Friday, April 21, 2017

The Reluctant Soldier

Samuel Gaudie and the 5th Infantry Battalion landed at Gallipoli on day one. Gaudie remained there until he returned to Lemnos in October 1915 though the reason is not clear from the records.  The troops were quite debilitated by exposure and disease by that time, and many were evacuated for a rest, or to recover from disease.  Sam seems to have decided he liked it on Lemnos, and disappeared.  He may have found someone to shelter him in the Greek village of Castro on the island, which would have been delightfully human after the horrors of Gallipoli.  He probably just didn't want to return.  It set a pattern for the next few years.   You can read the story of Sam's misadventures, as told by Rod Martin.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Photos of Instructional Staff - SSM Latchford

 Ern Latchford as a member of the 6th Australian Infantry Regiment, aged 18, seen in the back row, second from the left.  His friend Rupert Holden is in the back row far right. Taken at Lancefield Junction, 1907. 

Officers of the Area 58B (Ascot Vale) Instructional Staff, taken early in 1914  at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Ern is in the back row, second from the right. Compare this with a very similar photo on this page.  

In 1907 Ernest Latchford was an enthusiastic member of the Volunteer militia camped at Lancefield Junction with the 6th Australian Infantry Regiment.  In 1910 he applied for a position with the Instructional Staff whose role it was to train the thousands of new Senior Cadets produced under the new system of compulsory military training for boys.  By 1914 Ern had arrived at the Area 58B Ascot Vale Senior Cadets as Staff Sergeant Major Ernest Latchford.  At that link you will find a series of photos showing Ern's progress from the age of 18 to 28, when he was permitted to join the AIF, and later as a Commissioned as an officer with the 38 Inf Battalion.  The photos come to use courtesy of Mark Latchford.

Other collections of photos and postcards can be seen here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Private Louis Salamito and the Last Post Ceremony

A bugler and piper in the commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial PAIU2013/044.04

The names listed in the Last Post Calendar  are those whose stories are told at the daily Last Post Ceremony at the Memorial. The names are listed in order of the day on which their story was or will be told.   Individuals are commemorated in a series of videos at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra every day.  The list stretches back to 2013.

At the end of each day, commencing at 4.55 pm AEDT, the Memorial farewells visitors with its moving Last Post Ceremony. The ceremony begins with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a lament, played by a piper. Visitors are invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection. The Roll of Honour in the Cloisters lists the names of more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations over more than a century. At each ceremony the story behind one of these names is told. The Ode is then recited, and the ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post.
 One of the soldiers commemorated in this ceremony was Louis Henry Salamito, who fell on 20 September 1917.  The video of the ceremony commemorating Louis can be found  on this link.

A family member must apply about 12 months in advance of a given date and submit materials which is then researched by an AWM historian and written up. Such ceremonies will only last for the centenary duration of the great war, i.e. so 2014-2018.

If there are any other videos commemorating local soldiers, please let me know so I can put a link on their webpage.

Thank you to Greg Salamito for alerting me to this feature of the AWM website.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Missing - a baker from Ascot Vale

14 Federation St, Ascot Vale. Reproduced with permission from

Twenty-three year old baker Edward Smith left this home in Ascot Vale in 1916 to join the 5th Infantry Battalion and never saw it again.  Rod Martin tells the story of the missing baker.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Diversity within the AIF

Private John Christian Herweg of Moonee Ponds.  Courtesy of John Gilbert.

What happens if you are an Australian officer with a German name?  What happens if you are German with sons in the Australian Imperial Force?  What happens if you have lived  happily in Australia for 40 years, but suddenly become an enemy alien?  Lenore Frost explores the complexities facing different cultural groups within our community. 

