When Reginald Gordon Perry enlisted on 29 November 1915 at Casula in Sydney he gave his occupation as a magician. Nothing further can be found on this unusual occupation.
Reginald was the son of Stephen Perry, a well-known local saddler, and his wife Betsy Clarke, and was born in 1889 in Orange. At the time of enlistment, he also had a brother, Stephen Harold Perry, with the 2nd Battalion AIF and another, Roy Stanley Perry, serving with the British Red Cross in Mesopotamia.
On enlistment Reginald joined D Company of the 4th Battalion but was transferred to the 15th Reinforcement on 2 February 1916. In March 1916 he embarked on HMAT Star of England A15 and sailed for Egypt. Soon after his arrival he was admitted to the hospital at Tel-el-Kebir with influenza. On 12 August he joined the 5th Battalion in France and three days later suffered a gunshot wound which shattered his right hip and foot. He was transferred to the West Lothian Hospital near Edinburgh in Scotland.
Reginald took no further part in the war, he returned to Australia via HMAT Euripides in July 1917. On 24 September 1917 the Orange Leader reported the arrival of Lieutenant Steve Perry and Private Reg Perry at Orange Railway Station after they had been invalided home. An enthusiastic crowd of locals were there to greet them and the Salvation Army Band played several patriotic tunes as the train steamed in. Later that evening Mr and Mrs Perry hosted a number of friends at a dinner at their Moulder Street residence. Toasts appropriate to the occasion were duly proposed and drank to the health of the two servicemen.
Reginald Perry was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 19 January 1918.
On 26 December 1919 Reginald married Miss Mona McNeil Tully, a daughter of the late Mark Tully of Warraweena Station, Bourke. The couple moved to Sydney sometime between their marriage and 1926 where newspapers record Reginald working a builder and bookmaker. Bookmaking would prove to be his downfall; he was declared bankrupt in March 1926.
Reginald Gordon Perry died on 8 September 1970 at the Repatriation Hospital, Concord, aged 81 years. He was laid to rest in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery at Lidcombe along with his wife Mona who died in 1965 and a son, Lloyd Keith, who had died in 1924 aged two months.
Private Reginald Gordon Perry is remembered on the Honour Roll at the Methodist Church Orange.
* Sharon Jameson, August 2018