Digital copies of Albert Heasman’s World War One service papers can be viewed at The National Archives of Australia. The photograph, right, was taken after his commission as second lieutenant in January 1918. A summary of Albert’s service history follows.
According to his attestation papers, Albert was born on
14th October 1888 in .
He was the oldest son of Edric Owen
Heasman and Annie Heasman (nee Message) whose marriage was registered at Hailsham, Sussex
in the December quarter of 1887. Uckfield, Sussex
Albert, born on the 14th October 1888, appears on the 1891 census as a two year old living with his parents and seven month old brother Frederick Heasman at White House,
Chiltington, . His place of birth is noted as Sussex . Edric, 26 years old and working as an
agricultural labourer, was born at Mayfield.
His 25 year old wife Annie was born in Bodle Street, Sussex .
was born at Frederick East Chiltington.
Ten years later, the 1901 census notes that the family is still living at the same address (reported as Whitehouse number one) with Edric’s trade now noted as “stockman on farm”. There are also three more children: Gilbert Arthur Heasman (aged seven), Daisy May Heasman (aged five) and Grace Hilda Heasman (aged two). A two year old boarder, John A Irquhart (possibly), born in
Liverpool, is also living at the address, as is a 59 year
old widower from Wivelsfield, George Mitchell.
Two further children would also be born: Beatrice Heasman in 1907 and
Percival Heasman in 1910.
Albert emigrated to
in early 1911 followed by Gilbert in 1912 and Western Australia in 1913. Prior to enlisting in the AIF, Albert and
Gilbert worked as fettlers, helping to lay the railway line from Geraldton to
Mt Magnet, a gold mining town. In 1914,
war having been declared on Frederick ,
Albert joined the Australian Imperial Force. Germany
Albert’s records show that he attested on
the 21st September 1914 with the 16th Battalion
AIF. He was given the number 595. The 16th Infantry Battalion ( and Western Australia ) formed
part of the 4th Infantry Brigade.
Albert gave his age as 25 years and 11 months, his trade or calling as
labourer and his next of kin as South Australia W Heasman,
Tutts Farm, South Common, Chailey. He
was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, weighed 142lbs, had a fair complexion
and brown eyes and hair.
On 12th October he was appointed to C Company and the following day swore an oath of allegiance at Helena Vale,
. He embarked at Western Australia aboard RMAT A40 “Ceramic” on 22nd December bound for Melbourne . After four months there he landed at
Gallipoli on Egypt 25th April 1915 and was promoted lance-corporal the following month (13th). Eleven days later, he was promoted to full
3rd October 1915
he was admitted to the 3rd
with influenza and then transferred to the 3rd Canadian
Stationary Hospital . On the
18th he was transferred to the British Base, “ General Hospital Aquitania”.
22nd March 1916,
whilst in ,
he was promoted sergeant and on Egypt 23rd October 1916 was awarded the Military
7th April 1917 he
was Taken on Strength with the 70th Battalion and on the 29th April
proceeded overseas to
via Folkestone as part of a draft to re-enforce the 16th Battalion. The same day, Base Records Office AIF sent a
letter to Mr Heasman at Tutts Farm stating, “I have much pleasure in forwarding
hereunder copy of extract from Supplement No 29854 to The London Gazette of France 8th December 1916 relating
to the conspicuous services rendered by No 595 Sergeant A Heasman, 16th Bn…
Promulgated in Commonwealth of
Gazette No 62 of Australia 19th April
Sergeant Heasman re-joined his battalion on
3rd May 1917, but the following month (26th June), joined the 4th Training Battalion. On 2nd July 1917 he arrived at Codford for duty with the
permanent cadre. Between 31st August 1917 and 15th September 1917 he attended
a course of instruction in the Lewis Gun and qualified 1st class (Sgt).
1st October 1917
he was discharged from the permanent cadre of the 4th Training Battalion on
proceeding overseas (the following day).
He re-joined his battalion on the 6th October, attended a
week-long infantry training course at Aveluy on the 18th November
and then attended a further course at an Officer’s
on the 27th December. Training College
4th January 1918
he was commissioned as a second lieutenant at No 6 Officers’ Cadet Battalion, . A confidential report on 23rd May
that year reported that he had “shown good sound common sense, worked well and
made good sound satisfactory progress.” Oxford
19th August 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Heasman again proceeded overseas, joining his new
unit (unclear on his surviving papers) eight days later. He remained in until France 16th June 1919
when he returned to
aboard “Ormonde”. Australia
Although no longer a native of Chailey, the Parish Magazine had also mentioned him during the First World War. Under “Distinctions’ it recorded his name for the first time in November 1916 stating simply, Sergt A Heasman, MM, Australian Imp Forces, France. This information was repeated up to and including the final published roll in July 1919.
After the war, for a short time, Albert and Gilbert ran a greengrocer’ shop in
West Perth. When
Gilbert returned to
in 1920, Albert spent some time, in the words of one of his ancestors, “roaming
around the north of England
on horseback”. He married Minnie Olive
Griffiths in 1923 and in 1932 was granted a conditional purchase block of 1,000
acres of land at Moorine Rock. He then
began a career as a sheep farmer, buying up neighbouring land as the years
progressed. Albert and Minnie had three
children: Edric John Frederick Heasman (born January 1925), Albert Charles
Heasman (born May 1926) and Ronald Keith Heasman (born April 1928). A fourth son, Robert, died shortly after
birth in 1931. Western Australia
In October 1968, still living at Moorine Rock, Albert wrote to the officer in charge at the Central Army Base Records requesting a Gallipoli Medallion. It was acknowledged that he was eligible and he was duly sent it (to complement his Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal).
Albert Heasman died in 1974 after a long and eventful life. His medals are held at The Fremantle War Museum in