Sapper William George Kight

Sapper William George Kight


6002 – Tunnelling Reinforcements

Born at South Cerney, Wiltshire, England about 1872 William George Kight arrived in Queensland as a fourteen year old with his parents Edward (35) and Bridget (29) on the ship Scottish Knight on October 13, 1886. He had served an apprenticeship but did not name the trade. On April 9, 1904 in Queensland he married Alice May Collins and in 1913 they were living at Normanby Square, Bundaberg, Qld and he worked as a Labourer.

At the Recruiting Depot in Bundaberg, Queensland the forty-four year old Miner applied to enlist for service abroad on March 13, 1916. Passing the preliminary medical examination his details show his height was 171cms (5ft 7ins) and had a chest expansion of 89-95cms (35-37½ins). The Recruiting Officer accepted his application and he returned on March 28, 1916 when Forms of Attestation were completed. Additional personal particulars add his weight of 64.5kgs (142lbs) with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and grey hair. Distinctive marks were four vaccination points on his left arm plus a scar on his left shin and a tattoo on his right forearm. His faith was Church of England. Next-of-kin was his wife Mrs Alice May Kight of Tantitha Street, Bundaberg and later Wondooma Street, Bundaberg, Qld. He was sworn in the same day.

At the Enoggera camp, Brisbane Private Kight commenced his basic training on April 1, 1916 at the 11th Depot Battalion until May 19 when he was transferred to the Miners’ Depot (1st Military District) for further training. Concluding on September 9, 1916 he was relocated to the Miners’ Training camp at Seymour, Vic for specialised instruction and assigned to the December, 1916 Reinforcements to the Tunnelling Companies. His rank was Sapper and the regimental number allotted was 6002.

The 516 Reinforcements departed Melbourne, Victoria on October 25, 1916 at 1.30pm aboard the transport HMAT A38 Ulysses. The Australian coastline disappeared from view on October 30, 1916 with the port of Durban reached at 11.30am on November 13, 1916. It was windy going around the Cape but arrived at Cape Town at 7am on November 19. Sierra Leone was the next port of call but their departure was delayed until December 14, 1916 as it was not safe to proceed further. Arrived at Plymouth, England on December 28, 1916 after 65 days at sea, with the troops disembarking at 1.30pm and detrained to the station at Tidworth. They marched into the Aust. Details Camp at Perham Downs the next day for further training for the front.

The Reinforcements proceeded to France on January 28, 1917 from Folkstone on board the S.S. Onward arriving at the Aust. General Base Depot at Etaples the next day. Two days later Sapper Kight was admitted to the 26th General Hospital diagnosed with Bronchitis. By February 2 he was conveyed from Havre back to England on the hospital ship Dunluce Castle and entered the 3rd Aust. General Hospital at Brighton with feverish symptoms and bronchitis, classed to be slight. After being a patient for eleven days on February 16 he was sent to the Pavilion Military Hospital, Brighton receiving treatment for the next twenty-four days.

Relocation to Harefield Park at the 3rd Aust. Auxiliary Hospital commenced on March 12, 1916 where he remained for forty-two days until April 23 and fit for furlough. He arrived at the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth on May 8, 1917.

While at Weymouth he was assessed by a Medical Board the next day and his report in brief reads:

Age:45 years


Essential facts:Evacuated to England on January 27, 1917 with Bronchitis.

Present condition:Pale, worn out looking man; has signs of Bronchitis at present;

Cardio-vascular changes; Dyspnoea (breathless) on exertion.

Recommendation:Discharge as permanently unfit for general service

Temporarily unfit for home service.

Return to Australia:For a change and overage.

Another notation on his card stated he had Chronic Synovitis (Injured or flamed tissue joint during movement) in his right knee.

Sapper Kight boarded the H.T. A33 Ayrshire at Devonport on May 23, 1917 and the journey commenced from Plymouth and his berth during the voyage was a Hammock.

Mrs Kight was advised by Base Records on June 14, 1917 that her husband was returning to Australia.

The transport docked in Sydney, NSW (2nd M.D.) on July 19, 1917 and he returned to Brisbane where he entered the 6th Aust. General Hospital at Kangaroo Point on July 21. The board recommendations were assessed after August 16, 1917 when he was to be discharged from hospital. They were:

Board finds:Overage and Bronchitis

Board recommends:Discharge. Dated 14/8/17.

He was sent for final processing to the Staff Officer Invalid and Returned Soldiers’ section.

Military Discharge was issued in Brisbane, Qld (1st M.D.) on August 29, 1917 and he received a pension commencing the following day.

He was granted a Military Pension of $2 (£1) per fortnight to be sent to Gavan Street, North Bundaberg, Qld. His wife was to receive $1 (10/-) per fortnight and their two dependant daughters Ivy May and Myrtle Olive Kight were granted 65cents (6/6d) and 50cents (5/-) per fortnight respectively.

From 1919 until 1925 they were at Gavan Street, Bundaberg with his occupation listed as a Labourer.

Sapper William George Kight was awarded for serving his country the British War Medal (24542) and the Victory Medal (23709).

William George Kight died on September 24, 1935 aged 63 years.

© Donna Baldey 2010