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Albert Thomas SHERRARD


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 6624 25y4m 11/10/1916 19/06/1919 1

Private Albert Thomas Sherrard (1891 – 1942)

Family background and early life

Albert Thomas Sherrard spent his boyhood and youth with his family in Melbourne, Victoria.  He was born in Fitzroy, son of Francis Lawley Sherrard, a butcher, and Mary Ann (née Sparkes).  He had an older brother and three younger sisters.  Two other siblings died in infancy.  Albert’s father died in 1914 at the age of 51.

As a young single man, Albert came to Brisbane in 1915 and stayed at Erlington, a guesthouse in George Street and worked as a chemist’s assistant.

Enlistment 

On 11 October 1916 when Albert was 25 years and four months old, he enlisted in Brisbane for service abroad in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).  His widowed mother was still living in Melbourne at Swan Street, Burnley.  Only 164 cm in height and without any previous military experience, he was appointed to reinforcements for the 26th Battalion with the rank of private and commenced training at Rifle Range, Enoggera Military Camp.  Private Sherrard’s religious denomination was Presbyterian so he would have met Padre E. N. Merrington who had served at Gallipoli throughout the previous year and who was minister at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brisbane and a senior chaplain with regular duties at Enoggera.

Marriage

Rev Dr Merrington officiated at the marriage of Private A. T. Sherrard and Olive Elizabeth Greenslade (youngest daughter of William Frederick Greenslade and Mary Elizabeth née Buckley of Willholme, Clayfield) at Saint Andrew’s Church on 23 November 1916.  The couple spent a short honeymoon in Melbourne but it was not long before Private Sherrard’s departure from Australian shores.  

Service

Albert embarked from Sydney on board His Majesty’s Australian Transport Wiltshire on 7 February 1917 and disembarked at Devonport England on 12 April to undergo training with the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone for six months.  Soon after joining the 26th Battalion at the Australian Divisional Base Depot at Le Havre in October 1917, Private Sherrard was in action against German forces in Belgium.

The 26th fought to turn back the German spring offensive in April 1918 and in the lull that followed mounted “peaceful penetration” operations to snatch portions of the German front line. In one such operation in Monument Wood on 14 July the 26th Battalion captured the first German tank to fall into Allied hands – No 506 Mephisto.  In another, on 17 July Lieutenant Borrella was awarded the Victoria Cross.  Later in the year the 26th participated in the great offensive that began on 8 August, its most notable engagement being an attack east of Mont St Quentin on 2 September.

On that day Private Sherrard suffered gunshot wounds to the right knee which meant hospitalisation in Bristol then Dartford in England till January 1919. After a period on furlough in England Albert prepared for return to Australia at Weymouth and embarked on the ship Czaritza for Alexandria. He sailed on board Dunluce Castle to Sydney where he transferred to City of Poona for Brisbane where he was discharged from the AIF on 11 June 1919.

Post war

Albert and Olive Sherrard lived at Olive’s family home Willholme at Clayfield on his return from the war.  Albert continued his career as a chemist.  He was presented with his war medals by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan on 14 December 1922.  His Excellency visited business houses whose employees had seen service in the Great War.  Private A. T. Sherrard, an employee of the pharmaceutical firm Wilkinsons Limited was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his courageous services.

Albert Sherrard maintained a loyal association with his comrades of the 26th Battalion.  He is recorded as proposing the toast to Colonel G. H. Smith MC who had acted as chairman at its annual reunion at Atcherley House in 1933.

In 1936 while living at Denham Street Clayfield, Mr A.T. Sherrard was a branch manager for LA Wilkinson (Northern) Ltd. With other branch managers he spoke of “the highest ideals in the practice of pharmacy” in response to remarks by the then Minister for Health, Mr E. M. Hanlon.

Passing

 Albert Thomas Sherrard died on 22 May 1942 at the age of 50 years.  Mrs Olive Sherrard, his widow for some thirty-eight years, died in 1980 at the age of 92.


Bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1
• Australian War Memorial
o Unit histories
o First World War Embarkation Rolls
• Queenslander, 30 December 1916, page 15
• Brisbane Courier, 15 December 1922, page 6;  11 August 1933, page 7
• Courier-Mail, 15 May 1936, page 1
• Telegraph, 25 November 1936, page 10;  23 May 1942, page 8
• Ancestry on-line
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1915 – 1942
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Queensland
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria
The Memoirs of Rev Dr Ernest Northcroft Merrington, unpublished, 1948

Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane.  December 2016.

 

 

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