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PADGETT John Rush 

Research by Gordon Freegard 2017

John Rush Padgett, was born on the 3rd November 1881, in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. He married Annie Siley who was born on 26th February and was also from Bradford, Yorkshire, England. They lived in Bateson Street, Greengate, Bradford where John was a stonemason but they ran a fish shop business. They had three children, Charles born 24th August 1903, and twins, Edward and Nelly born 19th August 1906.

In 1910 John decided to migrate to Australia, as the low fares and inducements were hard to resist, with a young family to support and not much  future. He made the journey though little is known about the first months in the new land.

Before leaving he gave Annie a special Mizpah's brooch in the shape of two hearts and inscribed "May the Lord watch between thee and me when we are absent one from the other".

A year passed before his young wife and their children emigrated also to Australia. They came by a New Zealand ship called the Pakcha and landed on 13th April 1911.

John had a job at Boya Quarry and to be in walking distance they rented a small house in Senkin Street, Bellevue and later a house in Hankin Street, also in Bellevue. The children went to the Clayton Farm School and all attended the Bellevue Church. A new addition to the family happened on 21st April, 1914, when Fraser was born.

He enlisted with the AIF at the age of 34, on the 12th January 1916. He was known as 545 Lance Corporal, later Sergeant John R. Padgett "C" Company 44th Battalion 11th Brigade. His unit embarked from Fremantle on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 6th June 1916. Disembarked at Plymouth, England on 21st July 1916. Proceeded overseas to France on 25th November 1916.

 

 

SERGEANT JOHN RUSH PADGETT             #1

TROOPSHIP HMAT A29 SUEVIC            #2

 

ENLISTMENT PAPER FOR JOHN RUSH PADGETT             #3

 

SERGEANT JOHN RUSH PADGETT          #4 
 WITH HIS WIFE ANNIE AND THEIR FOUR CHILDREN 
 Left -  Right: NELLY, FRASER, EDWARD & CHARLES

 

Unfortunately he was wounded with shrapnel in the right arm on 4th October 1917 and admitted to No. 64 Field Ambulance the same day, later he was transferred to No. 20 General Hospital, Carriers on 7th October 1917. He was then transferred to Suffolk Hospital, Bury St, Edmonds, England and was finally discharged on 14th November 1917.

He was then sent to France again on 17th January 1918 where he re-joined the 44th Battalion, AIF.

In September of that year, one of the bloodiest, and most decisive days of World War 1 occurred and included one of John Padgett’s finest hours. The Australians and the Americans were involved in a joint attack to break the backbone of the much fortified tremendous system of German trenches known as the Hindenburg Line. Miles of well-established trenches and tunnels protected by massive areas of coiled barb wire barriers that covered acres and acres. It was the last and strongest of the German defences.

The attack was spearheaded by the battle-hardened Australians from the 3rd and 5th divisions and the less experienced U.S. troops from the 27th and 30th divisions. Under Australian General Sir John Monash, they laid siege to German defences near the St. Quentin Canal, at times fighting side by side in the chaos. Hundreds of Australians died that day but men of the calibre of John Padgett made sure it went to the Allies. 

Sergeant John Padgett, number 546, 44th Battalion, AIF, was in command of a section, he led a successful attack on an enemy trench under heavy fire, showing strategic prowess, leadership and outright heroism. They then bombed and bayoneted their way along the Hindenburg Line, clearing it of its German garrison.

 

 

VIEW OF THE GERMAN HINDENBURG LINE DEFENCES             #5
 Note: THE BARB WIRE ENFORCEMENTS ON THE LEFT.
 THE MASSIVE COMPLEX OF TRENCHES THROUGH THE MIDDLE

 

THE BARB WIRE ENFORCEMENTS  AT THE HINDENBURG LINE            #6

This action took place fighting alongside the American 2nd Division. An enemy hand grenade fell amongst his section he picked it up and threw it back towards the enemy. This showed courage of a very high order. He later went into the open, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, to rescue an American soldier. Under machine gun and rifle fire he brought him back into the comparative safety of their trench. By the time the 44th was relieved on October 3rd, only 80 of its original 600 men were left.

He later received a letter from Sir Winston Churchill on behalf of King George V, thanking him for his “gallant and distinguished services”. The war ended with John Padgett as a Lance Sergeant after fighting in key battles on the Western Front at Messines, Hamel and the Hindenburg Line.

 

After the Armistice he returned to Perth in July 1919, but he was not a well man having been gassed which was to finally end his life. He also bore a shrapnel scar on his right arm.

To rehabilitate returned soldiers, land was opened up in the Carilla district and surrounds. John applied and in 1920 was given the first block in Repatriation Road but it was unsuitable for fruit trees so another was selected of 18 acres in Patterson Road. The Repatriation Department granted loans and Inspectors were hired to assess the amount of work done on the allotments. Mr. Brinkworth became well known in his area.

