Gladstone's WWII army service photograph. Courtesy of NAA - B884 S443
Private Gladstone Josiah Twyford (aka John Smith)
Pakenham State School Roll of Honour
Born: 19 October 1898 - Sterling, South Australia
Enlisted: 4 October 1915 aged 17
Unit: 32nd Battalion, A Company (SERN:269)
Served: Egypt & Western Front
Died: 22 September 1948 - Renmark, South Australia
Also known as “Tony” or “Jack” (1) Gladstone was the son of Thomas and Annie Twyford. Jack spent part of his childhood in Pakenham, where his father was stationed at the Salvation Army Home on Army Road (2) Gladstone studied at the Pakenham State School, obtaining his Merit Certificate in 1912 (3). When he enlisted on 30 September 1916, Gladstone was living in Adelaide. He was under-aged and enlisted without his parents‘ permission, stating instead that he was a 21 year old labourer named “John Smith” (4). Apparently Gladstone was strong and big-boned and did not look like a teenager (5). Perhaps his parents were opposed to him enlisting as they only found out from a note someone threw through the fence of the family home (6). Following enlistment, Gladstone was assigned as a private to A Company, 32nd Battalion, and like many other Salvation Army members, subsequently served as a bandsman and stretcher bearer (7). In Egypt, Gladstone declared his true name and age (8). On 1 June, 1916, he was admitted to the 8th Field Hospital with heat exhaustion, but embarked for the Western Front later in the month. In July 1916 Gladstone was reported wounded during the Battle of Fromelles, but was actually in hospital suffering from neurasthenia and influenza. Gladstone rejoined his unit a few days later, but was subsequently in and out of hospital for various ailments for the remainder of his service (9). He also fell sick on the voyage back to Australia and was admitted to hospital in Adelaide upon arrival. He was discharged from the Army on 25 August 1919 (10).
Gladstone married Gladys Lucy Mellor in 1921 and the couple raised a family (11). He was granted a block of land near Renmark, where he hoped to grow fruit. The first house on the block was a two roomed weather board, with a kitchen added on. This had walls made of wheat bags sewn together and given several coats of whitewash. Unfortunately, Gladstone’s block proved unsuitable for fruit growing due to salinity issues (12). He later became a contractor building concrete water tanks. By 1926, Gladstone was working as foreman of the concrete works on the Pinaroo railway line (13). During WWII, he served as a Sergeant (SERN: S443) with the Citizen Military Force (CMF) in Australia (14). Unfortunately, Gladstone’s health deteriorated after WWII, and he died of a heart attack in Renmark on 22 September 1948 aged just 49 years old.
The assistance of Gladstone’s relatives Lyn Douglas & Vicki Twyford; and Carolyn Connor is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) (5) (6) (7) & (12) Information provided by Vicki Twyford and Lyn Douglas.
(2) Ancestry.com.au - ER - 1912 - Flinders - Pakenham
(3) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 19/12/1912 p. 2
(4) (8) (9) & (10) NAA B2455 TWYFORD, GLADSTONE JOSIAH
(11) Information provided by Vicki Twyford and Lyn Douglas. Also see Murray Pioneer, 23/9/1948 p. 14
(13) Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record, 2/7/1926, p. 1
(14) WWII Nominal Roll - www.ww2roll.gov.au