Stanley Clifford COUSENS

Poppy

COUSENS, Stanley Clifford

Service Number: 816
Enlisted: 23 September 1914, Training at Enoggera Amry Barracks in Brisbane
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Toowoomba Queensland, Australia, 15 May 1891
Home Town: Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: State School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed In Action, France, 9 August 1916, aged 25 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Millmerran War Memorial, Toowoomba Roll of Honour WW1, Toowoomba St James' M2, Toowoomba War Memorial (Mothers' Memorial), Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

23 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 816, 15th Infantry Battalion, Training at Enoggera Amry Barracks in Brisbane
24 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 816, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 816, 15th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '11' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''
25 Apr 1915: Involvement Private, SN 816, 15th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
5 Apr 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 15th Infantry Battalion, Promoted in Egypt prior to departure for France.
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, SN 816, 15 Infantry Battalion AMF, Battle for Pozières
9 Aug 1916: Involvement Sergeant, SN 816, 15th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Ian Cousens

Stanley Clifford Cousens was born in Toowoomba on 15 May 1891 to Clapham Cousens and his wife Esther Ann nee Leake.  They had emigrated from North Cave, Yorkshire in 1886 and he was their first surviving son born in Australia.  Stanley was farming and clearing a prickly pear selection on Heckendorf Road outside Millmerran when he enlisted for service in WWI.  From his enlistment record he was 5' 8" tall, dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.  He weighed 10 stone 4 pounds. 

Initial training was at the Enoggera Camp in Brisbane before further training in Victoria.  He sailed from Melbourne to Egypt arriving in early February 1915.  The 15th Battalion became part of the 4th Brigade under Col. John Monash.  At 4pm on the afternoon of 25 April 1915, the 4th Brigade landed at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli.   

Stanley was lucky to survive an incident the next day when part of 10 platoon under the command of Lieut. Tom Robertson passed through the front line into no man's land.  The following extract is from page 14 of 'History of the 15th Battalion" by Lieut. T P Chataway -"An officer, now believed to have been a German, in the guise of an English Engineer Major approached Lieut. Robertson and asked him if he belonged to the 15th Battalion. Upon receiving assurance that Robertson did, he then exclaimed Col. Cannan said you were to go with me.  Suspecting nothing Robertson detailed the number of men 'the major' required for the party and, leaving Sgt. S L Stormonth in charge for the remainder of the platoon, followed the stranger. With no knowledge of the country, the party quite unsuspectingly passed throught he front line into NO MANS LAND, and being shown a position were told to dig a line of trenches. 

The 'major' then left them and the lads set into work with a will were down a little more than 4 feet by daylight.  Sometime after daylight, a Turk officer walked over to the trench and pointed out to the occupants that they were surrounded on three sides and had better surrender.  Robertson said 'no' and firing his revolver into the Turk gave the order for his men to get back as quickly as possible. When the men started their run back they found nearly 200 yards of country ahead of them.  The enemy's machine guns opened fire and seven men only managed to reach the Australian line.  Robertson's tall form was last seen to dodge a clump of bush where he stopped and turned as if to see how his men were faring."  Stanley Cousens was one of the lucky seven who made it back to their lines alive and unscathed. 

He continued to serve at Gallipoli until he contracted influenza and was evacuated to Mudros on 9 August 1915 and then taken to England.  He was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital on 23 August 1915.  Stanley returned to Alexandria, Egypt on 15 January 1916 where he rejoined his unit.  On 13 February 1916 he was promoted Temporary Corporal and then on 7 April promoted to Sergeant. The 15th Battalion proceeded to Marseilles arriving 8 June 1916 to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.  During the Somme offensive Stanley's battalion took part in action near Pozieres from 5 August.  The attack on Mouquet Farm on 9 August 1916 was launched at 9.20pm.  Stanley was part of C Company on the left flank of the attack.  During the advance a shell landed in their ranks and killed Sgt. Stanley Cousens.  According to Leiut. T P Chattaway, Stanley had a premonition of his coming death and had made reference to the fact some 24 hours before the charge.  The family received a letter from a fellow soldier Percy Toft who described how he was killed instantaneously and was buried where he fell.  Because of the constant shelling his gave has been lost and he is now commemorated on the wall to the missing at Villiers-Bretonneux.  Stanley is also commemorated on the Mother's Memorial in East Creek Park and the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Toowoomba and the Millmerran War Memorial.  

Stanley's older brother Sydney Leake Cousens also served in WWI with 26th Battalion AIF and was KIA on 8 August 1918 and his grave is in Villers-Bretonneux.  

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Biography contributed by Ian Cousens

Stanley Clifford Cousens' half brother Harry Richmond Cousens served in the Boer War.  He was Private #245 with the 4th Queensland Imperial Bushmen and Private #685 with the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen.  

Five of Harry Richmond Cousens' children, who would have been 1/2 nephews to Stanley, served in WWII enlising in Queensland.  

Joseph Arthur Cousens QX1766 served with the 2/12th Infantry Battalion.  His father and Stanley were cousins.  

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