James Kingsley Gorrell
Serial No. 9857
Australian Army Medical Corps & AIF Canteens
James Kingsley Gorrell - Information
James steamed out of Melbourne on the 18th of April 1916 upon the HMAT Itria. He had joined the Light Horse in Liverpool on the 16th of August 1915, at the age of 23. Shortly after signing up, he was assigned to the 16th Reinforcements, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance. Born and raised in Wollongong, he enjoyed a privileged upbringing. His father, James William Gorrell, was an Alderman of the Central Illawarra Council for thirty years, serving as Mayor for twelve. James Kingsley was the oldest of 11 children, and had a lot to live up to. He began working in the banking industry, forcing him to relocate regularly. In 1912, he gained a position at the Bank of NSW Campbelltown Branch. However, he would place his career on hold to serve his country.
James joined his unit in Egypt in May 1916. The Field Ambulance was kept busy transporting casualties and increasing numbers of sick troops. Becoming a victim himself of the desert environment, James was admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea in June. The following month, he returned to his unit only to be transferred to the 2nd Field Ambulance on the 25th of July. A month later, he was given a respite from desert stints, allocated to AIF Canteens in Cairo and Kantara. Run by the military, these canteens provided troops with a place to purchase luxury items such as chocolates and sweets and personal products such as soap. James worked non-stop helping troops in Egypt, and was promoted to Corporal on the 1st of January 1917. He remained with the Canteens after the war ended, being appointed Temporary Sergeant on the 30th of November 1918. Throughout 1919, he completed duties at various Headquarters, joining AIF Headquarters in London in July. On the 1st of November, he commenced his journey back to Australia, reuniting with his family on the South Coast.