George Russell TESTER (TESLER)

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TESTER (TESLER), George Russell

Service Numbers: 4284, 4284A
Enlisted: 23 August 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 4th Pioneer Battalion
Born: Clarendon, South Australia, December 1883
Home Town: Kangarilla, Onkaparinga, South Australia
Schooling: Clarendon Public School
Occupation: Driver
Died: Died of wounds, France, 2 June 1917
Cemetery: Trois Arbres Cemetery
Plot I, Row L, Grave 17 Headstone Inscription "FOR GOD HATH LED MY DEAR ONE ON AND HE CAN DO NO WRONG"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

23 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4284, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4284, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4284, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Adelaide
16 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 4th Pioneer Battalion
1 Jun 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 4284A, 4th Pioneer Battalion, Shell wound (right leg)

"Russ" Tester

George Russell Tester, known as ‘Russell’ or ‘Russ’, was born at Clarendon, SA on 29 December 1882, the second son of George and Macey Tester. Russell worked in agriculture and was a horse driver. He had initially been rejected for the AIF on health grounds but re-applied, and a medical on 12 August 1915 gave him the all clear to enlist. On 21 August 1915 he married Marcella Lavinia Golder, and went into camp 2 days later. Russell left South Australia on the troopship ‘Borda’ on 11 January 1916 with the 13th Reinforcements for 10th Battalion, AIF. His brother-in-law John Gwynne (married to Eunice, Marcella’s sister) was in the same draft. On arrival in Egypt, both transferred to the newly formed 4th Pioneer Battalion which went on to Marseilles, France in June 1916 and then to the Western Front. On 2 July 1916, John Gwynne was wounded in the right arm, returned to Australia and discharged in Adelaide on 13 April 1917.

Russell remained with the battalion and on 1 June 1917, during the preparations for the battle of Messines, he was wounded whilst on road construction. The unit War Diary says that he was one of four casualties and that his “..right leg (was) badly smashed by H.E. shell.” Evacuated to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, he died there of his wounds on 2 June 1917, aged 34. The main attack at Messines took place on 7 June 1917, five days after Russell’s death.

Russell Tester is buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Belgium. The cemetery is about 5 miles from Armentierres railway station and contains 1,694 war graves, including 470 Australians.

Russell’s widow Marcella (known as “Cella”) had no children and never re-married. She lived for many years at “Hazeldene”, Tester Road, Kangarilla and died in 1957. Tester Road is so named to honour her and her soldier husband.

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Son of George and Macey J. TESTER; husband of Marcelle L. TESTER, of "Hazeldene," Kangarilla, South Australia. Native of Clarendon.

Embarkation Roll (www.awm.gov.au) has incorrectly recorded Surname as TESLER