• William Alexander Blackett

Army / Flying Corps
  • 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 2nd Brigade
  • Private

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • BLACKETT, William Alexander (Alec)
    • Posted by FrevFord, Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Alec was born on the 12th of May 1895 in Launceston, Tasmania – the son of William Alexander BLACKETT and Alpha FRENCH, who married in Launceston on the 26/11/1890 William (snr), formerly of Messrs Blackett and French, hotel brokers and financial agents, died at their home in Hill St, Launceston on the 21/4/1939, aged 74, following a long illness Alpha also died at home in Hill St, Launceston on the 11/4/1950, aged 90 Siblings: Irene May b.30/4/1893; Horace Raymond b.25/4/1897 Tas – WW1: Dvr 13999, 2nd DAC – KIA 17/6/1918 France, buried Frechencourt Communal Cemetery; Nellie Dorothy b.27/5/1899 – d.1900; Claudia Mary; Jean Nephew of: Alice Maude Blackett b.19/7/1878 Tas – WW1: Staff Nurse, AANS Mortimer Charles Blackett (MBE) b.28/1/1881 Tas – WW1: Capt, 34th Bn Howard (Tod) Blackett b.14/10/1886 Tas – WW1: Pte 369, 12th Bn – KIA 2/5/1915 Gallipoli Religion: Methodist Served with the Cadets (92nd) at Scottsdale for a year Orchardist at Toomuc Valley Orchard Co, Pakenham, Victoria WW1: Enlisted in Melbourne on the 17/7/1915, aged 20 Embarked on the A40 Ceramic 23/11/1915 as Private 3685 with the 12th Reinforcements of the 6th Battalion, for Egypt Embarked on the HT Transylvania at Alexandria 29/3/1916 to join the BEF, and disembarked Marseilles, France 4/4/1916 – joining the Base Depot at Etaples Taken on strength of the 6th Battalion 11/6/1916 Wounded in action 25/9/1916 at Ypres, and admitted to the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance with shrapnel wounds to face and skull, eventually resulting in loss of both eyes Admitted to the 13th Stationary Hospital, Boulogne 26/9/1916, before being transferred to England 27/9/1916 on the HS St David, where he was admitted to the King George Hospital 28/9/1916 His aunt, Staff Nurse Alice Blackett (AANS) was granted a couple of weeks Leave from France to spend time with him Transferred to the 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea 16/10/1916 Admitted to St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers 20/10/1916, where he was fully trained in Poultry Farming, Joinery and Typewriting Discharged from St Dustan’s 15/2/1918 and embarked on the Llanstephan Castle for return to Australia, arriving Melbourne 16/4/1918 Discharged from the AIF 17/5/1918 “On his return to Launceston he conducted a successful poultry farm at his home in Hill St.” His hens breaking various records in egg-laying competitions over the years In 1923 he became the first blind man to be made a Freemason in Australia – and was a life member of the Empire Lodge and a member of the Army and Navy Lodge Vice-president of the Tasmanian Blinded Soldiers’ Association Vice-president of the Young Diggers’ Association On the 25th of October 1927, Alec married Gladys Augusta BROWN in the Longford Anglican Church, Tasmania Gladys was the daughter of William Edwin and Augusta Julia Brown of “Mon Roy,” Launceston “In 1927 he took up gardening and had a special interest in the growing of gladioli, which he showed in competition.” Though too ill to attend; one of his gladioli took out best bloom at an annual church flower show in 1949 Alec died in the Launceston General Hospital on the 11th of March 1954 following a long illness, and was cremated at the Carr Villa Crematorium Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Sat 30 Sept 1916 (p.8): PERSONAL NOTES Mr W.A. Blackett, of Launceston, has received a cable from his sister, Nurse Alice Blackett, from Boulogne, dated Wednesday, to the effect that his eldest son, Alex Blackett, had been seriously wounded. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Fri 13 Oct 1916 (p.7): PERSONAL NOTES Mr W.A. Blackett, of Launceston, was advised by the Defence Department yesterday that his son has had one eye removed, and the other one is in a hopeless condition. The telegram stated that he had been examined by Sir William Collins and Mr Long. Every Week (Bairnsdale, Vic), Thur 4 Jan 1917 (p.3): A LONDON LETTER The following extracts from another of Miss Pennefather’s London letters, telling of our soldiers in England will be read with interest (from Launceston “Courier”) – ……………………………………………………… I came across a terribly pathetic case at the K.G. on Monday. You know when I go, I get the regimental book at the door each day, and find out the names and wards of the very latest arrivals. Blackett was the last name that day, and I found a laddie from Launceston, son of Mr Blackett, of Blackett and French. Such a young thing! One eye gone, and I fear – I fear – no sight left in the other. He lay, all bound up – such a sad, pathetic sight. I was the first Australian who had found him, and when he knew I was from Launceston too, he was so pleased, and at once began asking me if I knew this one and that one, and