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Robert Roy Moorhead KELLET


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Gunner 8922 18y 2 Nov 1915 19 Dec 1919 4

Robert Roy Moorhead Kellet (1897 - 1989)

Kellet Brothers Booklet

Kellet Family

Ahab and Matilda Kellet were living in Brisbane at the time of the Great War but they moved from place to place in Eastern Australia throughout Mr Kellet’s career as a public servant in the PMG1 Department.  After their marriage in Victoria in 1892, Ahab Kellet and Matilda Edith Rogerson née Witham lived in turn at Richmond in Melbourne, Warrnambool and Hawthorn in Melbourne. In Brisbane the family lived at Indooroopilly and later at Coopers Plains.

In 1919 the Kellets transferred to Rockhampton till Mr Ahab Kellet’s retirement in about 1936 after which they settled at Wollongong in New South Wales. They had one daughter followed by four sons. The names of two of their boys (Russell and Robert) are on honour boards in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel but only one of them (Robert Roy Moorhead Kellet) actually served in the Australian Imperial Force in World War 1.  Mr Ahab Kellet died in Wollongong in 1941 and his widow died at Greenwich, New South Wales in 1944.

Early life

Robert, the second son of Ahab and Matilda Kellet was born in Warnambool, Victoria in 1897. In his youth in Brisbane his occupation was an electroplater. He also served in the Citizen Forces, 2nd AGA2.

Enlistment

On reaching 18 years of age Robert Kellet set off to Melbourne to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force.  He carried a letter signed by his mother and father giving their consent for his enrolment for active service, also stating, “He considers it’s his duty to do so.”3 

Robert named his father Mr Ahab Kellet of ‘Bahia’, Hart Road, Indooroopilly as next-of-kin. He stood 5 feet 6¼ inches (168 cm) tall, weighed 9 stone (57 kg), and wore a fresh complexion with blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He stated his religious denomination was “presp”.  

Service

Driver Robert Kellet, regimental number 8922, was appointed to 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column on 2 November 1915 and embarked on HMAT Port Macquarie from Melbourne a fortnight later.  The troops disembarked at Suez on 18 December 1915, camped at Zeitoun in Egypt and proceeded to join the British Expeditionary Force via Marseilles in March 1916.

In May he was transferred to the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, a brigade formed to be assigned to infantry divisions in the field and equipped with 18 pounder guns and 4.5 inch howitzers. Gunshot wounding was common for soldiers in field artillery batteries but Gunner Robert Kellet’s service record notes no such casualty or illness. He crossed the channel to England for a fortnight’s leave in July 1917 and in August 1918.

After the Armistice on 11 November 1918, Gunner Kellet joined other 1915/16 personnel for return to Australia at the Australian General Base Depot at Le Havre. It was a long wait before departure on Euripides from London on 13 September 1919.  Robert Roy Moorhead Kellet was discharged from the AIF on 19 December 1919.  He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Each was sent by registered post in 1922 and on receipt, his brother Russell witnessed his signature.

Post war

Robert Kellet accompanied his parents when they moved to Rockhampton where he was employed as a lineman.  

On 2 September 1923 he married Daisy Irene Edwards in Rockhampton and the couple lived at 298 Dawson Road. Their daughter Irene Joyce was born on 11 June 1924. The family moved to Cooroy in Queensland in the 1930s and later to Eastwood and Pennant Hills in New South Wales, each time while Robert worked as a lineman.

In about 1958, Robert was employed as an instructor in the city of Goulburn where he retired. Mrs Daisy Kellet died there in 1961, aged 62.  In 1963 Robert was living at St Georges Basin and in the late 1970s at Ryde.  Robert Kellet died at Gosford on 7 June 1989, aged 92 years.


Footnotes
1. Post Master General’s Department, Commonwealth of Australia 
2. Australian Garrison Artillery
3. Letter, Ahab and M. E. R. Kellet to Enlisting Officer, Melbourne, Victoria, dated 6 September 1915 

References
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• Australian War Memorial - Embarkation Rolls and Unit Histories
• Australian Electoral Rolls
• Ancestry family records on line
• Queensland Register of Births Deaths Marriages
• New South Wales Register of Births Deaths Marriages
• Victorian Register of Births Deaths Marriages
Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 1991
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 1941, page 16
The Mercury, Hobart, 19 December 1919
 
Note:  Kellet has been incorrectly spelt with two 'ts' ie Kellett on the Honour Boards.

Complied by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane.  March 2016. 

 

 

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