Courtesy of Jamey Blewitt / JB Militaria
Gunner George Cyril Eyre
Pakenham & District War Memorial & Pakenham Upper Roll of Honour
Born: 3 September 1895 - Staffordshire, England
Enlisted: 3 July 1915 aged 19
Unit: 8th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement (SERN: 3746)
Served: Western Front
Died: 11 August 1972 - Hampton, Victoria
George was born in England, a son of John and Mary Anne Eyre. According to the 1911 Census of England and Wales, George was employed as a tilery labourer in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, where his father was a potter’s glazier (1). By 1915, George had migrated to Australia, and was working as a stableman at “Goronga” Pakenham Upper, where he was employed by Hilda Raleigh (2). George was not yet 20 years old when he enlisted with his mother’s permission in July 1915. George had previously been rejected for enlistment due to height, being only 5 feet 2 inches tall (3). George was assigned to the 8th Battalion 12th Reinforcement as a private. He left Australia for Egypt in November 1915. There, George was transferred to the 12th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB). He subsequently served on the Western Front with a number of artillery units including the 45th and 47th Batteries (4).
In March 1919, George was sent back to England pending repatriation to Australia. Non-military employment was arranged for him at a colliery, but this fell through as the collier had permanent employees returning from the War. Work was then arranged for George as a “potter’s slip maker”, back home in Longton. It was said that such experience would be “beneficial to him on his return to civil life” (5). It was during his time in England that George decided that he did not want to return to Australia. Instead, he sought permission to be discharged in England. He did so on the grounds that all of his family were in England and that his fiancee would not move to Australia. Although George thought he had “a good portion to go to” if he stayed in England, the Army refused his request on the grounds of insufficient reasons and his failure to provide additional information when requested to do so (6). George eventually returned back to Australia on the Konigin Luise in January 1920 seemingly without his intended bride (7). George was discharged from the Army on 24 February 1920. He gave “Goronga” in Pakenham Upper as his intended address, stating he had an offer of employment (8). In addition to the Pakenham & District War Memorial, George’s service had been commemorated on the Pakenham Upper Roll of Honour unveiled in 1917 (9).
By 1921, George was living in Drummond St Carlton and working as a brass moulder. He later lived in St Kilda West, Coburg, Richmond and Cheltenham. In 1938, George married Hazel Edwards. In later life, George lived at Hampton (10). There, George died of cancer in August 1972 aged 76 (11).
The assistance of Jamey Blewitt of JB Militaria is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) & (10) Information sourced from ancestry.com
(2) (8) & (11) NAA B73 M94662
(3) (4) (5) & (6) NAA B2455 EYRE C G
(7) The Age 15/1/1920, p. 9.
(9) Pakenham Gazette 28/9/1917 p. 2