Edmund ‘Ted’ Joseph Nehill

July 21, 2015

NEHILL Brothers

There were five Nehill brothers who attended St Patrick’s College as boarders from Terang, a small town in Victoria’s western district.

Basil- – SPC 1906-1911

Edmund- – SPC 1899-1900

Peter- – SPC 1909

Vincent- – SPC 1906-1912

William- – SPC 1899-1903

Two of the boys enlisted for war service, Basil and Edmund. Their details follow.

NEHILL, Edmund -‘Ted’ Joseph- – – SPC 1899-1900

DoB:- – 1883, Birregurra, VIC

Father:- – William Francis Nehill, Terang Hotel

Mother:- – Roseanne, nee Campbell

Ted Nehill was, like his four brothers, a boarder at St Patrick’s from Terang. While at SPC he was a keen footballer and a member of the First XVIII. In the College Annual of 1900, he was mentioned in the -‘football song’ made up to pay tribute to the gallant players:

-‘-¦ The ruck is changed by Captain Dear -“

Keane, Moran and Nehill are there.

They work like tigers through the day

And show spectators they can play …

There’s Leo Keane,

Who’s ever seen

In midst of ruck and tumble;

Ted Nehill too, Our back man true,

The ball will never fumble …’

Service No:- 365

Rank:- – Lance Corporal

Unit:- – 37th Battalion

Ted Nehill enlisted in the AIF on 18 March 1916 at the age of 32 years and 11 months. He was a single man, working as a clerk. He was five feet, 11 and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He had a scar on his right ring finger and some acne scars on his face.

Private Ted Nehill embarked on 3 June 1916 aboard the Persic, from Melbourne, with his brother Basil (SPC 1906-1911), Service No 364. He disembarked at Plymouth on 25 July 1916, and was promoted in October to the rank of Lance Corporal. He proceeded overseas to France on 22 November 1916, and was wounded in action a month later, receiving a gunshot wound to the right side and leg. After initially being admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) in the field, he was transferred via Ambulance Train to Etaples, and then on to England where he arrived by 16 January 1917.

Lance Corporal Nehill recovered sufficiently to return to his unit, and proceeded overseas again to France on 25 August 1917. On 4 October he was wounded in action for the second time, suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. Once again he was taken to the CCS in the field, and transferred to Calais from where it was expected that he would be shipped back to England. While at the 35th General Hospital in Calais, he suffered a heart attack and died at 4.20pm on 4 November 1917. He was 34 years old.

The Australian Red Cross Enquiry file provides further details:

– -‘L/Cpl Nehill was admitted to No 35 Gen Hosp at 7am on Oct 25 and he died on Nov 4 in the afternoon after a heart attack. He had been wounded in the chest. He had been put on the Hospital Ship and then taken off to No 1 ward in the Hospital. His condition improved and, as they thought he would get to -‘Blighty’, they wired to stop his brother from coming over; then he got the heart attack and the brother was wired for again, but he died in the interval.

– He was very grateful for what was done for him and he sent his love to his brother. He did not realise that he was so bad as he was. He did not suffer as the end was very quick. He was an awfully nice and plucky patient and never grumbled. He knew of his brother’s coming being stopped.

– -¦ He was buried in the new Cemetery at Les Baraques Calais at 2.30pm Nov 8, and his grave is No 9 Row A, Plot 2, in the RC Cemetery -¦’

Back home, in the Terang Express newspaper of Tuesday 13 November 1917, there was a lengthy and touching tribute to Edmund Joseph Nehill -“

-‘-¦ The news of Corporal Nehill’s death was received in Terang with many expressions of genuine sorrow, for there was probably no more popular young fellow in the district. He took a keen interest in all branches of athletic sport. While at St Patrick’s College he was a leading member of the College football and cricket teams, and when only a boy of sixteen he played senior cricket in this district with the old Terang Club -¦ He was also a good rifle shot and an enthusiastic swimmer, and had attained to considerable success as a player in the Terang Bowling Club.

In England his old athletic prowess asserted itself, and he won a number of trophies in battalion sports, and just before leaving for France for the last time he was a member of the winning team in a tug of war -¦ Very deep sympathy is expressed for Mr and Mrs Nehill and the other members of the family in their bereavement. A brother, Private Basil Nehill, who some time ago received severe injuries in action, which will probably prevent him from returning to the front, is at present attached to the headquarters staff in London -¦’