Percival Thomas BURNSIDE

BURNSIDE, Percival Thomas

Service Number: 1954
Enlisted: 22 September 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 8th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Violet Town, Victoria, 1893
Home Town: Violet Town, Strathbogie, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Heidelberg, Victoria, 1981, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Memorials: St Dunstan's Honor Roll, Violet Town Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

22 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, SN 1954
27 Jan 1916: Involvement Private, SN 1954, 8th Light Horse Regiment
27 Jan 1916: Embarked Private, SN 1954, 8th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Hymettus, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Elsa Reuter

BURNSIDE Percival Thomas 1954 CPL
12th Field Brigade

Percival Thomas was the third child and second son of Thomas and Charlotte Burnside. They were to have three sons and four daughters. Percy was born in 1893. They all lived on a farm at Maraweeny, south of Violet Town.

On 27 July 1915 aged 22, Percy enlisted in Bendigo.  His initial training was at Seymour where he remained until August when he embarked for overseas on HMAT Hymettus. He spent some months in Egypt where he was transferred to 4th Division Artillery. A month before embarking for Marseilles he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. The destination of Percy’s unit was Ypres where it was engaged in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, an Allied push to penetrate the German lines. 

On 26 September 1917 he suffered a gunshot wound to his left forearm, just below the elbow. For treatment he was eventually transferred to the Southern General Hospital at Harefield, England.  In January 1918 he returned to Australia for discharge. The wound had rendered his arm unsuitable for active service. 

A letter published in the Violet Town Sentinel on 2 April 1918 states that ‘Corporal Burnside, who recently arrived home wounded, having received a bullet wound to the fleshy part of his left arm, partial paralysis is setting in as a consequence, has been reinstated as a bank clerk on the staff of the National Bank and has settled in Violet Town.’

In 1925 he married Ellen Magill who sadly died in childbirth with their first son Alan who was born in 1926. Baby Alan survived. Percy was re-married in 1937 to Norah Margaret Howard and raised three more children – two sons and one daughter.

In 1981 when he was 88 Percy had a fall, fracturing the neck of his femur.  His health declined into broncho-pneumonia and he died as a result in the Repatriation Hospital at Heidelberg. He was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium.

In 1918 there was a tree planted in Percy’s honour. It is not known if the tree still survives or where it was planted but there is a copper plaque which identified his tree. It has been affixed to the exterior wall of the Memorial Hall, Violet Town.

Percy’s name appears on the Main Honour Board in the Memorial Hall, Violet Town also on the St Dunstan’s Anglican Church Honour Board.


© 2017 Sheila Burnell