Christopher Joseph Hanlon

June 24, 2015

HANLON, Christopher Joseph- – – – SPC 1903-1904

DoB:- – 1889, Barwon, VIC

Father:– – Michael Stephen Hanlon

Mother:– – Sarah Annie

Chris Hanlon was a boarder at St Patrick’s. In the South Street Competitions of 1904, he attained a Distinction, being first prize for his part in -‘a dramatic dialogue’. He was also a keen sportsman, winning the Junior Cup in the College athletics.

Chris was a valued member of the Senior football team and was mentioned not only as one of the best on ground, but was also featured in the -‘Football Song’ -“

– -‘-¦ And Hanlon Chris, / We must not miss, / A wingman of some skill; -¦’

In the College Annual of 1916-1917 there was a substantial write-up of Chris Hanlon’s wartime activities while he was at Gallipoli:

-‘Pte. Chris Hanlon joined the forces August 1914, on the Declaration of War. He left West Australia as member of the 11th Battalion. Joined the main fleet of Australian Division off Fremantle, and after missing the Emden arrived at Mena, where he enjoyed the sand, flies and pyramids. End of Feb 1915, he left the main body as one of the 3rd Brigade which was to act as advance guard in the subsequent operations.- After six weeks special training at landing operations in the vicinity of Lemnos, they were joined again by the main body of the 1st Division, which did the landing at Anzac on April 25th.

He lived under shell on Gallipoli until the evacuation, with the exception of a short rest in hospital in Malta. Subsequently, he took part in the operations around Suez Canal and underwent preparation for service in France. Prior to the departure of his Division the army order for special medical overhauling of -‘old campaigners’ caused him to be marked unfit and to be sent back to Australia.

Chris says that his two years’ service showed him a few big things. The -‘landing’ was the best from a spectacular point of view. Bartlett’s account was as he saw it, the correspondent being on the battleship -‘London’ with his battalion. Lone Pine charge and the sinking of -‘Triumph’ each took about five minutes. The famous 18th May, when the Turks assaulted Australian trenches from 4am to 11am witnessed the heaviest carnage, an armistice being arranged to bury the dead. His brigade, which formed the advance guard, landed in the dark, and many casualties resulted from difficulty of recognising friend or foe. Many deeds of valour worthy of VCs had to pass unrecognised’.

Service No:– – 553

Rank:- – Private

Unit:- – 31st Battalion, 5th Machine Gun Battalion

Christopher Hanlon enlisted on 31 August 1915, at the age of 26 years and 10 months. He was five feet, four and a quarter inches tall, with a fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He was a single man who worked as a labourer.

Private Hanlon embarked from Australia on 9 November 1915. As described in the paragraphs above, taken from the SPC College Annual, he served at Gallipoli for the entire campaign.- In mid-1916, he proceeded to France and for the next eight months, he was in and out of hospital with various complaints, such as diarrhoea and mumps.

In May 1918 he was severely gassed in France, and was evacuated to England to County Middlesex War Hospital, St Albans. By late September, he was sufficiently recovered to be sent back to France, where on 29 September he suffered a gunshot wound, causing a deep puncture in his scarpis (the membranous layer of the abdominal wall), and a gunshot wound also to his right thigh.

He was admitted to Queen Mary’s Hospital in Whalley, England, where the medical opinion was that he was -‘very shaky and not fit for active service’. By November 1918 he was transferred to No 2 Communal Depot in Weymouth, and later sent to the UK to rest.

While in Edinburgh, Private Hanlon married Janet Greenwell Watt on 25 January 1919. They both returned to Australia in September, and Christopher was discharged from the AIF on 17 January 1920.

The College could not trace Christopher’s movements after his return to Australia.