| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!

View
 

Aldred-J-Pte--1302

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 8 years, 10 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918

 

Aldred John    Pte    1302    John  7 Inf Bn    20    Plasterer    Single    Pres        

Address: Newmarket,

Next of Kin: Aldred, John, father, Kensington, Rankins Rd, 17   

Enlisted: 6 Oct 1914       

Embarkation: A46 Clan MacGillivray 2 Feb 1915  

Prior service:  12 months junior cadets             Born in Bendigo in 1895.                

 

Relatives on Active Service:

Aldred A J Pte 3682 father

 

 

Private John Aldred - Conduct prejudicial


by Lenore Frost

 

At Serapeum, Egypt, on 10 March 1916, John Aldred was court martialled on the charges of:  1.  When being on Active Service conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, and 2. using threatening language to his superior officer".  

 

The following are extracts from the Field Court Martial Trial papers included in his B2455 record.

 

Private Norman Churchman 2346 on his oath states.  
I am a Military Policeman attached to Divisional Headquarters.  On 23rd February 1916 I was on duty at Ferry Serapeum at about 1630 Accused Private Aldred was on duty at the Punt.  Accused said to me "You mob are making it too hot you are only a lot of bastards".  Accused then walked around the back of the punt.

 

Witness for the Defence No 855 Private Hibbett
On the twenty third of February 1916 I was one of the punt party with Pte Aldred engaged in pulling the punt across the Canal.  I noticed while we were working that Private Aldred was drunk, and using very abusive  language.  He abused me several times; but I took notice of him knowing that he was too drunk to know what he was saying or doing.  He took one load across the Canal and brought another back.  The bridge was then put across.  There was then no work for us to do and I went away to the latrines.  When I came back they told me that Aldred had been put in the guard tent.

 

Serapeum, Egypt, circa 7 Apr 1916.  Punt crossing the Suez. Australian War

Memorial Collection. http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P00859.012

 

William Alfred Bayliss 2nd Lieutenant on his Oath states: on the 23rd day of February 1916 about the hour of 1640 I was crossing the Ferry I had placed my horse on the punt.  The punt was temporarily held up on account of passing steamboats.  While on the Punt I saw the accused Private Aldred speaking to a military policeman I heard him say "You ought to have your bloody head knocked off and all of you take on this job you are a lot of bastards".  I said to accused "stop that language" and called for the Military Police.  I gave accused in charge of the Military Police. 

 

Private Norman Churchman No 2346 having been duly sworn states:
I am a Military policeman attached to First Division Head Quarters.  Whilst on duty at the punt, between 1630 and 1700 on the twenty third of February I heard Private Aldred say "You chaps are making it too hot.  You are only a lot of bastards.  He then went behind the drays on the punt. An officer called on me to arrest this man.  The accused while being escorted to the guard tent struck at the officer.  The accused appeared to have had some drink but was not drunk.

 

Cpl Roland Keen Ransom stated:

I am a corporal in the 7th Batt AIF.  On the 23rd day of Feb 1916 I was Corporal in charge of a working party at the Ferry.  The accused Private Aldred was on duty at the Ferry and in such working party between 1600 and 1700 on that date Lt Hornby drew my attention to the condition of Aldred.  I found that Aldred had been taking drink but was capable of doing his work and was in fact doing his work. I do not know who brought him but shortly after Mr Hornby had drawn my attention to the condition of accused I saw a MP come on to the punt where Aldred was working and I heard the APM give an order to the MP that accused should be arrested.  I saw the APM arrest the accused and remove him from the punt.  Aldred went off the Punt quietly and did not use any bad language going off the Punt.


When accused got off the Punt an officer of the 8th Battalion I do know know his name said to the accused "Go quietly or there will be trouble for you".  This remark seemed to excite the accused and he turned round and said to the officer, "You are a bastard.  The men on the Punt have been to Anzac".  3 Military Police then took the accused away.  The accused had taken drink but was not drunk.  He was capable of doing his work.


Ransom was questioned by Aldred:

Q  Do you think if I was sober I would have done what you say I did.
A   I think you had taken just enough to make you bad tempered.
Q  You said in conversation with me that the 8th Batt officer said he would liked to have had a go at me. What made him say that?
A  Because you were so insulting towards him and tried to hit him.

 

Lieut George Frederick Mason, having been duly sworn states:
At about 1640 on the afternoon of the twenty third of February 1916 I was called down on the  beach to see what the disturbance was.  I saw the accused sparring up to another man on the punt when I got there. Noticing me he walked away from the man he was sparring with. Lieut Bayliss of the 8th Battalion asked me to place him under arrest which I did.  After handing him over to a file of men of the guard the accused called Lieut Bayliss  "A fucking bastard", told him to take his coat off, hop out and he would have a piece of him. The accused was sober at the time.  I am an officer in charge of the military police First Division.

Lieut Bayliss 60th Battn having been duly sworn states:
I recognise accused as Private Aldred who was on the twenty third of February 1916 at about 1640 speaking in a high tone of voice to a member of the military police I heard him say "I ought to knock your bloody head off".  "The men that take on this job (meaning Military Police) are a lot of bastards".  I spoke to him telling him to stop using filthy language.  He said "Would you sir, if one of your mates were taken to the guard tent for nothing?"  I again told him to stop talking.  He said.  "Oh fuck you!  I don't care for you star men".

I called the APM and asked him for some men.  His mates tried to pacify him.  I heard myself referred to as an "8th Battalion Bastard".   The APM brought some men, and asked me to point out the man who was to be arrested.  I pointed out the accused. When the picquet approached the accused he avoided them and came towards me in a threatening attitude.   I handed my horse to another soldier and as accused lifted his hands, I seized his wrists telling him not to go too far.   The accused said "I wish I had you without your tunic on you bastard I will catch you again".  The picquet seized him and while taking him away accused called out several times "You're a bastard".  The Accused was drunk.  
Q:  What makes you state the Accused was drunk?
A:  His general appearance and the fact that he was staggering and his behaviour at the time
Q:  Were you close to the accused?
A:  Quite close
Q:  Did you smell drink oon the accused?
A:  No.

Private Norman Churchman No 2346 having been duly sworn states:
I am a Military policeman attached to First Division Head Quarters.  Whilst on duty at the punt, between 1630 and 1700 on the twenty third of February I heard Private Alfred say "You chaps are making it too hot.  You are only a lot of bastards.  He then went behind the drays on the punt. An officer called on me to arrest this man.  The accused while being escorted to the guard tent struck at the officer.  The accused appeared to have had some drink but was not drunk.

Cpl Roland Keen Ransom having been duly sworn states:

On the twenty third of February 1916 between 1600 and 1700 I was in charge of a party of twelve men, on the punt at Serapeum.  Accused was one of my party.  The provost Marshall came and ordered two men to arrest this man.  The accused was under the influence of drink, and on being arrested appeared to lose his temper.  While under escort I heard the accused saying to an officer "You are a bastard."

Mason said:
In order to avoid the accused Lieut Bayliss transport officer of the 8th Battalion called to a soldier standing near "Hold my horse accused then made a rush at Lieut Bayliss. I caught him and stopped him from striking the officer accused said to Lieut Bayliss "You are a fucking bastard".  he repeated this expression several times.  He also said to Lieut Bayliss take your stars off and hop out on the sand.  I don't give a fuck for all your stars.  If ever I meet you in civilian life I will get my own back I replaced accused in charge of the guard. This occurrence all happened on the Ferry.

Bayliss said.
Accused said to me "Fuck you and your stars I don't care for you star men".  Some of his companions tried to get accused to stop his bad language.  I heard him say I was "An 8th Battalion Bastard".  Accused said to me "Take your tunic off or come over on the bank".  Accused also said to me "You ginger headed bastard".  In my opinion the accused was under the influence of drink.

Aldred's record presented to the Court showed that had three minor convictions while at Tel-el-Kebir

1  Absent from parade without permission 28.1.16
2  Absent from Retreat roll call 29.1.16

3  Absent from Parade 29.1.1916

For these he had been awarded 7 Days Field Punishment No 2 by the 7 Bn Commanding Officer, H E Elliott.

 

Aldred was found guilty, sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour.  He was returned to Melbourne and committed to Pentridge for this sentence.

 

There is no doubt that Aldred had been traumatised by his time at Gallipoli.  Aldred was there at the landing, and still there at the evacuation.  In August 1915 he was charged with being absent without leave from a sapping party on the night of 20 Dec (sic - presumably August) 1915, and was awarded 168 hours detention.  The detention was remitted but his pay was stopped and was given 28 days fatigue instead.  By August the troops had been debilitated by constant stress, poor food, and heavy work.  It may be that Aldred fell asleep when he was meant to report for the sapping party.

 

The troops on the Peninsula were weakened by their long privation, and when Aldred was performing strenuous labour on the punt less than two months later, he would hardly have gained back his strength nor mental health.  Exacerbated by drink, his temper was not well-controlled, especially when Bayliss intervened in what would appear to be an  unnecessary manner, considering witnesses said he was quietly leaving the punt with the MPs.  Aldred resented being spoken to by a 2nd Lieutenant.  He may not have known that Bayliss, too,  had been at Gallipoli, where he had been promoted in the field.  Aldred also possibly felt that those who had been at Gallipoli deserved some consideration for the privations they had undergone.  There is no evidence given suggesting that the Court thought it appropriate to take this into account.

 

While Aldred pleaded not guilty, the only defence provided by his witnesses was that he was affected by drink.

 

Captain Oates of 7 Bn certified that Aldred's medical records were missing, so that we don't have any information available about what illnesses or injuries he suffered while at Gallipoli.  He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour.  No remission of his sentence was given in Egypt, and so Aldred returned to Australia as a prisoner under sentence, leaving Egypt on 29 May 1916.

 

Alfred John Aldred was born in Bendigo in 1895, son of Alfred John and Sophia nee Turner.

 

Although committed to Pentridge Prison on his return, by the time he was released with a two month remission in December 1916, he was being held at Geelong Prison.  

 

PRISONERS REPORTED AS DISCHARGED FROM THE PENAL ESTABLISHMENTS
DURING THE WEEK ENDING 2ND DECEMBER, 1916.

GEELONG
Aldred, James; tried by court-martial , Serapean,
Egypt, 10th March, 1916, when on active service guilty
of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military
discipline; when on active service using threatening
language to his superior officer; 1 year hard labour,
with 2 months remitted; Victoria, labourer, 1894, 5 ft.

6½ in, sallow complexion, brown hair, grey eyes. Scar
left knee, mole left forearm.

Victoria Police Gazette, p747, 1916

 

The response to Aldred's insubordination was harsh, and perhaps he was made an example.   He had also run the risk of having his medals refused, but in fact his B2455 record shows that his medals were restored, and he took delivery of them at 22 Russell Street Brunswick in 1922.

 

In 1917 Alfred John Aldred married Ethel May Seymour, and the following year a daughter, called Pearlie May, was born at Golden Square (Bendigo).  While this domestic scene is something he may have dreamed of on the Penisula, the Victoria Police Gazette revealed that he had not settled back into the community:

 

DESERTERS OF WIVES AND CHILDREN.
ALDRED, JOHN ALFRED, is charged, on warrant, with deserting
his wife, Ethel May Aldred, 682 High-street, Bendigo, at Bendigo,
on the 15th December, 1917. Description: -Returned
soldier , plasterer, 22 years of age, 5 ft. 6 in. high, stout build,
medium complexion and hair, hazel eyes; wore a black suit
and dark -grey cap or green felt hat; carried a silver mounted
cane suit-case. May go to Swan Hill, Nyah, or Bridgewater.-
0.5494. 28th February, 1918.
March 7, 1918                              

DESERTERS OF WIVES AND CHILDREN.
See Police Gazette, 1918, p. 139.
ALDRED, ALFRED JOHN, on warrant, for wife desertion.--The
warrant has been withdrawn.-0.549A. 12th June, 1918.

 

The subsequent withdrawal of the warrant may indicate that Aldred returned to his wife, but he went missing again the following January, and again Ethel took out a warrant for him:

 

DESERTERS OF WIVES ' AND CHILDREN.
ALDRED, JOHN ALFRED, is charged , on warrant , with deserting
his wife, Ethel May Aldred , Olive -street , Bendigo , at Bendigo,
on the 24th inst . Description :- A returned soldier , plasterer,
22 years , 5 ft. 6 in., stout build , medium complexion, hazel
eyes; may wear a dark suit and a brown hat; fond of drink.
He is supposed to be about Nhill .- 0.247A . 25th January,
1919

 

The Police Gazette indicates that Echuca was one place Aldred turned up in, having been sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment for larceny in the Echuca Petty Sessions.   He had evidently been returned to Bendigo Prison to serve the sentence - the outstanding warrant for wife desertion may have had something to do with that.

 

PRISONERS REPORTED AS DISCHARGED FROM THE' PENAL ESTABLISHMENTS
DURING THE WEEK ENDING 7TH JUNE, 1919.

