Curtis Robert Payne

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PAYNE, Curtis Robert

Service no: 17540 [1]

Place of birth: Orange

Address: Sydney, 1891

Occupation: Wireless student

Next of kin: Mary Ann Williams (mother), 8 Oak Street, Ashfield

Date of enlistment: 19 February 1917

Place of enlistment: Sydney

Age at enlistment: 26

Fate: Embarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney, Sydney, 9 May 1917. Appointed sapper 9 May 1917. Disembarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney, Fremantle, 23 May 1917. Failed to re-embarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney, Fremantle, 23 May 1917. Re-embarked for overseas service, Fremantle, 30 June 1917. Embarked Elephanta, Bombay, 12 August 1917. Disembarked Basrah Mesopotamia,18 August 1917. Admitted to 33rd British General Hospital, Makina, with fever 31 August 1917. Discharged from hospital 10 September 1917. Rejoined unit 7 October 1917. Embarked HT Ekma, Basra, for return to Australia 23 January 1918. Returned to Australia 16 May 1918. Discharged from AIF due to medical unfitness 14 August 1918.

Date of death: 23 September 1924, aged 33

Buried: Catholic Cemetery, Long Bay Road, Coogee


Curtis Robert Payne was born in Orange in 1891, the second son of William, a popular local hairdresser, and Mary Ann nee Jones. William and Mary married in Orange in September 1886; their first son, William Henry, was born the following year.

In 1911 Mary Ann applied for a dissolution of her marriage with William on the grounds of desertion. This was granted, and Mary and Curtis moved to Sydney.

Curtis and William enlisted together in Sydney on 19 February 1917. Both were assigned to the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron; Robert as a sapper and William as a captain. The brothers embarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney for overseas service on 9 May 1917.

Two weeks later, on 23 May, the Port Sydney arrived in Fremantle, whereupon Curtis disembarked to take a tour of the city. He failed to re-embark on time, and the vessel left without him. He was forced to wait for five weeks until the next transport vessel arrived.

Sapper Payne re-embarked from Fremantle on 30 June 1917. In August he joined the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron in Mesopotamia, but was hospitalised shortly after arrival with fever. Sapper Payne was discharged from hospital on 10 September 1917 and rejoined his unit on 7 October.

Two months later, in December 1917, Curtis’ brother, William Henry Payne, died of smallpox whilst serving in Mesopotamia.

In early January 1918 Curtis embarked HT Ekma in Basra, for return to Australia. In June he underwent a medical examination at the 4th Australian General Hospital in Randwick. The subsequent report noted that Curtis was suffering from debility, weight loss, palpitations and tremors. The report also noted that he had been hospitalised on two occasions with malaria and neurasthenia. On 14 August 1918 Curtis was discharged from the AIF due to medical unfitness.

Curtis Robert Payne returned to his mother’s house in Coogee. He passed away at a private hospital in Randwick on 23 September 1924, aged 33. He is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Long Bay Road, Coogee.

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