• Claude Augustus Fankhauser

Army / Flying Corps
  • 5th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 2nd Brigade
  • Lance-Corporal

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

  • Birth

    Vermont, VIC, Australia

Stories and comments
    • FANKHAUSER, Claude Augustus
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 23 October 2017

    Born in July 1895 at Vermont, Vic (reg. Burwood) – son of John August FANKHAUSER and Elizabeth Mary Ann (Brown) nee GALLAGHER John had married Elizabeth BROWN in 1892; she died 21/11/1933 Heidelberg, aged 74, and he died 20/3/1937 at the Alfred Hospital, Prahran, aged 67 Family Orchard, Burwood Siblings: (born Burwood) John Oswald b.1892 – d.1968; Muriel Gladys b.1898; Ivy Isabel b.1900 Half sibling: Robert BROWN Religion: Church of England Educated at first at the Vermont State School, he finished his schooling at the age of 14 and worked in the family orchard, before joining Rooks and Scott, coach builders of Camberwell and Box Hill, where he was still working as a Coach Painter before enlisting in WW1 Served with the 48th (Kooyong) Infantry Regiment, CMF (as Private 405) Played football with the East Burwood Football Club WW1: Having been rejected at his first attempt to enlist – he successfully enlisted 18/1/1915, aged 19 years and 6 months Embarked as Private 1944 on the A20 Hororata 17/4/1915 with the 5th Reinforcements of the 5th Battalion, for Egypt Embarked at Alexandria on the Scotian 3/7/1915 to join his battalion on the Gallipoli Peninsula, being taken on strength at Anzac 9/7/1915, and allotted to D Coy Admitted to the 2nd Field Ambulance 9/10/1915 Mudros with Diarrhoea and then transferred to the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital – rejoining his battalion 17/10/1915 Returned to Egypt on the Empress of Britain, disembarking Alexandria 7/1/1916 To be Lance Corporal 19/2/1916 Serapeum Embarked at Alexandria 25/3/1916 on the Briton to join the B.E.F., and disembarked Marseilles, France 30/3/1916 Wounded in action 25/7/1916 at Pozieres, while bombing out Germans from the trenches he was struck by shrapnel from a grenade, losing the sight of both eyes Travelled through the hospital system to the 5th General Hospital, Rouen 26/7/1916 Embarked for England 29/7/1916 on the HS St Andrew and admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth 30/7/1916 Returned to Australia on the NZHS Marama 31/8/1916 to 17/10/1916 Inmate of the Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne Discharged from the AIF 21/5/1917 Sent back to the UK in January 1918 by the Repatriation Department (together with Sgt W.E. Walsh), to St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blind Soldiers, and admitted 4/3/1918 where he learnt Braille, and received training in Carpentry and Netting Married Adeline Elsie LITTLEWOOD on the 18th of October 1919 at St Paul’s, Harringay, London, England The daughter of Harry Bramley Littlewood, she had been a Nursing Aide at St Dunstan’s Returned to Australia together on the Orsova, embarking 22/11/1919 Child: Frank Dudley born 29/8/1920 Prahran, Vic – Clerk (Parks & Gardens) – WW2 Residents of Wolseley Crescent, Blackburn in 1924 Adeline died of TB at Blackburn Private Hospital on the 12/1/1926, aged 30 In 1928 Claude is listed as an Agent Applied for the Gallipoli Medallion in 1967, living 20 Wolseley Crescent, Blackburn – he later moved to 24 Wolseley Cres Pensioner – still living at home in Blackburn in 1982, aged 87, with a 70 year old live-in housekeeper Died on the 19th of June 1996 at a Nursing Home in Sandringham, Vic – the month before his 101st birthday Reporter (Box Hill, Vic), Fri 9 Apr 1915 (p.7): VERMONT VOLUNTEERS FAREWELLED On Wednesday evening, March 31, a send-off was tendered to Privates W. Jay and C. Fankhauser, members of the expeditionary forces, who are about to sail for the front, by residents of Vermont and district. ……………………………………………………………….. Cr Rooks then mounted the platform, ………………………………. His reason for being present was that one of the volunteers had been in his employ for some time, and when his shopmates heard he was going to the front they decided not to allow him to leave without showing their esteem. Cr Rooks then presented Private Fankhauser with a wrist watch (on behalf of the residents of the district), fountain pen, brushes, belt knife, and pocket book; whilst the chairman made Private Jay the recipient of a wrist watch. …………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/75093210 Yea Chronicle (Yea, Vic), Thur 17 Jan 1918 (p.3): BLIND SOLDIERS The Repatriation Department is sending two totally blind soldiers to England to take advantage of the tuition offered by St Dunstan’s hospital for the blind, of which Sir Arthur Pearson is the guiding spirit. The soldiers are Sergeant Walsh and Pte Fankhauser, and they will leave soon by transport. Nearly all the blind British soldiers go through St Dunstan’s, where they are trained in some suitable trade which will give them the means of subsistence. As the most efficient methods are employed there, it is probable that when these two men return they will engage in the teaching of other blind soldiers in Australia. It has been the experience at St Dunstan’s that the best teacher of the blind soldier is one who is blind, and preferably a blind soldier because having lost his sight under similar conditions, he is better able to teach the very necessary lesson of how to be blind, which is the starting point in the education of all blind men. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 13 Dec 1919 (p.13): MARRIAGES FANKHAUSER – LITTLEWOOD – On the 18th October, at St Paul’s, Harringay, London, Claude Augustus, second son of John and Elizabeth Fankhauser, of Vermont, Victoria, to Adeline Elsie, second daughter of Harry Bramley Littlewood, of Harringay, London. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 13 Jan 1926 (p.1): DEATHS FANKHAUSER – On the 12 January, at Blackburn private hospital, Adeline Elsie, the beloved wife of Claude, and loving mother of little Frankie. Thy will be done, Our loved one at rest. The Age, Thur 20 Jun 1996 (p.9): Death of Gallipoli veteran blinded on the Somme One of Australia’s last Gallipoli veterans, Claude Augustus Leopold Fankhauser, died in Melbourne yesterday. He would have been 101 next month. The secretary of the Victorian RSL, Brigadier John Deighton, described him as a magnificent man. “We were going to get him to lead the Anzac march this year but he wasn’t well enough, he said. …………… Mr Fankhauser was blinded in fighting on the Somme in 1916 but lived alone until recently in Blackburn. He died in a Sandringham nursing home. Mr Fankhauser was born in Melbourne and left school at 14 to work in the family orchard. The first time he tried to enlist he was rejected. He made it the second time, joining D Company of the 5th Battalion. He landed on Gallipoli three days after his 20th birthday and spent nearly six months in the trenches, mainly in Shrapnel Gully and Lone Pine. “It was slaughter,” he recalled last year. “I was one of the wounded. I came face to face with a hand grenade…I haven’t seen since.” Fankhauser learnt braille and carpentry while recuperating in England and rowed on the Thames. He married Elsie Littlewood, a nursing aide, who died in 1926. Mr Fankhauser leaves his son, Frank, a grandson, Dr Stephen Fankhauser, and two great grandchildren. Notes: *Featured in the book “The Last Anzacs” (including photos) page 48-51