Victory Medal : Private W P Hannell, 31 Battalion, AIF

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Sydney
Accession Number REL43333.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Brass
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1919
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Victory Medal, impressed around the edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

[Full text is available in the attached document] Associated with the service of 2136A Private William Percival Hannell, who was born in Newcastle in 1878. Hannell was working as a coal trimmer, lining up and loading coal ships in the Newcastle harbour when the First World War began. He enlisted in the AIF on 26 August 1915 and after completing his initial training at Liverpool Camp, was posted to the 3rd reinforcements for 31 Battalion.

On 18 February 1916, Hannell embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Ballarat. During the voyage, he was found drinking while on sentry duty and fined ten pounds. After disembarking in Egypt on the morning of 23 March, he disappeared that afternoon. He returned to camp on the morning of 26 March and was charged with being Absent Without Leave (AWL). He was awarded 14 days Field Punishment Number 2 (FP No. 2) and fined 18 days pay.

Hannell began training with his battalion on 20 April for the war in France. In late May, he was transferred to Base Details, as the battalion was over strength. In early June, he travelled to England, where he was sent to 8 Training Battalion. During his time in England he went AWL after being admonished for answering back to an officer and again received FP No. 2.

He was sent to France in mid-September and spent the remainder of the year at the training depot in Etaples. Hannell rejoined 31 Battalion on 26 January 1917. The battalion moved into the rear area at Delville Wood on 14 February and the following day, as the battalion was beginning the move into the intermediate line, Hannell reported sick with rheumatism and was sent to hospital.

Hannell was evacuated to Camiers and remained hospitalised until early March. Following his release from hospital, He reported to the Base Details depot at Etaples remaining there for the rest of the month. On 31 March, he was found out of bounds drunk and without a pass. After being charged, he was sentenced to 21 days of Field Punishment Number 1 (FP No. 1).

After completing his punishment, Hannell returned to 31 Battalion which had just been relieved from the front line on 6 April. The Battalion remained around Montauban Brigade Camp near Bapaume for the next month and when orders were given on the morning of 9 May for a move back into the front line, Hannell again went AWL. By the time 31 Battalion moved back into the line that afternoon, Hannell had made his way from Montauban Brigade Camp to Albert where he handed himself in to the Military Police later that night. He was immediately incarcerated to await punishment.

On 9 June, Hannell was tried under a Field General Court Martial with 'Deserting His Majesty's services...after being duly warned that his Battalion would shortly proceed to the trenches [he] absented himself without leave.' He pled guilty and was sentenced to 3 years penal servitude, which was commuted to 90 days FP No. 1.