The Vernon Brothers of Collie are another fine example of the contribution to the War effort made by Brothers from the Collie District. Each of the Brothers were wounded during their service for our Country, with the oldest brother, Gordon Lindsay being wounded on three occasions, eventually being discharged from service as medically unfit.
The Vernon Brothers each served in the 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion, with the two younger Brothers, Henry and Albert Edward enlisting six months after Gordon , on 19th April 1916. Their Mother, Jane Vernon must have spent many sleepless nights with three sons at the Front, and would have experienced untold elation when all boys arrived home safely in August – October 1919.
( 1 )- VERNON, Cpl. Gordon Lindsay DCM – 4063- 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion.
Gordon was 27 years of age and working as a Coal Miner at Collie, when he enlisted for Service in the Great War on 20th October, 1915. After three months of training with Depot Battalions , he was posted to the 28th Battalion and appointed to the rank of Corporal. He embarked Fremantle aboard the troop ship ” Ulysses ” on 1st April 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth England on 7th May 1916.
He was quickly shipped to Marseilles France, then transferred to Base Depot , before joining his Battalion in the field as Acting Corporal , on the Western Front. In late March 1917, Gordon was wounded in Action, however remained at Duty. However, on 3rd May 1917 he suffered a severe Gunshot Wound to the chest, requiring immediate hospitilization at Rouen France, then evacuation to England for further treatment at the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Bristol. In early July 1917 he was transferred to the Australian Aux. Hospital at Dartford England to complete his recuperation from injury.
Gordon suffered his gunshot wounds during his gallant and fearless work in an attack on the Hindenburg Line , East of Bullecourt in France on 3rd May 1917. He was wounded on three separate occasions during this action and was awarded the DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL accordingly.
Following discharge from Hospital, he spent three months at the Command Depot in Perham Downs, then two weeks at the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill. In mid-December 1917 he rejoined the 28th Battalion in the field in Belgium, where he spent a period of two months , before being transferred to the 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion.
Gordon was again wounde in Action in France on 17th July 1918, but remained at Duty. During later operations at Bullecourt on 29th September 1918, he was acknowleged for showing conspicuous courage and initiative, by setting a splendid example of devotion to duty to the remainder of his Company. Gordon was Mentioned in Corps Orders on 9th October 1918 for these additional acts of bravery.
In early November 1918 Gordon was granted long overdue Leave to England. On expiration of Leave in early December 1918, he rejoined his Unit in France for a further eight weeks , before being transferred to Demobilization Staff at Havre France. In late February 1919 he rejoined his Unit ex. Detachment, until transferred to the Command Depot at Weymouth England on 17th April 1919, for Return to Australia.
Gordon embarked England on 1st June 1919 on the troop ship ” Somali ” , bound for Fremantle. He disembarked at Fremantle on 8th July 1919, then was susequently discaharged from service, as being Medically Unfit on 12th October 1919.
( 2 )- VERNON, Pte. Henry – 2959- 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion
Henry was 26 years of age and working as a Coal Miner at Collie when he enlisted for service in the Great War on 19th April 1916. He underwent training at Blackboy Hill, then was posted to the 51st Battalion for two months, before attachment to Miners Reinforcements. In early September 1916, Henry was transferred to the 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion as part of the 6th Reinforcements.
He embarked from Fremantle on 30th October 1916 on the troop ship ” Port Melbourne ” bound for Devonport England. Shortly after disembarking at Devonport, he was posted to the Pioner Training Battalion at Larkhill. In late March 1917, Henry embarked from Folkestone England for the 5th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples in France. In late May 1917, he joined the Pioneer Battalion in the field in France, but within three weeks had suffered a bout of Trench Fever.
Henry required seven weeks in Convalescent Depots in France to recover from Illness, before rejoining the Pioneer Battalion in action in France during mid-August 1917. On 18th october 1917 he suffered a Shell Wound to the head, which was treated by Field Ambulance Officers for almost two weeks before he was cleared to return to his Battalion. Henry spent the following four months with the Pioneer Battalion in France , then was granted Leave to England from 28th February 1918.
Post Leave, Henry served continuously with the Pioneer Battalion in France, from 15th March 1918, until granted further Leave to England on 20th January 1919. He then rejoined his Battalion in France on 3rd February 1919, until embarking for the Group Depot at Weymouth England, for return to Australia. He embarked for Australia on the troop ship ” Somali ” on 1st June 1919, disembarking on 8th July 1919. Henry was discharged from service on 16th August 1919.
( 3 )- VERNON, Pte. Albert Edward – 2958 – 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion.
Albert was 22 years of age and working as a Coal Miner at Collie, when he enlisted with an older Brother Henry, for service in the Great War on 19th April 1916. His early service details mirror those of Brother Henry, with training at Blackboy Hill, posting to the 51st Battalion, then attachment to Miners Reinforcements. In early September 1916, Albert was transferred to the 5th Australian Pioneer Battalion as part of the 6th Reinforcements.
He embarked from Fremantle on 30th October 1916 on the troop ship ” Port Melbourne ” bound for Devonport England. Albert was posted to the Pioneer Training Battalion at Larkhill, then embarked from Folkestone on 28th March 1917 for the Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples France. On 3oth May 1917 he joined his Brother Henry, with the 5th Pioneer Battalion in the field in France, completing nine months of uninterrupted service.
On 28th February 1918, Albert was granted two weeks Leave to England. On return to France he spent one week in the Casualty Clearing Station with sickness, before returning to the Battalion in the field on 22nd March 1918. Albert then completed another five months of uninterrupted service in the field in France, before he was wounded in Action on 3rd September 1918. Despite the wounding, he remained at Duty.
In early December 1918, Albert was detached to the 3rd Aust M.I. Company for six weeks, then granted Leave to England. He rejoined his Unit in France in mid-February 1919 for a further two months service, then embarked for the Base Depot at Weymouth England for return to Australia. Albert embarked England on the troop ship ” Somali ” on 1st June 1919, bound for Australia. He disembarked in Australia on 8th July 1919, being discharged from service on 16th August 1919.