Walter Edward KERWIN


KERWIN, Walter Edward

Service Number: 243
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 49th Infantry Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Beaudesert, Scenic Rim, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Died of wounds, France, 9 February 1917, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension
Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Dernancourt, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Beaudesert War Memorial, Corinda Sherwood Shire Roll of Honor, Graceville War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

9 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, SN 243, 31st Infantry Battalion
9 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, SN 243, 31st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wandilla, Melbourne
9 Feb 1917: Involvement Private, SN 243, 49th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

The connection between Walter Kerwin and the Sherwood Shire is difficult to establish, but since there were only two soldiers in the AIF with that surname and initial it is more likely that Walter is the serviceman named, even though his middle initial has disappeared from the memorial. (The other Kerwin was from country Victoria).

Walter Kerwin was born in Chelsea, London. He would appear to have had no living relatives in Australia as he named a Mr Hassall (a friend) of Christmas Creek via Beaudesert as his next of kin. Walter also lived at Christmas Creek and stated his occupation as farm labourer. Walter stated that his nearest living relative was an uncle; Mr Bourke of Chelsea. It is possible that Walter had some connection to the Lahey family of Corinda (see below). The Laheys had extensive sawmilling and timber cutting interests in the Canungra and Christmas Creek areas, and if such a connection existed, may provide a reason for his name appearing on the Sherwood Memorial.

Walter enlisted at Brisbane on 10th July 1915 and was drafted into the 31st Battalion. He departed on the “Wandilla” and arrived in Suez on 7th December. As part of the restructure and expansion of the AIF, Walter was transferred to the 25th Howitzer Battery of the 5th Divisional Artillery, perhaps in the belief that his rural background had given him some skill in handling horse teams.

The 25th Battery remained in Egypt for 7 months during which Walter was put on a charge twice for neglect of duty. Eventually he arrived in England in August 1916 where he spent time in training before being deployed to Etaples in France on 30th November.

On 18th January 1917, Walter was transferred back to the infantry as a reinforcement for the 49th Battalion. Less than three weeks after joining the 49th at Flers, Walter received serious injuries to his chest and abdomen. He was taken to the 13th Field Ambulance and then the 54th Casualty Clearing Station where he died of his wounds on 9th February 1917.

Walter was buried in the Dernacourt Communal Cemetery and his personal effects and medals were dutifully sent to Mr Hassall at Christmas Creek.

Courtesy of Ian Lang

Mango Hill