John Armstrong MANN

Year of Birth:  1894

Place of Birth:  Near Normanton, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  21 December 1914

Place of Enlistment: Cairns, Queensland

Date and Place of Embarkment:  8 April 1915, Brisbane, Queensland

Ship:  HMAT Star of England A16

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  9 Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  1708

Died:  25 Mary 1915


John Armstrong Mann. Courtesy of


Star of England  A16 at Pinkenba Wharf, Brisbane, 1914 – photo courtesy of AWM


John Armstrong Mann was born 3 June 1894 near Normanton Queensland to George Nelson Mann and Matilda Kennedy. George and Matilda were married 12 June 1889. Their first child Phoebe was born in 1890 followed by George Henry in 1892, John Armstrong 1894 and Lillie in 1902. Matilda died in 1902 the same year her youngest child, Lillie, was born.  John Armstrong Mann was only 8 years old at the time of his mother’s death. It is unclear if the children remained with their father after Matilda died. The youngest child, Lillie, states she never lived with her father (see following letter).

George Nelson Mann, remarried Rachel Dupin Gough 11 February 1905. George and Rachel had four children Bessie 1905, Charles Nelson 1907 and Frederick William in 1910, Thomas Norman 1912. The Mann family lived for many years in Swan Street Longreach, and also in Normanton.


NAA B2455  Letter from Lillie Mann


At the time of John’s enlistment, he was living in Cairns and working as a laborer. He gave his next of kin as his sister Miss Lilian (sic.) Mann , c- D Maddingan of Sheridan Street, Cairns. John’s father was living in Normanton at the time. John gave his age as 20 years and 6 months.  He was 5 feet 8 inches and weighed 140 pounds with dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He was a Roman Catholic.

Prior to his service in the 9th Battalion, John served in the Far North Queensland Kennedy Regiment, known as the Dirty 500.  Members of the Dirty 500, including John, landed on Thursday Island on 16 August 1914 from the troopship “Kanowna”, to take part in the capture of German New Guinea. An incident on board the “Kanowna” involving the firemen forced the immediate return of the troops to Townsville on 18 August 1914; John was discharged the same day.

John Armstrong Mann died in the Government Hospital, Suez, Egypt 26 May 1915 of bronchial pneumonia which he developed after a bout of measles. John was one of 27 cases of measles which broke out on board the “Star of England” on route to Egypt. John is buried in the Suez War Memorial Cemetery Egypt, row B, grave 43.


NAA B2455 Reburial of John Mann


Cairns Post 26 May 1914 p4


Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

Star of England A16: P01235.005. Australian War Memorial

NAA: B2455, Mann John Armstrong. National Archives of Australia

Trove Digitised Newspapers. National Library of Australia


Other Resources

The First Expeditionary Force: the Thursday Island Expedition: a collection of reference documents. Denis Bird, 2015 [CDFHS Library]


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