Two serving and two returned soldiers were also travelling aboard the Wimmera as passengers on her final trip across the Tasman, i.e. Charles Hodder, Hal Chapman, Robert Elliot and Henry Kennedy.
Charles Hodder – Gallipoli veteran
Australian-born Charles Hodder, who was in charge of the racehorses on board the Wimmera, was a horse-trainer and had served with the Auckland Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli and in the Middle-East. He had returned to New Zealand in February that year and was discharged a month later.
Following the Wimmera‘s sinking Charles Hodder was to suffer from severe influenza, from which he was to never fully recover. In September 1927 he was admitted to Auckland Hospital suffering from nervous depression and it was there that he tragically committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a razor.
Corporal Hal Brougham Chapman – Gallipoli veteran
Corporal Hal Brougham Chapman was also an Australian who was serving with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Chapman had only just returned to New Zealand aboard Huddart Parker’s requisitioned vessel Ulimaroa and had begun furlough to go to Australia where he was to be married. Chapman was an original ANZAC having taken part in the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915. He also later served in France before returning to New Zealand aboard the Ulimaroa just 10 days earlier on 14 June.
Following the sinking, Chapman continued on leave to Melbourne where he was married on 20 July 1918 to Miss Frances Davy. Tragically, their marriage was brief as he died less than two months later on 19 September 1918 as a result of a brain haemorrhage. The strain of his war service and exposure following the sinking of the Wimmera were considered to have contributed to his death.
Robert Joseph Elliott – Gallipoli veteran
Robert Joseph Elliott, a native of Marrickville, Sydney, was a re-enlisted soldier returning home after a holiday in New Zealand. He had first enlisted in the Australian Naval and Military Expedition just after the outbreak of war, on 11 August 1914 – declaring his age as 22 years although only 18. Elliott later served at Gallipoli and was there twice wounded in action. He had returned to Australia aboard the Themistocles in 1917 was discharged on 4 January 1918. After three months however, on 3 April he had re-enlisted. In his possession were his discharge papers and returned soldier’s badge – amongst other items to be lost in the coming disaster.
Private Henry Bonaventure Kennedy
The other soldier, also on leave, was 24-year old Australian Henry Bonaventure Kennedy. He was born in Essendon, Victoria in 1894, the son of Charles and Mary Treazie Kennedy (nee Connan). Kennedy, No. 2101, had joined the A.I.F. on 28 June 1916. At the time he was a salesman, living at 14 Fitzgibbon Street, Parkville in Victoria. He was a member of the third reinforcements, 38th Battalion, 10th Infantry Brigade and had embarked HMAT A9 “Shropshire” in Melbourne on 25 September 1916. He was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to his right thigh on 4 October 1917. He departed London for Australia aboard the Dunvegan Castle on 13 March 1918. In Capetown he embarked H.T. Tofua and arrived in Melbourne (3 Military District) on 14 June 1918. Within a fortnight he had taken leave to New Zealand and was now returning via Sydney. He was formally discharged on 23 July.
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021