• The Hampton brothers of Marrickville

The Hamptons were a family of Manx heritage who lived at "Manx Villa" 28 Thornley St in Marrickville. The patriarch John Joseph Hampton had emigrated with his family in the late 1800s. Warren, Syd and Jack were my mother's uncles and my great uncles. Warren was the first to enlist at 25 years of age followed shortly by his younger brother Sydney at 22 in March of 1915. Younger brother John (Jack) Hampton was too young to enlist at the time and had to wait until he was 18 in 1916. Syd was attached to the 1st Battalion (12 reinforcements) part of the 1st AIF Division. He saw action at the end of the Gallipoli campaign while his older brother Warren was based at the Sarpi camp on Mudros island where his unit, the 1st Australian Field Ambulance, was stationed. When Australian forces evacuated from Gallipoli, Syd and Warren were moved to Alexandria briefly before being shipped to the Western Front. Both Syd and Warren were deployed for the big push to capture Pozieres in July 1916. By this time Jack had enlisted and embarked for England and was stationed there while attached to the Provost Corp - a form of AIF military police. On the night of 22-23 July three Australian divisions mounted an attack behind an advancing wave of shellfire in an attempt to capture the high ground around the village of Pozieres and wrest it from the German forces. This was eventually achieved at great cost and thousands of Australian casualties. It is probable that Syd received a bullet to the chest on the first night but Red Cross records say he was carried out of no-mans land by Sergeant A V Steele to an aid post and from there incredibly he was carried by brother Warren to a dressing station from which he was transported to the Warloy Casualty Clearing Station. He survived until August 1 before succumbing to his injuries and is buried in the War Cemetery there. Warren was also injured in the same action, receiving a wound to his right arm (which can be seen in dressing in the accompanying picture) and he was removed from the front line ultimately to a war hospital in Reading, England to recover from his injuries. It was while here he set in train a Red Cross inquiry to find out what happened to the brother he carried from the battlefield. He received the bad news in November of 1916. Fortunately his younger brother Jack was able to visit him in hospital and offer him support in their time of loss. It appears they may have made a trip to London and visited a photographic studio for the portrait attached to send home to their parents and siblings. Warren was returned to Australia and discharged unfit for service and received a war pension. Jack later saw action with the 53rd Battalion at Mont St Quentin on the Hindenburg Line and was also injured in the right hand and badly gassed. He survived to return home in 1918 but was quite badly affected by his war experiences.
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