Private Richard Humphery

Service number 750
Birth Date 1891-05-07
Birth Place Australia: South Australia, Plympton
Death Date 1985-02-23
Death Place Unknown
Final Rank Private
Unit Australian Flying Corps
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Richard Humphery was born at Edwardstown, South Australia, on 7 May 1891, one of five children born to Frederick George Humphery and Nellie Humphery (née Morton). He had three brothers, Louis, William and Frederick, two of whom became ministers of religion, and a sister, Grace. To his family, he appears to have been known as Dick.

Humphery enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War, at Oaklands, South Australia, on 14 November 1914 and again on 25 November 1914. The first enlistment record shows his occupation as labourer and the second gives farmer.

Originally attached to the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment, he embarked from Melbourne aboard the troopship Mashobra on 29 January 1915. Humphery was in action on Gallipoli during April 1915, and transferred to the 1st Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance during May 1915. In December 1915, Humphery was hospitalised in Egypt with enteric fever. During January 1916, his deteriorating health resulted in his return to Australia for three months to recover. He returned to Australia aboard the troopship Commonwealth on 21 January 1916.

Humphery returned to duty on 19 April 1916, and embarked from Adelaide aboard the troopship Katuna on 23 June 1916. This was after his brother, Louis Morton Humphery, had enlisted on 7 April 1916; he also embarked from Adelaide on 23 June 1916, albeit aboard the troopship Borda. A third brother, Frederick, followed a couple of months later, after enlisting as a chaplain, and departed Adelaide aboard the troopship Ballarat on 12 August 1916.

Humphery joined the 1st Light horse Training Regiment in Moascar, Egypt. During October 1916, he transferred to the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) where he was attached to 67 Squadron Royal Flying Corps (No. 1 Squadron, AFC). After completing a trade test, he was posted to 68 Squadron Royal Flying Corps (No. 2 Squadron, AFC) as an Air Mechanic.

During January 1917, Humphery’s unit was transferred to England and in August 1917, Humphery was promoted to Air Mechanic, 1st Class. In September 1917, his unit transferred to France, where he remained on active service until leave in England during November 1918. While on active service in France, Humphery participated in a concert performed by The Kookaburras of No. 2 Squadron, AFC, as a farewell to their commanding officer, Major Walter Watt. Humphery sang three songs in this concert, the comic songs “They Can’t Find Me” and “Eat Less Bread”, along with “Pack up Your Troubles”; he also performed in a farce titled “Leave in Paris”.

During January 1919, Humphery was attached to Australian Headquarters in London and joined the 5th Training Squadron, AFC, in March. He embarked from England to return to Australia aboard the troopship Kaiser-i-Hind on 6 May 1919, disembarked in Adelaide on 14 June 1919, and was discharged on 13 August 1919.

Humphery married Mary Elsdon on 14 February 1920 at the Humphery residence in Mylor Road, Adgate, South Australia. The wedding portrait shows his brother, Louis, and Mary’s sister, Florence, to be part of the wedding party.

The couple’s first child, Emma, died at birth in 1924. Two sons followed, Horace and Philip. Humphery’s father died unexpectedly at the age of 70 on 28 August 1925. At the age of 44, his wife, Mary, died at Strathalbyn, South Australia, on 7 June 1937. Electoral roll records in 1939, indicate that he was working as a chaff merchant.

Richard Humphery died at Darwin, Northern Territory, on 23 February 1985 at the age of 93.



Date of birth 07 May 1891
Date of enlistment 25 November 1914
Date of embarkation 29 January 1915
Date of embarkation 23 June 1916
Date returned to Australia 06 May 1919
Date of death 23 February 1985