Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Samuel Litson BORDER

Given that I've been looking into the Hodge line, I've written a bio for Samuel Litson BORDER, who married Eileen Hodge.

Samuel Litson BORDER.
Born 30 Nov 1892, Bangaroo near Canowindra, NSW Australia.
Died 1963 (aged 71), Marrickville, NSW, Australia
Married Eileen Helen HODGE (1900-1947), 26 Apr 1922,St John's Church, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia

Samuel Border had more challenges in life than most. He was born to Samuel Litson Border and Amy Castle at Bangaroo, near Canowindra NSW, in 1892. His father's occupation was listed as boundary rider in his birth certificate, and in other documents as farmer, and was one of 13 children. His childhood would have been not without drama - several of his siblings died in their infancy.

When the first world war erupted Samuel was about 22 years of age, and he enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force in early July 1915, like so many men, in the months following the launch of the ANZAC campaign at the Gallipoli peninsula. On enlistment, Samuel gave his occupation as labourer, and his name as Samuel Arthur (rather than Samuel Litson) and also written as Somerset Arthur on other pages. His enlistment also reveals that prior to the war he was a member of the NSW Militia as a Rifle Reservist.

It appears that Samuel initially enlisted at the Barracks in Sydney (based on a statement elsewhere in his service record), though where he lived at the time is unclear as many soldiers joined enlistment marches from all over NSW, marching to the barracks. His enlistment papers describe him as being 5 ft 6 1/2 inches tall, weighing 148 pounds, with a fresh complexion, brown eyes, and fair hair, and with a tattoo on his right forearm. His religion was Church of England.

Samuel spent only a few months training, as on 15th September 1915 he was involved in an accident at Granville railway station in Sydney. It is summarised on his medical incident form in early 1916 thus: "He was running along via platform and was jostled by crowd which bumped him against the goods with with the result that he fell between the platform and train. The train cut off both legs. Operation at Parramatta Hostpital...... both stumps quite healed and he is able to get about with artificial limbs". Interestingly, two weeks after the accident, while still in hospital, a warrant was issued as was believed to have deserted, howeve this was subsequently cancelled.

Samuel lodged a claim for a pension from the army in April 1916, which was complicated by the fact that he was on leave at the time of the accident. This application included a statement by Samuel: "at 10:40 pm... I was standing on the platform at Granville Railway Station. There was a crowd of people (chiefly soldiers) standing on the platform beside myself. There was a row (note: fight/argument) proceeding on the other side of the platform to where I was standing. I found that the train to Liverpool for which I was waiting did no leave from the platform where I was, and as I rushed along to go ove the over-head bridge, a goods train was passing through the station, and someone gave me a bump. I fell between the platform and the moving train and as a result both my legs were cut off below the knees. After the accident I did not remember anything further until I found myself in Parramatta Hospital. I was in that Hospital 5 weeks, after which I was transferred to the Garrison Hospital and thence to Rosehall in which latter place I have been 4 months. At the time of the accident I was perfectly sober. The only witness who actually saw what happened was a Jack THORNE who has since embarked on active service. No enquiry has ever been held by the military authorities and I have not been examined by any medical board. My pay was continued up till approximately 15/2/16 when I was informed that payment had been stopped. The accident was caused by no fault of my own. Neither can I say that the military authorities are to blame in any way. My trade was Carpenter's laborer, but I could do some light work."

He was discharged from the army in May 1916 and his claim for a pension was approved and 3 pounds p.f. was granted from 3rd June 1916. Later in life and long after his death, family members believed he'd lost his legs in Gallipoli. It must have been immensely frustrating to have tried to serve one's nation, outwardly appear to carry the scars of battle, but for this not to be the case.

On 26th April 1922, Samuel married Eileen Hodge, a typist, at St John's Church, Darlinghurst NSW. Eileen Hodge was born in 1900, to Walter Herbert Hodge, an auctioneer, and Grace nee Smith, both of whom were born in Sydney. Samuel's occupation was given as that of a wickerworker, and they both lived in Darlinghurst at the time of their marriage. The Sands Directory for Sydney for 1923 shows them to be living in O'Sullivan Rd, Bellevue Hill. The couple had four children, John Walter, Margaret, Norma and Aileen. The NSW Electoral Roll for 1930 shows a James Arthur (instead of Samuel, Sam or Somerset Arthur) and Eileen Helen Border living at 326 Anzac Parade, Randwick, Samuel as a grocer (which family describe him as). By 1932 they were living at 20 Glasgow Ave, North Bondi and were at 178 Old South Head Rd, Vaucluse in the 1936 NSW Electoral Roll. So the family seemed to have lived in a number of residences up to World War 2, all around the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, centring on the Watsons Bay area at the South Head of Sydney Harbour.

After World War 2 broke out, Samuel and Eileen's son John Walter Border enlisted for service in 1941, and spent a considerable amount of the remainder of the war fighting in both North Africa and the Pacific. His enlistment names his mother Eileen as next of kin, and gives their address as Moore St, Watson's Bay. John returned home in January 1946 and was discharged from the army in March 1946 'at his own request on compasionate grounds'. While the exact reason is not stated, it was probably his mothers illness; Samuel's wife died in 1947of cancer. Then, in late 1952, Samuel's son John Walter was diagnosed with a blood cancer (leukemia) and died several months later in 1953. Two losses, his wife and his only son, in short succession must have been immensely taxing.

Samuel died ten years later in 1963. I've yet to order Samuel and Eileen's death certificates, and it is hoped that other members of the Border family will have a photo of the couple. Why his name varies over the course of his life is unclear, though it seems likely that he was unaware of his baptised middle name.

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