Henry Swanton (1893-1916)Subject
Wyndham City LibrariesContributor
No. 2760 Private Henry Swanton
Henry Swanton, born in July 1893, was the youngest son of Samuel and Helena Swanton who lived at Anderson Street, Werribee.
Henry was a carpenter. According to his enlistment papers, he was a slight young man – not quite 5’3” tall. He had blue eyes, a fresh complexion and light brown hair.
He enlisted on 4 January 1916 in Melbourne. By this time he would have known that his brother John who had served with the 2nd Battalion AIF had been killed at Gallipoli in early May 1915.
His eldest brother, George Beamish Swanton, 24th Battalion AIF, was also to become a victim of the war, killed in action at Pozieres in France in July 1916.
After enlistment, Henry was assigned to the 19th Depot Battalion, based at Geelong. In early March, he was sent to the Broadmeadows Camp to join the 5th Reinforcements, 29th Battalion AIF.
Just a month later, he and his mates boarded His Majesty’s Transport Anchises in Melbourne and disembarked in the Suez Canal Zone, Egypt on 15 April 1916. Following an arduous period of training, the Battalion left Egypt to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, landing at Marseilles at the end of June.
On 4 August, Henry was officially ‘taken on strength’ from the 5th Reinforcements to the 29th Battalion in the Somme region in Picardie.
The Battalion found itself in the middle of a major offensive launched by the BEF on 1 July 1916 that became known as the Battle of the Somme. More than a million men from all sides were killed, wounded or were missing in action as the battle raged until mid November 1916.
By November, the 29th Battalion was based at Flers in the Somme.
Private Henry Swanton was killed at Flers on 2 November 1916 – the last of the three Swanton boys to be killed in action in service of their country.
And like his brother John Swanton, no grave site was ever recorded. He is remembered though at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in the Somme.
He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and his family received a memorial scroll and King’s message that was given to all the families of those who were killed during the First World War.
Lest we forget
http://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=anz%2fbmd%2factbirt%2f1097092&highlights=%22%22 (birth details)
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=SW&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GScntry=7&GSsr=721&GRid=16189072& (Find a Grave, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial – photo of inscription)
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=8096405 (enlistment date)
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp (casualty report/embarkation details/date of death)
Page 18 http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp (letter advising Samuel Swanton that no record had been found of where his two sons were buried – dated 17 July 1924)