John Norman (JN) BRAZIER

BRAZIER, John Norman

Service Number: 3118
Enlisted: 29 June 1915, Enlisted on 23/6/15 at Liverpool camp in 1stEn 9thR but was discharged on 28/7/15 following receipt of cable from his father (HH, Harry, of Hazelwood, Wollomombi)that his son was underage and his family objected to him going to war. On 9/10/16 re-enlisted at Rutherford, NSW into 6/35Bn as a private by Lt Col L Dobbin OC Rutherford. On 4/11/16 was appointed to 8/53 Batt. and on 11/11/16 embarked from Sydney for Europe via Capetown on A29 "Suevic"
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 53rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Wollomombi, Armidale Dumaresq, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Dental assistant
Died: complications from chest infection (gassed), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , November 1985, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

29 Jun 1915: Enlisted Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Private, SN 3118, 9th Field Regiment, Enlisted on 23/6/15 at Liverpool camp in 1stEn 9thR but was discharged on 28/7/15 following receipt of cable from his father (HH, Harry, of Hazelwood, Wollomombi)that his son was underage and his family objected to him going to war. On 9/10/16 re-enlisted at Rutherford, NSW into 6/35Bn as a private by Lt Col L Dobbin OC Rutherford. On 4/11/16 was appointed to 8/53 Batt. and on 11/11/16 embarked from Sydney for Europe via Capetown on A29 "Suevic"
3 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3118, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (Second)
12 Oct 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 3118, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, joined Battalion in France on or shortly after 3rd May 1917 as a stretcher bearer & saw action in 2nd Bullecourt. He participated in Messines in June 2017 (details tbc) and likely Menin Road and Polygon Wood (tbc). He was wounded in action (shrapnel wound, left arm) (Menin Road action ??) on 25/9/17 and was carried by ambulance to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station and later that day by to the 3rd Field hospital by Ambulance Train. On 30/9/17 he was transported to the 3rd Convalescence Depot and on 5/10/17 transferred to the 6th Convalescence Depot. On 26/10/17 he “rejoined Battallion from wounds”. He was involved in the 1st battle of Villers-Brettonneaux (30/3/18-12/4/18) as well as the preparations for the 2nd battle of Villers-Brettoneaux (23/4/18-27/4/18) but was badly gassed on 17/4/17. On 19/4/18 was admitted to "L of C" Hospital from the "FM Unit" and was invalided to the UK on 22/4/18.
11 Nov 1916: Embarked Private, SN 3118, 53rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suevic, Sydney
11 Nov 1916: Involvement Private, SN 3118, 53rd Infantry Battalion
17 Apr 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 3118, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, His unit was marched to Villers-Breonneux shortly before 30/3/18 to try and stop the German breakthrough. He survived the first battle (30/3/18 to 12/4/18, his Battalian may have been in reserve - tbc). However he was badly gassed on 17/4/18 and was invalided to England on 22/4/18 (see details elsewhere as to his movements upon being wounded)

My grandfather

My grandfather, universally known as JN, was known to all his family as Popeye, due to his constant encouragement to all his young grandchildren to eat his home-grown spinach which "will make you strong like Popeye the Sailorman".

On returning from the war he married Isabel, and moved to Sydney where he studied, and then qualified in dentistry. He moved to Bathurst in NSW residing at 159 Mitre Street, and set up a dental practice in George St Bathurst with (tbc). He had 4 children, John (married Yvonne), Helen (married John Marshall, an English veteran of the Royal Navy during WW2) , Paul (who was also a dentist and took over from his father in the Bathurst practice) and Judy (married Peter Blunk, a German steel trader based out of HK and Singapore).

He would never talk about his experiences in the war, except once to tell us that as his unit was marching up to Villers-Bretanneax in April 1918 dozens of "tommies" were quickly retreating saying (in a broad Liverpool accent) "the hoons are cooming, the hoons are cooming, get oot, get oot" and then laughed . As a postscript, he admitted that after the battle he and some mates raided some cellars and filled up a number of hessian bags with "wine, brandy, anything and everything" and forgot the war for a while.

He was a champion sportsman (1st grade cricket, possibly state level, tbc), and was Australian champion in both fly fishing (there is still a Brazier Memorial Trophy in Orange, NSW) and in pigeon shooting (in those days they shot live birds, with the biggest venue being a large area in what is now Sydney Airport.)

He felt strongly about serving his country (as his having to enlist twice demonstrates) but he was totally opposed to hurting or killing another person, so volunteered as a stretcher bearer.

He was a wonderful person - intelligent, tough, & kind, with remarkable values and morals. What he went through, as a stretcher bearer, in such bloody (and often disastrous) battles as 2nd Bullecourt, Messines (where the famous Hill 60 mine was exploded) etc is beyond our comprehension. However we can preserve some details of his remarkable life and service before it permanently fades away. It is fantastic that this virtual war memorial gives us this opportunity.

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