• John Andrew Gibson Rennie

Army / Flying Corps
  • 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 7th Brigade
  • Private

To select multiple units, brigades and ranks, hold the ctrl or shift key on your keyboard and select your options

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

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  • Birth

    Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Stories and comments
    • RENNIE, John Andrew Gibson
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 21 August 2017

    Born on the 9th of March 1897 in Bundaberg, Qld – son of William RENNIE (Farmer) and Agnes Douglas GIBSON, who married in Qld in 1888 Residents of Mt Larcom, Gladstone, Qld in 1915 Siblings: Jane b.1889; Janet Ann b.1892; Agnes Isabella b.1895 Farmer WW1: Enlisted on the 22/6/1915 aged 18 years 3 months Embarked for Egypt 20/9/1915 on the A26 Armadale as Private 2158 with the 4th Reinforcements of the 26th Battalion Joined his Unit at Tel-el-Kebir on the 11/1/1916 Embarked at Alexandria 15/3/1916 to join the B.E.F., arriving Marseilles, France 21/3/1916 Wounded 4/8/1916 during an attack near Albert, France – struck by shrapnel to the head which severed the optic nerves to his eyes and rendered him blind Transferred through the hospital system to England where he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital 20/8/1916 He was then transferred to St Dunstan’s Hostel for the Blind on the 7/9/1916, where he was fully trained in Shorthand and typewriting Married Harriet Gertrude Jane MAY on the 3rd of March 1918 at St Marylebone Parish Church, London, England Gertrude, aged 17 at the time of marriage, was the daughter of Joseph MAY (a Decorator) Discharged from St Dunstan’s on the 27/6/1918 and embarked on the hospital ship Wandilla 30/6/1918 for Egypt where he was transhipped to the HS Kanowna, departing 22/7/1918, arriving Sydney 3/9/1918, and then on to Brisbane Admitted to the 6th AGH, Kangaroo Pt, Qld on the 5/9/1918, receiving treatment until the 24/9/1918 Discharged from the AIF medically unfit on the 5/10/1918 Children: Joyce Agnes L b.Mar Qtr 1919 Marylebone; Vera J b.Dec Qtr 1920 Marylebone Gertrude came to Australia on the Osterley mid-1919 John (Jack) 23, Gertrude 19, and Agnes 1½ then left Australia in 1920, and travelling via Canada embarked in Montreal on the Canada, and arrived Liverpool, England on the 2/9/1920, with the intention of residing permanently in the UK Jack died 3 months later on the 9th of December 1920 at Marylebone, London He is buried in the East Finchley Cemetery, London [Peter Bennett has a photo of headstone] https://oldsite.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1653510/ Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 21 Sept 1915 (p.10): MOUNT LARCOM Mr Jack Rennie, who had been in training at camp came home for a day to say goodbye to his friends and relations, all wishing him a safe return. Mount Larcom, 17th September 1915 Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Thur 19 Oct 1916 (p.3): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing from London on the 9th of September to Miss M.S. Trotman, says: – “On Wednesday, the 30th of August, when at Wandsworth Hospital, I found Private J.R. Rennie, of Mount Larcom. This poor laddie has been grievously wounded, having lost his right eye and at present has no sight in the left. A pellet of shrapnel, the size of a large green pea, passed through his right eye and under his left. He seemed so delighted to hear that I came from so near his home. He is just the bravest lad I have seen. He had not one word of complaint. All that worried him was the trouble he was giving to other people. Of course I assured him that it was the greatest pleasure to everyone to be able to help him in any way. The other boys in the ward were so kind and gentle to him. He had his first lesson in Braille that morning and was making a string bag on a frame. Yesterday, when I went, the bag was finished, and I am sending it to his sister. Rennie was just leaving Wandsworth when I got there. He is going to St Dunstan’s Hospital for the Blind. He is very keen to get home; but I am going to try to persuade him to stay over here until he masters the Braille and learns some trade. At St Dunstan’s everything possible is taught to the blind, and I feel sure that he will be contented to stay when he realises what it means to him to be able to read and write and work. I wish you could have seen the hearty send-off he had from the ward yesterday. The other lads, English and Australian, all eye cases, shook hands with him and wished him good luck. I spoke to Sir Thomas Robinson about him, and I hope to be able to visit him constantly at St Dunstan’s and take him out for walks and drives if I am allowed. The subscribers to the Sock and Soldiers’ Comforts Fund will be pleased to know that, through their generosity, I was able to send him a pipe and tobacco and a shaving kit. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/53401031 Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Fri 24 Nov 1916 (p.7): CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing to Miss M.S. Trotman from London on the 4th of October, says: – “Jack Rennie has gone to the Convalescent Hospital for the Blind at Torquay. He will be there a month and will try to arrange for his fortnight’s furlough at Eastbourne after.” