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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

John DAVERN

Born 1888 in Kilfenora, Clare, Ireland [30: item 3489276]
Labourer in Carnamah, Western Australia in 1915 [94]
He resided in the Carnamah townsite until leaving on Thursday 20 May 1915 to join the forces going to war [9: 28-May-1915]
The Carnamah correspondent of Moora newspaper The Midlands Advertiser wished him "God speed and a safe return" [9: 28-May-1915]
Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 2 June 1915 at Blackboy Hill in the Perth hills [30: item 3489276]
On enlistment he was described as 5 feet 8¾ inches tall, weighing 160 lbs. with grey eyes, dark hair and a medium complexion [30]
After brief military training at Blackboy Hill he was appointed to the 7th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion on 16 June 1915 [30]
Embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia for active service abroad on the H.M.A.T. Chilka on 18 June 1915 [94]
Private 2474 in the 16th Battalion at Gallipoli, Turkey for six days, from 2 August 1915 to 8 August 1915 [30]
At 7 a.m. on 8 August 1915 while advancing with his unit on Hill 97 he was hit by a bullet in the left thigh [30]
His unit had advanced about 100 yards but had to retire and his Lieutenant said he would send stretcher bearers to get him [30]
No stretcher bearers came and he lay there until being captured by Turkish Forces on the afternoon of 8 August 1915 [30]
Later on 8 August 1915 he was taken to a hospital in Chapa, Constaninople, Turkey where he was treated for his wound [30]
     He was at Chapa for one month, during which time he stated that he and other prisoners were well treated [30]
Around 9 September 1915 he was removed to the very poorly run Thash-Kishla Hospital which was also in Constaninople, Turkey [30]
     At the Thash-Kishla Hospital the doctor put a clean bandage on his wound but never cleaned or dressed it, and it turned black [30]
     He had to sleep on the floor with no blankets and some days could hardly lift his head off the pillow [30]
     The officer falsely told the orderlies that the English were mistreating Turks - to the result that they were poorly treated [30]
     While at Thash-Kishla an Australian soldier he knew died after contracting a fever following an operation [30]
From 27 January 1916 to 27 September 1916 he was at the Harbie Hospital which was also in Constaninople, Turkey [30]
     At the Harbie Hospital he and others were fed and treated much better than they had been at Thash-Kishla [30]
     He underwent two operations under anesthetic which resulted in his gunshot wound finally healing [30]
     While at Harbie began receiving parcels sent to him from his home, but they had taken six months to arrive and were spoiled [30]
     Later on such parcels began arriving quicker and in good condition, although the Turks removed anything with writing on it [30]
Around 27 September 1916, while only just able to move about on crutches, he was taken to a prison in Constaninople [30]
     Here he and English men were not mistreated however Armenians and Greeks were chained, poorly fed and beaten [30]
     At the prison he was told that the Turkish had nothing against the English and were only in the war because of Germany [30]
On 4 October 1916 he was taken from the prison and transported for over 30 hours to Afion-Kara-Hissar, Turkey [30]
     Imprisoned in a Armenian Church in Afion-Kara-Hissar from 4 October 1916 to 27 November 1916 [30]
     They had no beds, had to sleep on the floor, were poorly fed, bathed twice a week and were fumigated twice a week [30]
     Some of the little food they had was purchased locally using money given to them by the American Ambassador [30]
     The Commandant at Afion-Kara-Hissar greatly disliked the English and the result was they were very poorly treated [30]
On 27 November 1916 he was removed to Haidar Pasha Hospital, back in Constaninople, where conditions were far superior [30]
     Here he was well fed, had a choice of food, a bed with clean linen and could wander in the hospital's attractive gardens [30]
On 13 June 1917 he was removed from Haidar Pasha Hospital and taken to Psamatia Camp on the outskirts of Constaninople [30]
     At Psamatia Camp there were about 400 prisoners of various nationalities, all of whom slept on blankets on the floor [30]
     The camp was a Greek Church and the prisoners were initially confined to the Church building and its small yard [30]
     He stated the sanitary arrangements at Psamatia were very bad although there was cold water laid on for washing [30]
     During his time there he lived off parcels sent to him and using the money given to him from the American Ambassador [30]
On 3 December 1917 he left Pasamatia and was taken to Mauthausen, Austria "for exchange to England" [30]
     Mauthausen was a very large camp of about 15,000 men, many of whom were taken out to work in the country [30]
     At Mauthausen he stated that the Austrians treated them very well; the food was inadequate but was all they had to give them [30]
On 10 February 1918 he left the camp at Mauthausen, Austria for England; arrived in England on 18 February 1918 [30]
Admitted to the King George Hospital in London, England on 18 February 1918 for gunshot wound and severely fractured femur [30]
Embarked from England on the H.T. Matatua on 17 June 1918 and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 8 August 1918 [94]
Discharged from the Australian Imperial Force in Perth on 4 September 1918 due to wounding [94]
Awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal [30]
Resided of late in the Perth suburb of South Fremantle [2]
Died 19 November 1963; buried Fremantle Cemetery, Perth suburb of Palmyra (Roman Catholic, C3, 655) [2]


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'John Davern' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 16 July 2020 from www.carnamah.com.au/bio/john-davern [sources]




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