John Mossop (Service No. 5715)
(1881 - 1954)
John Mossop (Jnr) was born in 1881 at Bullarto, about 5 miles east of Daylesford, Victoria the fifth of ten children born to John Mossop (Snr) and Ellen Mossop (nee Pridmore). The family were farmers in the Bullarto area and up until 1909 all of their living children, including John (Jnr), were living on and assisting with the running of the farm. John (Snr) and Ellen had been in the Daylesford/Bullarto area since they married in 1871. Around 1909/1910 John (Jnr) moved to the Laverton area and began work as a labourer within the district.
John enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force on 6 March 1916 at Werribee and at the time he enlisted he was 35 years old. John wasn’t the only Mossop child to enlist. John’s youngest brother Stanley, who was 10 years younger, had enlisted on 6 March 1915, and was servicing in France with the 22nd Battalion. Another of John’s brothers, Henry Reuben, enlisted two weeks after John on 23 March 1916. Henry Mossop was assigned to the 3rd Pioneer Battalion and went on to serve in France where he was wounded on two occasions but by the end of the war returned to Australia.
Private John Mossop undertook training at the Broadmeadows camp and was assigned to the 7th Infantry Battalion. It was a couple of months later that he and his battalion were advised that they would be shortly embarking for England and ultimately France. It appears that when this news reached John, he appears to have had second thoughts about his enlistment, and he left the camp with the intention of not returning.
This took place around May 1916, and he never returned to the camp nor appears to have been located by authorities. Therefore, John did not leave Australia and nor see action overseas.
There is no record as to why he left basic training or findings from any actions taken. The Victoria Police Gazette dated 10 August 1916 notes a warrant for his arrest due to his desertion from the Broadmeadows camp on 27 May 1916. His name appears among numerous others who were accused of the same action. There are no records of him being caught or tried. A Court of Inquiry was held on 3 August 1916 at Broadmeadows which found, in John’s absence, that he had absented himself from the camp and was still absent and that he had not returned his army kit initially valued at £11.0.3 therefore he had absconded with government property. It would appear that the crime of absconding with the government property was deemed more serious than not completing his military service.
There are very limited records noting John’s whereabouts during the period of the war. The electoral roll showing him living in Laverton remained unchanged but if he did not want to be found, during this period, then it would be logical that he would not have changed this record and he would have certainly moved from his last known address. We are aware that John had several siblings living in country Victoria around the township of Ouyen, so he may have travelled there as the next time his name appears on any records is on the 1925 electoral roll that shows him now living in St Arnaud. It appears that he had gained employment there and eventually in 1947 married Louisa Victoria Martin (nee Thornburgh) whose previous husband (Herbert Alfred Martin) had passed away in 1932.
The couple set up home within the area and resided there with Louisa’s three daughters from her previous marriage. John Mossop passed away on 12 January 1954 at the age of 72 and is buried within the St Arnaud cemetery. Louisa remained in St Arnaud, and she passed away in 1964 and is buried within the St Arnaud cemetery alongside her husband within an unmarked grave.