different places, etc. Then he went on to tell me that he knew he had an aunt – a nursing sister – in France, and when he was taken into hospital there, wounded, he asked a sister if she had ever heard of her, and actually found out that she was nursing in that very hospital. He said that she told him, when he was being sent over to England, that she would manage somehow to get across to him, and he was so longing to see her, or rather with him poor boy; it would only be to feel and hear her. While he and I were talking, a sister came to his bed, and said, “Blackett, there’s a visitor coming up to see you,” and went away. The boy never said a word, and seemed to be almost holding his breath to catch the first sound that it might tell him it was really his aunt. He wasn’t kept long in suspense, for in about a minute, a slight figure, with a very anxious face, arrived at the lad’s bedside, and leant over and kissed him; I knew I was not needed any more that day. He told me the next afternoon that Miss Blackett got her leave from the French hospital almost immediately he left it, and came across the next day, and that she had told him she was determined somehow to go back on the hospital ship with him to Australia. I will get her address from him and go to see her. Isn’t it a happy thing she should be here with him. I think she must know the worst about the poor boy. He said to me the first day, “My leave was just due, you know, and I’d never drawn a bit of money, but saved it all to have a good time in London, and now I’ll never have a good time again.” Oh, it just breaks your heart, the unspeakable sadness of it all. I feel sure he has never been told he will be blind, but he seems to know instinctively. ……………………. Every Week (Bairnsdale, Vic), Thur 11 Jan 1917 (p.3): A London Letter The following is another of those interesting letters from the pen of Miss Pennefather, and published in the Launceston “Courier”: – ……………………………………………………….. Poor Alex Blackett, of whom I told you in my last letter, has been moved to Chelsea Hospital. I am so sorry, for his aunt, Sister Blackett, left him in my care, and it is difficult to get right down there, with the K.G. work, too. He was so sad at going, too, as he had got to know the nurses in the ward at the K.G., and all the boys in it were so sweet and tender to him. I did what I could to have him left here, but these eye cases are all being transferred to the Chelsea Hospital. His aunt could not get an extension of leave, and had to go back to her hospital in France last Friday, but his uncle – an officer with his detachment at Salisbury Plain – came up last Saturday to see him, and I shall go down to Chelsea on Friday next. ………………………………………… Every Week (Bairnsdale, Vic), Thur 18 Jan 1917 (p.6): A LONDON LETTER Miss Pennefather, the Tasmanian lady who is doing splendid work amongst Australian soldiers in England, writes to her sister Miss Alice Pennefather, in Launceston, says “The Weekly Courier,” as follows: – Last Friday I went to No.2 General Hospital (St Mark’s), Chelsea, to see Alex Blackett, only to find, after all, that he had gone about an hour before to St Dunstan’s, in Regent Park. Agnes was with me, and we came right out at once, arriving about 4.30. Twice before I had been at St Dunstan’s, but only to see through it once, and the other time was with an entertainment party, so until Friday last I had never realised what the “atmosphere” of the home (and home is the word to describe this wonderful place, not institution) was like. To begin with, it is a glorious and enormous country house, set in beautiful grounds in this great park, but I fancy you all in Australia have read about it many times, so I will only say that the owner has lent it as a home for soldiers blinded in the war, in order to have them taught professions and trades, to give them interest, or enable them to be self-supporting. Just now there are over 200 men there, and besides Englishmen, some from every Australian state, (Alex is the only Tasmanian), South Africa, and Canada. One naturally thinks you are coming into one of the saddest of places when entering St Dunstan’s, but it doesn’t take five minutes to alter your opinion. The great halls and corridors and rooms had dozens of these afflicted boys moving up and down, singing and whistling, joking, laughing, and chatting with the nurses, typing letters, making baskets, etc. Of course, it was after school hours when we got there, so there was an utter absence of any sort of stiffness or formality (in fact, in school hours visitors are not allowed). I don’t believe there is a hard chair – except to sit at meals on – in the whole house, nothing but great lounges and luxurious chairs and strips of carpet about two feet wide run down all the halls. The boys know they are going right if their feet are on these. Visitors are asked not to stand on them. The pace the boys go at, the perfect confidence they show, are just wonderful – one might often doubt their being blind at all, did one not know, alas! All the men (except