Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Teacher's Bequest

In a letter to his mother in 1917,  a young soldier and former State School teacher, James Stephen Hogan  explained carefully that in the event of his death, his younger sister Doreen could claim his vacant teaching position with the Education Department.  Marilyn Kenny traces the education and training of James Hogan - and what happened next.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Flying Officer William Edward Bruce Neilson

After last month's story about James Charles Outhred, who was a fellow member of No 3 Squadron,  AFC, Rod Martin tells the story of William Edward Bruce Neilson. While both Outhred and Neilson enlisted at much the same time, embarked on the Ulysses together, and were appointed Second Class Air Mechanics, their experience with their squadron was quite different, Outhred being channelled into Wireless training, and Neilson into mechanics, and later aerial gunnery.  By the end of the war he qualified as a pilot.     Rod Martin tells the story of Flying Officer WEB Neilson.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2 Air Mechanic James Charles Outhred, AFC

What do the Red Baron, an empty grave in Moe and Air Mechanic Outhred have in common with 3 Australian Flying Squadron?  Rod Martin tells you in his story of 2 Air Mechanic James Charles Outhred.   You can see his story here.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Neil Neilson answers the Call to Arms

State Library South Australia. 
On 15 December 1915 the Prime Minister of Australia, William Hughes, put out a Call to Arms to the young men of Australia to play their part in "this greatest war of all times".

Neil Neilson of 39 Mt Alexander Rd, Flemington, driver, answered that call.  He was a fairly slight figure, one of eleven children, but he responded to Hughes' appeal and enlisted on 4 January 1916, just a few weeks after the appeal was made.

Rod Martin tells the story of a fairly troublesome  young man who managed to overcome his difficulties with the army and became a reliable member of 15 Battery, 5 Field Artillery Brigade as Gunner Neil Robert Neilson.   Neilson died after a gas attack, on 8 June 1918.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Staff Nurse in France

Margaret Ethel Miles, of Napier St, Essendon, commenced her three year training, aged 22, at the Warrnambool Hospital in 1912. She obtained her certificate of nursing in 1915, after the commencement of the war.  The Australian Army Nursing Service was not looking for younger women to serve overseas, but Margaret got herself onto the staff of 5 Australian General Hospital in St Kilda Rd in August 1916.  After a few months there, Margaret enlisted with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) and departed on the Orsova for overseas service in December 1916, by then aged 26.

Appointed as a Staff Nurse, Margaret spent only 11 days in England upon arrival, and was quickly moved to France where she began nursing with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) at their 24 General Hospital in Etaples.   She spent the next 18 months switching between military hospitals run by both the RAMC and the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC).  In June 1918 she was switched again to working in Casualty Clearing Stations, a much more dangerous and distressing form of nursing.

Growing up with the Rutherford sisters, all three of them nurses, in the newsagency just around the corner in Fletcher Street, might have influenced Margaret into taking up nursing.

You can read more about Staff Nurse Miles' service at the Empire Called website.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Football champion goes to war

Player poster of Herbert Milne in the 1910 Victorian Football Follower series, Boyles Football Photos
At the age of thirty-one, Herbert Milne had had an interesting life. He had played Australian Rules Football with the Fitzroy and South Melbourne clubs in the Victorian Football League for a number of years. At 181 centimetres tall and weighing seventy-eight kilos, he would have been formidable on the field as a follower (ruckman). He had fair hair and blue eyes, and probably cut a quite dashing figure.

Because of his age at the time the war broke out in 1914, Herbert may well have felt that the predicted short and sharp conflict was the territory of the young and energetic. However, by 19 July 1915, when he joined up, the bad news had come through from Gallipoli, and a substantial recruitment campaign was in full swing. The fact that July 1915 saw the greatest number of recruitments (36 575) of any month during the war may also have had an effect upon Herbert.  Others were doing it, so why shouldn’t he?

Perhaps because of his age, or perhaps because he requested it, Herbert was  assigned to 1 Australian General Hospital, probably as a medical orderly. There is no indication of previous paramedical experience on his attestation form.  He was a clerk by trade. Herbert sailed for Egypt, probably on A71 HMAT Nestor, on 11 October 1915. By the time the ship arrived in Egypt, the evacuation from Gallipoli would have been complete or close to it, so he and his comrades were sent to the recently established Australian base at Tel el Kebir, where they were assigned to 8 and then 14 Field Ambulance (FA) on 18 March 1916.

Rod Martin follows the war service of the former Victorian football champion, Temporary Corporal Herbert Milne.  You can read further on the Empire Called website.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Scotch College Commemorative website

Above two images are from the Scotch College commemorative website

Scotch College moved it's WW1 Roll of Honour while I wasn't looking, but I have lately relocated it, now with articles about those who died, and those who won honours and awards.  The above images come from a page about Australian Flying Corps Cadet George Robinson Johnston.  Johnston initially embarked with the 6th Infantry Battalion, but later transferred to the Australian Flying Corps.

He met  his death while still in training as an observer in a two seater aeroplane.  Johnston's pal from the Flemington Presbyterian Church, Driver Reginald Robert McLean, wrote home that the pilot was thought to have fainted at the controls, and George had no way of controlling the aircraft from his seat behind.

The pictured cross made from an aeroplane propeller, perhaps even the one from the crashed aeroplane, was made by the mechanics in his unit, and placed over his grave at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery.