John Stanley Blatch
Serial No. 2871
John Stanley Blatch - Information
On the 3rd of November 1916, John left Sydney Harbour for war service onboard the HMAT Afric, sailing as a Private with the 7th Reinforcements, 60th Battalion. John was born in Picton in 1886 to John and Grace Blatch. He later attended night school in Mittagong before finding work as a farmer. When the war began, John was living in Picton, while his family resided in Colovale on Daisy Downs. When John was 29, he enlisted in the AIF in Goulburn on the 30th of August 1916.
During his voyage, John was unfortunately ill reporting to the ship’s sick bay. He landed in Plymouth, feeling much better, taken to Hurdcott for further training. In April, he left Folkestone for France, where he was billeted at the Australian Division Base Depot. He joined the 60th Battalion as they were consolidating the lines during the Battle of Bullecourt. Towards the end of the year, the 60th Battalion were positioned in Belgium for the Third battle of Ypres. John and his mates attacked the Germans at Polygon Wood on the 26th of September. Here, John was hit by an enemy artillery shell. He was presumed dead; however, officially what had happened to him is unknown. In August 1918, enquiries were made into the incident. Witnesses confirmed that John was killed instantaneously by artillery fire going over the top. Sadly, his family were not sure what had happened to their beloved son for some months. After the war ended, the battlefields were excavated and remains were uncovered. John was later found and re-interred in the New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ypres, in Belgium.