casino he was the Medical Officer to several Lodges including Oddfellows, Foresters, Hibernians and Protestant Alliance.  He was also appointed to act as visiting surgeon to the Grafton jail during the absence of the regular surgeon.  After 5 years in Casino Henry returned to Tasmania in 1908 and practiced at Geeveston. 

In July 1909 he moved to Latrobe in northern Tasmania and worked at the Devon Hospital where his sister Alice was the Matron.  Also in 1909, Henry was commissioned as a Captain and posted to the 14th Field Artillery Brigade as the Regimental Medical Officer.  The following year he moved to Burnie in the north western part of Tasmania where he became the Medical Officer for Health. 

On the 20th December 1911 Henry married Florence Maude Adams, know as Maude, at Hagley southwest of Launceston.  His brother Max was by that time a clergyman with the Anglican Church and assisted in the marriage ceremony.  Henry and Maude welcomed their daughter Mary Frances in October 1912, followed by Kathleen Maude in 1914 and then in 1918 their son William Henry was born. 

On the 11th October 1915, aged 40 and having served 5 years with the Australian Army Medical Corps, Henry enlisted for WW1.  His rank was Captain and he was posted to the 1st Australian General Hospital.  He embarked from Melbourne that same day on HMAT Nestor bound for Egypt.  He disembarked at Suez on 6th November and entrained to Heliopolis arriving there at 5.30pm that night.  Henry remained on duty at the 1st AGH until 21st March 1916 when he was transferred to the 3rd Field Ambulance at Tel-el-Kebir Camp.  A week later on 27th March he embarked with this Unit for France from Alexandria on HMT Kingstonian.  The Unit disembarked at Marseilles, France, on 3rd April and entrained to Godewaersvelde.  They disembarked 2 days later and marched Pradelles where they were billeted in a farmhouse.  In mid-May they moved to Sailly to a position just 2.5 miles from the front.  They experienced heavy bombardment and casualties here for the later part of May and early part of June.  In June the Unit experienced it’s first gas attack but there were no casualties.  By the end of July the Unit was at Albert having moved several times throughout July. 

On 22nd July 1916 Henry was attached to the 12th Infantry Battalion as the Regimental Medical Officer and took up duty with them at the village of Pozieres in the Somme Valley.  The following day Pozieres was captured by the Australians but the ensuing battle to hold it was very costly with 6,848 casualties having been suffered by the 6th August.  The Australian official historian, Charles Bean, wrote that “Pozieres ridge is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other battlefield of the war.”  Bean had the following epitaph inscribed on a stone plinth at the site of the windmill at Pozieres where so many soldiers fell...“The ruin of Pozieres Windmill which lies here at the centre of the struggle in this part of the Somme battlefield in July and August 1916.  It was captured on 4th August by Australian troops who fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war.”

The exhausted 12th Battalion moved to the rest area near Albert and by early August were at Bonneville.  Henry re-joined the 3rd Field Ambulance on the 8th August and by the end of August they had moved to Proven in Belgium.  In late September Henry was attached to the 1st Anzac Army Corps Headquarters and promoted to Major on the 14th November 1916. 

Henry re-joined the 3rd FA in late January 1917 at Warloy.  In mid-February the Unit moved to the 1st Australian Divisional Rest Station at Millencourt.  They remained there until early April then moved to the Main Dressing Station at Beugny.  Two weeks later Henry was admitted to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station with bronchitis then transferred to the 2nd Red Cross Hospital at Rouen.  On the 12th May he was evacuated by train to Boulogne and from there on the hospital ship HMHS Essequibo to England.  The next day he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth with bronchitis and laryngitis.  Almost 7 weeks later he was discharged from hospital and transferred for duty to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford.  He reported for duty on the 1st July 1917 and on the 26th reported to the AIF Headquarters at Horseferry Road London for duty on a hospital ship returning him to Australia.  The following day he embarked on HMAT Demosthenes and having transferred to SS Devon at Durban South Africa, disembarked in Melbourne on the 27th September 1917.  He then proceeded to Tasmania and arrived home in Burnie on the 3rd October.  His appointment was terminated on 17th October at his own request and he resumed his medical practice at his residence in High Street Burnie. 

During his time at Burnie Henry served as treasurer of the Returned and Services League and also a Warden of the St George’s Anglican Church.  He and Maude were members of Burnie Golf Club and founding members of the Seabrook Golf Club in Wynyard in 1927.  They left Burnie in 1932 and moved to St Mary’s on the east coast of Tasmania where Henry practiced medicine for 5 years.  In 1938 he and Maude moved to Westbury, south-west of Launceston where he regularly gave instruction for the St John Ambulance First Aid Courses.  In 1946 they moved to Longford south of Launceston and then later to Devonport. 

On 5th October 1953 Maude died and exactly 11 months later on the 5th September 1954 while on a visit to Sydney NSW, Henry passed away aged 78 from a stroke and heart failure at the Prince Alfred Hospital.  A quote from a Newspaper obituary written at the time of his death says: “The esteem in which he was held was obvious from the spontaneous welcome given him by a crowded Burnie Theatre Audience on his return home. (From the war) Dr. Stephens was a much loved and kindly man and a typical family doctor of the old school, who sought not material reward but the respect of those he helped.”

Henry was cremated and his cremation memorial is found alongside Maude’s in the Rose Garden at Carr Villa Memorial Park in Launceston.  Henry’s daughter Kathleen served in the Navy in WW2 and his son Willian also served in WW2 in the RAAF. 

Henry is commemorated on the WW1 Honour Roll at Hutchins School, 71 Nelson Road, Sandy Bay, Hobart TAS.              

Henry Zouch Stephens was awarded for service in WW1 the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Respectfully submitted by Sue Smith 4th May 2022