After living in a shed for months a loan of two hundred and fifty pounds ($125) was negotiated from the Agricultural Bank. A soldiers settlers house was erected. The usual four rooms, front and back verandahs, the latter closed in at one end as a bathroom, and a laundry - a cement trough in the back yard.

THE BARB WIRE ENFORCEMENTS  AT THE HINDENBURG LINE              #7

FIGHTING AT THE HINDENBURG LINE             #8

 

There were no bulldozers and clearing the forest was very hard work.
Trees were cut and sawn then burnt or a tree puller could be hired at a price, Farm machinary such as a plough was necessary but a horse and cart a priority being the only form of transport. Mrs. Hewison's Store and the Railway Station at Pickering Brook, were five miles away to the west over gravel roads winding through the bush.

The children took jobs to keep the orchard and family together. Charles as a surveyor in the country and eventually become a Policeman. Nelly as a housemaid at Wagin and Eddie as a warden at Barton's Mill Prison. Fraser helped his father in the clearing of some of the forest. He lived with his wife and four children for 18 years in the area.

 

An orchard takes five years to come to fruition, so to survive John also took work as a linesman with the P.M.G. but this was mostly in the country
and living in a tent wasn't the best for his health.
During their time on this property they built a tennis court. It was very popular with the locals as there were only two in the area. Bechelli's bought the Padgett's property later.

In 1920 the following letter was forwarded by D. H. Gillette, Captain of Engineers, assistant Military Attache at the American Embassy, London, dated October 12th, to Captain G. S. Stevenson, War Office, London -

“Enclosed herewith are Distinguished Service Crosses for transmission to the following British Officers and men together with citation –

“No.546, Sergeant John Rush Padgett, 44th Battalion, AIF”.

It is requested that you arrange for delivery of these decorations to the proper person, and when all receipts have been accomplished that you return them to this office. These are being sent to you in this manner, as it would probably be quite impossible to get all of these officers and men together for a ceremony of any kind. We would also request that in delivering same your office make mention of the deep appreciation of the American Government of the wonderful services to humanity tendered by these officers and men during the war.”

THE AMERICAN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS            #10

 

The award was simply posted to the Piesse Brook hero, Sergeant Padgett. It was the second-highest American bravery award, the American Distinguished Service Cross, awarded to him by the American Government for “extraordinary heroism”. This is the second highest American award presentable. The decoration is the equivalent of the British V.C., and is inscribed with the latter’s inspiring words, “FOR VALOR”. It consists of a bronze cross surmounted by the American Eagle, and suspended from a ribbon of red, white and blue. The incident for which the decoration was awarded occurred in the Hindenburg Line on September 29th, 1918. Arrangements however were made at a meeting of soldiers settlers of Upper Darling Range at Pickering Brook for a public ceremony, at which his Excellency the Governor, Sir Douglas Saig, officially would make the presentation to Sergeant Padgett. It was decided to hold a picnic and sports day at Kalamunda Showground on Saturday 22nd October 1921. All returned soldiers were urged to attend and it was anticipated that the 44th Battalion, of which Sergeant Padgett was a member, will supply the guard of honor and the band for the day.

THE AMERICAN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS              #11

 

PICKERING BROOK (CARILLA) PRIMARY SCHOOL    1923         #12

Back Row

1.     CLEM FULGRABE
2.
3.    ALAN FULGRABE
4.    REG SHADFORTH
5.    BILL SHADFORTH?

  

 

Next

1.    MOYNA BEVAN
2.  
  FRASER PADGETT
3.    MARJORY WESTON
 
 

 

 

Next Row

1.    KATHY WESTON
2.    
3.    MAUDE EATTS
4.
5.
6.
 
 
 
 
 

Front Row

1.    PHYLIS WESTON
2.    MYRTLE ROADS
3.    GLADYS MILLAR
4.    EFFIE MILLAR
5.    SYLVIA ROADS

  
 
 
 
 

FLO HEWISON, FRANK STANSFIELD AND EDDIE PADGETT  ON A PARR HART TRACTOR AT THE PICKERING BROOK RAILWAY STATION             #13

 

The Padgett family farmed orchards for many years in Pickering Brook with properties on Patterson Road and Kingsmill Road. Two of their children married locals. Eddie married Edna Wallis and Nellie married Godfrey Neave.

John's health deteriorated and he was admitted to the Edward Millen Sanatorium in Queen's Park.

