Saturday, September 28, 2013

The boys were all very sorry.

Walter Mackley's memorial stone at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. Photo taken by Elizabeth Plummer, during  a recent visit.

Walter Mackley of Ascot Vale was a very youthful Sergeant when he was killed in November 1916 at the end of the Battle of the Somme, aged 19.  The Australian Red Cross made enquiries about the location of his grave in 1917, and one of his comrades stated that:
"He was very much liked and the boys were all very sorry.  He got his Sgt stripes in Egypt".

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wilf Young and the 7th Battalion

Sedate and sober troops marching from Mena towards Cairo. (AWM) PS0412
Private Wilfred John Young was amongst the first to enlist when AIF enrolment commenced in August 1914.  He was aged 27, a furniture fitter, and residing in Newmarket when he joined the 7th Infantry Battalion and embarked for overseas service.  Rod Martin gives a careful telling of Wilf's story.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mothers of Men

Pte S M Memery is identified as being in the centre of this photo, taken prior to embarkation on 29 October 1915.  Given that the three brothers embarked on the same vessel on the same day, and one a sergeant,  it seems likely these are the three Memery brothers.

The sacrifices madc by some women in sending their sons to serve the Empire are so notable that it seems fitting that they should be made known to readers of "The Argus."
It is therefore proposed to give on this page the photographs  of mothers who have sent three or more sons to the front. For this purpose I shall be glad to receive the portraits of such mothers, with their full name and the names of their soldier sons, together with particulars of their service.
From The Argus, 10 May 1916.

Mrs. Catherine Memery, who lives at No. 8 Heritage street, Moonee Ponds, has three sons, all of them in the third reinforcements of the 29th Battalion. Sergeant Vivian Memery, aged 22; Private Samuel Memery, aged 25; and Private John Memery, aged 19. Her son-in-law, Private Edward Murphy, is in the 27th Battalion. She has also two nephews on service; Sergeant Ryan, of the 7th Battalion, was at the Gallipoli landing; Carlyle Ryan is in the A.M.C. Mrs. Memery had also a son who died on service in the Boer War, and a nephew who was killed in the Boer War.
The Argus 10 May 1916

Monday, September 9, 2013

Private Charles Wigg who fell at Ypres

Charles Wigg, from the Australian War Memorial Collection
Rod Martin traces the path of Charles Ernest Wigg, a labourer, of Essendon, from his enlistment in September 1917 to his final days on the battlefield of Ypres in October 1917.

WW1 British Soldiers' last Wills released

An example of one of the letters.
In a news story just out on the MailOnline, 230,000 wills and personal letters have been released by the British Government. The wills and letters were collected from the men in the trenches, but their families never saw them.  Instead, they went into storage.

The UK Government has given some examples of the last letters.

You can search the online index if you know the surname and year of death.  A scan of a will or letter will cost £6. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Embarkation of Troops, Sydney, 1915

Troops boarding the Hororata in Port Melbourne in 1914. AWM C02491

I just found an interesting silent pictures entitled WWI Troops Embarkation and Charity Bazaars, Sydney (c.1915) of troops embarking on troopships in Sydney.  One of them was the A9 Shropshire.  There are four associated clips - look for the links under the screen.  From the Australian Film and Sound Archive.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fighting the Kaiser!

A new blog called Fighting the Kaiser: Coburg and the First World War  has started up to feature the volunteers from another suburb of Melbourne.  Coburg, of course, was in the invidious position of carrying part of the name of the Consort of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha - of nation now the enemy.  How would the good burgers of Coburg handle that, we wonder?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Senior cadets, circa WW1

Distinguishing  between senior cadets and a militia soldiers has always been a bit of a blank for me, but with a bit of hunting round the AWM website I think I now have a handle on it.  The age group hasn't always helped - say in the instance of a lad in the vicinity of 18 years of age, who might be in the senior cadets or the militia going on his appearance.  The cadets were grouped into junior cadets,12 to 14 years of age, senior cadets 14 to 18 years of age, and militia 18 to 26 years of age.

It appears, however, that the cadet uniform shirt did not have epaulettes (as in the example above), and the hat was often domed.

I still find the brass regimental number badge a conundrum.  I'm not sure what the rule was with those badges so I will leave it for now and hope someone will comment on it.