The talk will be held on Tuesday 21 March at the Flemington Library, 6.30 to 7.30.  Book online at: or in person at the Flemington Library  or by phone on 8325 1975.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Missing Jockey

Stand hurdles, Flemington. Photographer Frederick E Murphy, album "Horse racing and steeplechasing in Victoria and Tasmania."  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H81.189/2/11.
With no family or other ties, English-born Fred Botterill made his way to Australia and pursued his career as a jockey, first appearing in the Melbourne papers in 1912 at Melbourne race-tracks.  He lived in Kensington near the Flemington race track, and worked for a time for Harry Harrison who had stables at 51 Epsom Rd, Kensington. Fred raced at Flemington, Williamstown, Mentone, Caulfield and Moonee Valley for the Harrison stables.

Harry Harrison's "Jessamine" stables from a Sporting Globe story in 1933:  Thanks to Alex Bragiola for this illustration.
Looking south along Westbourne St, Harrison's training track can be seen on the corner of Epsom Rd with the house to the right of that..  Thanks again to Alex Bragiola.

During the week he schooled horses over hurdles and brush fences for Harrison, often in company with another jockey, Reuben Koops.  Koops joined the AIF a few weeks before Fred, and ended up in the 4 Light Horse Regiment.

The track newspaper correspondent generally wrote positive remarks about Fred's trackwork:

Sylvan Maid (Mr. W. Morrison) did well for a beginner in a school over hurdles with the Dunkeld gelding (J. Nicholls) who subsequently jumped fences in excellent style. Milkabah (F. Botterill) was to have gone with this pair, but he has a will of his own, and preferred a caper on his own account, but after his rider had got the upper hand he was sent over the brush hurdles, which were jumped in a satisfactory manner.
ROUND ABOUT FLEMINGTON. (1913, June 7). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 19. 
However, Bottrill's name rarely appeared as a placegetter.  He did get a run in the Melbourne Cup Steeplechase in 1912, but failed to get a place.

In May 1914 Fred appears to have left the Harrison stables, and was working in Adelaide when a mishap occurred:
The only other accident on Saturday was in the Steeplechase, and when Darcy fell F. Botterill, an English boy who is in T. Keily's stable, had his arm injured, how severely was  not known, as Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring  thought that probably only the X-rays  would reveal this.
SPORTING GOSSIP. (1914, May 20). Port Pirie Recorder and North Western Mail (SA : 1898 - 1918), p. 4.
One can only assume that the injury wasn't too serious, as three weeks later Fred was racing again at Port Adelaide racetrack when a very serious pile-up occurred involving five horses and jockeys: 
It was in the Franklin Hurdle Race that the most serious accident occurred. At the first hurdle five  horses fell in a bunch. It is difficult to say which horse started the trouble. Some people say it was Reveller, others Kanyaka, and others that the two fell together. But whichever it was to first kiss  Mother Earth was the one that did the damage, for in less time than it takes to tell it the horses following were in a general mix up, and the excited animals kicked and struggled in their efforts to rise in a manner that made it difficult to understand how any of the jockeys who came down escaped death. Fortunately two of the riders - T. Ryan and G. Hale - who were on The Amendment and Bucksey respectively, were thrown clear, and they suffered no injury. A. D. Frazer (Kanyaka), W. Shaw  (Thrifty Lass), and F. Botterill (Reveller) were not so fortunate, and they were all injured, more or less seriously. 
Frazer and Botterill were unconscious when picked up, and Shaw, though conscious, was bleeding freely from a wound on the head. When the ambulance waggon delivered its unfortunate freight at the casualty room Dr Griffiths found that Shaw's left ear was nearly severed, evidently from a kick. An anaesthetic was at once administered and the ear sewed on again. An examination of Frazer showed that he was suffering from slight concussion of the brain, but Botterill was found to be very badly hurt, his skull being fractured. It also appeared as though there was compression on the brain. As soon as possible he was removed to the Adelaide Hospital, where he was operated on by Dr. Smeaton. Upon enquiry last night it was ascertained that his condition was critical.
SERIOUS FALLS (1914, June 15). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), p. 5. 
There were no further references to Fred Botterill in the racing news after this incident.

