Boy s desire to fight for country

Robert John Nestor was clearly determined to do his bit in World War I.

As a result, he enlisted for service overseas twice - the first time under his own name and the second under an alias.

Ann Dawson, of Karrinyup, who researched the family history, said Nestor, her great-uncle, was born in Scotland.

His father, Robert Hay (Jock) Nestor, was a sergeant-major in the Royal Scots and trained many young British officers.

The family moved to WA not long before WWI broke out and Jock Nestor became a sergeant-major at the Blackboy Hill training camp, Greenmount.

Robert also wanted to join the action.

Though just 16 and too young to join up, he managed to enlist by saying he was 17 years and 11 months and sailed off to war with the 16th Battalion in December.

The 16th Battalion landed at Gallipoli late in the afternoon of April 25, 1915. Young Nestor escaped being seriously wounded but ended up in hospital with what was officially classified as rheumatism. He was sent back to Australia for discharge as medically unfit a year after signing on.

But he was not finished with the war and enlisted again in April 1916 as Robert Hay and declared he was 23 years old.

Perhaps because he had used his father's first two names, his ruse was uncovered, and while training at Blackboy Hill he signed a form admitting he was actually Robert John Nestor.

He sailed again in November 1916 for the Western Front with the 28th Battalion and was shot in the leg in September 1917. But on leaving hospital in January, he rejoined the battalion.

In July that year he wrote to Mrs Dawson's grandfather that the battalion had gone through a "pretty rough spin lately" and in September he was wounded again - shot in the thigh.

By the time Nestor was able to rejoin the battalion again the war had ended, but he did not sail for home until July 1919.

His son, Robert Duncan Nestor, said that after the war his father married and had four children.

He became a butcher and worked in Fremantle before setting up a business in Kalamunda, which he ran for many years.

Robert Nestor said his father, like so many other young men who returned from WWI, had never talked about his experience.

It was, he said, probably "because it was too horrific".

The West Australian

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