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Grant Clinton HANLON

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut 30y 29 May 1916 19 Sep 1917 2

Grant Clinton Hanlon MBE (1887 - 1944)


Grant Clinton Hanlon was 29 years 9 months when he enlisted on 29 May 1916 into the No. 1 Depot Company as Lieutenant, according to his attestation papers. 

Family background and early life

His parents were George Grant Clinton Hanlon of Coolangatta and Ellen Susan who was born in Moggill and whose address was Raby Bay. Grant who was one of six children was born on 26 September 1887 at Murphy’s Creek near Toowoomba and his occupation was given as School Teacher, Theatrical Manager.

His father and mother were married in July 1882 and her 5 children joined the family.  His attestation paper indicated that he was married in 1910 but separated from his wife.  He was 5ft 5ins (165cm) tall, 112lbs (51kg) in weight with fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  His religious denomination was Presbyterian.

He had completed 5 years in the Senior Cadets Area 7B with a note that all his equipment had been returned. Perhaps this long service had led to his enlisting as a Lieutenant.

Legislation for compulsory military training was introduced in 1909 by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, and was passed into law in 1911, under the Labour government that succeeded Deakin's.

The legislation provided for three levels of training: boys 12–14 years old had to enrol in the junior cadets, 14–18 year olds enrolled in the senior cadets, and 18–26 year olds had to register with the home defence militia, the Commonwealth Military Forces. Exemptions were given to those who lived more than five miles (eight kilometres) from the nearest training site, those passed medically unfit, to resident aliens and theological students. Those who failed to register for military training were punished with fines or jail sentences. Many boys did not register for their military training, and between 1911 and 1915 there were 34,000 prosecutions, with 7,000 jail sentences imposed.

Before he embarked, Hanlon was granted home leave of 4 days from 26 to 29 May 1916.  This time included the five hour train journey each way and two days at home.  He also used the approved wording and ‘begged to request’ that six shillings a day be paid to his mother from the date of his embarkation.

Military Service

On 5 June 1916 Hanlon embarked on HMAT Borda in Sydney arriving at Southampton on 23 July 1916.

Although his appointment to the 42nd Battalion enlistment began in May 1916, his rank of 2nd Lieutenant was dated 9 December 1915.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 October 1916.

Wounded in action on 27 December 1916 Hanlon was admitted to the 6th Australian Auxiliary hospital at Boulogne and invalided to England on 11 February 1917 with GSW (Gun Shot Wound) to his right elbow and back.  He lost the use of his right arm and the back injury was a fracture to his spine.

On 6 April 1917 he was discharged to Australia per Thermistocles and on 19 September 1917 his appointment was terminated.  Hanlon was awarded 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Post War

In 1919, Hanlon was the General Organiser of the Memorial Day Celebrations in Brisbane which included a Mammoth Naval and Military Procession on 23 April.  But by the 1930s his address was Wentworth in NSW and he was a member of the Woollahra RSL.  In 1933 he was awarded the MBE for services to returned soldiers in NSW.

He married Eva M Mulholland in Sydney in 1922.  He died in 1944 and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery, along with his mother Susan, and the parents of his step siblings John Sherrin and Elizabeth née Richards. The death notice described him as ‘loving father of Claude, Monica and Shirley and grandfather of Hilary’, and said that his father GGC Hanlon was ‘late of the Queensland Police Department.’ 

Following his death, the Woollahra Council decided unanimously to forward a letter of appreciation of the services of the late Alderman Grant Hanlon.  For many years, Hanlon was associated with and raised a considerable amount of money for the Picton Lakes TB Settlement.

• Australian War Memorial—Embarkation Roll, accessed March 2
Sydney Morning Herald 15 February 1944
Truth  (Brisbane) 5 August 1928
Truth (Brisbane) April 1919
• National Archives of Australia—Service record
• Queensland births, marriages and deaths register
• Australian Electoral Rolls 

Compiled by Bob Warrick, Brisbane.   March 2017 ©



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