The Stuart-Sinclair Family of Collie paid the maximum price for our lads dedication to the Great War effort, when 3 of their sons failed to return home at the conclusion of the conflict. It is incomprehensible to try to understand the outpouring of grief, as the original, then subsequent letters were received from the Army, advising of a son’s death. A summary of each of the brother’s contribution to the War effort, together with circumstances of their deaths, are as follows:-

( 1 )- STUART-SINCLAIR, Bombardier Stanley- 3778 – 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade.

Stanley was working as a stockman/station hand when he enlisted for service in November 1914, at the age of 22 years.  At enlistment, a clerical error, by exclusion of the hyphen in his surname, meant Stanley’s army records were incorrectly perpetuated as SINCLAIR.

Stanley completed initial training at Blackboy Hill Camp WA before embarking on troop ship “Itonus” for Alexandria, Egypt on 22nd February 1915.  He was attached to the Field Artillery Brigade in Egypt as a gunner, until shipped to France in late March, 1916.

In February 1917 he was impacted by the effects of shell shock, then suffered a severe gunshot wound to the right leg and scrotum in early June 1917.  These injuries necessitated an evacuation to England where Stanley was admitted to the Brook War Hospital at Woolwich.  After 2 months of treatment and recuperation, he was granted 2 weeks leave, then spent 4 weeks training, prior to re-joining the Field Artillery Brigade at the front, in France.

Stanley was promoted to ACTING BOMBARDIER  in December 1917 and was subsequently wounded, with the effects of mustard gas.  Sadly, he was killed in action on 8 August 1918, at the age of 26 years, and is buried in the Adelaide Military Cemetery, Villers Brettoneux, France.

BURIAL LOCATION

Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Brettoneux France – Section 3,  Row  S,  Grave  2

MEMORIAL INSCRIPTIONS

Australian War Memorial Canberra ACT – Panel No. 13

Collie War Memorial, WA

SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED

1914/15 Star – No. 6874

British War Medal – No. 7751

Victory Medal – No. 7713

Memorial Plaque& Scroll – No. 349987

 

( 2 ) -STUART-SINCLAIR, Pte. Edward – 5207 – 11th Battalion.

Edward was working as a Clerk when he enlisted for service in late January 1916, at the age of 18 years.  His parents had signed a consent form, allowing his enlistment at under 21 years of age, a decision that they must have later pondered over, to regret.

Edward completed initial training at Blackboy Hill Camp WA,  before embarking on troopship “Shropshire” for Alexandria, Egypt.  Following a brief stop-over in Egypt, he was sent for further training in England, before joining the 11th Battalian in the field France, in mid August 1916.

He remained unscathed, at the front until May 1917, when he received a gunshot wound to the head.  Edward was evacuated to England for treatment, and following 2 months of hospitalization, he was discharged to enjoy 2 weeks leave.

As was common practice in the Great War, Edward returned to training, after leave, and was despatched to rejoin the 11th Battalion at the Western Front, in late August 1917.

Tragically, Edward was struck down by shrapnel wounds to the stomach, in action in Belguim, on 1 November 1917.  He was admitted to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station, where he died 26 days later, on the 27 November 1917, at 20 years of age.

BURIAL DETAILS

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium – Section 26,  Row  A, Grave  8A.

MEMORIAL INSCRIPTIONS

Australian War Memorial Canberra, ACT – Panel No. 64

Collie War Memorial, WA

SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED

British War Medal – No. 34245

Victory Medal – No. 34002

Memorial Plaque & Scroll – No. 339166

 

 

( 3 ) -STUART-SINCLAIR, Lieut. John Francis – 28th Battalion.

John was employed as an Accountant/Company Secretary, when he enlisted on 5th February 1916, at the age of 27 years.  He enlisted 11 days after his youngest brother, Edward and ironically was the first of the 3 brothers to meet his demise in the Great War.

John was immediately promoted to the rank of SECOND LIEUTENANT and embarked on the troopship “Seang Bee” for Plymouth, England on 17 July 1916. Following on from 3 months training in England, he was shipped to France , where he joined the 28th Ballalion in the field, in late January 1917.

John was highly thought after by his Commanding Officers, being promoted to LIEUTENANT, then to TEMPORARY QUARTER MASTER SERGEANT, within the space of 4 months.

The STUART-SINCLAIR family suffered the first of their 3 heartfelt losses on 29 October 1917, when John died from wounds, that fractured his left thigh and left hand, whilst in action in Belguim.

BURIAL DETAILS

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery , Flanders,  Belguim.- Section 21,  Row  DD,  Grave  9.

MEMORIAL INSCRIPTIONS

Australian War Memorial Canberra, ACT – Panel No. 114

Collie War Memorial, WA

SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED

British War Medal – No. 48835

Victory Medal – No. 48276

Memorial Plaque & Scroll – No. 357472.

 

We are left to wonder why the Army did not make arrangements to transfer Stanley to a safer location, or  even return him to Australia after his 2 brothers, Edward and John Francis were killed.  Is it possible that the clerical error at enlistment, by enrolling him as “Sinclair”, prevented an alert being raised that may have saved the third Stuart-Sinclair brother from death?

The loss of 3 fine young men in the prime of their lives and the monumental inpact on the Stuart-Sinclair parents and family, are a sobering  reminder of “the futility of wars”.

 

AUTHOR NOTE:-

The Author acknowledges the assistance of Grahame Old from the CARDIFF COLLIE RSL Sub Branch for the additional information on the ” COLLIE  BOYS ” of  WW1.