Eric John BUCHAN

BUCHAN, Eric John

Service Number: 38480
Enlisted: 16 March 1917
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: Field Artillery Brigades
Born: Brighton, England, 1887
Home Town: Violet Town, Strathbogie, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Heart Failure, Wangaratta, Victoria, 1 November 1954
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Memorials: Kew War Memorial, Violet Town Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

16 Mar 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 38480
26 Nov 1917: Involvement Gunner, SN 38480, Field Artillery Brigades
26 Nov 1917: Embarked Gunner, SN 38480, Field Artillery Brigades, SS Indarra, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Elsa Reuter

BUCHAN Eric John 38480 GNR
12th Australian Field Artillery Brigade

Eric’s father, John Inverarity Buchan was born in Forfar, Scotland in 1842. During the 1850s, he and his family migrated to Australia, where John’s father established an estate agency. In 1885 John married Blanch Ellen Shaw from St Kilda, Victoria.  

There is strong evidence to establish Eric’s birthplace as Kew, Victoria, although his service records and death certificate state that he was born in Brighton, England. This fact remains a mystery. Eric’s date of birth was 1886; then in 1887 the second son Ronald was born in Kew, Victoria, followed by four more siblings,  Olive (1889), Kenneth (1890), Viola (1897) and Sheila (1907).

After he left school Eric worked in the family Estate Agency until he settled on a farm near Euroa.  He was apprenticed to sea for one year before enlisting in the army on 16 March 1917 at the age of 31. He trained as a gunner in the 12th Army Field Artillery in Australia until November when he embarked from Melbourne aboard SS Indarra.  His first port of call was Suez, from where he entrained to Alexandria, sailed to Taranto in Southern Italy, and travelled overland to Cherbourg, then across the English Channel to an artillery training camp in England. Then back to Rouelle in France to the Australian Division Base Depot, where, on 15 August 1918 he was taken on strength of the 12th Army Brigade.

He spent a few days in October in the Beaufort War hospital suffering from contusion to the left knee. After a furlough he returned to Australia per HMAT Demosthenes.

Eric was discharged in January 1919. He returned to farming, this time closer to Violet Town;he did not marry.

In 1954 he died in the Wangaratta Base Hospital from congestive cardiac failure, he was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal 

There were 66 soldiers and two nurses remembered in the 1918 Memorial Avenue. However, the trees have never been identified although there are a few Illawarra Flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) dotted around the town. Could these trees be part of the 1918 planting? Copper plaques used for identification turn up from time to time and are affixed to the exterior wall of the Memorial Hall. Eric’s plaque is among these. He is also listed on the main Honour board in the Violet Town Memorial Hall.

© 2018 Sheila Burnell