Claude Augustus Leopold FANKHAUSER

FANKHAUSER, Claude Augustus Leopold

Service Number: 1944
Enlisted: 13 January 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 5th Infantry Battalion
Born: Vermont, Victoria, 6 July 1895
Home Town: Vermont, Whitehorse, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Coach painter
Died: Natural causes, Sandringham, Victoria, 19 June 1996, aged 100 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Mitcham War Memorial, Shire of Nunawading Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

13 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1944, Melbourne, Victoria
17 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1944, 5th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1944, 5th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
25 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 1944, 5th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW (face)
21 May 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 1944, 5th Infantry Battalion, Blind in both eyes

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Discharged - blind in both eyes, Claude attends St Dunstans (for rehabilitation of blinded soldiers) in England and gains his independence. He returns to Australia and lives to be 100

"THURSDAY 20 JUNE 1996 - THE AGE - Death of Gallipoli veteran blinded on the Somme 

One of Australia last Gallipoli veterans, Claude Augustus Leopold Fankhauser, died in Melbourne yesterday. He would have been 101 next month. The secretary of the Victorian RSL, Brigadier John Deighton, described him as a magnificent man. "We were going to get him to lead the Anzac march this year but he wasn't well enough, he said. There are believed to be only nine Gallipoli veterans alive in Victoria and fewer than 30 around the country. Mr Fankhauser was blinded in fighting on the Somme in 1916 but lived alone until recently in Blackburn. He died in a Sandringham nursing home. Mr Fankhauser was born in Melbourne and left school at 14 to work in the family orchard. The first time he tried to enlist he was rejected. He made it the second time, joining D Company of the 5th Battalion. He landed on Gallipoli three days after his 20th birthday and spent nearly six months in the trenches, mainly in Shrapnel Gully and Lone Pine. "It was slaughter," he recalled last year. "1 was one of the wounded. I came face to face with a hand grenade ... I haven't seen since." Fankhauser learnt braille and carpentry while recuperating in England and rowed on the Thames. He married Elsie Littlewood, a nursing aide, who died in 1926. Mr Fankhauser leaves his son, Frank, a grandson, Dr Stephen Fankhauser, and two great grandchildren."