 

 

In 1938 an official visit to the Edward Millen Sanatorium at Queen's Park was paid by the American Consul in Western Australia, Mr. Charles Perry, who had expressed a desire to meet an Australian ex-soldier who held the American Distinguished Service Cross - Lance Sergeant J. R. Padgett of Pickering Brook, who served with the 44th Battalion, A.I.F.
Mr. Derry was taken to the sanatorium by Mr. R. A. Nicholas, a member of the hospital visiting committee of the Returned Soldiers' League State Executive, and was received there by the acting-matron, Sister Rodgers. Mr. Padgett, who is a patient at the sanatorium, was presented to Mr. Perry, who asked him about his service in the Great War and congratulated him on having been honoured by the United States Government.
Mr. Padgett said that his battalion and the American troops had become mixed up in the Battle of the Hindenburg Line on September 29, 1918. He had answered a call for volunteers from an American officer who desired to help to rescue some American soldiers in difficulties in a sap. As the rescue party approached the sap, led by the officer, the American was shot, and Mr. Padgett was left in the lead. Mr. Padgett ended his narrative by saying that he remembered no more.
The Consul remained in conversation with Mr. Padgett while he was shown over the institution, and expressed his pleasure and interest in the manner in which the ex-service men were cared for.

 

THE AMERICAN CONSUL (left), MR. C. H. DERRY, MEETING
 SERGEANT  JOHN RUSH PADGETT,
 AN AMERICAN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL WINNER,
 AT THE EDWARD MILLEN HOME
           #14

 

John Rush Padgett died aged 57 on 28th August 1939. He was a very prominent member of the Perth sub-branch of the R.S.L. He left a widow and an adult family to mourn their loss.

The funeral took place in the Methodist portion of the Karrakatta Cemetery on Tuesday, August 29th. There was a large and representative attendance of friends from Pickering Brook, and comrades of the A.I.F. Before the cortege left for the cemetery a very impressive service was conducted in the private chapel of Arthur J. Purslowe at North Perth, by the Rev. F. J. C. Dundas, Methodist minister of North Perth, who also officiated at the graveside. The chief mourners were Mrs. Annie Padgett (widow), Mrs. G. M. Neave (daughter), Messrs Charles, Edwin and Fraser Padgett (sons), Mrs. Edwin Padgett (daughter-in-law) and Mr. G. M. Neave (son-in-law). The pall-bearers were Constable J. Graham (Police Traffic Branch), Detective-Sergeant S. Dowsett and Mr. E. Campbell (44th Battalion, A.I.F.), Messers W. L. Menkins (North Perth sub-branch R.S.L.), T. Thornton and R. S. Sampson, M.L.A.

Among those present were Messers. T. Brand, B. Brand, P. Sala, L. Sims, S. Wignall, F. F. Da???, Cropper Milligan, H. Catchpole, D. Catchpole, H. Crow, Charles Fullgrabe, W. G. Ellery (Pickering Brook Fruitgrowers), L. Neave, N. Bickford, E. Elkington, Constable Salter (Traffic Police); Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Fennell, Mr. and Mrs. A. Cross, Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Rodds; Mesdames A. T. Beard, H. D. Hewison, G. Weston, J. R??h and many others. Floral tributes were received from: His loving wife and family; D. R. Duke; P. Duke; Mr. and Mrs. W. Fullgrabe and Charlie; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Owen; W. Temby; W. Ellery; Mr. and Mrs. Crocos and family; the Hewison family; Mr. and Mrs. T. Thornton; Mr. and Mrs. Greg Weston; Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Fennell. Numerous telegrams and letters were also received by the family. The last post at the graveside was sounded by Bugler-Major G. Gilmore.

 

Annie decided to sell her Carilla home and after a short period bought and moved to 32 Lock Street, North Perth. She passed away on the 4th April 1948 aged 67 after a good and meaningful life. She lies beside John in the Karrakatta Cemetery.

This English "Pommie" family have been an asset to Australia and their many descendants are indeed proud of them.

 

MEDAL GROUP, DOG TAGS AND
 BRONZE DEVOTIONS         #16

 

JOHN PADGETT'S GRANDSON, MURRAY PADGETT     #17

 

MEMBERS OF THE PADGETT FAMILY        #15
 From Left; Benjamin Padgett, Bruce Padgett, Tynka Padgett, Murray Padgett, Jenny Padgett,
Jodee Gerard, Belinda Gerard, Renee Gerard, Peter Lamb, Conrad Speed

In 2014 descendants of the late John Rush Padgett, presented a set of his medals, including the American Distinguished Service Cross and other items to the Army Museum of Western Australia for display in the World War 1 Gallery

 

 

Every endeavour has been made to accurately record the details however if you would like to provide additional images and/or newer information we are pleased to update the details on this site. Please click here to email us at info@pickeringbrookheritagegroup.com We appreciate your involvement in recording the history of our area.

References:           Article:          Pickering Brook Heritage Group
                                            

                           Images:      1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14         Various Internet Sources
                                            12, 13          Pickering Brook Heritage Group 
                                            15, 16, 17    Army Museum of W.A.
                                             

 

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