Howard James RANDALL


RANDALL, Howard James

Service Number: 1558
Enlisted: 1 August 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Kingston, South Australia, 11 January 1891
Home Town: Kingston South East, Kingston, South Australia
Schooling: Kingston Public School
Occupation: Locomotive Engine cleaner
Died: Killed in Action (behind German lines), Fromelles, France, 20 July 1916, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery
Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, Fromelles, Lille, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kingscote Kangaroo Island WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

1 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1558, Keswick, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1558, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1558, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1558, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)

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"...1558 Private Howard James Randall, 32nd Battalion. An engine cleaner from Kingston (now Kingston S.E.), South Australia, prior to enlistment, he embarked from Adelaide aboard HMAT Geelong on 18 November 1915 for Suez. His battalion relocated to the Western Front, France, during June 1916. Pte Randall was reported missing in action on 20 July 1916 after the Battle of Fromelles. Subsequently, his identity disc was returned from Germany and he was determined to have been killed in action on that date. He was aged 25 years. Initially he had no known grave but, in 2008 a burial ground containing the bodies of 250 British and Australian soldiers was located at Pheasant Wood, France. The soldiers died during the Battle of Fromelles on the night of 19-20 July 1916 and were buried by German troops. In 2010 all of the remains were reburied in the newly created Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. At the time of the official dedication of the cemetery on 19 July 2010, ninety-six Australians had been identified through a combination of anthropological, archaeological, historical and DNA information. Since then other Australians, including Pte Randall, have been identified." - SOURCE (

Son of Mr Samuel Randall of Kingston SE.  He was of a large family; his siblings are listed on his headstone as Adamay, Adelaide, Percy, Roy, Ida, Ruby, Nellie and Jessie.

He served 6 months in the 22nd Light Horse at Kingston prior to enlistment at Keswick Barracks and upon enlistment was assigned to the 1st Reinforcements 32nd Battalion

He and his colleagues joined the unit at Isamailia in Egypt and then they embarked on the HMT Transylvania in ALexandria on the 17 June 1916. They disembarked in Marseilles on the 23rd 1916 June before heading north by train to the Fleurbaix sector with the rest of the 5th DIvision.

He was fated to be part of the ill-starred attack on 19/20 July at Fromelles. He was initially recorded as "Missing in Action". Information was received by his brother Roy from a Private Poole that Howard was in hospital but this proved to be inaccurate. On the 13th March 1917 his ID disc was returned from Germany and he was duly recorded as Killed in Action although he had no known grave.  A subsequent witness report from a fellow 32nd Battalion soldier, Private S Train, POW in Germany, reports that he was "killed on the German parapet, being shot in the back".

Ms Eliza Randall of Grey Farm, Reedy Creek, via Kingston SE - presumably his mother.

His family received his Commemoration plaque (no 315010) and King's scroll in August 1922.  1914/15 Star No 25570, British War Medal 24996 and Victory Medal 24829 23 Sep 1921

His remains were among those discovered at Pheasant Wood in 2010 - *Pheasant Wood cemetery was opened in 2010 to house the remains of soldiers disinterred from the mass grave at Pheasant Wood in which were interred Allied soldiers killed in the attack at Fromelles who fell behind German lines. 


 (C) Steve Larkins May 2016