Service Number: 5318
Enlisted: 2 August 1915
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 2nd Divisional Signal Company
Born: Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 22 November 1893
Home Town: Rupanyup, Yarriambiack, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , 22 December 1973, aged 80 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Rookwood Cemetery & Crematorium
Plaque in New South Wales Garden of Remembrance
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World War 1 Service

2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 5318
2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sapper
9 Feb 1916: Involvement Sapper, SN 5318, 2nd Divisional Signal Company
9 Feb 1916: Embarked Sapper, SN 5318, 2nd Divisional Signal Company, HMAT Afric, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Joanne Foley

John was born on November 22, 1893 to James and Christian Sommerville in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland with the family living in Coltness Mains at the time. The youngest of 5 he had only one sister.

The family appears to have moved around a bit probably due to his fathers’ occupation as a blacksmith and later an assurance agent. The change in occupation appears to have elevated the family financially, though it didn’t prevent tragedy with John losing a brother in 1907 and his mother the following year in 1908.

In the 1911 census he is living with his family and is listed as an apprentice engineer, however, when he left Scotland in about 1913 bound for Australia which may well have been due to the economic environment at the time, he has himself listed as a plasterer.

When war broke out, he joined up and at the time he appears to have been working as a farmer, when he returned, he returned to Melbourne and by 1924 he was in Sydney and getting married. By this time, his brother James and his family had migrated to Sydney. John and his wife had three children and life was overall good though sadly John lost his brother James to an accident in early 1946.

Unfortunately, there is no one living that recalls if John and his family were in regular contact with his brother’s family even though they were all in Sydney, it seems reasonable to believe that they would have.

John died in Sydney about 8 years prior to his wife.