24 Sapper Stanley HENSE
24 Stanley Hense was a plumber from Burwood Sydney NSW. He wasn’t quite the right height at 5ft 5 ½ and on enlistment he stated he was 20 years old, Stanley hadn’t received permission from his parents to enlist and simply lied about his age. In fact Stanley was only 17 which made him the ” Kid ” one of the the youngest members of the company who would later openly celebrate his 18th birthday in Egypt with his new mates.
SAPPER S. HENSE.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Monday 25 October 1915
“Sapper Stanley Hense, recently mentioned in orders for conspicuous gallantry at Gallipoli, is the third son of Mr. Fred. Hense, of Neich-parade, Burwood. Very early In the war he enlisted, and left Sydney with the First Field Company of Engineers. He arrived in Egypt on his 18th birthday. About the time that the troops first landed at Gallipoli Sapper Hense was one of a party that built a temporary Jetty under shrapnel fire, and 12 of those who took part on that occasion have been mentioned in despatches. Prior to leaving for the front, he was serving his apprenticeship to the plumbing trade at Strathfield.” ………Source: nla.news-article15621059
Stanley served the full 8 months at Gallipoli up to the evacuation and was sick on only one occasion, he then followed up with service in France on the Western Front. After serving for the duration of the great war, Stanley returned to Australia and was discharged in Feb.1919, he was still only 22 years of age.
Stanley was certainly a very resilient young man with a certain cheeky charm, perhaps the type of “Aussie Wag” that everyone liked having around , and in difficult times he was also the person you needed to have around, the humourous type, the type who could bring some levity to an otherwise dark and dangerous situation.
Stanley was full of youthful spirit even in his old age, he was a wag and his letters are proof of his cheekiness, honesty and that sense of humour that aussies are famous.
His letters to the army records offices were made up of several requests to replace documents and medals which he lost on several occasions. They are a priceless glimpse into the wonderful personality of Stanley.
In one particular letter to the records office he requested a copy of his discharge papers and he stated that his wife in a fit of rage had tore them up into small pieces and threw them in the garbage and that his “discharge was gone without any possibility of recovery”.
This beautiful piece of Stanley’s charm.. is below….
His letter in 1967 requesting medals not only for himself but also for fellow members of his RSL club, and while making the enquiry felt it was also timely to ask if the war office could manage a rise in his pension….. (note his last line)…. no doubt his request for the increase in the pension was denied and he was asked to refer his request to the Repatriation Office.
I think we would have all liked to have met Stanley Hense……. a genuine aussie character.
Story Copyright © Vance Kelly 2015
Sources: AWM, NLA
1. Quite possibly did some work and associated with the Liverpool RSL.
2. The following are Stanley Hense Ancestry details.
Stanley was born in 1897 in Rockdale, NSW to Frederick and Charlotte Lavina Hense.( nee Tallar )
He had a younger brother Harold S. Hense born in 1906
He had 2 older brothers Frederick C. Born 1894 and Norman C . born in 1895
Norman was also in the AIF – Australian Wireless Squadron 1 – Special Reinforcements – Norman died in 1941
In 1925 he was living Ramsay Rd, Five Dock NSW.
Married Isabel Pauline Jones in 1936.
In 1943 he was a shopkeeper, 213 Hume Highway Liverpool. His wife Isabel, living at Scott st, Liverpool.
In 1949 his address was Hotel Liverpool – Shopkeeper
In 1972 he was still on the electoral rolls at 42 Nagle st, Liverpool NSW