Tag Archives: 24th Battalion

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Ralph Simon Johnston Knight

Private 4455

Ralph Simon Johnston Knight (pictured sitting with his bride) was born in January 1898 at Tantaraboo west of Kilmore, the sixth child of Nehemiah Knights and Alicia Jane Ann Johnston. Sometimes their surname is recorded as Knights but in his army records Ralph’s name is recorded as Knight.

Ralph probably worked on his father’s farm and others at Tantaraboo as a labourer before enlisting on 8 November 1915 at Melbourne. After training at Royal Park, Melbourne, Ralph joined the 21st Battalion in March 1917. His brothers Alby (4453) and Fred (4454) also enlisted about the same time and joined the 21st Battalion.

The 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, including Ralph and his brothers, left Melbourne, on the RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 for Egypt where he first served with the Anzac Police before joining the British Expeditionary Force to leave for the Western Front. He joined his Battalion in Belgium on 3 October 16 in the Posieres area.

Ralph became sick on 17 November with trench fever and was transferred on 3 December to England where he remained for eleven months attached to the 66th Battalion. He returned to his Battalion in France on 2 November 1917 in the Broodseinde area of the Western Front. On 30 November 17 Ralph’s knee became swollen with dermatitis; he rejoined his Battalion on 2 February 1918.

His Battalion was held in reserve for a rest in early 1918 but when taking part in defending against the German Spring Offensive, Ralph became sick with influenza in June 1918. He rejoined in August taking part in the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin, then transferred to the 24th Battalion in October and proceeded on leave to England. On return to France Ralph was accidentally injured on 6 December 1918 in the left leg at Rouen. After treatment he transferred to England on 31 December 1918 and was on leave in February and March. Ralph left for Australia on 1 April on the Shropshire arriving Melbourne on 16 May and was discharged on 30 June 1919.

He received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, the Kilmore Church of England Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.

Later in 1919 Ralph married Dorothy (Dot) Valentine Weaver and enlisted in the Victorian Police Force. He died at Rye in January 1978.

Photo of Ralph Simon Johnston Knight sitting with his bride Dot on right in 1919
Photo of Ralph Simon Johnston Knight sitting with his bride Dot on right in 1919


Reproduced in the North Central Review, 10 February 2015, p10


Ralph Simon Johnston Knight AWM DAOD1612
Ralph Simon Johnston Knight c. April 1916 (Photo: Australian War Memorial)


Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Arthur Herbert Harrington

Private 4435 and 5172

Arthur (pictured below seated) was the eldest son of twelve of Denis James (Din) Harrington and his wife Amelia Margaret (Milly) Johnston. He was born in September 1895 at Tantaraboo. He first tried to enlist on 21 January 1916 in the 21st Battalion. He was a labourer aged 20 years and 3 months. Arthur and his friends Albert and Frederick Knight were given a rousing send off and a money belt each on 30 March 1916 at the Tantaraboo school room. The party did not break up until 4am. However, in April Arthur was assessed as medically unfit.

Arthur next tried to enlist in July 1916 and was declared fit by Dr Semple of Kilmore and later by a second doctor in Melbourne. Arthur took his oath at Broadmeadows military camp on 20 July 1916 the date of his enlistment. He embarked as part of the 13th Reinforcements, 24th Battalion, from Melbourne on board the “Themiocles” on 28 July 1916.

In October he was admitted to the Fargo Military hospital in England with acne and discharged a fortnight later. He left Folkston for France on 16 November to reinforce the 2nd Division AIF. He was wounded in action at Bullecourt on 4 May 1917 with gun shot wounds to head, arms, legs, back and abdomen. He was transferred to the 5th Southern General Hospital at Portsmouth on 24 May. He returned to France in mid October.

Arthur was again sick and admitted to hospital in early February 1918 and then sent to Broadwater Hospital at Ipswich with left knee synovitis in March. He returned to France in early June 1918. On 5 March 1919 he was admitted to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital with influenza. He returned to Australia on the “Armagh” in May 1919 and was discharged medically unfit on 25 June 1919 from the 3rd Military District.

He received the 1914/15 Military Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war effort.  On 11 July Arthur attended a welcome home function for several local soldiers at the Tantaraboo School.

Arthur married Mary Alice McFarlane in 1920. He suffered from his war injuries but continued to work in the building trade from his property at Kilmore East. He was always cheerful despite many periods in hospital. He took a keen interest in the RSL and the Kilmore Agricultural and Pastoral Society and played cricket. He served in World War 2 part time in the Volunteer Defence Corp locally for 2 years 5 months and was promoted to Corporal. Arthur died suddenly at his home on Wednesday 17 March 1954 and was interred in the Kilmore Catholic Cemetery. Arthur is honoured in the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.

Frederick Knight (standing) with his cousin, Arthur Herbert Harrington (seated)
Frederick Knight (standing) with his cousin, Arthur Herbert Harrington (seated)


Reproduced in the North Central Review, 27 January 2015, p9