John Henry ROY


ROY, John Henry

Service Number: 1576
Enlisted: 29 April 1915, Enlisted at Perth, WA
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 28th Infantry Battalion
Born: Cossack, Roebourne, Western Australia, 1888
Home Town: Palmyra, Melville, Western Australia
Schooling: Fremantle State School, Western Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Died of wounds - bullet wound to the back, Suez, Egypt, 28 November 1915
Cemetery: Suez War Memorial Cemetery
Row C, Grave 20 Headstone inscription reads: In memory of my beloved son our joyful meeting bye and bye Commemorated in the Fremantle Cemetery, WA. Headstone inscription reads: A brave soldier and patient sufferer
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Fremantle Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial, North Fremantle Cenotaph
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World War 1 Service

29 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1576, 28th Infantry Battalion, Enlisted at Perth, WA
5 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1576, 28th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
5 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1576, 28th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Fremantle
2 Oct 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 28th Infantry Battalion
10 Nov 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 1576, 28th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, Bullet wound to the back. Transferred to HSNZ Maheno on 15 November 1915
28 Nov 1915: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN 1576, 28th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Son of Frank and Elizabeth Roy of 89 Bulwer Street, Perth, WA formerly of Hannad Street, Palmyra, Fremantle, WA

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Biography contributed by suellen Roy

Lance Corporal John Henry Roy

John Henry, known as Harry, was the third of Frank and Elizabeth Roy’s four sons all of whom were born in Cossack Western Australia, where their father was a pearler, gold prospector and shipwright.  Frank Roy, born in Petit Rocher in New Brunswick, Canada was Acadian.  He arrived in Western Australia circa 1864 as a 20-year-old.

The family moved to Fremantle in 1892 when Harry was four years old.  He received his education at the State School in Fremantle and on leaving school began work as a clerk. 

At the time of his enlistment on 29 April Harry lived at home at Hammad Street, Palmyra in Fremantle with his recently widowed mother and adopted sister Elsie – his father having died 18 October the previous year.

According to his medical records Harry was 5’8” tall, weighed 158 lbs, had grey eyes, a dark complexion and dark hair. He embarked on 5 June 1915, and departed Fremantle the following day on the Australian Transport A2 Geelong.

On 4 September 1915 Harry left from Alexandria for the Gallipoli Peninsula and in October, shortly after arriving there, was appointed Lance Corporal. 

During the afternoon of the 13th November, the sounds of cheering, coming from the direction of the beach, indicated some unusual happening. Shortly afterwards Lord Kitchener, accompanied by Generals Monro, Maxwell, and Birdwood, was seen ascending the slope to Walker’s Ridge. He had spoken to the men who had “reviewed” him on landing and had given them a gracious and flattering message from the King. One of the Battalion “rumourists” returned from the vicinity with the report that the words spoken included, “Well, boys, you will all be in Egypt for Christmas.” The stay of the Secretary of State for War was brief and he left Anzac again in a small launch which did not attract even a single shell from the enemy’s guns.

(Project Gutenberg ebook of the 28th: A Record of War Service in the Australian Imperial Force, 1915-19, Vol. I)

Harry would not be in Egypt for Christmas. Wounded by shrapnel in the back at Gallipoli that same day, 13 November, Lance Corporal John Henry Roy, known as Harry, was transferred to the New Zealand hospital ship Maheno on 15 November.

With news Harry was wounded, his mother Elizabeth in Fremantle must have had an anxious time waiting, not knowing the extent of his injuries. On 26 November she eventually sent a telegram to the Military Base Office in Melbourne ‘exceedingly grateful if you were immediately able to furnish any particulars whatever regarding my son’, only to be told in a telegram the following day ‘regret no further particulars available absence same assume progressing satisfactorily’. 

Sadly this was not the case and the next day, on 28 November 1915, a world away from those he knew and loved Frank and Elizabeth’s son John Henry Roy, 27 years old, died more than two weeks after he was injured in action. 

It is not difficult to imagine the pain and bleak suffering Harry endured in the time he was hospitalised, nor the agonising days endured by Elizabeth while she waited for news of her favourite son. Harry died at the Dardanelles on board the New Zealand hospital ship Maheno, his body interred at the Suez War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt (grave reference C50).