WATKINS, Beach, Jack and Ethel

Beach (26) and Jack (24), sons of James and Johanna Watkins of Inverell, were born in the Inverell district and had played Rugby Union before enlisting in August 1915.

Beach joined the Mining Corps and left Australia in February 1916. He served with the 1st Tunnelling Company in France where he was wounded in 1918.

Jack, a Railway employee at Moree, joined the 18th Battalion which sailed from Australia in December 1915. He served in Egypt where he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion before being sent to France in March 1916. Later that year he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He suffered a gunshot wound to his hip and was gassed twice. During 1918 he received another promotion to Lance Sergeant and was awarded a Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field’.

Their sister, Ethel, a trained nurse, also enlisted in 1917. She served in England at Croydon War Hospital and at Dartford before being sent to France in July 1918.

Beach, Jack and Ethel all returned to Australia in 1919. Their names are recorded on the Gilgai Honour Roll.

During the Second World War, Beach enlisted again with the Australian Citizens Military Forces and served with the 8th Garrison Battalion.