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Fairley J F   Capt

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 1 year, 2 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


The Herald 17 Nov 1915


Fairley J F   Capt    James Fairburn                11th Gen Hosp, RAMC    28    Cerebral surgeon              

Address:    Moonee Ponds, Moore St 177    

Next of Kin:    Fairley, James & Margaret Louisa, 177 Moore St, Moonee Ponds    

Enlisted:         1914  

Embarked:     No Embarkation Roll available


Fairley was enlisted in the British Army with the Royal Army Medical Corps.  There is an entry for him at the Australian War Memorial Commemorative Roll.  The AWM also holds a personal diary covering August 1914 to July 1915.  The transcript is illustrated with black and white photos.


Relatives on Active Service:

Fairley N H Capt brother


Date of death:  9 Nov 1915  Captain

CWGC: "Son of James and Margaret Louisa Fairley, of 177, Moore St, Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia. Cerebral Surgeon",



The Argus Tuesday 8 June 1915



Lieutenant James Fairbairn Fairley, RAMC, of the 11th General Hospital Staff at Boulogne in one of his recent letter to his parents at Ascotvale writes: -


"When the soldiers get into billets the first thing they do is remove their boots. On account of the cold their feet swell considerably and many of the men have spent their four days in billets lying down and endeavouring to get their feet into a sufficiently normal state to permit of their being able to return to duty and the trenches when their four days' leave expires. But despite all this hardship and discomfort they were always wonderfully cheerful. The rations" he continues, striking the happier note, "were always excellent, and very great praise is due to the Army Service Corps, whose splendid organisation has made it possible to supply every platoon in the British Expeditionary Force with rations since August 5 without missing a day."

The reason for the "wait and see" policy, as it is described by Lieutenant Fairley  is briefly explained, and the way he presents the case makes it clear that there was ample justification for certain delays in the operations prior to the end of February, when, as he says "things began to be much more active." The trenches at Neuve Chapelle and St Eloi were dug in ploughed fields and the heavy rains converted the fighting areas into huge mud ponds, the shell holes being full of water. By the time the men reached the Germans' wire entanglements they were so knocked out that nothing further could be done especially as the Germans at that time had 100 per cent. more Maxim guns than we had, and knew how to use them.

"The battery has been doing splendid work," he continues, "and very few rounds are really wasted. The battery is practically ranged on its targets by aeroplanes. In the early morning a reconnaisance is carried out by aeroplane, and the report  is 'phoned to the divisional headquarters. The targets are at once allotted to the various batteries, and aeroplanes are detailed to go out and range these batteries. Most of the aeroplanes are fitted with wireless, and there is a ground wireless station attached to the battery. The aeroplane goes out and directs the fire of one gun till the range is accurate. Once this is done, usually in two or three shots, the whole battery opens fire, and the report comes in as to the effect. In this way the fire must of necessity be extremely accurate, and 'tis in a great measure to the skill and daring of our airman that it is so. Our aviators, when ranging are continuously shelled by German anti-aircraft guns, and though very few of them have been actually brought  down in the German lines a good number of them have had holes through their planes, &c It is a really wonderful sight to watch the aeroplanes practically surrounded by  white bursts of huge explosive shells. They are really wonderful fellows and are quite invaluable."
 Cite: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1522744


The Argus 13 November 1915



A private cable message from the War Office, London, received by Mr James Fairley, Moonee Ponds states that his son, Captain J Fairburn Fairley, R A M C , died on the 9th inst of meningitis while stationed at the 11th General Hospital, Boulogne, France. Dr Fairburn Fairley, after leaving the University, was a resident medical officer at the Melbourne Hospital and subsequently senior resident medical officer at the Children's Hospital.   



While stationed at the 11th General Hospital, Boulogne, France, Captain J.
Fairburn Fairley, son of Mr James Fairley, Moonee Ponds, died of menin-
gitis. He was a Doctor of Medicine and a Fellow of the Royal College of Sur
geons, England. For many months he had been in the firing line in Belgium,

attached as regimental officer to the Royal Heavy Artillery. He was through

the battles of the Aisne, Ypres and Armentieres. Subsequently he was

attached to the surgical side of the 11th General Hospital, Boulogne, where

he worked for some months. He was invalided to England after an attack of

typhoid fever, and later returned to his old hospital after ten weeks' sick leave,
his death occurring not long afterwards.

