Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sergeant E R Fairlie, killed at Cape Helles

An image of Ernest Fairlie in his pre-war Militia uniform, The Australasian, 17 July 1915.
Of those local soldiers who survived the landing at Gallipoli, some went on to lose their lives in a wasteful battle to take Krithia, at Cape Helles.  Schoolteacher Ernest Robert Fairlie, 5th Battalion
was one of those.   Rod Martin explains in a clear way what happened and why.  How Fairlie died remains a mystery, with no one left who could tell. Ernest Fairlie taught at  Essendon High School, and his name is on the Honour Board of the school, as well as the Essendon Town Hall (shown as E H Fairlie).   Read his story here.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tribute to Plucky RN Midshipman

View from the Promenade deck of the Galeka, off Anzac Cove, looking to Sea. In the background are other troop transports and warships. In the foreground are four of the Galeka's boats, loaded with Australians of the 6th and 7th Battalions  being towed by a steam-pinnace to Fisherman's Hut, North Beach, Gallipoli Peninsula.
A youthful Royal Navy Midshipman without the white uniform, but with the accoutrements of a dandy.  Photo source:

Signaller H. O'Neill, of the 7th Battalion, who is a son of Mr H. J. O'Neill, clerk of courts at Essendon, writes to a friend regarding a visit he and some comrades paid to a troopship after the Lone Pine fight, when they had a good dinner, and, metaphorically, took their hats off to a conceited middy, as Australians now admire all British seamen.

"We were given a holiday to get some stores," he writes, "and visited the vessel. After some trouble we got luncheon passes from the purser".
"We then strolled into the officers' mess and had soup, roast mutton and baked potatoes, cold tongue and mashed potatoes, and Snowden pudding and cheese. This, you must remember, after we had been for 24 hours in trenches, where we had 340 killed and wounded". 
"We were greatly amused at the awful 'dog' which a middy, aged 17, put on. The way he walked through about 40 'non-coms., looking over their heads, is hard to describe. He resembled a conceited girl, with his white shoes and white duck uniform. But we thought of those kids in charge of the pinnaces who ran us ashore that morning at Anzac, and recalled their marvellous coolness under the hot fire. They might be dandies, but you can't beat those English kids for pluck. Two of them won Victoria Crosses in the Anzac landing."
"DANDIES, BUT BRAVE KIDS" (1916, January 7). The Herald
(Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 7.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gunner Eddy of the 114 Howitzer Battery

114 Battery column, drawn by mules, France, 13 October 1918. AWM E03563
Munitions worker Joe Eddy joined the AIF near the 2nd anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.  The Eddy family lived in Charles St, Ascot Vale, which was a convenient location for him to walk to work in Maribyrnong each day.  His father, Walter Lawrence Eddy had been an Essendon Councillor for nine years, serving as Mayor during that period, but had resigned in August 1914 on the cusp of the war. 

Munitions workers needed permission to enlist in the AIF and this might have been the reason Joe did not join until the end of April 1917 when the need for more men was very pressing.  He embarked with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, but after arriving in England he was transferred to the 14 Field Artillery Brigade, and within that served with the 114 Howitzer Battery. 

At least two other local men served in the 114 Howitzer Battery - Corporal William Hodgens of Ascot Vale Rd, Flemington and Corporal Alan Stanley Rankine of 110 McConnell St, Kensington.

 Rod Martin employs his considerable writing skills to explore Gunner Eddy's experiences with the 114 Howitzer Battery on the Western Front in Belgium and France, which you can read here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force Nominal Roll

Detail from cover of the nominal roll of the ANMEF to New Guinea, 1914-1918, military component.  AWM AWM190 [4]

Yesterday I had cause to have a look at the WW1 Nominal Roll for the AIF, but noticed while tracking it down that a new roll had been added to the digital records - the ANMEF Nominal Roll which I had gone looking for about 4 years ago, but it was not then available on the AWM website.   I originally sought to find local men who had embarked in 1914 with the ANMEF.  I found a newspaper article naming the 104 men from Victoria who had departed with the Force, but they are not included in this nominal roll, presumably because they were Naval reservists.

The details included in the ANMEF nominal roll are Regimental Number, Rank, Full Name, Birthplace, Place of Enlistment, Date of Enlistment, Date of Embarkation, and Disposal (usually discharged at end of agreement.)  The record also contains annotations of subsequent AIF service.

Here is a link to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force [Military Component] Nominal Roll, 1914-1918.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Edmond Danaher, tinsmith of Newmarket

Reconstruction of a ‘Gallipoli boat’, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance   (Rod Martin)
The above reconstruction of a boat used to ferry the soldiers from troop transports to the shore of Gallipoli clearly illustrates how exposed the soldiers were when Turkish troops opened fire on them.  In his new story about Edmond Danaher, Road Martin tells the story of a young man who went to war and never came home.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Lieutenant D F C Coles, 8th FAB

Officers of the 8 Field Artillery Brigade, courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 1364/1/15
David Frederick Clifford Coles, a sergeant in the Royal Artillery, came to Australia in 1913 to take up an appointment as a Staff Sergeant Major with the Instructional Staff at the Royal Military Academy, Duntroon, in 1913.  On 1 May 1916 David enlisted in the AIF, being given an immediate commission with the 8 Field Artillery Brigade.   Rod Martin tells the story of David Coles' service with the AIF here.

Chaplain Captain Potter

Chaplain Captain Sydney Morkham Potter, courtesy of Marjorie Morkham.
Sydney Potter, a minister at the Newmarket Baptist Church first went overseas, aged 38, with the YMCA to provide comforts to Australian Soldiers.  While overseas he was appointed Chaplain, with the honorary rank of Captain.  You can read a little more about Sydney on his webpage:

By clicking on the tags Chaplains or YMCA on the above webpage, you will get a list of other local men who served the AIF in this way.