John Basil James Nehill
July 21, 2015
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, John Basil James- – – SPC 1906-1911
DoB:- – – – – – – – – – – – – 1891, Terang, VIC
Father:- – William Francis Nehill, Terang Hotel
Mother:- – Roseanne, nee Campbell
John Basil James, known as Basil while at St Patrick’s, was, like his four brothers, a boarder from Terang.
Service No:- 364
Rank:- – Corporal
Unit:- – 37th Infantry Battalion
Basil Nehill enlisted on 9 February 1916. He was a single man, aged 24 years and seven months. He was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He worked as a clerk for Army Base Records.
He embarked on 3 June 1916 aboard the Persic, from Melbourne, with his brother Edmund Joseph (SPC 1899-1900), Service No 365. Not long after disembarking at Plymouth, Corporal Nehill was the subject of an investigation. The proceedings of the Court of Inquiry were -‘-¦ for the purpose of inquiring into and reporting on injuries received by No 364, Corporal John Basil James NEHILL -¦’
-‘-¦ From – Jas A Lambden, Capt OC -‘A’ Coy.
To – CO 37th Battalion AIF:
I have to report that at 12.30pm on 18/7/16 No 364 Corpl John Basil NEHILL of -‘A’ Coy, injured his knee and elbow by falling across a manhole in the coal bunkers. He was down there inquiring about going on a shift stoking to get some heavy exercise, and while walking on the steel floor tripped on a manhole. To save himself falling through, he gripped the edge with knee and elbow. He was not ordered into the stokehole, neither had he any right to be there. The injury is the result of his own misdemeanour in going into forbidden portions of the ship-¦’
Corporal Nehill spent some time in hospital upon his arrival in England in July 1916, after which he was taken on strength on the training battalion in England. On 22 November 1916 he proceeded overseas to France, but a month later was hospitalised in the field with bronchitis. He was soon returned to England on 8 December 1916 to fully recover.
For the next few years, Corporal Basil Nehill was frequently admitted to hospital in the UK suffering from various illnesses, in particular, bouts of influenza. He was struck down with appendicitis in September 1918, and although he rejoined his battalion in late October after leaving hospital, he was returned to Australia in December 1918 aboard the Orontes, suffering from a hernia.
Basil returned to Terang where he lived for most of his life working at and managing the Terang Hotel with his father and other family members. He married Emily Dockendorff in 1935 and together they had two children, Margaret and Peter.
After his retirement from the Terang Hotel, Basil and Emily moved to the Melbourne beachside suburb of Brighton. Basil died suddenly on 5 March 1942 aged 50. While there is a memorial to Basil at the Terang Cemetery, he was buried at the Cheltenham Cemetery. Emily died on 1 June 1986 and was buried with Basil.