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Landon, Henry Osborne

Lieutenant Henry Osborne Landon ('Harry' or 'Landy')

Henry Landon (b. 15 November 1889) was the eighth of nine children born to George and Isabella (nee Cameron) Landon of Bombala, NSW.

In May 1910 at the age of 21 he was appointed teacher at Mulligan's Flat public school, a position he held for five years until receiving a promotion to Taree. At his farewell on 8th June 1915 a succession of district luminaries sang his praises, and his good friend 'Johnny' Jackson observed that: "as a member of the Ainslie tennis and cricket clubs he was highly esteemed by all the members".

Hall teacher Charles W Thompson chaired the farewell gathering. Mr.M.Cavanagh on behalf of the parents and friends at Mulligans Flat then presented Mr Landon with a gold albert and medal suitably inscribed. The members of the Ginninderra Farmers Union, of which Mr Landon was treasurer, presented him with a suit-case as a mark of appreciation of his services to the union.[The Maitland Daily Mercury, Friday 11 June, 1915]

His stay at Taree was short. He left teaching and enlisted at Holsworthy on September 28th 1915. His address at the time was Nabiac, a few miles south of Taree. After training he embarked at Sydney on RMS Osterley (below), arriving in Egypt in mid-February. On 21st March 1916 (after a short period of hospitalisation with mumps) he embarked in Alexandria for Marseilles and on 15th May joined the 21st Field Artillery Brigade with the rank of Gunner.

Back home, meanwhile, the President of the Ainslie Cricket Club, Mr P.F.Douglas, announced that the Club had created a Roll of Honour bearing the names of nine members of the Club 'now in the trenches or on their way to the front'. Landon was one of them :

"H.O.Landon of 'googley' fame, was, when required, an expert 'stone-waller', and on more than one occasion, in keeping his wicket up by 'walling' he helped his partner to turn defeat into victory. His best score was 42 against the Brick Bats".

The Roll of Honour was put on display in the window of Messrs Fallick & Sons [Queanbeyan Age 28th January 1916.] Later that year it was hung in the home of Mrs Mack Southwell of 'Fern Hill'. Mack Southwell was killed in action on 15th November 1916.

In France, Landon had by then been promoted to Bombardier (19th August 1916), then Corporal (19th September 1916). Later he rose to second Lieutenant (5th December 1918) and Lieutenant (5th March 1919). He was hospitalised with a gunshot wound on 1st October 1917, and may, it seems, have spent the remainder of the war in England. He was hospitalised again, with appendicitis, in April 1919. In August he was diagnosed with pneumonia, and embarked for Australia on the hospital ship HMAT Kanowna (below), arriving in Sydney on 26th October 1919 – nearly four years after sailing for Egypt. His appointment was terminated on 19th December 1919.

His good mate and fellow teacher Edward ('Johnny') Jackson had returned to Australia on 1st July 1919. Some time in 1920 the two friends went into partnership with a storekeeping business in Berrima – not far from Jackson's birth place of Goulburn. However, Landon, it appears, was never to fully recover his health, and he died of pneumonia on 3rd May 1921, aged 32. His grave is in the Anglican section of the Rockwood Cemetery in Sydney. Jackson died in 1939, while still in the employment of the Education Department, at the age of 55.

An account of his 'Farewell' presentation from Mulligans Flat can be downloaded below ('Teacher Biographic').

Further biographical information and service record can be found at the ACT Memorial and at the ADFA AIF Project

Obituary. [Queanbeyan Age, 6 May 1921]

'Our readers who were acquainted with Mr. H. O. Landon who did his 'bit' at the war, will learn with deep regret that this fine young Australian passed away at Moss Vale from pneumonia. Prior to enlisting the late Mr. Landon had charge of the Mulligan's Flat public school where he endeared himself to pupils and parents alike. He was a splendid athlete, tennis and cricket being his favourite games. At the time of his death he was in partnership with Mr. Jackson in a storekeeping business at Berrima. Vale! good friend'.

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Henry Osborne Landon
Henry Osborne Landon


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