Informations sur naissance

Année de naissance:
1889
Lieu de naissance:
Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia

Informations générales

Profession:
Lumberman

Informations service militaire

Pays:
Australia
Force armée:
Australian Imperial Force
Rang:
Private
Numéro de service:
3504
Incorporation date:
25/10/1916
Incorporation nom de lieu:
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Unités:
 —  Australian Infantry, 49th Bn.  (Dernière unité connue)

Informations sur décès

Date de décès:
26/09/1917
Lieu de décès:
Westhoek, Zonnebeke, Belgique
Cause du décès:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Âge:
28

Cimetière

Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Parcelle: I
Rangée: E
Tombe: 19

Distinctions et médailles 2

British War Medal
Médaille
Victory Medal
Médaille

Points d'intérêt 3

#1 Lieu de naissance
#2 Lieu d'enrôlement
#3 "Lieu de décès"

Mon histoire

Private John Hunter, a 28-year-old lumberman from Nanango, Queensland, served in the Australian Infantry 49th Battalion, part of the 13th Australian Brigade, of the 4th Australian Division.

The 4th Australian Division participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood, a phase of the Battle of Passchendaele. It was to attack from positions along Anzac ridge, just south of Polygon Wood, and operated on the left flank of the 5th Australian Division, which had to capture Polygon Wood itself. The 4th Division’s attack was carried by the 4th and 13th Australian Brigades. The 13th Australian Brigade in turn advanced with the 50th Battalion; the 49th and 51st Battalions Australian Infantry were in support.

On 26 September 1917 at 6.45 a.m. the Australians moved forward behind a creeping barrage. The barrage was very dense and powerful, and most German resistance was broken even before the attacking parties arrived. The defenders they did encounter, surrendered willingly. Only some German snipers offered slight resistance.

At 7.55 a.m. the 49th Battalion had moved through Albania Woods and reached its objective, just west of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek. Once the men had established their positions they started digging trenches and organized the defence. At 3.30 p.m. and at 6.00 p.m. Germans were seen massing on their front, but both attempts to organize a counterattack were checked with artillery fire. For both Australian Divisions the attack on the 26th of September had been a success. Polygon Wood had been captured by the 5th Australian Division and all Battalions of the 4th Australian Divisions had reached their objectives.

The 49th Battalion was relieved on the night of the 27th of September by the 46th Battalion Australian Infantry. Notwithstanding the success of the attack the 49th Battalion suffered a total of 129 casualties. Twenty-five men were killed, five officers and 94 other ranks were wounded and five men went missing.

Private John Hunter was one of the 25 men of the 49th Battalion who had been killed in action on 26 September 1917. His remains were buried in a small cemetery in the hamlet of Westhoek. He was exhumed in 2006 and reburied at Buttes New British Cemetery , Polygon Wood in 2007.

2,108 men are buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Plot I, row E has 5 recent graves. Three of those are the remains of George Storey, John Hunter and George Calder. Together with their two fellow Australians, they were found in 2006 during earth works under a road in the nearby hamlet of Westhoek. Their bodies were covered with a ground sheet containing rubber, which made sure they were so well-preserved. During the war, some 30 dead were put together in a small cemetery close to the place the 5 were found. When the exhumation companies cleared the site after the war, most bodies were buried as ‘unidentified’ because their personal belongings had already been sent back to Australia and the crosses that once marked their graves were more than probably destroyed by subsequent fighting. The 5 Australians’ bodies were probably missed at the time, because the road through Westhoek had already been resurfaced. DNA was taken and in the end 3 bodies were identified thanks to intensive searching by the Australian authorities and the help of the Australian media.

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