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 19 Dec 1916 (p.5): CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing to Miss M.S. Trotman from London under date the 1st November, says:– “I rang up St Dunstan’s Hospital during the week to ask for Jack Rennie and was told he was still at Torquay.” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 9 Jan 1917 (p.8): QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing from London on the 16th November to Miss M.S. Trotman says: – “Jack Rennie is still at Torquay, and I have sent on letters and parcels which came from home for him, and a Miss Giles, at Torquay, very kindly wrote to me for Rennie, saying he had received them. She says he is looking ever so much better since he went to Torquay and is very happy and cheerful, and is asked out very often. The afternoon she write he was going with Miss Giles and a friend to the pavilion to tea.” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 3 Feb 1917 (p.9): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, whose address is “care of the Agent-General, Queensland Office, Strand, London,” writing to Miss M.S. Trotman on the 14th December, says: – “Jack Rennie is at Torquay again. I had a very nicely typed letter from him three days ago, and I have forwarded a great many letters to him from home.” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 24 Feb 1917 (p.9): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing under date the 28th of December, 1916, …………….. “Jack Rennie, my blind boy, is still at Torquay. A Miss Giles wrote last week saying that he was spending Christmas with them. She says he is wonderfully brave and patient and quick to learn. He is knitting mittens just now. I have received five letters for him and will forward them at once.” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Thur 1 Mar 1917 (p.7): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS IN ENGLAND LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing on the 11th of January…. “Jack Rennie has returned to St Dunstan’s from Torquay. I had a typed letter from him this morning and hope to see him on Sunday morning.” The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 19 May 1917 (p.5): AUSTRALIANS AT HOME LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER 8th of April, ……. “Jack Rennie has not been very well lately. I saw him yesterday. He has lost a good deal of condition, but says he is quite well again. I sent Private Baram, from Mount Larcom, to see him. He was delighted to have a chat with some one from home.” The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 14 Jul 1917 (p.38): ST DUNSTAN’S HOSTEL Miss M.S. Trotman writes: “Apropos of the good work done at St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors, England, to which reference is made in your issue of to-day, I enclose you a typewritten letter which Mrs H.G. Wheeler received from the blind soldier Jack Rennie, of Mount Larcom. Perhaps you would care to publish it. But please return to me as ‘Mother’ Wheeler likes to keep all letters from her boys.” The enclosure is as follows: – St Dunstan’s, Regents Park, London, N.W.1 11th April, 1917 My Dear “Mother,” I now take the pleasure of writing a few lines to you to let you know how things are progressing. I am still in the best of health and am having a real good time of it here among the boys. Well, mother, I hope you had a good time at Easter. I went down to Ascot and had a real good time. Well, dear mother, I am still holding on to the pound that you gave me, so it seems as if it will last me a good while at this rate. Well, mother, I will close now for this time. Hoping this finds you and your daughter in the best of health, as it leaves me in the pink. I remain, Your loving boy, Jack Rennie, xxxxxx Excuse all mistakes, as I am in a hurry. I have so many to write. Love from Jack, xxxxxxxxx Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Thur 9 Aug 1917 (p.7&8): LETTER FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS ABROAD Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing to Miss M.S. Trotman from London on the … of June, says: “I think we will begin with the letters from our boys in France. ………………………………………………………………………….. “I had another very nicely-typed letter from Jack Rennie. He says he is getting on well with shorthand, which, as times goes on, seems to get easier.” http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/53820700 Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 1 Jan 1918 (p.7): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS ABROAD LETTERS FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Miss M.S. Trotman is in receipt of the following letters from Mrs H.G. Wheeler: – London, November 5 “I have had a letter from Jack Rennie, telling me that his father has arrived.” The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 13 Jul 1918 (p.37): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS ABROAD LETTERS FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Mrs H.G. Wheeler, writing from London on the 12th of April to Miss M.S. Trotman, says: – “Jack Rennie wrote a few days ago to tell me that he is married. He is very