The following cable message has been received by his parents: "The
King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the army have sustained by
the death of your son in the service of his country, arid their Majesties truly
sympathise with you in your sorrow. —
(Signed) Keeper of the Privy Purse."

DOCTOR DIES ON SERVICE (1915, November 17). The Herald

(Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 7.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242393493





Mr. James Fairley, of 177 Moore street, Moonee Ponds, received a private cable message from the War Office on Friday last, conveying the sad news of the death at at Boulogne, France, of his son, Dr. J. Fairburn Fairley, who succumbed at the 11th General Hospital to the dread disease, meningitis. The particulars leading up to the demise of Dr. Fairley, who was only 28 years of age, indicate that this untimely death cut short what promised to prove a brilliant career for a young Australian, who, apart from the distinction he earned as a young medical practitioner, also proved him self a clever musician; and possessed of high literary gifts.


The son of a popular bank manager, Dr. Fairley spent most of his young days at Inglewood, where he attended the State School, afterwards studying at Ballarat, where he matriculated. Then followed a brilliant University career at Melbourne, the young student, during a five years course, passing every examination with credit. For the following year he was attached to the Melbourne Hospital as resident medical officer, and passed the examination of doctor of medicine, while later he was senior resident medical officer at the Children's Hospital. Leaving for London at this stage, he did post-graduate duties for two years in four different London hospitals, and became a Fellow of: the Royal College of Surgeons.


When war was declared he enlisted, and within ten days of its declaration he was in Belgium, as a lieutenant of the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to one of the heavy batteries of the Royal Artillery, and among the first troops which left England for the Continent. While in France and Belgium, where he spent seven months in active warfare, being attached to both French and British batteries, he wrote a number of articles from the front which appeared in the "Morning Post," a journal with which Mr. Winston Churchill's name as correspondent was linked a few years back. These literary efforts, especially those dealing with the flight of the Belgian refugees, were highly spoken of in London literary circles.


After seven months at the front he was attached to the surgical wards of the 11th General Hospital, Boulogne, which was scheduled to accommodate 65 patients. In his letters home, Dr. Fairley referred to the death of surgeons, and that he was overworked is clear from his statement that he had put through no less than 140 operations in 10 days. Under his work as an operating surgeon he broke down, and was invalided to the Wandsworth Hospital, London, suffering from typhoid. After 10 weeks' leave he returned to his work at Boulogne, where he had been promoted to the rank of captain. At Boulogne he contracted   meningitis and within 10 days of his arrival there succumbed to this dread ful malady.


LATE CAPTAIN J. F. FAIRLEY. (1915, November 18). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74590826



De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-24. CD-ROM. United Kingdom: Navy & Military Press Ltd.

Captain James Fairburn Fairley

University of Melbourne Records of Active Service


War Service Commemorated                             

Essendon Town Hall A-F

Ascot Vale Presbyterian*

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour DOI Capt (Dr)

De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-24. CD-ROM. United Kingdom: Navy & Military Press Ltd.


Died on Service


FAIRLEY. - Died of supposed meningitis on the
9th November, at the 7th Stationary Hospital,  
Boulogne, France, Captain J. Fairburn Fairley,     
R.A.M.C., surgeon, attached to the 11th General            
Hospital, Boulogne, eldest son of Mr and Mrs
Fairley, Moore street, Moonee Ponds.   
13 November 1915


A small tribute to the honour of Duncan

McHutchison-D-Pte-5856 and
Ross McCutcheon, Will Wotherspoon, Noel
Robertson, Jack Hodge, Chas Levens, Allan  
, Alex McArthur, Allan Evans, Dr. J.
Fairley. (From a Bible class-mate C.V.B., 
Family Notices. (1924, April 25). The Argus, p. 1.



No further personal notices in The Argus up to 1920.



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