James Dalton 1890-1918

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James Dalton. Image courtesy Rosemary Serisier.


Service no: Lieutenant [1]

Place of birth: Sydney, 24 January 1890

Address: Kite Street, Orange

Occupation: Clerk

Next of kin: Mary C Dalton (mother), Kite Street, Orange

Date of enlistment: 31 January 1915

Place of enlistment: Liverpool

Age at enlistment: 25

Fate: Appointed 2nd Lieutenant 16 February 1915. Embarked HMAT A8 Argyllshire, Sydney, 9 April 1915. Promoted Lieutenant 9 June 1915. Taken on strength 7th Light Horse Regiment, 6 August 1915. Disembarked Alexandria 25 December 1915. Marched out to Serapeum from Maadi, 25 February 1916. Taken on strength, 7th Regiment, Moascar, 25 March 1917. Transferred to 7th Light Horse Regiment, Moascar, 4 June 1917. Reported to School of Instruction, Marakeb, 25 August 1917. Rejoined regiment , El Fukhari, 16 September 1917. Proceeded to Port Said rest camp, 20 January 1918. Rejoined regiment 2 February 1918. Reported to School of Instruction, Beit Jala, 9 June 1918. Rejoined regiment 23 June 1918. Proceeded to Jerusalem rest camp, 27 August 1918. Admitted to El Fukhari Field Ambulance suffering from debility, 31 August 1918. Rejoined regiment 5 September 1915. Embarked Huntscastle to Dardanelles, 27 November 1918. Hospitalised 12 December 1918. Died of disease (pneumonia), 28th Casualty Clearing Station, Salonika, 19 December 1918.

Date of death: 19 December 1918

Buried: Chanak Consular Cemetery, Canakkale Province, Turkey, Plot I, Row B, Grave 6

James Dalton was born in Sydney in 1890. His father was Thomas Garrett (“Gatty”) Dalton MA, LLB, and Mayor of Orange in 1903, 1904 and 1905. His grandfather, also called James, built Duntryleague and founded Dalton Brothers Stores.

James was the first son and the third of six children born to Gatty and his wife Mary Helene Condon. He spent his childhood at Killiney in Kite Street, a house built in 1875 by his grandfather, and now known as Mena. He was educated at St Ignatius’ College at Riverview.

James served in the Senior Cadets for three years and in the 9th Light Horse Regiment, of the Citizen Military Forces for 15 months. When he enlisted in January 1915, James was employed as a clerk in the family business – Dalton Brothers Ltd.

James was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant to the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 4th Reinforcement, embarking from Sydney in April 1915 with the Third Expeditionary Force. James, also known as “Sonny Jim” returned to Orange to farewell his family and friends prior to embarkation. A large crowd gathered at the Steam Engine Hotel on 3 March 1915 to pay tribute to James. The Mayor, Ald. Edwin Thomas McNeilly, chaired the meeting and a number of other alderman proposed toasts and delivered speeches. The crowd joined in singing patriotic songs and at the end of the evening Ald. McNeilly presented James with a wristlet watch. [2]

Just two months later, in June 1915, James was promoted to Lieutenant. He served for the duration of the war, in Egypt, Gallipoli and Palestine.

In August 1918 Lieutenant Dalton was sent to Jerusalem rest camp, only to be hospitalised three days later, suffering from debility. He rejoined his regiment the following week, but was again hospitalised in December, this time with pneumonia. James died at the 28th Casualty Clearing Station in Salonika on 19 December 1918, less than six weeks after the armistice agreement was signed.

James is commemorated on St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll and on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of Lieutenant Dalton; it was donated by his uncle, Michael Francis Dalton. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

James’ brother Thomas Joseph Dalton also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in 1918.

Leader, 30 December 1918, p. 1.

Another Hero Gone [3]

7th Light Horse Regiment officers, Maadi, Egypt. James Dalton is in the back row on the far left. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
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