WHITE Francis Noel

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Enlistment Address

Gilgandra, NSW

Service Number

*2395 and 66805

Unit

6th Light Horse Regiment and Imperial Camel Corps

Comment

Gilgandra Coo-ee

Fate

Returned to Australia 8.3.1917

Information

Private Francis Noel White 2395 and 66805

Francis was born in Preston Kent England in 1879. He was a 35 year old wheelwright when he enlisted at Gilgandra on October 9, 1915 and became one of the original 35 Gilgandra Cooees who marched to Sydney and arrived with 263 recruits.

The medical examination described as him as 5’7” tall, 12st 7lb (79kgs), fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. Francis had 5 vaccination marks and tattoos on both arms, one of which was a rearing horse. He also had a large plain oval scar on the inner side of the right knee. His mother, Mrs Mercer of Sussex England was his next of kin. Francis stated his previous service had been with the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles for 2 years and 3 days. He had been rejected once for service because of his knee.

After training at Menangle, NSW he embarked from Sydney on May 3, 1916 on the ‘Hymettus’ with 6th Light Horse. In Egypt in June 1916 he was taken on strength with the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Tel el Keb and in July 1916 Francis was attached for duty at the Australian Training Headquarters. He returned to the Light Horse at Moascar in early September 1916 and in October he was taken on strength in the Imperial Camel Corps at Abbassia, serving in El Mustagidde and El-Arish.

The Imperial Camel Corps (ICC) was formed in January 1916 in order to deal with the revolt of pro-Turkish Senussi tribesmen in Egypt’s Western Desert. The operations of the ICC in the Western Desert in 1916 were characterised by long patrols and brief skirmishes with the Senussi. British commanders in Egypt appreciated the fighting qualities of the ICC and the battalions of the ICC fought alongside Australian Light Horse units at Romani, Magdhaba and Rafa.

In December 1916, Francis ‘ricked’ his bad right knee and was unable to ride but was still on active service with his unit. However, early in February 1917, he jumped off a camel and hurt his knee. He was admitted to hospital and on March 2 at No 14 Australian General Hospital at Abbassia, he was diagnosed with Arthritis of the Right Knee joint, aggravated by exertions of active service and advised discharge as permanently unfit. Francis returned to Australia on the ‘Willochre’ on March 8, 1917. He was discharged in Sydney on May, 1917.

He attempted to enlist again on July 11, 1917 at the Dubbo Depot, he was passed by Dr Peet in Gilgandra but the Commanding Officer didn’t sign the paperwork. Enlistment three was two months later in Newcastle. He passed the medical examination and the attestation on September 29 but was re-examined and rejected on October 2, 1917.

His service record states he embarked on the SS ’Wyreema’ on October 14, 1918 to London and returned on December 21, 1918. He was designated Acting Sergeant for the voyage and was discharged on January 5, 1919. There is no indication for the reason for the voyage.