I'm hoping someone will have come across my great uncle, or at least heard of him.
He was born 12 June 1890, son of Thomas and Ellen (nee Witnell, sometimes recorded as Whitne(a)ll or Withne(a)ll). In 1908, his mother signed him into the Royal Navy in Chatham, Kent. He was discharged from the Navy in 1912 after receiving a sentence of 3 months hard labour in Chatham Prison for the theft of a watch. At some point after December 1912 he left for Australia where he next appears on 22 August 1914 when he enlisted in the AIF at Randwick, NSW. He served in Gallipoli and France, was court-martialled four times, either for desertion or disobeying orders and was sent back to Australia on 16 February 1920 on the Ypiringa and discharged from the 56/54th Battalion on 9 March 1920. He is next heard of on 28 May 1936 when he writes from Yarrawonga requesting copies of his discharge documents from the Australian Military authorities, as the originals had been lost in a fire on 10 March 1936 at his cousin (H Ferris)house in Watts Creek.
I do not know when he finally left Australia, except that he died in Bedford, England in 1950.
If anyone can shed any light on his activities in the period 1912-1914 and 1920-1950 I would be most grateful. I do not know whether H Ferris was male or female, nor where he/she was born (his uncle William John Withnell emigrated to Australia in 1886 with his family).
Does anyone know anything about this fire? Did Thomas marry/have a family during his thime in Australia?
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