Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Rossi brothers do their bit

Gunner Les Rossi, back row, far left, trained in Swanage, England with reinforcements of 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column.  They embarked for France on 10 Feb 1917,  where Les was subsequently transferred to the 4th Divisional Ammunition Column.  Please get in touch if you recognise any of the men in the above photo.

Standing on the left is Les Rossi's brother, who enlisted as Francis Ross.  Frank embarked with the 18th Reinforcements of the 23 Infantry Battalion.  This photo was taken in Melbourne prior to embarkation, but his comrade is unknown. Photos courtesy of Bron Rossi.

Les and Frank both returned to Australia. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Percy Fallshaw of the 39th Battalion

Crozier, Frank: The sinking of the Ballarat, 25 April 1917  (AWM ART 13329)
Joiner Percy Fallshaw was 24 and married when he joined up in January 1917.   He and his comrades in the 39th Infantry Battalion might not have made it to the charnel-house of Europe when their troopship, the Ballarat, took a German torpedo in the English Channel. The men were all successfully taken off the ship, and the 39th continued on its way.  Rod Martin takes up the story of the 39th Battalion's engagement at Broodseinde Ridge in September 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres towards the end of 1917, and then the hard slog of 1918 leading to the end of the war.  The Battalion was pitilessly worn down to a meagre 368 men, but Percy Fallshaw was one of those who came home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

'WW1 - Love and Sorrow' Exhibition at Museum Victoria

The honour board at Museum Victoria, originally from the Newmarket Saleyards.
 Last week I visited Museum Victoria to see the two WW1 Exhibitions showing there - 'WW1 -Love and Sorrow', which is the Museum's own exhibition, and the one from the Imperial War Museum, the 'WW1 Centenary Exhibition'.  The latter will close on 4 October.

The Love and Sorrow exhibition is the story of eight individuals, told most poignantly with photographs, documents and relics. 
The honour board at the Pakenham Saleyards.
On the way out of the exhibition I was quite surprised to see the memorial board for the Stock and Station Agents of Melbourne, which I had thought to be located at the Pakenham Saleyards.  But on further enquiry it turns out that there were two honour boards.  The board that used to be at Newmarket Saleyards is the one now held at Museum Victoria. 

Deborah Tout-Smith, a senior curator at Museum Victoria, has pointed out that the ram's head at the top of each board appears to have been carved by a different artist.

The Museum is seeking further information on this board, and is also collaborating with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to seek out further information about honour boards commemorating the Public Sector.  See the Museum website for a more detailed request for help from the public.

The men named on the Associated Stock & Station Agents of Melbourne board who lived in Essendon and Flemington are detailed on the Empire Called and I Answered wepage.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

38th Battalion on the spot

A machine-gun post on the Somme Canal - deceptively quiet in 1918. 

 Private William James Bale enlisted on Anzac Day 1917.  Once in England for training he became ill and spent some time in hospital and convalescing.  He did not arrive in France until February 1918.  Intended for the 59th Battalion, he was transferred as soon as he arrived in France to the 38th Battalion.  

Rod Martin outlines the Australians' campaign of 1918 that contributed to the end of the war, and William's part in it.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wally Essay, posted Missing at The Nek

8 Light Horsemen moving out of a rest area, 1915.
The anniversary of the battle at The Nek having just passed, Rod Martin relates the story of Trooper Camillus "Wally" Essay of Kensington.  The group of 8 Light Horsemen in the above photograph may have included Wally, who did not return from The Nek.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Victorian unit war histories

The original link I gave some while ago to the Victorian Veteran's Virtual Museum which included a link to digitised unit war histories has become such a convoluted affair with various changes at the State Library of Victoria, I thought I would repost a more direct link to them.

Not all of the infantry history books have been digitised, some are more recent histories, still subject to copyright, which have had only the covers and list of contents digitised, but still useful for discovering what books are available.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lieutenant Earl Haddon Simpson Chapman

Portrait of Haddon Chapman in his Essendon Rifles uniform before the war.
Earl Haddon Simpson Chapman, known as Haddon by his family, was a young man showing a lot of promise.  Educated at the local State School, he was a sufficiently good scholar to win white collar job as a clerk and obtain a Commission with the pre-war militia unit, the Essendon Rifles. In the All Australian Memorial Victoria - Australia's Fighting Families,  he was described thus:  "Lieut. Chapman was a keen student, a good cricketer, and was among the first to volunteer."  In his role in the Essendon Rifles he sufficiently impressed his officer, Colonel "Pompey" Elliott, to be offered a Commission as a 2nd Lieut with the new 7th Battalion.   Rod Martin takes up his story, which you can read here.