John Ainsworth HORROCKS


HORROCKS, John Ainsworth

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 7 March 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Medindie, South Australia, 29 June 1887
Home Town: Largs Bay, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, and Roseworthy Agricultural College Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Orchardist
Died: Died of Wounds, Villers-Bretonneux, France , 11 August 1918, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Vignacourt British Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bordertown District of Tatiara WW1 Roll of Honor, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Medindie Wilderness School Roll of Honour WW1, Roseworthy Agricultural College Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

7 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, Adelaide, South Australia
16 Feb 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant
16 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 27th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion

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Key photograph sent by: Mrs J A Horrocks
Source: State Records SA

From the book Fallen Saints  -  John Ainsworth Horrocks of Largs Bay was born at Medindie, South Australia in June 1887. John was named after his great uncle John Ainsworth Horrocks the well respected South Australian pioneer, explorer and pastoralist who discovered Horrocks Pass and founded the town of Penwortham.

After leaving St Peter's College in 1903 he entered Roseworthy Agricultural College and at the completion of his studies there became an Orchardist at Quondong near Firle in South Australia.

He enlisted in Adelaide on 20 March 1916 and was posted to C Company, 2nd Depot Battalion at Mitcham Camp where after attending NCO School 15 May -10 June he was promoted to Sergeant and posted to A Company. He attended officer training at Duntroon 28 August - 30 October 1916 after which he was posted to a number of training positions between Murray Bridge War Camp and Cheltenham Camp; on 16 February 1918 he was appointed Second Lieutenant.

On 28 February he sailed from Melbourne aboard HMAT Nestor as part of a special draft made up of Royal Military College graduates, reinforcements for the Australian Flying Corps, clerks, staff in charge of Yugoslavs and staff in charge of Italian reservists. He disembarked at Liverpool on 20 April and spent three weeks at the School of Musketry, Tidsworth then two weeks at the School of Instruction at Candahar Barracks, Sutton Venny before proceeding to France to join the 27th Battalion.

On 9 August at Villers-Bretonneux, Second Lieutenant Horrocks suffered multiple shrapnel wounds to his buttock, leg and abdomen was evacuated to 8 Australian Field Ambulance and that same day was transported to 20th Casualty Clearing Station where as a result of his wounds he died on 11 August; he was 31 years of age.

Reports and witness statements [i]

When interviewed on 19 September 1918 Second Lieutenant Horrocks' Company Commander Captain Percy Bice said that on the afternoon of 10 August 1918 they were at Harbonnieres, in front of Villers Bretonneux. He said when B Company attacked between Framerville and Vauvillers Horrocks received a shell wound, just prior to getting on the main road and he was carried out by stretcher bearers. ‘He was conscious and appeared to be cheerful upon reaching Battn Aid Post. Afterwards notification came of his death from a C.C.S., official notification of his death to Battn Hqts. I had just spoken to him one minute prior to his being hit. 2/Lt Horrocks was in B Coy of which Coy I was Coy Commander. He was only with Battn for a short time. This was only his 2nd charge. I have known him in civil life. Ground was held. I do not know where he is buried. … Very tall, dark hair, clean shaven about 30.’

[i] Australian War Memorial, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files -: 2nd Lieutenant John Ainsworth Horrocks  -File: 1370413, viewed 14 April 2006