John Evangelist DEE

DEE, John Evangelist

Service Number: 462
Enlisted: 22 January 1916, Adelaide
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Stone Hut, South Australia, Australia, 29 March 1896
Home Town: Stone Hut, South Australia
Schooling: Sacred Heart College, Glenelg, South Australia
Occupation: Barman
Died: Died of wounds, France, 16 July 1918, aged 22 years
Cemetery: St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen
Block Q, Plot II, Row B, Grave No. 12
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Freeling Boer War, Boxer Rebellion and WW1 Memorial Panel, Freeling WW1 Pictorial Honour Roll, Freeling War Memorial, Laura District Honour Roll, Laura War Memorial, Mundoora War Memorial, Port Broughton War Memorial, Somerton Park Sacred Heart College Men of "The Marist Brothers Old Scholars Association" Honor Roll WW1, Stone Hut Roll of Honour WW1
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World War 1 Service

22 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 462, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Adelaide
9 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, 462, 43rd Infantry Battalion
9 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, 462, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
16 Jul 1918: Involvement Corporal, 462, 43rd Infantry Battalion

John Dee

Name: John Evangelist Dee
Service Number: 462
Place of Birth: Stone Hut
Date of Birth: 29 March 1896
Place of Enlistment: Adelaide
Date of Enlistment: 22 January 1916
Age at Enlistment: 19 years 10 months
Next of Kin: Mother- Catherine Anastasia
Occupation: Barman
Religion: Roman Catholic
Rank: Lance Corporal 43rd Battalion
The following information on John Evangelist Dee has been kindly provided by
Cate Harrowfield [nee Dee] of Blair Athol and comes from a book titled A
District’s Sacrifice by Paul Slattery.
“John, known as Jack was ...the eldest child of Michael and Catherine
Anastasia [nee Green]. The Dee family operated the Royal Mail Hotel at Stone
Hut from 1897 to 1913...Jack attended school at Stone Hut and later, a Marist
Brothers School at Largs Bay in Adelaide. After leaving school he worked firstly
for the Kenny family at Talia on Eyre Peninsula, before working around Port
Broughton and Mundoora, eventually joining his family at the Freeling Hotel,
working as a barman...
Jack’s unit, C Company 43rd Battalion sailed from Adelaide aboard HMAT Afric
on 9 June 1916, and stopped over briefly in Egypt, before sailing on to England
for further training... 230 men sailed away as C Company, 41 were killed in
action or died from their wounds. Three others died of illness, while a fourth
was accidentally killed. Of those who returned to Australia one died soon after
arriving home.
The men of this detachment were highly decorated, being awarded ten
Military Medals, six Military Crosses and five Distinguished Conduct Medals.
The 43rd Battalion was shipped to France in late November 1916, and entered
the front line in Flanders in late December, and endured terrible conditions in
the trenches during that winter. Jack was hospitalised for three weeks with
scabies during February 1917. He later fought at Messines in June 1917 after
which in early August, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.
In early September Jack was shipped back to England and posted to various
training camps as an instructor... He rejoined the 43rd Battalion in Flanders in
February 1918.
After the Germans broke through the British lines on the Somme in March
1918, the Australians were rushed south from Flanders to help block the
attack. The 3rd Division played a significant part in stopping the German
advance at Villers - Bretonneux, just east of Amiens.
Jack was badly wounded during the attack at Le Hamel on 4 July 1918. He
suffered a serious head wound, and was evacuated to the 11th Stationary
Hospital at Rouen, where he died from his wounds on 16 July 1918. Jack was
buried at St.Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen in Block Q, Plot 2, Row B, Grave
After the war Jack’s mother had issues with the Army bureaucracy. She stated
that she knew of no formal will, and eventually the bureaucracy accepted that
there was no will.
The army had the chauvinistic view that a dead soldier’s campaign medals had
to be offered first to the father, even if the mother was the next of kin. In
early 1922 Mrs. Dee wrote to the base records in Melbourne, who were
wanting to know the address of the closest male blood relative. Her letter says
it all-“..if there are any nearer and dearer than the Mother, well I do not know
them. As to the Father I do not know at the present time his whereabouts. As I
have repeatedly informed the Military we have not been living together for
seven years and I have received no maintenance from him. I reared and
looked after a family of eight, which I am proud of. My son informed me on his
departure for the War that whatever he got from the Military that I was to
have, if he did not return. Which my son he did not.”
Soon afterwards she received the medals, and Jack’s service records also
indicate that she also received a pension.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

John Evangelist DEE was born in Stone Hut, South Australia on 29th March, 1896

His parents were Michael DEE & Catherine Anastasia GREEN (Formerly CUMMINS)


3 of his brothers also served in WW2

1.  Thomas DEE (SN 18351) Royal Australian Navy died 20.11.1941

2.  Patrick DEE (SN 122779)  Royal Australian Air Force - discharged 1946

3.  Michael DEE (SN S45359) Australian Army - discharged 1942

Biography contributed by tony griffin

John Evangelist Dee was the son of Michael and Catherine Anastasia Dee. Michael Dee was granted the licence to the Mundoora Hotel in 1914.  John was born at Stone Hut on 29 March 1896. A barman, he was 19 years old when he enlisted on 22 January 1916.

At Morphettville Camp John was posted to C Coy 43 Battalion and embarked from Adelaide on 9 June 1916 aboard HMAT A19 “Afric”. In England he qualified 1st Class at the rifle course held at the school of musketry and was acknowledged as having a fair working knowledge of the Lewis Gun. He proceeded overseas to France on 25 November 1916 but was evacuated to England on 31 August 1917 to join the 11th Training Battalion as an instructor. On 30 January 1918 he returned to France to be taken on strength of 43 Battalion.

5 months later, on 4 July, John received a gunshot wound to the head. Eventually admitted to 11th Stationary Hospital in Rouen he died of his wounds on 16 July.

The battalion diary for 4 July reads:

“At 3.10am batt in conjunction with balance of 11 Bgde and the 4th and 6th Australian Brigades attacked village of HAMEL and high ground EAST and SOUTH of the town. All objectives were captured.”

John is buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. Block Q, Plot 2, Row B, Grave 12.