When recruiting for the war began in August 1914, Botterill may well have still been in hospital, but  had he made it to a recruiting office,  he would have been considered too short.  Twelve months on the losses of troops which occurred at Gallipoli forced the Army to reconsider its standards, and in September 1915 he was considered to be a strapping young chap, eminently suitable to carry a pack and rifle.  It doesn't seem probable that he was still a working jockey after the serious head injury he had suffered the year before, and by putting that occupation on his B2455 he may have been harking back to his glory days.

He had no family to whom he could leave his slender estate, but he told his friend Miss Morgan of 32 Barnett St, Kensington that he wanted her to have anything he was owed.

Rod Martin tells the story of Fred Botterill, the jockey who went missing.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Bill Yeates returns

Rod Martin wrote about William Henry Yeates in 2012 (see blog post Trench Warfare and Trench Feet)   but recent contract from a family member has allowed Rod to update Bill's story with further insights about Bill's wounds and later life.  The above photo is also new to us, as is the telegram which was sent giving erroneous information of Bill's death.  To see the updated story, click here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Battle-scarred veteran

On 31 August 1918 Pte Alfred Arthur Tower received a gunshot wound to the left side of his face and his left fingers, and was evacuated to England. He returned to Australian in January 1919, and is shown in the above photo in his front garden in Ascot Vale with a wound stripe on his left sleeve and a scar on the left side of his face.  Alfred later worked for the City of Essendon  at the Municipal Quarry in Maribyrnong.  Photo courtesy of David Towler.  Further photos of Arthur and his family can be found on the Empire Called website.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tulloch Yuille and the Flemington Presbyterian Church

Flemington-Kensington Church News, courtesy of the Reverend Phillip Court.

In 1916 the Presbyterian Church in Norwood St, Flemington called Alexander Tulloch Yuille to serve their community.  He found them distressed by the destruction being wrought on the young men of their community, and he picked up a heavy load to minister until the war had ended and the living had returned.  One of the means he used to both comfort his parishioners and reach out to the absent part of his congregation was a tiny newsletter - the Flemington-Kensington Church News.  The tiny bound volume of newsletters pictured above was the only one to survive an arsonist's fire in later decades.   The newsletters were sent to the boys away at the war as well as to those at home, and in this way he supported the community in their sorrow.  You can read more about Tulloch Yuille's time in Flemington on the Empire Called website.

Essendon Ambulances for the War Effort

Marilyn Kenny has done a wonderful job of teasing out the story of the fundraising efforts by the local community to provide ambulances for the war effort.  The result was a rather mixed.  The ambulances were lost for a time until Maurice Blackburn drew the attention of the public to their whereabouts.  How embarrassing!  Read the full story of the Essendon Red Cross Ambulances.

Friday, January 27, 2017

WW1 Projects recognised in the Victorian Community History Awards, 2016

I completely forgot I was going to do a post on the WW1 projects which were recognised in the Victorian Community History Awards 2016 - so here they are:

We Remember: Honouring the Service and Sacrifice of Local Veterans and the Wangaratta Community During WW1.  This won the Multimedia Award. 

Westgarthtown and WW1, mentioned in an earlier post, received a Commendation in this category.

Home Front Ballarat WW1 won the Centenary of WW1 Award. 

The following entries received Commendations in that Award:

From the Top of the Hill, by Kevin Peoples.

The Game of Their Lives by Nick Richardson.

Sons of Williamstown: a Labour of Love   Hobson's Bay City Council

Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour Re-creation, Child and Family Services, Ballarat Inc

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Corporal Nash of the 29 Battalion

Coming back from a Christmas break, Rod Martin has leapt into 2017 with an outstanding account of the very hard fighting by the 29 Infantry Battalion by looking at  one of the originals of that Battalion, Bernard Nash, who was present during most of the fighting.  Nash answered the question:

He had begun training with the 29 Battalion by that date.   Go here for Rod Martin's story about Corporal Frederick Bernard Nash.