those from overseas, who do not get their discharge till they get back) are in civilian dress and one never hears war talked at all. A friendly scout whom I used to know at our headquarters, soon found Alex Blackett for me. He had only been there a couple of hours. The poor boy was so glad I had found him. He had been worrying himself as to how he could let me know where he was, and, what is inexcusable, he had never had the letter I had written him to St Mark’s, and I particularly requested – in writing on the envelope – that sister should read to him at once. Nothing of this sort will happen here. Their letters or cards are delivered and read to the lads instantly by the sweetest daintiest little nurse you ever saw. Alex had been given a watch when he came in, and already could tell the time by it. I think that alone shows how quick he is going to be at learning things. The watches are in double cases and have raised figures and hands, and each man gets one. It makes him feel independent of having constantly to ask the time. While we were sitting with Alex (on the most heavenly springy, soft, cushiony lounge you can imagine) one of the boys who had been away for a few days came back, and he laughed and stretched out his arms in pure delight at getting back, and I heard him say, “My, it is good to be home again.” Alex told us Sir Arthur Pearson came in to have a chat with him, and the nine other boys, who had only arrived that day also, and Alex said, “He is a jolly man, so breezy and bright, and such a lot of funny stories.” Sir Arthur, you know, is stone blind himself, and is keenly interested, financially and personally in this and other homes for the blind. He visits St Dunstan’s almost every day. Alex said he was telling them about a soldier who used to be there, who took up bootmaking. His father was a bootmaker also, and was always bemoaning the prospect of having to keep his son now he had lost his sight, not having the least faith in his being able to keep himself. “Now,” said Sir Arthur, “the son is making almost 30/ a week clear, and the father can’t touch anything higher than a pound.” One boy at St Dunstan’s has taken up and become an expert at typewriting, though on one hand he has but one finger, and that is his little on. Sir Arthur Pearson told the ten new arrivals he was sending them all off to Brighton the following Monday, for a week or ten days, to get the sea breezes, and then they would come back and start work. We left as the lads went off to their 6 o’clock tea and carried away with us a vision of long, snowy clad tables, surrounded by happy-faced, hungry boys, being looked after and cared for by the merriest and prettiest bevy of little nurses I ever saw together. ………………………………………………………. By this time it was nearly 1 o’clock, so we walked to the Anzac Buffet where he wanted to stay for the rest of the day, and had lunch. I told him almost every boy that came into the Anzac met a chum, and he, perhaps, hadn’t even heard of for months, and he asked me to be sure and tell him if I saw any chaps with blue over red. We had hardly more than finished lunch when one came in, and happened to really be a great chum of Alex’s – a man named Anderson – so you can just imagine the delight of the poor lad. I had to go on to the K.G. for a few hours, and had no hesitation in leaving Alex among so many good and sympathetic friends, as there always are at this dear little place, and when I got back at about 5.30 I found Anderson still there with him, and so many people had chatted to him and he had found so much to interest him, that he was in no hurry to come away. We had some tea and then left to return to St Dunstan’s, and Anderson insisted on coming with us, too. ……………………………………………………………………. Every Week (Bairnsdale, Vic), Thur 22 Mar 1917 (p.6): LONDON LETTER The following is another of Miss Pennefather's interesting letters, in connection with the Anzac Buffet, reprinted from “Launceston Courier.” ………………………………………………………………………………….. We went next day to the Eye Hospital, and took the men out to a show and for tea. There was one Australian amongst them who is marked for home on January 12th, so he's alright, and his eyes are improving. On Wednesday, I went by arrangement with him to St. Dunstan's to take out Alf [sic – Alex] Blackett to visit Alf Tyson (from Launceston also), whom I had found in the K.G. a few days before, and who knows Blackett. Strange to say, Tyson is in the very ward poor Alex, was during the three weeks he was at the K.G., when he first arrived from France, and first knew that he had lost his sight, and the men who had been in the next beds were so glad to see him again — he had quite a reception— and I left him two hours among them all while I went to see other boys, and we got back to St. Dunstan's at 8. Sir Arthur Pearson is sending all the Australians away to Brighton for Christmas and New Year, and they were to leave on the following day. ………………………………………………………………………………………. