Lieutenant Peter VASSY, AIF

Lieutenant Peter Constantine VASSY
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Lieutenant Peter Constantine ('Con')

9th Company, 1st Australian Division Supply Column (Motor Transport), Australian Army Service Corps, Australian Imperial Force

Born 7th March 1878, in Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
[Birth certificate: 1878 7351 Victoria]

Educated: 'State School'
Married; Commercial traveller, of 36 Mantell Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria / St. Kilda, Melbourne Victoria.

Next Of Kin: Wife; Vida Lillian Vassy (nee Swann) of Corner of Moore and Chaucer Streets, Moonee Ponds, Victoria.

No photos of Lieutenant Vassy have been located except the one reproduced here, kindly supplied by the family of this officer

Disappeared on active service
13th October 1915
(lost at sea from
HMHS 'Formosa')
Aged 37

9th Company, 1st Australian Division Supply Column, AIF

No Known Grave

Name commemorated on the Lone Pine memorial, Anzac


Birth Certificate Register states: Father; Peter Vassy. Mother; Teresa Vassy (nee Loriot). Birth registered at Carlton, Victoria.

Married Miss Vida Lillian Swann in 1914, in Victoria [Certificate 10869 Victoria].

NOK also listed as Brother; A. [Albert Antoine] Vassy, of 'Tolarno', Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda, Melbourne. (Attestation paper).

Wife's address in 1921 was 75 Cole Street, Gardenvale, Victoria.

[Lieutenant Vassy's brother also served in the A.I.F. Captain Albert Antoine Vassy was born in Caulfield and enlisted at Albert Park, Melbourne, on 28 September 1914. He was then 32 years old. Served in the AASC at Gallipoli, in the Middle East and France. Commissioned 7 June 1916. Appointment in A.I.F. terminated 7 November 1919.]

Enlisted, commissioned as lieutenant, 21st September 1914. At enlistment was aged 36 years six months, height 5'10", weight 162 lb.

Embarked at Melbourne, Victoria, on HMAT A40, 'Ceramic', 22 December 1914. 300th (Motor Transport) A.S.C. (17th Divisional Supply Column) 9th A.S.C.) Casualty list records: Of St. Kilda. Missing, believed drowned. (Melbourne Herald 1 Nov 1915 p6).

Listed as: Lt. P.C. Vassy, 17 Div Supply Col. 300th ASC (St. Kilda) - Drowned. (Sydney Town & Country Journal 1 Mar 1916 p15).

[Alexandria, Egypt] 'Next morning, February 6th, the supply section, under Lieut. Vassey [sic], and ammunition section, under Lieut. Perry Okeden [Actually Lieutenant Uvedale Edward Parry-Okeden; awarded an MC, MID and Corps Complimentary for his good work on Gallipoli in charge of the ammunition and the bomb manufacturing dump], came ashore in a tug. We then caught a train at wharf about 5.30 p.m., and travelled all the way to Cairo [11 hours] in dirty, unventilated, smoky third class carriages.' (p150-154 letter from 2054, Private Vincent A Russell 9th ASC, dated Egypt 6 Mar 1915 to father J.A. Russell (member of Australian Natives Association) (Advance Australia 10 May 1915 p152)

CWGC lists: VASSY, Lt. Peter Constantine. 9th Coy. Army Service Corps. Drowned at sea 13th Oct., 1915.

'Ill on board Hospital Ship Formosa drowned between Lemnos Island and Malta.' 'Reported missing between 3.30 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. ex Hosp. Ship 'Formosa' at sea. (MEF Order Part 2 No. 24, 28 Oct 1915).

Proceedings of Court of Enquiry assembled on Hospital Ship 'Formosa' at Sea. 13th October 1915 for the purpose of Collecting all evidence into the loss of an officer at sea, Lieut. P. C. Vassey [sic], 9th Australian A.S.C.

President Captain R. D'Arcy Irvine R.A.M.C. Members Lieut. T. Wright R.A.M.C. Lieut. H.F. Wood, R.A.M.C.

(1st Evidence). Lieut. H.F. Wood-Hill, R.A.M.C. states:-
I am Medical Officer in charge of sick and wounded offices on board Hospital Ship 'FORMOSA' lieut. P.C. Vassy, 9th Australian ASC, was admitted on board at Anzac on the evening of 10th October, 1915, as a walking case, and said to be suffering from influenza. He was berthed in Cabin No 13 in company with Lieut J. J. Moore, New Zealand Engineers. Lieut Vassy had a rigor on night of arrival, temperature 105, but no delirium. The temperature gradually fell until the evening of October 12th and when taken about 8 p.m. it was about 100.2 and pulse 96. A careful examination by myself and two other medical officers (Lieuts Enraght and Sieveking) on the 12th instant, failed to detect any signs of pneumonia. In the morning of the 12th inst, the patient was cheerful and looking forward hopefully to his recovery and said he felt better. I saw him at 8 p.m. that evening and when first roused he seemed confused, but on talking to him he became quite clear and did not appear to be in any way despondent. I had no reason to consider the case one for constant supervision. This was the last time I saw the patient.' All evidence (from seven different witnesses), pointed to there being no reason to suspect suicide. Sister N. Worley: 'On visiting the cabin next at 10 minutes past 5, I found the patient missing and the berth empty. I searched for him personally and also sent round the night orderly to look for him. Being unable to find the patient I summoned the medical officer in charge.'

(2nd evidence) No. 14634 Pte JW Wilson RAMC (night orderly, 'B' Ward Officers Cabins:
'I visited the cabin four times between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. when I was informed by Sister Worby [sic] that the Officer was not in his cabin. I searched for him in every likely place but without result. I saw no signs of anything unusual in the patient's condition during the night.'

(3rd evidence). Lieut. J. J. Moore NZE:
'Lieut Vassy was berthed in the same cabin with me and he always appeared cheerful and talkative, until the afternoon of the 12th inst, when he was more silent. He said nothing to lead me to suppose that there was anything wrong with him mentally, nor did he appear despondent.'

(4th evidence) Both Enraght and Sieveking stated that they 'saw no signs of his being mentally affected.' (5th, 6th evidence).

FINDING 'It is with much regret that I have to conclude that Lieut. Vassy has been lost overboard, though there is no evidence of [any] intention to commit suicide. The alleyway in which the Officers cabins are situated extends along the upper deck on the starboard side and has an entrance both fore and aft. The forward one being closed by an openwork iron gate. The bath rooms and W.C's are in this alleyway and in addition there was a commode in Lieut Vassy's cabin, which he was directed by the M.O. in charge to use owing to his feebleness. The night was dark and calm, and none of the ships Officers or men heard or saw anything suspicious, as far as it has been possible to ascertain.' Signed (the 3 previously noted officers of the court).

'VASSY - On the 13th October, drowned from hospital ship Formosa, Lieutenant P. C. Vassy, O.C., 9th A.S.C., A.I.F., Anzac, dearly beloved husband of Vida, and son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Swann, Moonee Ponds, aged 37. Deeply mourned.'

'VASSY - On the 13th October, accidentally drowned off hospital ship Formosa, Lieutenant P. C. Vassy, brother of Corporal A. Vassy, Egypt, Mrs. Roberts, Sandringham, and Mrs. Roxburgh, Box Hill.' (The Argus 26 Jan 1916 p1).

A copy of the Court of Enquiry findings was sent to Lieutenant Vassy's widow in January 1916. His personal effects were received by her in April/May 1916, and his medals were forwarded to her in the early 1920's.

Lest We Forget

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