British War Medal : Private J Ferguson, 13 Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL38976
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

British War Medal 1914-1920. Impressed around the edge with reipient's details.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of 6013 Private James Ferguson, who was born in Bundanoon, NSW in 1878. Ferguson enlisted at the age of 37 on 13 December 1915 in Goulburn. He was originally destined for 1 Battalion, but was transferred to 13 Battalion. On 22 August 1916, he embarked from Sydney in the HMAT 'Wiltshire' with the 19th reinforcements for 13 Battalion. Upon arrival in Plymouth on 13 October, Ferguson was taken to hospital with mumps. He proceeded to France on 28 November and arrived at the training depot in Etaples on 30 November. After a brief period of training, Ferguson contracted influenza and spent time recovering in a convalescent depot. On 23 January 1917, he joined 13 Battalion in the lines near Mametz. The battalion at this time was engaged in digging trenches and shoring up defences in the local area. In early February the battalion moved into the line occupying Switch Trench in the Gueudecourt sector. On 6 February, Ferguson was evacuated from the line with a hernia. Over the next several weeks he was transferred through a number of hospitals from the front line back to Etaples. During this time it was discovered Ferguson had sustained a mild double hernia. He was then transferred to the Norfolk War Hospital in England to recover. On 27 March, he reported to the Number 2 Command Depot in Weymouth for a period of retraining. Ferguson was charged on 17 August for drunkenness and striking a comrade. He was awarded 7 days field punishment number 2. This common form of punishment involved him being shackled for several hours on each day of his punishment. He was able to move in a limited area as the shackles were not fixed to anything. On 7 September he joined 30 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps based at Fern Hill, as an airman class 2 and began training as ground crew. On 22 October, Ferguson was listed as Absent Without Leave after missing an evening roll call. He was arrested at midday the next day a little over a mile away in the town of Market Drayton. He was charged with being absent without leave and with wearing a uniform he was not entitled to. He was admonished by his Commanding Officer for his actions. Two days later he was struck off the strength of 30 Squadron. He was sent to Number 1 Command Depot located at Perham Downs where he resumed his original rank of private. Ferguson's mental health, which had been declining for some months finally deteriorated to the point that he was hospitalised after suffering a mental breakdown. He was assessed as suffering paralysis of the insane. He was sent home in the hospital ship 'Kanowna' on 16 December and disembarked in Sydney on 16 February 1918. He was further assessed to be medically unfit and was discharged from the Army on 20 March 1918. Ferguson passed away at Lidcombe Hospital in 1942.