The Diary and Journal of
General Sir John G. N. Wilton,
Royal Australian Army
1 9 1 0 - 1 9 7 7

Date of birth 22nd November 1910 at Sydney (St Margaret's Hospital).

(Deceased May 10, 1981)

Father Noel Valentine Selby Wilton (born Bath, England. Son of Thomas Wilton - solicitor of that city.)

Mother (nee Muriel Amy Bingham, born England)

My Father emigrated to Australia about 1907/1908. He was a qualified engineer but his first job in Australia was as a wharf labourer. He eventually got a job as engineer in power station in Sydney. The family went to live in Hobart, Tasmania, in about the year 1912. My Father at this time was an engineer with the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission. Maurice and I returned with Mother to Sydney about 1916. Maurice and I returned to Hobart about 1917 and went to school at Leslie House School (now Clunis College).

September 1922: Father, Maurice and I went to Grafton, N.S.W. when Father took the job of Chief Engineer and Manager of the Clarence River County Council. In this same year Father and Mother were divorced and Father married Mollie Gaffney early in 1923.

My half sister, named Noel Margaret, was born 21 March 25. My half sister, named Mary Dorothea, was born 27 April 26. My half sister, named Gwaine Patricia, was born 1. Sept. 28

From 1922 -1926 I went to the Grafton High School.

February 1927 went to the Royal Military College (R.M.C.), Duntroon, Australian Capitol Territory (A.C.T.)

1928 at R.M.C. Duntroon. My half sister, Gwaine Patricia, was born this year. 7 Sept. 28

* born 10. Feb 09


At R.M.C. Duntroon.


At R.M.C. Duntroon. Met Helen when I went to Sydney to play in annual R.M.C. v G.P.S. Rugby.

December 1930: graduated from R.M.C. (6th) and was subsequently commissioned as 2/Lieut in the Royal Artillery as from date of graduation. The commission was antedated to my 20th birthday (22/11/30).

Saw a great deal of Helen prior to departure.

Embarked for England on R.M.S. Naldera February 1931. Arrived in England March 1931. After spending 10 days in London joined the School of Artillery at Larkhill, Salisbury Plain.

20/3/31 to 17/6/31 on the llth Young Officers Gunnery Course at Larkhill.


June: Completed Gunnery Course at Larkhill and was posted to 69 Fd Bty R.A. (6th Fd Bde) at Bordon.

November: Embarked on troopship Somersetshire at Southampton on 24/11/37 with my battery en route to India.

20 December: Arrived at Bombay.

24 December: Arrived Fyzabad. My battery stationed there. Remainder of 6 Fd Bde at Lucknow (74 and 79 batteries) and Cawnpore (77 battery).


Stationed in Fyzabad. Other units there at that time were 1 Bn Cameron Highlanders and 4/7 Rajput Rgt. Took two months privilege leave this year and spent it in the Naini Tal, Ranikhit and Bhim Tal area. Had a bout of malaria at end of leave.


Stationed in Fyzabad. Went to Practice camp at Delhi (Taghlukabad). Also as range officer to Jhansi practice camp. Went home to Australia on three months leave in June. Sailed from Bombay on the P & 0 Narkunda and returned in the Mooltan. Whilst in Australia paid brief visit home to Grafton and spent remainder of time in Sydney. Saw a great deal of Helen.


Stationed in Fyzabad. Went to Poona on a signaling course for 3 months in April (Instructor's Certificate)

October: Took one month's leave and went on a mugger shooting trip down the Gogra River with Andrew Campbell (Camerons).

Passed Higher Standard Urdu Exam in September (I.A.0. 578 of 1934).


January: Went to practice camp at Delhi with 6 Fd Bde and after that took part in Eastern Command manoeuvres.

February: Posted to 10 Mountain Battery R.A. stationed at Maymyo in Burma. Joined there on February 2nd.

July: Took 10 days casual leave and went to Rangoon to stay with the Craws. Also played in polo tournament, at Monywa on the Chindwin River. Helped hunt down and kill a tiger near Maymyo.

September: Went to Rangoon to take my practical exam for promotion - subject (a) and passed (B.I.D.O. 765/1935). Went to Yennanyoung (oilfields) to play in a polo tournament.

November: Proceeded to the WA States, on the Burma Chinese border, as part of the military escort to the Boundary Commission which was to settle the disputed boundary. I had one gun with the necessary detachment of men and mules (50 men and 27 mules).


May: Returned to Maymyo from WA States on 14/5/36.

Proceeded on 8 months combined leave ex Burma on 25/5/37. Embarked at Rangoon on 28/5/36 on steamer "Karagola" and arrived Singapore 3 June. At Singapore transshipped on to Burns Philp steamer "Marella" and sailed for Sydney on 3 June, touched at following ports: Batavia, Sourabaya, Samarang, Port Darwin, Thursday Island, and arrived Brisbane 23 June. Saw my Mother there.

24 June arrived Sydney. Remained in Sydney until 11th July staying with the Morcombes at 36 Gurner Street. Saw Phil Morcombe for one day only - his boat sailed for India on 25th June, his leave having expired. Bought a second hand Stoewer car for which I paid £30. Saw a great deal of Helen during this period.

11 July Set off for Grafton by road. Unfortunately had two breakdowns en route - the same big end bearing in each case. Eventually arrived in Grafton on 19 July where I found all the family waiting to receive me (except Maurice whom 1 saw in Sydney). Father was not well; had doctor's orders not to do any work for three months. Route followed by road from Sydney to Grafton was - Newcastle - Muswellbrook - Tamworth - Armidale - Nymboida - Grafton (i.e. Tablelands route).

