James Ramsay FORREST – MM and BAR – S/N – 2089- Lieutenant- 10th Light Horse Regiment/10th Field Artillery Brigade- Enlisted- 23 November 1915, Discharged – 30 April 1919.
James Ramsay FORREST was born on 13 April 1895 at the Forrest family residence,” Seaview Farm ” Ludlow, Western Australia. He was the twelfth child of James Hill FORREST and Annie Maria RAMSAY. Young James ( known as ” Jim ” ), was educated at Ludlow, Wonnerup and Bunbury Primary Schools . Whilst in Bunbury , he stayed with his older sister, Mary Reading. Jim transferred to Perth High School to undertake Secondary Education for a period of 18 months, before returning to work on the family farm at Ludlow.
Shortly after leaving High School, the Great War of 1914 – 1918 was declared. Although Jim was working on the farm, and exempt from service, he showed a very keen interest to enlist in the AIF. His parents were strongly opposed to Jim’s plans to enlist, so sent him to his Uncle David’s Minderoo Station, near Onslow, WA. David’s son ( Jim’s cousin ) had recently died on a troop ship during transit for overseas war service. Jim worked at Minderoo for a period of 6 months, before enlisting for service at the Onslow recruiting depot. Prior to embarkation for overseas, Jim became engaged to Margaret WALPOLE.
Jim was allocated to the 10th Light Horse Regiment in early January, 1916, serving initially in Egypt. On 14 February, 1916, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, before transfer to the Western Front in Europe. He spent three and a half years on overseas service, and celebrated his twenty-first birthday in Egypt. During service in France in June 1917, Jim was struck by a piece of shrapnel, which entered his mouth, broke seven teeth, pierced his tongue , and lodged in his neck, below the jawline. Following an operation , Jim awoke to find the offending piece of metal pinned to his shirt.
The AIF acknowledged Jim’s bravery with the award of a Military Medal on 15 May, 1917 and a subsequent Bar to the Military Medal on 12 November, 1917. He was again wounded in action in France on 29 September, 1918, when he received a gunshot wound to the Clavicle. Shortly after recovery, he rejoined the Medium Trench Mortar Battery in his role as a Lieutenant, when he suffered temporary blindness from a gas attack, being hospitalized for a short time at Rouen, France. ( Jim later stated that the Nurse who unwrapped his bandages was named Vivienne ).
Following the cessation of hostilities, Jim embarked from England on 25 January 1919, aboard the ” Ceramic “, being admitted to the Ship’s Hospital with Influenza, during the homeward journey. He disembarked at Fremantle WA on 3 March, 1919, being honourably discharged from War Service on 30 April, 1919. Jim and Margaret WALPOLE( known as ” Madge ” ) were married at Busselton WA on 10 December, 1919.
Jim and Madge located to an unimproved 400 acre property ” Pinchers Brook ” at Lowden in 1962. This property became an absolute credit to the family after many years of hard toil. Jim’s strong, dogged determination to overcome adversity, is thought to be honed from the dedicated upbringing which has been fostered throughout the FORREST family. Jim maintained the teachings of this family approach to each of his Children, Grand Children and Great Grand Children, by instilling a strong will to survive. Jim is an ANZAC HERO, who was very proud to be an Australian. Both he and Madge are interred in the Lowden Cemetery, WA.
Footnote:– Jim and Madge’s youngest Daughter, Vivienne, was named after the Nurse in France who removed the bandages from his eyes, after he suffered from temporary blindness .
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:- Sincere thanks to Susan ( Grand Daughter ) for her Research and Writing of the above dedication to her Grand Father, James Ramsay FORREST, MM and Bar.
The complete Service Record for James Ramsay FORREST, including details of Commendations for the Military Medal and the Bar to the Military Medal are available under the Alphabetical Listings section of the www.anzcaheroes.com.au website.