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John Oswald Cranfield


Serial No:
Serial No. 1682

17th Battalion & 19th Battalion


John Oswald Cranfield - Information

John belonged to a rather large family with extensive ties to the Camden area. John was born to William John and Annabella Cranfield in Elderslie on the 27th of September 1891. William was an important man, serving as an Alderman on the first council of Camden. John grew up in the area, before the family moved to Marrickville. Here, John began working as a railway employee and had served 18 months in the Cadets. When the war began, John and some of his siblings remained in Marrickville while their parents moved to Binna Burra near Richmond Rivers. John then decided to enlist in the AIF, joining up in Liverpool on the 13th of May 1915, aged 23. During training, John was made a Private with the 2nd Reinforcements, 17th Battalion. He departed Sydney on the 28th of July 1915 onboard the HMAT Suffolk.

John landed in Egypt and was taken to the Gallipoli Peninsula to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on the 11th of September, joining the 17th Battalion in the trenches. At the time, the weather turned bitterly cold, as devastating blizzards hit the coast covering everything in snow. On the 29th of October, he reported sick to hospital. By early November, he was admitted to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Cairo, suffering with rheumatism and jaundice. By the new year, he had recovered, and again joined his unit at Tel-el-Kebir Camp after they had evacuated Gallipoli. In mid March, the 17th Battalion was transported to the Western Front in France. John and his unit were introduced into trench warfare at a quiet section of the line. However, shortly after arriving, he was taken ill in late June. The following month, he was admitted to the 8th Stationary Hospital with piles and appendicitis. Two days later, he was invalided to England to the 2nd Southern General Hospital, when his appendix haemorrhaged. After he had recovered from his operation, and enjoyed some convalescence, John was transferred to the 19th Battalion in September. He resumed training at Perham Downs into the new year. Here, John began demonstrating disciplinary problems, going AWL, and contracting venereal disease. He was only gone for one day, from the 11th-12th of January 1917, however, he then escaped custody on the 14th of January. Apprehended on the 31st of January, he was now to await a trial. Granted mercy, at the end of February, he left Folkestone for France to the 19th Battalion. Shortly after meeting his unit, John was accidentally wounded receiving a gun shot wound to his right shoulder on the 28th of March. He was rushed to Rouen, and evacuated to England to the 1st Southern General Hospital, where the shrapnel was removed from his back. After John recovered, he was again transported back to France in mid October, joining his unit during the Third Battle of Ypres. Here, John was wounded when a shell blast injured his foot. He remained in the lines, but headed for hospital on the 6th of November when his foot turned septic. The following month, he was again invalided to England to the 1st Southern General Hospital. However, he was now suffering with a painful back injury. While he was at No. 27 Canadian General Hospital in France, he was asked to help a wounded soldier off a stretcher, in doing so, he aggravated the old gun shot wound of his shoulder/back. Consequently, he was sent back to Australia due to his back injury in early April 1918.