Serial No. 2818
2nd Battalion & 54th Battalion
John Hurdis - Information
John Hurdis was born in Wedderburn in 1896. He grew up in the city and attended school in Alexandria. When the war arose, John and his family were living in Kogarah, where John found work as a farm hand. When he was just 19, he decided to enlist on the 23rd of June 1915 in Liverpool. He was allocated to the 2nd Battalion as a Private, and departed Sydney on the 30th of September 1915 aboard the HMAT Argyllshire.
John landed in Egypt, and later joined his unit at Tel-el-Kebir Camp on the 6th of January 1916, after they returned from Gallipoli. Coming back from the Peninsula, the men were exhausted. Commanders decided to boost morale by spreading the veterans out across other Battalions with new reinforcements. As a result, John was transferred to the 54th Battalion and promoted to Lance Corporal at the beginning of March. His unit was then shipped to the Western Front in late June. John did not have to wait long before his unit was put into action. On the 19th of July, the 54th Battalion climbed out of the trenches towards the Germans at Fromelles. Sadly, they ran into horrendous enemy fire, many becoming stuck in No Man’s Land. During the chaos, John was killed. The location of John’s resting place is unknown. Today, his is name is commemorated at the VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial in Fromelles.
Back in Australia, the Hurdis family received the news that John had been killed. Remarkably, John’s older brother, Thomas, then enlisted in September 1916. Unluckily, he was wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium in 1917, shot in the face and arm. Thomas died of his wounds on the 3rd of October. Sorrowfully, Harriet Hurdis would loose two sons to the war.