Robert Glendinning JEMISON

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JEMISON, Robert Glendinning

Service Number: 2178
Enlisted: 5 March 1915, Keswick
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Clare, South Australia, Australia, 7 September 1894
Home Town: Norwood, South Australia
Schooling: Wallaroo, South Australia
Occupation: Blacksmith
Died: Killed in action, Louverval, France, 8 April 1917, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cowell Men from Franklin Harbour WW1 Roll of Honour, Cowell War Memorial, Norwood War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

5 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2178, 10th Infantry Battalion, Keswick
23 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2178, 10th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Borda embarkation_ship_number: A30 public_note: ''
3 Jun 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2178, 10th Infantry Battalion, Wounded in Action - Petillon / Fleurbaix (Armentieres) Evacuated to the UK RTU 22 Sep 1916
8 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2178, 10th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

A Twist of Fate

Robert Jemison was engaged to Ethel Ruby Haines, before embarking for overseas service in June 1915. They were both from Cowell. By all accounts young Robert was a good fellow and of a well regarded family.

When Robert Jemison was killed in France in April 1917, Ethel became like so many other young women of that era; robbed of her intended life partner. Unlike many women in similar circumstances, Ethel re-partnered. She met and later married local Station Master Thomas Sidney Dixon.


Years later, after General Douglas MacArthur escaped from the Philippines, in the face of Japanese invasion, he came to Australia and travelled to Melbourne via train from Alice Springs.

Terowie was on the Gawler-Peterborough line and was the change of Gauge (also known as the Break-of-Gauge) for passengers and freight transferring to the SAR broad gauge network. MacArthur held his first Press Conference at Terowie Railway Station. Whilst transferring trains in Terowie on 20 March 1942 he said: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.

MacArthur subsequently repeated the line “I shall return” in Melbourne and in a number of other speeches, and the phrase became his by-line. It also underpinned his subsequent Pacific strategy as a 'promise'.

Thomas Sidney Dixon was the Station Master at Terowie on that day stood next to MacArthur when he uttered his famous line.

Story related by Sidney Dixon's grandson, John Wadlow.

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Robert Glendenning JEMISON was killed in action with the 10th Battalion in the Outpost Villages actions near FREMICOURT on 7 April 1917