BENDIGO
Aldred, John Alfred; tried at Echuca P.S., 24th May, 1919,
larceny; 14 days; Victoria, labourer, 1895, 5 ft. 6½ in., sallow

complexion, brown hair, grey eyes.

 

Aldred's troubles continued, again reported in the Victoria Police Gazette, when he was arrested for the theft of a pair of boots in Bendigo.

 

WILLIAMS, the Shoeman, 276 Hargreaves-street, Bendigo, reports
stolen from a rack in front of his shop, on the 19th ult.,
a pair of gent's glace kid boots, size 7. Value 12-1. 9d.-O.5974.
21st July, 1919.

 

WILLIAMS', -, larceny.-The boots have been recovered by
the Bendigo P.C. police , at the shop of Elizabeth Russell,
second-hand dealer , high-street , Bendigo. A man, name
unknown, sold the property to Mrs. Russell on the 19th inst.
Description :- 22 years, 5 ft. 6 in, stout build, medium complexion,
dark hair; wore a dark suit and a dark alpine hat.-
0.5974. 30th July, 1919.

 

See Police Gazette, 1919, p. 377.
WILLIAMS' larceny.-John Alfred Aldred has been arrested by
the Bendigo P.C. police for this offence.-0.5974. 11th August,
1919.
See Police Gazette , 1919, p. 365.

 

It is possible that there was a reconciliation with his wife, but again Ethel took out a warrant for desertion at Bendigo in 1921:

 

BENDIGO .-16.6.21. - Aldred, John Alfred, is charged, on

warrant, with deserting his wife, Ethel May Aldred, 76 Vine

Street, Bendigo, at Bendigo. Description: A plasterer, 25

years, 5 ft 6 1/2 in, stout build, medium complexion, dark

hair, clean shaven; dressed in dark clothes and a black hat;

a returned soldier, and addicted to drink. 09087. 17th

June 1921.  (VPG June 23, 1921, p. 419)

 

Again, the warrant was withdrawn.

 

WIVES AND CHILDREN.
BENDIGO .-16.6.21.-Aldred, John Alfred, on warrant for
wife desertion.-The warrant has been withdrawn. Police
(Gazette, 1921, p. 411).-0.9087. 28th February, 1922.
(VPG March 2, 1922, p.123)

 

John, however, was unable to control his drinking, and he had apparently again left his wife as he appeared in the Cobram Court in New South Wales on charges again probably related to drinking:

 

Aldred John A; tried at Cobram P .S., 7th March, 1922, obscene
language ; fined 40s., or 14 days; same Court , same date,
assault; fined 20s., or 7 days ; Victoria , plasterer , 1897, 5 ft.
6½ in., fresh complexion , brown hair , blue eyes. One previous
conviction.   (VPG April 6, 1922, p. 217)

 

Did he ever pay the fine?  Or was he unable, and received another short prison sentence?  He left New South Wales fairly soon afterwards, and possibly  returned to Melbourne.

 

"J Aldred" signed for Private John Aldred's service medals at 7 Russell Street, Brunswick on the 5th and 12th of April 1922. This was the home of Alfred John Aldred (civil servant) and May Aldred (home duties) in the 1924 Electoral Roll. This was John Aldred's father and step-mother.  This couple can be traced in the Electoral Rolls until their respective deaths, Alfred John senior in 1939 aged 66 and May Aldred in 1956.  Alfred John Aldred junior's wife, Ethel May, nee Seymour, died in 1950 in Ararat, Victoria. 

 

John Aldred's movements are difficult to trace, but he appears to be the John Alfred Aldred in the Lidcombe State Hospital, NSW, plasterer, in 1956.

 

It seems probable that the John Alfred Aldred who died at Bendigo in 1976 aged 77 was the former Private John Aldred.  The informant didn't know his father's name, and gave his mother's name as "Sarah Unknown" not Sophia Turner, and the age was slightly wrong.  This man was buried at the Kangaroo Flat Lawn Cemetery, the date of death given as 18 April 1976.

 

He was an original ANZAC, but an ungrateful nation left him to fight his demons on his own.

 

SOURCES

Electoral Rolls, Victoria 1903-1956

National Archives of Australia:  B2455 records

Victoria Police Gazette, 1916-1920

 

 

War Service Commemoration

Regimental Register 

 

 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.