Wyndham History

John Eric Gabrielson (1897-1917)


“John Eric Gabrielson (1897-1917),” Wyndham History, accessed December 13, 2018, http://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/2183.
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John Eric Gabrielson (1897-1917)


Gabrielson, John Eric


Wyndham City Libraries




Andrea Cooper







Biographical Text

No. 2861  Private John Eric Gabrielson

John Eric Gabrielson (Eric) was born to Thomas Gabrielson and Annie Campbell on 19 March 1897 in Adelaide, South Australia.  He had seven siblings:

  • George Saville - born1893 (who also served in the Army Service No. 763)
  • Thomas Digby- born 1895
  • Sara Theodora - born 1898 
  • Laura Phillis - born 1902
  • Gilbert Archibald Roy - born 1904
  • Irene Beryl - born 1905 
  • Petra Doris Gwendoline - born 1917 (his half sister.)
They were all born in South Australia. 

According to Electoral rolls, Eric was living in Berwick, Victoria from 1914 to 1917 as a farm hand.  However, in his enlistment papers, it is noted that his next of kin is Mrs Emma Davis from Little River, alongside his father and his mother.  At the time of enlistment, according to service records, he was living in Little River.  The Probate records, on 4 October 1918, note that he was formerly of Little River, in the State of Victoria, a Labourer.

Eric enlisted on 7 July 195, at Melbourne, Victoria.  He was aged 21 years and six and half months, and he was five feet and six and a half inches tall.  Eric weighed ten stone, four pounds and had a chest measurement of thirty seven to thirty nine inches.  His complexion was listed as fresh, with light blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He also had a tattoo.  All of this was recorded at the time of his enlistment. His unit was the 8th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement and they embarked from Melbourne, Victoria on board SS Makarini on 15 September 1915.  During the voyage he was noted to have offended at sea on 30 September 2015 - he was found to be sleeping on Hatch 5 contrary to his standing order - and was fined 2/6/.

Eric was in Heliopolis from November 1915 to 29 March 1916, where he joined BEF in Alexandria, and disembarked from the Transylvania in Marseilles, France on 4 April 1916.  He was taken on strength 1st MGC B213 on 2 August 1916 and attended M.G. School in November 1916.  He rejoined his unit on 26 November 1916 and was on duty up until 26 September 1917, when he was wounded in action in Belgium.  Eric was admitted to the 12th G. Hospital in Rouen with a shotgun wound back penetration on 27 September 1917.

Eric died on 11 October, 1917 in the No 12 General Hospital, Rouen of the wounds he had received in action.  He was buried on 15 October 1917 at St Sever Cemetery Rouen

His will dated 1 June 1917 lists several names as beneficiaries:
  • his father Thomas Gabrielson
  • Mrs Emma Jane Davis, and 
  • Miss Ethel Bates from Little River, Victoria, Australia.
An article appeared in the Observer (Adelaide), 24 November 1917, p.38 advising of his death and gives a short biography.

An earlier article in the Werribee Shire Banner, 25 October 1917, p.2 gives an account of his wounding and subsequent passing.

On 29 May 1918, Thomas Gabrielson received his sons effects.  From London a telegram confirming the following were sent: Match box cover, fountain pen, souvenir knife, wallet, tobacco pouch, pencil, 4 coins, 3 badges, piece of Shrapnel, cards, photos. The address of his father at the time of this letter was Stockade Reserve, Near Dry Creek, South Australia.

In a letter dated 27 October 1958, from A.I.F. Base Records to the Public Trustee office – addressed a question regarding the Estate of Catherine McRae.  It’s noted that in his records, he was listed as single and not married, and that his next of kin was recorded as his father, – Thomas Gabrielson, Yantala Labour Prison, Adelaide, South Australia.

His brother George and his wife had a son on 18 November 1920 and named him Ronald Eric.  They had another son on 22 May 1938 and named him Graham John.  It appears that his nephew Ronald Eric Gabrielson also served in the military.

Notes say that on on 27 July 1943, he was a warrant officer, Service No. 403692 and was appointed to the rank of Pilot Officer. 

Family Notices were published in the Advertiser, Adelaide, 11 October 1926, p.12 and the Chronicle, Adelaide, 16 October 1926, p. 20 from his father and auntie Jean; and his cousin Kathleen.

Eric's mother died on 12 December, 1940 in Woodville, South Australia.

Medals and Entitlements:
  • British War Medal - 22 September 1921 
  • Memorial scroll - 22 September 1921 
  • Memorial Plaque - 24 November 1922 
  • Star Medal - 30 July 1920 
  • Victory Medal - date unknown


AIF project


National Archives of Australia

World War 1 Pictorial Honour Roll of South Australians – has two photos of John Eric Gabrielson

RSL Virtual War Memorial

Werribee Shire Banner (Vic 1911-1952) Thursday 25 October 1917
1917 'DISTRICT NEWS.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 25 October, p. 2. , viewed 18 Apr 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74827202
The Age (Melb Vic 1854-1954) Sat 12 Apr 1919
1919 'Deceased Soldier's Estate.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 12 April, p. 14. , viewed 18 Apr 2016,
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-Harvard/Australian citation

1926 'Family Notices', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 11 October, p. 12. , viewed 19 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47026255


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