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Sat 13 Jul 1918 (p.8): TASMANIAN CASUALTIES Mr W.A. Blackett, of 44 Hill-street, Launceston, yesterday received official intimation that his younger son, Horace Raymond Blackett, was killed in action in France on June 17. Another son, Private Alex Blackett, was recently invalided home suffering from blindness. Zeehan and Dundas Herald (Tas), Sat 9 Nov 1918 (p.1): TASMANIA UTILITY POULTRY CLUB Launceston, Friday Night – At a meeting of the Utility Poultry club, a motion was carried that members undertake to render expert advice and assistance to returned soldiers. Mr Alex Blackett, late of the A.I.F., St Dunstan’s Blind Hostel, London, is a member of the club, and will advise any blind returned men on poultry culture. A sub-committee was appointed to make enquiries as to where egg-laying competition could be held in or near Launceston. World (Hobart, Tas), Sat 14 Dec 1918 (p.10): TRANSPORT SCANDALS – The Blind Men’s Story Conditions on Llanstephan Castle The following is from “Hansard” of November 26, 1918, Sergeant M’Grath, M.H.R., speaking: – Mr M’Grath, I have here a declaration signed by five blind soldiers who returned to Australia by the Llanstephan Castle, by which I also returned. These men had risked everything for their country, and one of them stated that he obtained better food as a prisoner of war in Germany than was served out to him on this vessel. The statement is as follows: – “We were given to understand by General Griffiths and other members of his staff that we should receive first-class accommodation and food. During our voyage home these promises have not been fulfilled whatsoever. On arrival on board this ship we were put down below decks whilst passing through the worst part of the danger zone. We stayed there for two nights.” I know this to be absolutely true. While coming down the Channel for two days and two nights we were liable to be torpedoed at any moment, but these Five Blind Soldiers, as well as four soldiers with double amputations, were tossed down on the lowest deck, and not a soul on board cared whether they lived or died. Had the vessel been struck by a torpedo while they were there they could not possibly have escaped. The mental anxiety of ordinary passengers under such circumstances is severe enough, but what must have been the feelings of these unfortunate men. They had done their best for their country, but the military authorities on board did not care what happened to them. The statement by these blind men continues: “We stayed there for two nights, the blind men lying about the decks seasick. We made a complaint about this treatment. We were ordered up to hospital, and given cots. I might state that the hospital orderlies have noticed on three occasions Maggots in the Food. Rice has been found on different occasions to have been sour; the soup a hot greasy mixture; the tea very poor quality. Complaints have been made to the matron and sisters. No medical officers have been round at the meal time, and no notice has been taken. We think it is hard lines that blind men have to spend their money to satisfy their needs of hunger. “We should like this statement to be put before the proper authorities so that our blind comrades may get better treatment in future. “Signed by blinded soldiers, W.A. Blackett, 6th Battalion, A.I.F. H.J. Kellogg, 27th Battalion, A.I.F. R. Billinton, 37th Battery, 10th Brigade, 4th Division T. Corboy, 46th Battalion, A.I.F. W. Mullin, 7th Battalion, A.I.F. L-Cpl George Horsey, 59th Battalion.” https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/187728439 Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Thur 22 Jul 1920 (p.9): A Picturesque Reception Unequalled on Tour – 14,000 People File Past Not before on the present tour of the Prince of Wales has the people’s popular reception eventuated in such picturesque surroundings as those which prevailed at the Albert Hall last night. …………………………………………………………. Amongst the throng were Corporal H. Thompson, on crutches, and Mr Alex Blackett, who lost both eyes at the front. The Prince stopped them, shook hands, and chatted with them for a little while. ……………………………………………………………. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Thur 6 Apr 1922 (p.7): THIS YEAR’S TEST – A GOOD BEGINNING Interest in the competitions is becoming keener all over Australia, and in Tasmania the numbers are keeping up well. At penquite for this year’s test … birds are competing. …………………… Mr Alex Blackett, a returned soldier, who was deprived of his sight when helping to defend his country in the great war, also has a very choice pen, and these laid four and five respectively on the first two days. Mr Blackett is an enthusiastic breeder, and is able to test and select birds as carefully as a man with his full sight. Mr Blackett’s birds have done well in each competition at Penquite, and everyone will wish him luck in the present test. …………………………………….. