John Thomas BLAIR was within one month of his Fortieth Birthday, and the Head Teacher at Bunbury Primary School, when he enlisted for service in the Great War at Blackboy Hill WA on 16th September 1915. John’s leadership qualities were acknowledged early in his service, being appointed to the rank of Sergeant with the 7th Reinforcements of the 28th Battalion on 1st November 1915.
He embarked from Fremantle on the troopship ” Medic ” on 18th January 1916, arriving at Alexandria Egypt on 16th February 1916. John experienced five weeks of training in an Egyptian Base Camp, prior to embarking for Marseilles France, where he arrived ashore on 27th March 1916.
John joined the 28th Battalion in the field France in early May 1916, and reverted to ranks. He had received a minor wound to his hand after four weeks at the front, however, on 29th July 1916, received a gunshot wound to the groin and thigh, which required immediate hospitalization in Rouen France. Within a few days he was evacuated and admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth England. After one month of treatment and convalescence , he was discharged to the Command Depot at Perham Downs.
John Blair’s career in Education, combined with his maturity, led to placement at the Balliol College in Oxford in November 1916, preceding his posting to the No. 2 Officer Cadet Battalion at Pembroke College at Cambridge England. In late March 1917, Blair was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant, then granted three weeks Leave in England. Post leave, he was shipped to the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples France, then re-joined the 28th Battalion in the field France.
Following a slight sickness, which kept him indisposed for 10 days, John was attached to Corps School in France from 22nd July 1917. He rejoined the 28th Battalion in late August 1917 and two weeks later suffered Cellulitis to a foot and spent seventeen days in Hospital at St. Omer France. In late September 1917, John Blair was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, whilst with the 28th Battalion on the Western Front in Belgium.
On 1st March 1918, John was transferred for service to the Overseas Training Brigade Longbridge Deverill England, until he rejoined the 28th Battalion in the field France in early October 1918. He was granted Leave to Paris for three weeks, then spent a further five weeks with his Battalion in France, before being transferred to England for further duty.
John Blair embarked from England for Australia on the ” Orontes ” in mid-May 1919, being discharged from service on 7th September 1919.
AUTHOR NOTE ;
Did John Blair return to his his role within the Education System on completion of his active service?
We are seeking an image of John Blair in uniform, to add to the website, including to this short story post.