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George Beamish Swanton (1882-1916)

Citation

“George Beamish Swanton (1882-1916),” Wyndham History, accessed December 16, 2017, http://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1282.
Description

Studio portrait of 1159 Private (Pte) George Beamish Swanton, Australian 24th Battalion, of Werribee, Victoria, with his wife Nellie and young baby, Joan Helen. Pte Swanton enlisted on 28 April 1915 and embarked on board HMAT Euripides on 8 May 1915. He died of wounds on 28 July 1916 at Pozieres, France. Pte Swanton had two brothers who were also killed in action; 222 Pte John (Jack) Swanton, 2nd Battalion, enlisted on 27 August 1914 and was killed in action at Gallipoli Peninsula on 2 May 1915; and 2760 Pte Henry Swanton, 29th Battalion, enlisted on 5 March 1916 and was killed in action at Pozieres, France on 2 November 1916.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA09050/

Description

Studio portrait of 1159 Private (Pte) George Beamish Swanton, Australian 24th Battalion, of Werribee, Victoria, with his wife Nellie and young baby, Joan Helen. Pte Swanton enlisted on 28 April 1915 and embarked on board HMAT Euripides on 8 May 1915. He died of wounds on 28 July 1916 at Pozieres, France. Pte Swanton had two brothers who were also killed in action; 222 Pte John (Jack) Swanton, 2nd Battalion, enlisted on 27 August 1914 and was killed in action at Gallipoli Peninsula on 2 May 1915; and 2760 Pte Henry Swanton, 29th Battalion, enlisted on 5 March 1916 and was killed in action at Pozieres, France on 2 November 1916.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA09050/

Title

George Beamish Swanton (1882-1916)

Subject

Swanton, George Swanton

Publisher

Wyndham City Libraries

Contributor

Ian Cropper

Format

text

Language

eng

Type

Text

Biographical Text

No. 1159  Corporal George Beamish Swanton

George Beamish Swanton was the eldest son of Samuel and Helena Swanton, long time residents of Werribee. He was born in January 1882 at Wyndham and married Nellie Isabella McGregor in 1913.

At the age of 33 George, an engine driver by trade, enlisted at Werribee on 3rd March, 1915. Following basic training at the Broadmeadows Camp, he and his fellow battalion members proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Gallipoli.

They disembarked at 9.30pm on 6 September 1915, making camp at Rest Gully.

According to the battalion’s history at the Australia War Memorial, the 24th Battalion “spent the next 16 weeks sharing duty in the Lone Pine trenches with the 23rd Battalion. The fighting at Lone Pine was so dangerous and exhausting that battalions rotated every day”.

The Battalion was evacuated in December 1915 and by early January found itself in Alexandria, Egypt.

George Swanton was promoted to acting Corporal while his unit was guarding the strategically important Suez Canal Zone in February 1916.

The 24th Battalion – 25 officers and 992 ‘other ranks’ – sailed for Marseilles in France in late March 1916. George’s promotion to full Corporal was confirmed in April as the unit served near Armentieres.

One the night of the 29-30 June 1916, his war record shows that George participated in a highly successful raid on enemy trenches. The war diary notes that about 20 enemy soldiers were killed and a further five taken prisoner.

Sadly, barely a month later, Corporal George Beamish Swanton, 24th Battalion, AIF was killed in action at Pozieres on 28 July 1916. He was 34 years old.

He was to become one of three Swanton brothers who were killed during the First World War. The other two were:

George is remembered at the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot 7, Row A, Grave 11), around eight kilometres west of Albert in the Somme.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, while his family received the memorial scroll and King’s message recognising his sacrifice.

Lest we forget

Bibliography

Service record: NAA: B2455 Swanton G B
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/75107/SWANTON,%20GEORGE%20BEAMISH – burial details and memorial certificate
http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1003747.pdf - raid on trenches... diary entry.
http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1003748.pdf - day GBS was killed – war diary entry – page 4.

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