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Thur 8 Mar 1923 (p.3): EGG-LAYING COMPETITIONS ………………………………………………………….. A Sydney visitor to Penquite recently has written to a New South Wales paper in most appreciative terms of Mr Alex Blackett, the blind soldier, whose pen of six Black Orpingtons have a big lead in the teams contest at Penquite, their score up to last Saturday being 1501. The visitor did not in the least exaggerate the claims of Mr Blackett to be classed as one of the most successful poultry breeders in the State. His achievement is all the more wonderful when it is known that he is blind in both eyes, and that he attends to his birds himself, and also selected the Penquite team from a large flock of layers bred by himself. Mr Blackett was trained in poultry keeping at St Dunstan’s College, London. His team of blacks in this year’s Penquite test look like putting up a Tasmanian teams record. Smith’s Weekly (Syd, NSW), Sat 14 Apr 1923 (p.15): From Here, There, and Everywhere TWO RECORDS Alec Blackett, of Launceston, served three years with the A.I.F., and was discharged totally blind. He spent a year at St Dunstan’s, and since his return home of all things in the world has taken up poultry farming. But Blackett has made good. His pens are one of the sights of Launceston. Six black orpingtons of his are winning the Northern Tasmanian Egg Laying Competition. They are so far ahead of the next hens that half of them could drop dead without affecting the result. By the time this is in print, they will have put up a Tasmanian record. – “Wart.” Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Mon 31 Mar 1924 (p.5): FILLING THE EGG BASKET PENQUITE TEST CONCLUDES TO-DAY – THE PROBABLE WINNERS The fifth annual egglaying competition at Penquite will terminate to-day, and on last week’s scores I will give probable winners. In Black Orpington teams Mr Ben Clark lost one bird and the pen dropped back. It was overtaken by Mr Alec Blackett’s pen, but as the latter failed to pass the weighing test for eggs, Mr Clark will be awarded first prize. …………………………. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Tue 9 Dec 1924 (p.4): POULTRY FARMERS’ LOSS MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT HILL-STREET – 53 BIRDS DEAD OR MISSING It is not unusual for cases of fowl stealing to be reported to the police at this time of the year, when poultry is more or less easy to dispose of. The mysterious circumstances however surrounding the disappearance and death of a large number of high-class birds at Hill-street is proving particularly difficult for the detective to handle. Messrs Vernon French and Alec Blackett, who carry on a poultry stud at Hill-street, in partnership, will be heavy losers as the result of wholesale slaughter and the disappearance of 53 Black and White Orpington fowls. When Mr French visited the runs yesterday morning he was amazed to find 24 Black Orpingtons and one White Orpington pullet lying dead in a paddock adjoining the run. The pullets, which were worth approximately five shillings each, were about four months old, and from their appearance the fowls seemed to have been worried to death by dogs or some such animal. This, however, was not the only loss, as upon visiting the poultry runs Mr French found that twenty additional young pullets were missing, together with eight older birds, thus bringing the total up to 53. Of those birds remaining, several of them showed signs of having had a rough experience, as quantities of feathers were missing from their bodies. The police were promptly informed and the country for some distance around was scoured for any sign of the missing birds, but without success. Several theories were evolved in an endeavour to solve the mystery, but at the best they are but supposition, and it seems that the problem is likely to prove a most difficult one. Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Sat 16 May 1925 (p.3): A VISIT TO PENQUITE https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153640642 Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Sat 20 Mar 1926 (p.3): The Poultry World A NEW PENQUITE RECORD https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153723845 Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Sat 15 Oct 1927 (p.6): Women’s Realm PRE-WEDDING PARTIES A number of delightful parties have been given in honor of Miss Glad. Brown, of “Mon Roy,” 87 Elphin-road, and Mr Alec. Blackett, 7 Hill-street, whose marriage is to take place at Longford on October 25. …………………………………………… [These included a kitchen evening, handkerchief evening, utility evening, and a store-room evening] https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153422750 Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas), Wed 26 Oct 1927 (p.2): WEDDING BELLS BLACKETT – BROWN Yesterday morning, at 11.15, in the Anglican Church, Longford, the marriage took place of Glad, only daughter of Mr and Mrs W.E. Brown, “Mon Roy,” Elphin-road, and Alec, only surviving son of Mr and Mrs W.A. Blackett, Hill-street, Cataract Hill. The Rev Taylor performed the ceremony. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore…………………………… After the ceremony Mr and Mrs W.E. Brown entertained the immediate relations of the bride and bridegroom at a wedding breakfast at the Blenheim Hotel, after which Mr and Mrs Blackett left by the Nairana for Melbourne and Sydney. ………………………………………………………………………………… https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153432060 Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Mon 6 May 1935 (p.8): JUBILEE MEDALS FOR TASMANIANSA Many Launceston residents are included in the list of those awarded medals, instituted by Royal command, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne. The Tasmanian recipients are as follows: – General – ……………………………………; A Blackett, for services to blinded ex-servicemen. Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Thur 10 Feb 1949 (p.6): Blinded Soldier Exhibits Best Flower Show Bloom A blinded soldier from World War 1 exhibited the best bloom, a gladioli, at the annual Margaret St. Methodist Sunday School flower show held yesterday. He is Mr Alec Blackett, of Hill St. As he was too ill to attend the show his exhibits were arranged by his wife. Sunkist, his champion gladioli, is an apricot pink, with rich cream lower petals. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Fri 12 Mar 1954 (p.2): Death Of Blind Freemason The first blinded man to become a Freemason in Tasmania, Mr William Alexander Blackett, died in the Launceston General Hospital yesterday at the age of 57. Mr Blackett, a member of the 1st A.I.F., was blinded at Ypres in the First World War. He was a vice-president of the Tasmanian Blinded Soldiers’ Association. Mr Blackett took a keen interest in flowers, particularly gladioli. He leaves a widow. Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Fri 12 Mar 1954 (p.4): Blind Veteran Dies In L’ton The first blind man to be made a Freemason in Australia died in the Launceston General Hospital yesterday after a long illness. He was Mr William Alexander Blackett, of Hill St., who was blinded at Ypres in World War 1 in 1916. He was initiated as a Freemason through the efforts of Sir Claude James, then Pro-Grand Master of Tasmania. He obtained special permission from England and a special dispensation from the Grand Master of Tasmania, who was then Mr L. d’Emden. Mr Blackett was made a Freemason in 1923. He became a life member of the Empire Lodge and was also a member of the Army and Navy Lodge. He was Tasmanian representative for the Blinded Soldiers’ Association and was also a vice-president. He was a vice-president of the Young Diggers’ Association and in spite of his handicap was very interested in sport. Mr Blackett studied poultry breeding, cabinet and basket making at St Dunstan’s Hospital for the blind in England. He spent two years there after the war. On his return to Launceston he conducted a successful poultry farm at his home in Hill St. In 1927 he took up gardening and had a special interest in the growing of gladioli, which he showed in competition. He gave up gardening only 12 months ago. Mr Blackett’s only brother was killed in France during World War 1. He is survived by his wife, Mrs Gladys Blackett. There are no children. The funeral will take place today at Carr Villa Crematorium. Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Fri 12 Mar 1954 (p.14): DEATHS BLACKETT – On March 11, 1954, at the Launceston General Hospital, William Alexander, dearly loved husband of Gladys A. Blackett, of 32 Hill St., Launceston. Aged 57 years. Late 1st A.I.F. FUNERALS BLACKETT – The funeral of the late Mr William A. (Alec) Blackett is appointed to leave our funeral chapel, 16 Brisbane St., this morning, Friday, at 11 o’clock for the Carr Villa Crematorium. Friends are invited to attend. BLACKETT – Army & Navy Lodge, No.50 T.C. – Members are requested to attend the funeral of their esteemed Bro. Alec Blackett, leaving 16 Brisbane St. today (Friday), at 11 o’clock. By order of the W.M. – T.K.C., Sec. BLACKETT – Empire Lodge, No.37 T.C. – Members are requested……………….. Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Sat 13 Mar 1954 (p.4): FUNERAL Mr W.A. Blackett The funeral of Mr William Alexander Blackett took place at the Carr Villa Crematorium yesterday, and was attended by a large and representative gathering, including many Masonic brethren. The Rev. A.H. Roake conducted the service at the crematorium, and read the Masonic oration, and the Anzac service was read by Mr C.J.R. Smith. The chief mourners were Messrs K.F. and C.C. Brown, Ron Cannon and M. Button (brothers-in-law), Allan, Don and Lindsay Brown and Ian Cannon (nephews). Also attending were Mr Madden, M.H.A., (representing the State Government), Sir Claude James (Empire Masonic Lodge), Mr Connolly, M.L.C. (ex-president of the Tasmanian Blinded Soldiers Association), Mr A. Burns (vice-president), and Mr T. Holloway and Mr D.E. Parish, blinded soldiers who represented the Tasmanian Blinded Soldiers Association. The pallbearers were Messrs A. Padman, S. Crawcour, W. Storay, H. Fuller, W. Turner, T. Atherton, L. Steven and R.W. Reeman (president of the R.S.L.). Funeral arrangements by C.T. Finney.