John Raymond Dredge
Serial No. 3166
7th Light Horse Regiment
John Raymond Dredge - Information
John Raymond or Ray, was the oldest son of John Frederick James and Margaret Jane Dredge. His parents lived in Eastern Creek, before moving to Campbelltown in 1900 and then to Douglas Park in 1905. Ray was working as a labourer in the Campbelltown area when he met his sweetheart, Campbelltown local Zillah Cooper, the daughter of a bullock farmer. In April 1916, Ray watched his younger brother, Gordon, join the AIF. When Ray was almost 20, he also decided to enlist, joining the Light Horse at Menangle Park on the 18th of July 1916.
Ray was stationed to Menangle Park, training as a Trooper with the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Brigade. The proximity of Menangle Park to Campbelltown allowed Ray the chance to see his family and Zillah. Zillah soon fell pregnant, and when Ray was able to obtain some leave, he and Zillah married at St Peters in Campbelltown on the 8th of November 1916. On the 29th of December, Ray was appointed Acting Sergeant, and was then stationed to Seymour in Victoria, leaving his pregnant wife back on Allman St in Campbelltown. His unit was shipped overseas from Melbourne on the 10th of May 1917 onboard the HMAT Boorara. While he was at sea, Ray's daughter, Joyce Gwendoline, was born on the 12th of June in Campbelltown.
Ray arrived in Suez, Egypt on the 20th of June 1917, where he reverted to a Trooper. Ray was marched into Moascar six days later, and was taken on strength to the Training Regiment. On the 1st of August, Ray joined the 7th Light Horse Regiment. His unit patrolled Palestine, participating in the flanking attack on Beersheba and Gaza on the 31st of October, where a bullet struck him. Luckily it hit his pouch. The Allies pushed on their success, as the 7th Regiment was also involved in the capture of Jerusalem in December. In 1918, the Turks withdrew with operations moving into the Jordan Valley, with assaults at Amman and Es Salt. In May, Ray was admitted to hospital with pyrexia. On the 10th of September 1918, Ray was appointed Driver with the ANZAC Motorised Division Train for lighter duties. However by late November, Ray was back in hospital suffering from tonsillitis. After recovering, he continued to serve with the transport division. He was then sent back to Australia on the 17th of August 1919 on the Oxfordshire.
Ray returned to Campbelltown, reuniting with his wife and meeting his daughter Joyce for the first time, she was now two and a half years old. Ray found work transporting supplies and timber with another ex-soldier Warren Dick. Ray and Zillah quickly added to their family with Errol Raymond in 1920, Garnet Victor 1922, Douglas 1926, and Royce 1933. Sadly, Royce passed away in 1935, aged just two years old. In the 1930s, Ray worked as a dairyman and also a milk and ice vendor, on part of the 40 acres of C. N. Hannafordâs farm. He lived in a house on the corner of Dumeresq and Queen Streets. After years of struggling during the Depression, in 1938, Ray moved his family to a house at 303 Queen St, and named it Dredge's Cottage. During the Second World War, two of Ray's sons, Errol Raymond and Garnet Victor, enlisted in the army. Ray's sons safely returned from the war and the family continued to live on Queen St. Ray passed away in 1966 and was buried at St Peters in Campbelltown.