Badge Number: S9951, Sub Branch: St Peters


Service Number: 13428
Enlisted: 2 October 1916, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies
Born: Wilmington, South Australia, Australia, 6 March 1888
Home Town: Wilmington, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Christian Brothers College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Motor mechanic
Died: Died undergoing surgery for an anuerysm, Adelaide, South Australia, 10 July 1968, aged 80 years
Cemetery: Enfield Memorial Park, South Australia
In returned servicemen's section
Memorials: Adelaide Christian Brothers' College WW1 Roll of Honor, Willowie Schools and District Roll of Honor, Wilmington District WW1 Honour Boards
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World War 1 Service

2 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
22 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, SN 13428, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies
22 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Driver, SN 13428, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies, HMAT Persic, Melbourne
11 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 13428

addit to JDs Eileens children

John married Hilda Eileen, nee Spain and he had Six children: Patricia, Tess, Mary Anne, Jean and a boy John. Surviving :Tess turning 90 this year and Pat is 95

JD's and Eileens children

John JD also had another child a boy 'John" not mentioned in article .
So i have now added John

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Oliver Dignan

John Dignan was born on the 6 March, 1888 in Wilmington, South Australia. His parents were Edmund and Annie Dignan and his siblings were Percival, Frank, Edmund, James and Dorothy Ann Dignan. Peter and Pauline Dignan were his nephew and niece. [edited upon further advice from family.]

John started his life on a small farm outside of Wilmington, his father was a motor mechanic who manufactured a machine called the Dignan Challenge Stripper. John started his schooling at Wilmington Primary School. At the end of his primary schooling he attended Christian Brothers College in Adelaide, South Australia where he finished his schooling.

After school, John became a motor mechanic at a time when horsepower was still very much in use. He was twenty-six when war broke out, then he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force [AIF] on the 2nd of October, 1916 at the age of twenty-eight in Adelaide, South Australia.

On the 22nd of October, 1916 he travelled from Melbourne to Turkey on a boat called the “Persic”, where he went and trained with second Corporal Archibald Walter Addison. When John went to war he was in the Third Auxiliary Motor Transport Company driving battle trucks. He was then in the motor transport driving and was upgraded to a Lance Corporal and then was a Corporal when he was in the fifth division, motor transport.

During his service, he had leave from 29th of March, 1919 to 12th April, 1919. He went to Paris during his leave.

When the war finished he disembarked in England on the 1st of October, 1918 and worked in the war office before returning to Australia on the 20th July, 1919 on the "Valencia" war boat after a six-week trip.

John worked on  his farm Kalangadoo in the South East of South Australia where he spent the rest of his life. He did not serve in World War Two, but he did have five Italian prisoners of war [internees] to help on the farm. John married Hilda Eileen, nee Spain and he had five children: Mary, Patricia, Anne, Bridget and Jean.

John Dignan passed away during an operation on an aneurysm 10th July, 1968. He was eighty years old when he passed. He is buried at the Port Adelaide Enfield cemetery South Australia, Adelaide. 





RSL Virtual War Memorial. Available: Last accessed 27/6/2017.

National Archives of Australia. (2017 ). National Archives Australia. Available: Last accessed 27/6/2017.




Born in Wilmington where his father Edmund Paul (EP)Dignan had an engineering workshop. His father invented and manufactured the "Dignan Stripper" in Wilmington and one still stands on display there.

Attended Christain Brothers College for his secondary education.

Became a motor mecahnic at a time when horse power was still very much in use.

At a point sometime after returning from WW1 he etablished a mixed farm at Kalangadoo in the SE of South Australia. Ironically he would have 5 Italian POWs during WW2 entrusted to his care to help on the farm.

He and his wife Hilda Eileen nee Spain had six children Mary, Patricia, Anne, Bridget (Tess), Jean and John. When he retired from the farm he moved to St Peter's in Adelaide where he resided until his death on 10 July 1968.