cheerful. He says that he expects to be happy for the rest of his life.” The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 20 Jul 1918 (p.37): THE WAR – CENTRAL QUEENSLANDERS ABROAD LETTERS FROM MRS H.G. WHEELER Miss M.S. Trotman is in receipt of the following letter, dated London, 19th April, …… “I have had a long typewritten letter from Jack Rennie, who seems to be very happy. He is getting on with his work well, and can now take down shorthand at ninety words per minute.” The Bundaberg Mail (Qld), Sat 26 Oct 1918 (p.4): The Blind soldier The whole hearted sympathy of the Patriotic citizens of Bundaberg is extended to Private Rennie, the blind soldier, whose fine appearance as a stalwart Australian has been so freely commented upon since his return home. Private Rennie, whose home was at Bucca Crossing, was greatly esteemed in the Invicta district where his father resided. He did excellent work in the battle fronts before the sad event that totally bereft him of his eyesight. In anticipation of his return to Queensland his aged father had secured for him a fine agricultural selection in the Mt Larcom district. This, of course, is now useless to him and must be abandoned. Private Rennie is at present being well cared for by kind friends in West Bundaberg, and with a view to providing him with a home, in preparation for the arrival of his wife, Mrs Flint and other ladies have organised a social evening to take place in the Austral Assembly rooms next Thursday evening, and for which townfolk generally may be relied upon to take a ticket. The Bundaberg Mail (Qld), Sat 11 Jan 1919 (p.2): Cottage for Blind Soldier The movement initiated by the Girls’ Patriotic Club with the object of providing a home for the blind soldier, Private Rennie, is meeting with a spirited response at the hands of the public. The Girls’ Patriotic Club has voted £50 towards the fund, and donations to-day and during next week may be sent to Miss Alison at the Q.N. Bank. There is every reason for anticipating a ready and liberal assistance, so that no delay will take place in providing the home. ….. In response to the appeal by the Girls’ Patriotic Club for an area of land suitable for poultry raising purposes on which to establish a home for the blind soldier, Private Rennie, the Mayor (Ald. W. Dunn) was yesterday approached by Mr E.R. Cole who offered to donate an area of five acres, situated beyond the cricket reserve, West Bundaberg. We understand that the land in question will suit the purposes required of it, and Mr Cole is to be commended upon his generous donation. The Bundaberg Mail (Qld), Sat 24 May 1919 (p.6): OUR BLIND SOLDIER PRIVATE RENNIE’S NEW HOME Blind Soldier Jack Rennie was yesterday given possession of his fine house, on the Maryborough road, about two miles distant from town. The property contains ten acres of good agricultural [land] and in addition to a good residence, outbuildings, windmill, well, etc., and was purchased for the blind hero by the Repatriation Committee at a cost of £650. For the purpose of furnishing the home, the public came forward with suitable gifts, and Mrs Flint with the assistance of several ladies raised a sum of £51 which was utilised for the purchase of the balance of the furniture, which was entrusted to Mesdames Flint and Bergin. The place was thoroughly renovated by Mr Rennie, father of the blind soldier, and who has also prepared and planted the land with cane, maize, etc. Yesterday the home was handed over to Private Rennie, in the presence of a number of interested friends by Mr W. Dunn, Chairman of the Repatriation Committee. There were also present: Lieut. G.H. Mather, Warrant Officer Sullivan, Mesdames W.G. Marsh, W. Dunn, W. Flint, Bergin, and others. In handing over the property, Mr Dunn thanked Mrs Flint for the interest she took in Private Rennie. He referred to Mrs Flint as one of the few who have done so much for the soldiers. He also thanked the other ladies who assisted Mrs Flint, and concluding wished Private Rennie, and his wife, who was on her way out from England, every prosperity in their new home. Lieut. Mather also added a few words of congratulation, and Private Rennie returned thanks. Apologies for unavoidable absence were received from the Mayor (Ald. M. Dunn) and Messrs. C.W. Buss and F. Haly. Refreshments were provided by Mesdames Flint, Bergin and Hansen, and a most enjoyable afternoon was spent. Private Rennie, who is a well-known Bundaberg boy, was wounded in the glorious battle of Pozieres on the 4th August, 1916. He was shot in the head the bullet passing through his head behind both eyes, severing the optic nerves and rendering him permanently blind. He was married in England and his wife is expected to reach Australia towards the end of next month. The Bundaberg Mail (Qld), Mon 14 Jul 1919 (p.4): PERSONAL Mrs Rennie, wife of our blind hero, Private Jack Rennie, who has just come out from England with her child, to join her husband in Bundaberg, arrived on Saturday morning accompanied by her husband who went down to Brisbane to meet her. They were welcomed at the station by Mesdames W.G. Marsh, W. Flint and W. Dunn, and Mrs Rennie was made the recipient of a bunch of sweet peas tied with Private Rennie’s battalion colours, after which they were taken home in Mr Dunn’s car.