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Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Sgt 435 24y 26/10/14 25/07/18 5

Sergeant Ross Burrell  (1888 - 1960)               

Burrell Brothers booklet            

The Burrell Family

Ross and Moreton Burrell were the only sons of William Robert and Edith Jane Burrell née Armstrong. Their names are on the Wharf Street Congregational Church Honour Board. There were also two daughters in the family and they lived at Denelbie in Bowen Bridge Road, Windsor.

Ross, the eldest member of the Burrell family was born in Townsville on 26 August 1888. He was a member of his school cadet corps and on leaving school became an Accountant.

Enlistment and service

On 26 October 1914 he enlisted at Brisbane to serve overseas in the Australian Imperial Force. A single man, aged 26 years, Private Burrell was allotted to the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance for initial training at Enoggera. In November he was promoted to Corporal and by May 1915, he was serving at Gallipoli in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

Wounded at Gallipoli

On 13 June he received a bullet wound. Details of the casualty were confused at first and cables and letters were sent between the Base Records Office and Ross’s mother and father.

Mr Burrell wrote to Senator Pearce, Minister for Defence, on 7 July 1915: 

“I have my only two sons at the front, one of whom No 435 Corp Ross Burrell 2nd L H Field Ambulance was wounded about 3 weeks ago in the Dardanelles and was invalided to Malta. I have had 2 cables from him since but in none has he stated what his injuries are. Today I received another cable from him stating that he was going to England for treatment. Presumably the authorities will not allow him to advise me to what extent he has been injured. Naturally his mother and I feel very anxious and will be very grateful if you will exert your authority and obtain for us the desired information if possible and to what hospital in England he is going so that we may write to him.”

A week later Mrs Burrell wrote from her Bowen Bridge Road home: 

“I received today an urgent telegram stating my son 435 Corp Ross Burrell had been seriously wounded and that you would cable should we wish it done. We would very much like to know extent of injuries and his present address. If he has left Malta at what hospital in England. We received a cable from him on 7 July saying he was leaving Malta for England for treatment. But we do not know what address in England. Will you please cable and find out for me.”

On 27 July Captain Lean, Officer-in-charge of Base Records in Melbourne advised Mrs Burrell that her son, Corporal R Burrell was in the Hospital at Manchester and recommended she contact him through the High Commissioner in London. It was eventually revealed gunshot wounds to the head had caused the trouble but he had recovered sufficiently to carry out duties as a medical orderly on board HMAT Suevic from England to Sydney in November and from Sydney to Alexandria on HMAT Runic arriving there on 20 January 1916. Corporal Ross Burrell returned to Field Ambulance duties in Egypt before embarking from Alexandria on the troopship Oriana to France in March. He was promoted to Sergeant in October while based at the Australian Divisional Base Depot at Étaples.

In 1917 Ross Burrell was transferred to the 5th Field Ambulance establishment, acted for a while as Sergeant-Major and took leave in England.

Wounded for a second time

On 18 January 1918, while serving from the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Havre, Sergeant Ross Burrell was again injured, this time suffering gunshot wounds to his face. He was transported to Hurdcott, England then Weymouth for hospital treatment before returning to Australia on SS Ruahine. He was discharged on 25 July 1918. Sergeant Burrell was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Post war

Ross Burrell and Myra Heaslop were married at St Michael’s and All Angels’ Church of England, New Farm on 6 October 1926.  The lived with their two children at New Farm and Mr Burrell gave many years of service to the Queensland Bowling Association and the Booroodabin Bowling Club where he was President.  Ill health troubled him and he resigned from the positions he held in connection with bowls in 1936.


Mr and Mrs Burrell’s son, Mr Thomas Ross Burrell OBE was a member of the Brisbane Stock Exchange and was noted for his significant contributions to the Australian financial services industry.

Ross Burrell died in Brisbane in 1960 aged 71 years.

Burrell Brothers Booklet

Select Bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, World War 1 military records 
• First World War Embarkation Rolls 
Brisbane Courier, 21 Dec 1887; 15 Sept 1913; 28 Sept 1926, p 16; 29 Sept 1926, p 21; 30 Sept 1926, p 17; 2 Oct 1926, p 23; 4 Oct 1926, p 17; 7 Oct 1926, p 17. 
The Sunday Mail, 15 Jan 1950 
The Courier-Mail, 26 May 1936; 28 April 1951 
The Telegraph, 29 Sept 1926, p 14; 4 Oct 1926, p 4; 7 Oct 1926, p 4 
Daily Standard, 7 Oct 1926, p 2 The Week, 15 Oct 1926, p 28 
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Nov 1928, p 8; 19 Aug 1929; 10 Oct 1929; 28 Apr 1950; 25 Oct 1988; 10 Feb 1990 T
The Mercury, Hobart, 5 July 1938, p 1 
• Ryerson Index on line 
•, Electoral Rolls 
Wharf Street Congregational Church Year Book, 1916, p 20 
• Archives, Brisbane Grammar School, The Golden Book 
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages 
• New South Wales Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages 
• Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour 
• Australian War Memorial, Record G0000788, letter Capt M. Burrell to Brig Gen H.R. Goddard, 7 Dec 1918 and photograph
• Brisbane City Council, Cemetery Records
• State Library of Queensland

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, Brisbane, May 2015



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