Lance Sergeant Josephus Fullagar, 7th Battalion, AIF
Josephus Fullagar was born in December 1894, the second oldest son of Ada and Charles Fullagar of Faversham, Kent, in south-east England. His father died when Josephus was 10 years old, leaving Ada widowed in her 30s. As a result, Josephus worked as a brewer’s assistant from a young age to help make ends meet. As a teenager, he served in the East Kent Regiment, a local militia force.
In April 1914, at the age of 19, Fullager left London by himself to start a new life as a farm labourer in Australia. He took up work on a farm near Bridgewater-on-Loddon, north-west of Bendigo in Victoria. He soon gained a reputation in the region as an “upright young man” who made many friends.
The First World War began just months after Fullagar’s arrival in Australia, and he was among the first to enlist. On 18 August 1914, he joined the newly formed 7th Battalion and began training at Broadmeadows. His experience in a militia force in England meant he could enter the unit at the rank of lance sergeant.
In October 1914, he sailed with the first contingent of the AIF from Melbourne to Albany in Western Australia, and then to Egypt, where Australian and New Zealand forces prepared for the landings on Gallipoli.
Fullagar and the 7th Battalion camped and trained at Mena, near Cairo, and in early April 1915 sailed to the Greek island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea.
On 25 April 1915, Fullagar and the 7th Battalion were in the second wave of troops to land on Gallipoli at what is now known as Anzac Cove. Troops of the 7th Battalion were towed towards the beach at 5.30 in the morning, and were fired on before they even reached the shore.
In heavy and confused fighting, the Australians were able to occupy some Turkish trenches near the landing beach but faced constant rifle, machine-gun and shrapnel fire. The 7th Battalion suffered terrible casualties, with an estimated 400 dead, wounded and missing on that first terrible day.
Fullagar was lost in the chaotic fighting, and the exact circumstances of his death, and his final resting place, are unknown.
He is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial, among more than 4,900 Australian and New Zealand servicemen who died on Gallipoli and have no known grave.
He was 20 years old.
David Sutton, Historian, Military History Section