Born in Gulgong in 1893, Stanley Thomas Deans was the fifth of seven children born to Edward Deans and Ellen Farthing.
When Stanley enlisted at Liverpool in November 1914 he nominated his mother Ellen as his next of kin and gave her address as Orange. Newspapers of the day state that Stan was employed at Eumarella station just west of Gulgong at the time of his enlistment.
Stanley embarked from Sydney in February 1915, a private 13th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement, C Company. He served in Egypt and Gallipoli, where he was promoted to Lance Corporal and served as a signaller. At 4am on the morning of 29 May a mine exploded just beside Stan, who was evacuated to hospital in Malta. He was later transferred to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester, England, where medical officer Captain Moir declared Stan’s nerves to be “completely shattered”. The Medical Board recommended his discharge, and advised him to apply for compensation.
In September 1915 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Stanley’s father, Edward, had been advised that his son had been awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for conspicuous bravery at Gallipoli, having carried his officer to the rear from the firing line, then returned to his post and resumed duty as a signaller. Lance Corporal Deans’ service records make no mention of this award.
Stanley returned to Australia on Christmas Day 1915; he was the first soldier from Gulgong to return from the war. He spent the first months of 1916 recuperating in a convalescent home in Cronulla. In March he wrote to the Mudgee Guardian seeking their assistance to find work, claiming “I am not able to go on with any hard work. I will have to keep very quiet for a considerable time. Anywhere in New South Wales will accommodate me as far as employment is concerned. The position I am fit for is any of the following: Caretaker, or Watchman, or any position that won’t interfere with my nerves. I will do my best in any position given me.”
Stan returned to Gulgong in April, but had not received any offers and was “particularly anxious to be in employment”. In December he applied to the Local Land Board in Young for a suburban holding of 36 acres at Young Common, which he was granted. In March 1917 he married Mannan Jane Long and the couple established a successful orchard and vegetable garden on the Common. The couple had one son, Henry, born in February 1925. Stanley and Mannan later divorced.
In the 1930s Stanley moved to Sydney, and in the 1940s, to Melbourne, where he opened a photography business in St Kilda. Over the years he wrote many letters to newspapers in NSW and Victoria voicing his opinion on a variety of issues from matters concerning returned servicemen , to traffic in Melbourne, to the eradication of rabbits and hares. Stanley died in Armadale, Victoria, in July 1967; he was 74.
Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 1915, p. 9.
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