Joseph Albert (Joe) VERNUM

VERNUM, Joseph Albert

Service Numbers: 3692, 3691
Enlisted: 9 March 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 12th Field Ambulance
Born: Fulham, London, England, 22 September 1885
Home Town: Magill, Campbelltown, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Killed in Action, France, 3 April 1918, aged 32 years
Cemetery: Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension
Plot: VIII. E 29.
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Magill Honour Board, Magill War Memorial, Men from Renmark and District Roll of Honor Boards (4)
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World War 1 Service

9 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1
23 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, Keswick, Adelaide
7 May 1915: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 7th Field Ambulance, Transferred from the 12th Field Ambulance to the 7th Field Ambulance
31 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 7th Field Ambulance
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 7th Field Ambulance, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, From Adelaide, HMAT Geelong A2
2 Mar 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 3691, 12th Field Ambulance, Discharged for admitted as sick in Ismailia
14 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, Embarked overseas from Alexandria
19 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, Disembarked from Marseille
6 Aug 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, Discharged to no.1 com: dep. Wandsworth, Perham Downs and admitted to Bgde Hospital (18th August)
12 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3692, 12th Field Ambulance, Proceeded to France
3 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3692

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Joseph Albert Vernum was born in 1885 on the 22nd of September in London. When he enlisted, he was 29 and 6 months.

His height was 5 foot and 3-4 inches, weighing 121 lbs. and his chest was 33-36 inches. He had brown eyes and dark hair with a medium build.

He was a brother of two with the eldest, Edward Vernum. Both of his brothers lived in Fulham, London while he migrated with his uncle and aunty to Adelaide. His next of kin was his Uncle, William Vernum, and his Aunty, Eliza Vernum; he was single and his parents had deceased before he signed up for war. William and Eliza lived in Murray Park, Magill.

His occupation was a carpenter with no experience with military services.

Vernum enlisted at Keswick, Adelaide on the 23rd of March in 1915.

Vernum embarked on 31st of May 1915 on the HMAT Geelong A2. HMAT is an acronym for ‘His Majesty’s Australian Transport Ships’ and was leased by the Commonwealth.

He trained in Egypt, were they trained 9am-12pm then relaxed as the temperature rose.

He was enlisted as a private in the 12th field ambulance then switched to the 7th from May to June (1915) but then switched back to the 12th field ambulance. As being a part of the Field Ambulance Company, his main priority was to take the injured to the dressing rooms for them to be treated. The Field Ambulance company was aiding the 12th Brigade, in command of the 4th Division. The 12th Brigade was made up of 45th, 46th, 47th and the 48th Battalions with Vernum enlisted in the 48th Battalion.


Vernum did not receive any major injuries but was admitted to hospital a few times. He was admitted for eczema, probably the common cold and also for septic dermatitis.


He fought the battle in France which went from 27th March to 5th April in 1918. This battle was called the battle of Hébuterne. There were soldiers who had witnessed Joseph Vernum’s death and have reported. From their reports it states that he was with another 3 people carrying a wounded man to the dressing room but then hit by a shell killing Vernum instantly with both legs blown off.

Vernum was killed on the 3rd of April, 1918. He was found dead at Millen court, France, by sergeant Pitcher, 1st field ambulance. His body was buried by Chaplain, with the help of the private E. Jenkins, in Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery, Picardie, France.


Vernum was involved in the Field Ambulance Company saving many wounded soldiers showing companionship. He volunteered for the war, showing bravery and commitment to his country. He risked his life for the cost of freedom for his country and for the lives he saved.



·       National Archives of Australia 2000, VERNUM Joseph Albert, Australian Government, accessed 8 March 2016, 

·       Australian War Memorial 2000, Joseph Albert Vernum, Australian Government, accessed 8 March 2016, <>.

·       RSL Virtual War Memorial 2000, VERNUM, Joseph Albert, Australian Government, accessed 8 March 2016, <>.

·       Australians at War Episode 2

·       His Majesty's Australian Transport [HMAT] Ships 2009, Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, accessed 29 March 2016, <>.

·       State Library of Victoria, Training & preparation, Australian Government, accessed 30 March 2016, <>.

·       Department of Defence 2000, 1914-1915 Star, Australian Government, accessed30 March 2016, <>.