A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private Gladstone John Twyford (aka John Smith)
Born: 19 October 1898 Sterling, SA. Died: 22 September 1948 Renmark, SA.
Enlisted: 4 October 1915 aged 17.
Served: Egypt and Western Front.
Gladstone spent part of his childhood in Pakenham, where his father was stationed at the Salvation Army Home on Army Road.
Gladstone studied at the Pakenham State School, obtaining his Merit Certificate in 1912.
When he enlisted on 30 September 1916, Gladstone was living in Adelaide. He was under-aged and enlisted without his parents‘ permission, stating instead that he was a 21 year old labourer named “John Smith”.
Apparently Gladstone was strong and big-boned and did not look like a teenager.
Like many other Salvation Army members, he served as a bandsman and stretcher bearer. In Egypt, Gladstone declared his true name and age.
On 1 June, 1916, he was admitted to hospital with heat exhaustion, but embarked for the Western Front later in the month.
In July 1916 Gladstone was reported wounded during the Battle of Fromelles, but was actually in hospital suffering from neurasthenia and influenza. He was subsequently in and out of hospital for various ailments for the remainder of his service.
Gladstone married Gladys Lucy Mellor in 1921 and the couple raised a family in Renmark.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com