Perfect soldiers WW1

Alfred, Joseph and William Perfect.

Eight PERFECT soldiers, great-grandsons of Margaret ‘Peggy’ Reid and Jonathan Goldspink, enlisted during the First World War. Peggy Reid was a descendant of the Burramattagal (Parramatta) Clan.

Three of her grandsons were born in Rockhampton, to Alfred Perfect and Alice Cook – Joseph, William and Arthur, all volunteered to serve with the first AIF.

Joseph PERFECT #200 25th Infantry Battalion, Machine Gun Section

Joseph PERFECT, was the first of three Perfect brothers from Rockhampton to volunteer to serve for his country. Joe trained at Alderley camp, just outside Brisbane, before embarking for overseas in June 1915, arriving in Egypt when troops were still serving at Gallipoli, he landed on the Peninsula in early September.

Joe was soon appointed Lance Corporal in October but was wounded just a few weeks later and was taken by hospital ship to St Elmos Hospital on the island of Malta with bomb wounds to both legs and his left arm.

Joe spent Christmas 1915 recovering from his wounds before being transferred to Cairo where he awaited a hospital transport ship to take him back to Australia. Joe was already estranged from his wife Myra Cowell in 1914, they were granted a divorce in 1920. He returned to his work with Queensland Railways later becoming a first-class engine driver.

Service record: PERFECT, Joseph
Embarkation roll: 7th Reinf. 25th Battalion
Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 10 April 1915
Recruiting campaign. The Capricornian, 22 September 1917, p6

William Alfred PERFECT #3429 Light Horse Depot Regiment

William PERFECT, volunteered on Anzac Day, 1917. Although married, he too was estranged from his wife, Irene Cowell sister of his brother Joe’s wife Myra, and was at the time also employed with the Queensland Railways, as a coalman.

When William arrived in Brisbane he was assigned to the 29th Reinforcements for the 2nd Light Horse Regiment but his life in camp was not an easy one. William was charged on three occasions with being AWOL [Absent With Out Leave] including while recuperating from a hernia operation. After the operation William developed complications, which resulted in a recommendation for medical discharge.

Service Record: PERFECT, William Alfred
Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 14 July 1917

Arthur PERFECT #7757 15th Infantry Battalion

Arthur PERFECT the youngest of the three brothers stepped forward on the 5th May 1917 age 19. He left Sydney aboard HMAT Euripides arriving in England just in time for Xmas, where they spent the English winter in camp before sailing for France in April 1918.

Arthur was transferred to the 15th Infantry Battalion and joined them at Villers-Bretonneux.  In June 1918 he was admitted to hospital with trench fever, which was spread by lice, which inhabited the soldiers uniforms. 

Not long after returning to his battalion, he was wounded in action suffering a severe gun shot wound to his right thigh and back. Arthur did not return to the front line, after spending many weeks recovering from his wounds in England, he was returned to Australia in February 1919.

In 1927 Arthur Perfect married Monica ‘Mona’ Sallows, they had three children, Arthur Niles, Brian Richard and Doreen. Arthur like his older brothers returned to work with Queensland Railways, later attaining the position of fireman and finally as an engine driver. he died in 1979.

Service record: PERFECT, Arthur
Embarkation roll: 26th Reinf. 9th Battalion
Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 4 August 1917
Letter, Mrs Wheeler. The Morning Bulletin, April 1918

Many thanks once again go to Philippa Scarlett and Christine Cramer for their assistance.

Further reading …

Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland