Sapper James Lewis Little

Sapper James Lewis Little


16796 – Aust Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company

James ‘Jim’ Lewis Little gave his birthplace as Aramac, Queensland about 1873. He stated he had completed an apprenticeship of five years as an Engineer with the Caledonian Oil Company.

During the Boer War Jim enlisted with the 3rd New South Wales Imperial Bushmen for service abroad, his rank being a Trooper with the regimental number 1212.

Their arrival was reported in:

In 1913 Jim was working as an engineer and residing at the Terminus Hotel, Stanley Street, Rockhampton, Queensland and was working at Aramac two years later.

At the Central District Central Recruiting Depot in Rockhampton on November 3, 1915 the forty-two year old applied to enlist for active abroad and passed the medical examination. Two days later at Enoggera camp in Brisbane, Qld Attestation Forms were completed which describe him on enlistment as 163cms (5ft 4ins) tall, weighing 66.36kgs (146lbs) with a chest measurement of 87cms (34ins). Complexion was fair with blue eyes and fair hair. Religion was Presbyterian. Next-of-kin nominated was his sister Marjory Little of Hopetoun Avenue, Springburn, Glasgow, Scotland. He signed and took the ‘Oath of Allegiance’ the same day, November 5, 1915.

Allotted at Enoggera for basic training with the 6th Field Company Engineers until September 17, 1916 then transferred to Royal Park to join the 2nd Australian Flying Squadron five days later. On October 27, 1916 went to the 22nd Depot Battalion at Royal Park until November 20 when relocated to Laverton, Victoria. On December 14, 1916 he returned to the Engineers Depot at Moore Park, Sydney, NSW and assigned to the 1-5th Division Reinforcements to the Field Company Engineers in the rank of Sapper with the regimental number 16796.

The Reinforcement embarked from Sydney, NSW on the RMS Osterley on February 10, 1917 under the Master of the Ship W.J. Jenks. The Royal Mail Ship docked in Melbourne on February 14 for the day and departed for Adelaide arriving in the Outer Harbour on February 16 but left the same day. An overnight stopover in Fremantle from February 20 to 21st concluded the Australian departures and sailed for Durban, South Africa spending March 6 and 7 in port. Capetown was entered on March 10 and continued the next day for Sierra Leone to refuel from March 25 and departed two days later on the last part of their voyage. Officer Commanding Troops was Lt-Colonel F.B. Heritage who oversaw disembarkation at Plymouth on April 11, 1917 where the men were detrained to Tidworth and Amesbury Stations. They marched into No. 3 camp at Parkhouse the following day to prepare for further training for the front. On April 16, 1917 were sent to the Engineers’ Depot at Brightlingsea.

On June 26, 1917 the Reinforcement proceeded from Southampton to France marching in to the Aust General Base Depot in Rouelles the next day.

Jim’s civil qualifications of Engineer were of great benefit to the Aust Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company therefore was transferred pending absorption on September 3, 1917 and taken on Supernumerary strength.

Blue Chevrons were issued to wear on his uniform for serving twelve months abroad. In an audit of the company on May 9, 1918 he was counted as ‘still with’ the company and again on October 1 was recorded as ‘with unit’.

He went sick on October 22, 1918 to the 2 / 2 London Field Ambulance and admitted with Sciatica and transferred to the 4th Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. From there he was conveyed on A.T.7 to the 22nd General Hospital at Camiers on October 24. Two days later was transported to England on the hospital ship Princess Elizabeth entering the Suffolk hospital in Bury Street, affiliated with Colchester Military hospital in Edmunds with sciatica.

When Peace was declared he was in hospital and the company remained on the front continuing to generate electricity and supply and service small engines and pumps for water supplies for those assisting with the rehabilitation of their areas.

On December 2 he was transferred to the 3rd Aust Auxiliary hospital in Dartford then discharged to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth on December 10, 1918.

Disciplinary action was taken at Weymouth on January 22, 1919 for the following:

Offence:Absent without leave Littlemoor 16/1/19 AWL from 1500

hours to 1930 hours 21/1/19

Award:10 day’s F.P. No. 2 [Field Punishment]

Total forfeiture:16 day’s pay by Lt-Col D. Lant 22/1/19

Sapper Little embarked for Australia as an invalid on March 25, 1919 on board H.T. Port Denison. On April 28, 1919 he was admitted to the ship’s hospital for treatment of a social disease and was discharged to duty fourteen days later on May 11.

Next-of-kin was advised by Base Records on April 28 that he was on his way home. The ship arrived in Melbourne (3rd M.D.) which was reported in:

Termination of the voyage was in Brisbane (1st M.D.) where their welcome was written about in:

Military Discharge was issued in Brisbane (1st M.D.) on June 18, 1919 as medically unfit.

The British War Medal (28382) and the Victory Medal (27140) were issued for service for his country to Sapper 16796 James Lewis Little, Aust Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company.

Later that year he was residing at Strutton’s Hotel in Aramac working as an engineer.

In 1922 he married Sarah Amelia Miller in Orange, NSW. Jim is listed from 1930 onwards at 58 Smith Street, Summer Hill, Sydney, NSW with his occupation as engineer.

A Statement of his Service was issued to the Repatriation Commission’s Sydney branch from Base Records on October 30, 1942.

James Lewis Little died on March 16, 1956 aged 77 years. Funeral arrangements were published in the:


Former members of the (Alphabet Company) Aust Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company and Tunnellers’ in Sydney would meet to march in the Anzac Day parade then attend their annual luncheon. Roll Registers for newsletters of this annual event were kept and his name appears as follows:

1928 J. Little20 Elsie St Burwoodchanged to: ‘Killbirnie’ 10 Edward St Summer Hill

changed to: 58 Smith St, Summer Hill

1934 Little Jim58 Smith St, Summer Hill

1960-68 Little Jim58 Smith, St Summer Hillnotation: Deceased 16/3/1956

© Donna Baldey 2013