No.2709 Private Samuel Minnett
Samuel Minnett was born at Munderbury, England on 5 April 1891 to James and Elizabeth Minnett.
His siblings were:
- Henry Minnett - born 1888 at Avenbury, Herefordshire
- Florence Edith Minnett - born 1890 at Avenbury, Herefordshire
- John Minnett - born 1893 at Avenbury, Herefordshire
- Lily Minnett - born 1897 at Avenbury, Herefordshire
- Hubert Minnett - born 1899 at Avenbury, Herefordshire
In the 1911 census of England, Samuel Minnett is recorded as a farm labourer, working for Mr John Jones of Wernfawr, Penpont, Brecon, in Wales.
It is not recorded how he travelled to Australia, but by 1914 he was working as a bricklayer in the Bacchus Marsh area.
In August 1914, Samuel was one of a group of six men farewelled at a function held in the Bacchus Marsh Mechanic’s Institute. They were members of the Bacchus Marsh Troop of Light Horse, who had been accepted into the AIF.
Bacchus Marsh Express, 22 August 1914, p.3.
After serving for five weeks with the 4th Light Horse, he was rejected due to problems with his sight.
Two years after being rejected for service, Samuel reapplied to enlist in the AIF in January 1916. He was accepted and sent to the 19th Depot Battery at Geelong until March 1916, and from there he was transferred to the Broadmeadows Camp. On arrival, he was appointed as a member of the 5th Reinforcements for the 29th Battalion. That date, 5 March 1916, became his official enlistment date.
At the age of 25 years, former bricklayer Private Samuel Minnett embarked with the 5th Reinforcements for the 29th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Brigade. They sailed from Melbourne per H.M.A.T. A68 Anchises on 14 March 1916, bound for Egypt. After disembarking at Suez on 25 April 1916, he underwent further training, in preparation for going to the Western Front. Samuel embarked from Alexandria per HMS Ivernia on 29 June 1916, and sailed to Marseilles.
He arrived in France on 29 June 1916 and after spending time at a Base Depot, he was eventually taken on strength with the 29th Battalion on 2 August 1916. They were then located at Bac St Maur, in a supportive role. This included helping the 8th Field Coy to repair trenches, and working with the 8th Brigade’s Mining Coy to construct deep dugouts.
On 10 December 1916, Private Minnett reported as sick. After being treated by the 20th Casualty Clearing Station, he was conveyed by the 14th Ambulance Train to the 3rd Stationary Hospital, at Rouen, where he was admitted, suffering with appendicitis.
After making a recovery, Samuel Minnet was able to rejoin the 29th Battalion on 18 January 1917. They were then located at Montauban where they were assisting with road and railway repair works.
On 3 August 1917, when his unit was at Blaringhem, Private Minnett was charged with breaching military discipline, in that he was absent from Roll Call on the previous day. For this offence, his commanding officer awarded him 1 day of Field Punishment No.2.*
The only major offensive that the 29th Battalion participated in during 1917 was at Polygon Wood in the Ypres Sector in Belgium. It was there, on 9 October 1917, that he received a gunshot wound to his left thigh.
He was treated by the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, and then the 83rd General Hospital at Boulogne. In need of further treatment, he embarked from St Denis in France on 16 October 1917 and sent to the 1st East General Hospital at Cambridge in England.
After recovering, he was discharged on leave, on 30 November 1917, with orders to report to the No.1 Commonwealth Depot at Sutton Veny, on 14 November 1917. He was two days late returning from leave, and for this crime, he was awarded four days of Close Confinement, and a loss of two days’ pay.
On 25 January 1918, he again went absent without leave, this time for two days. The penalty was 4 days of Field Punishment No.2., and the loss of six days pay.
Private Minnett remained at Sutton Veny until 4 April 1918, when he was transferred to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverell. While there, he was placed "On Command" to the 5th Division Signals School (14th Training Battalion at Codford), for a course of instruction.
Another instance of absence without leave occurred on 28 and 29 May 1918. This time his sentence was 4 days of Field Punishment No.2., and 5 days' loss of pay.
On 6 June 1918, Private Minnett was admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital (A.D.H.) at Bulford, suffering with V.D.42 (syphilis). He contacted it while at Bristol. After just two days’ treatment he was discharged back to duty at Codford.
His time in England was drawing to a close, and on 30 July 1918 Private Minnett marched in to the No.1. Command Depot at Sutton Veny. From there he moved on to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverell on 15 August 1918.
On 6 September 1918, Private Minnett embarked from Folkstone for France, and rejoined the 29th Battalion at Le Mesnil, on 13 September 1918.
His Battalion was then part of the forces attacking the Hindenburg Line around the St Quentin Canal (which was the last major battle of the war). On 28 September 1918, when the Battalion was at Hesbecourt, Private Minnett received a gunshot wound to his left shoulder and right leg.
He was treated by the 55th Casualty Clearing Station and the 2nd Ambulance Train, which took him to the 2nd General Hospital at Havre. In need of further treatment, he was evacuated to England by the hospital ship Grantully Castle on 2 October 1918
Back in England, he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Edgbaston in Birmingham, and it was here that he spent the Armistice. On 7 January 1919 he was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, and he remained there until 22 January 1919.
On 3 March 1919 he was able to gain a passage home on H.M.T. Czar, which sailed from Liverpool. He was transhipped to H.S. Dongola at the port of Alexandria on 10 April 1919, and disembarked at Melbourne on 16 May 1919.
Private Samuel Minnett was discharged from the A.I.F. on 18 January 1920.
At a presentation held in the Werribee Mechanics Institute in December 1919, “Private S Minnett of the 29th Battalion (wounded in Paschendale and Bullecourt)” was one of those who were presented with a Werribee Shire Gold Medal.
Werribee Shire Banner, 11 December 1919, p.2.
The Victorian Electoral Rolls list Samuel at Bacchus Marsh from 1914 until 1919, when he moved to Glenferrie. He then worked there as a wood machinist until 1924, when he moved to Emerald Hill. He then lived in that area until the outbreak of WWII.
Samuel re-enlisted in 1941 at the Royal Park depot after WWII had begun, and was given the service number of V14139.** He then served with the 17th Garrison Battalion until 1944.
In 1949 he was recorded as a Soldier living on City Road, South Melbourne, and by 1954 he was working in the area there as a cleaner.
In 1963 he was listed as unemployed, and in the same year, he died at the Heidelberg Hospital in 1963, aged 72 years.
Samuel Minnett never married, and his place of burial is not recorded.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: “Minnett, S.”
Name on the Werribee C of E Honour Board: “Minnett, G.”
His name first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 10 February 1916, p.1. as “Minnett S” from Werribee.
In the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 February 1919, p.3. it changed to “Minnett G” of Werribee, and remained as such until the last list appeared in Werribee Shire Banner, 6 March 1919, p.1.
He has a tree (No.N161) planted in his honour in the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour.
His name is recorded on the Roll of Honour for Bacchus Marsh, in the Bacchus Marsh R.S.L.
His name is recorded on the Holy Trinity Church Roll of Honour in the Bacchus Marsh Anglican Church.
* Field Punishment No.2. - There were two categories of field punishment. Field punishment No. 1 consisted of heavy labouring duties, possibly being restrained in handcuffs or fetters, and being tied to a post or wheel. Field punishment No. 2 differed, in that the offender was not liable to be attached to a fixed object.
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