Courtesy of AWM (DA10971)
Private Vincent Edward Morton +
Pakenham & District War Memorial
Born: 14 November 1894 - Boat Harbour, Tasmania
Enlisted: 5 July 1915 aged 21
Unit: 7th Battalion, 10th Reinforcement (SERN: 3059)
Served: Egypt & Western Front
Killed in action: 19 July 1916 - Fromelles, France
Vincent was one of twelve children born to Caroline and Joseph Morton (1). He was born and raised near Burnie in north-west Tasmania. His father died when he was not yet 4 years old. Two of Vincent’s siblings subsequently moved to Victoria (2), as Vincent himself did at some stage. By July 1915, Vincent was living at Pakenham where he was “endeavouring to join the permanent military forces” along with a number of other young Pakenham men, including Artie Paternoster and Len Cook (3). At the time of enlistment, Vincent was nearly 21 years old (although he stated he was over that age, presumably so as not to need his mother’‘s consent) and working as a farmer (4). Vincent was originally assigned to the 7th Battalion 10th Reinforcement. After initially joining the 7th Battalion in Egypt, Vincent was transferred to the 59th Battalion in February 1916, then to the 60th Battalion in March. In June 1916, he embarked from Alexandria for France, arriving in Marseilles on 29 June 1916. Less than a month later, on 19 July 1916, Vincent was reported missing during the Battle of Fromelles. A year later it was determined that he had been killed in action at Fleurbaix (5).
On 28 November 1918, the Pakenham community honoured Vincent’s service and sacrifice at a welcome home for those soldiers who had already returned from the Front. Other fallen heroes similarly honoured with him were the late Arthur Carter Williams, John Hehir and Albert Kempster (6). In 1921, the military wrote to Vincent’s mother, saying they had not been able to find any trace of his final resting place (7). For this reason, Vincent’s name was inscribed on the “V.C. Corner” memorial at Fromelles (8). His name was also inscribed on the Pakenham & District Soldiers’ Memorial in 1921, at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and on memorials at Table Cape and Sisters Creek in Tasmania (9).
(1) Burnie Advocate 1/12/1933 p.2
(2) Burnie Advocate 5/12/1933 p. 2.
(3) Dandenong Advertiser 17/6/1915, p. 2 & Bunyip Free Press 1/7/1915, p. 3
(4) (5) & (7) NAA B2455 MORTON VINCENT EDWARD
(6) Pakenham Gazette 6/12/1918, p. 3.
(8) Commonwealth War Graves Commission website - www.cwgc.org
(9) North West Advocate & Emu Bay Times 9/10/1917 p.1 & Burnie Advocate 27/8/1921 p. 7