9 August: Set off by road (coastal route) for Brisbane to pay a visit to my Mother. Stopped night at Ballina en route.

10 August: Arrived at Brisbane. Lived in flat on Bowen Bridge Road, Windsor. 17-22 August spent mostly at the Brisbane Show.

31 August: Left Brisbane by road to return to Grafton. Route taken was - Beaudesert - Kyogle - Casino - Coraki - Maclean - Grafton.

1 September: Arrived Grafton. Father's health worse.

5 August: Father and Mollie went to Southport for a holiday.

9 August: Left Grafton for Sydney by road via coastal route. Stopped night en route at Port Macquarie and Newcastle.

11 August: Arrived in Sydney. Staying with the Morcombes again.

Did a number of trips to places round Sydney which I had previously not seen: Frenchs Forest - National Park - Newport - Sans Souci - Kuringai Chase - Berowra. one night had a collision with a tram. The only damage done was a bent axle to the Stoewer which was soon put right in a workshop in Wooloomooloo!

3 October: Set off on a trip down the South Coast with Maurice - we were to have stopped for a few days with Nell and Keith at Berry but owing to bad arranging on the part of Maurice that had to be cancelled. We stayed at Austinmer for two days, but the weather was poor and we didn't enjoy it much.

5 October: Maurice and I drove to Wollongong. From there he caught a train back to Sydney. I drove on to Moss Vale via the Macquarie Pass.

6 October: Drove from Moss Vale to Canberra and stayed with Warren McDonald (Mollie's cousin).

7 October: Canberra. Paid a visit to Duntroon and saw the new buildings of the R.M.C. nearing completion. Also went to Parliament House where I met Col. Harrison and had a chat (he was commandant at Duntroon when I was there as a cadet).

8 October: Left Canberra and drove to Caulderwood (near Gundagai) via Yass. Stayed with the Coggans at Caulderwood until 15th October. Caulderwood is a small sheep station; during the time I was there shearing was in progress. Shearing time is the busiest time on a station. I did the duties of "roustabout" whilst there - good fun for a while but quite strenuous work - a roustabout is really an aspirant to the job of shearer and corresponds to the plumber's mate or the bricklayer's labourer.

15 October: Drove from Caulderwood to Moss Vale.

16 October: Drove from Moss Vale to Sydney. Again stayed with the Morecombes.

18 October: Left Sydney for Grafton by train.

19 October: Arrived at Grafton. Was met by Father who looked very ill.

2 November: Doctor Woodward sent Father to Runnymede hospital.

He ought to have done it earlier as he has been having heart attacks regularly during the last ten days.

9 November: Mollie arrived back from Tasmania, having flown the stretch from Sydney. Father nearly died last night, he had a very bad attack. 1 am very relieved to have Mollie back as 1 felt the strain very badly during her absence.

12 November: Left Grafton by train for Sydney.

13 November: Arrived Sydney. Made arrangements for departure for Wollongong.

14 November: Helen and I set off for Wollongong by car. Stopped at Crown Hotel this night.

15 November: At Crown Hotel, Wollongong.

16 November: Moved from the hotel to Marline Court which is situated near the beach. Spent a very happy three weeks in Wollongong - the happiest I've ever spent. Had a very lazy life, bathing etc. and made a few trips. Helen and I went down and saw Keith and Nell at Berry one day.

6 December: Helen and I drove back to Sydney. Had some trouble getting the old Stoewer (Trixie) up the Bulli Pass. She boiled once.

7 December Fixed final details of return journey to Burma. Had some trouble selling Trixie - eventually sold her to a mechanic for £10. I had my £20 worth of fun out of her and would have had a much less enjoyable leave without her. The only real trouble she ever gave was the two breakdowns at the start, which mainly my fault in not realising the oil consumption. Nevertheless she was a brute to drive.

9 December: My last night in Sydney - with Helen.

10 December: Departed by train for Melbourne - an uncomfortable journey in 2nd class. Also I had a bad cold

11 December: Arrived in Melbourne. Spent a few days here with object of seeing the Military people at A.H.Q. to sound them as to whether I could get an appointment in the Australian Staff Corps which would enable me to return permanently to Australia, but only received slight encouragement. Renewed my acquaintance with A.D. Molloy and Stanley Hill. Also saw quite a lot of the Hancock girls - Mary and Laura. Laura is a great girl. She was trying to interest me in the Oxford Group but went about it so gradually and hesitantly that she hadn't a chance in the time available. Whilst in Melbourne I stayed at a private hotel called Milton House situated in Little Flinders Street.

15 December: Left Melbourne by train for Adelaide.

16 December: Arrived Adelaide. Changed into Transcontinental train for Perth and left same day.

19 December: Arrived in Perth after a unique and interesting journey by train across Australia. From Adelaide to Perth is hot and dusty and only worth doing once. Shall never travel that way again unless I can afford to go lst class and travel in the air conditioned carriage. The Nullarbor Plain was immense and impressive - the most impressive sight I've ever seen. Spent the night at the Wentworth Hotel.

20 December: Embarked on the M.V. Gorgon for Singapore. The Gorgon belongs to the Blue Funnel line. She is a small but comfortable ship and 1 had a very pleasant voyage in her. En route we called at Geraldton and Carnarvon on the coast of W.A.

26 December: Arrived at Sourabaya. Went ashore and had a disgusting day.

30 December: Arrived in Singapore. Went ashore and paid a visit to the gunners at Blakang Mati island; also did a few of the sights of Singapore.

31 December: Transferred to the S.S. Klandalla - B.I. line for Rangoon. Sailed at 5.30 p.m.

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