Thursday, August 24, 2017

Petition to the Australian War Memorial

I just signed the petition, “Australian War Memorial - Please delay impending closure of, and access to the old Site.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?
Here’s the link:

Farrier-Sergeant John Quill

The Maribyrnong Remount Depot, AWM H18770
Among the many branches of the army whose task it was to provide services to support the fighting men was the Remount Units who looked after the horses - the feeding, exercising, breaking, shoeing and a myriad other tasks.   Farrier Sergeant John Edward Quill of Ascot Vale spent his entire overseas service in Egypt with the 1st Australian Remount Unit.

A better known personality in a remount unit was Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson who actually embarked on the same ship, the Orsova, boarding in Sydney a few days earlier than Quill who embarked from Melbourne.  Paterson wrote about some of his experiences in a Remount Unit in France in his book Happy Despatches, which is now available free online through the Gutenberg Project.  Look for "Hellfire Jack" for an entertaining read.

Rod Martin looks in detail at the work of a Remount Unit through the service of Farrier Sergeant John Quill.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lieutenant Meara, MC, of Ascot Vale

Cover of the 57 Infantry Battalion Unit War Diary for August 1918. Artwork by Presley Benjamin Edward Huthnance.
One of many who were appalled by the casualties at Gallipoli, Michael Meara of Ascot Vale enlisted in July 1915.  Within a short time he was selected for officer training, and went on to serve as a Lieutenant in the 57 Infantry Battalion.    He joined his unit in France in time to endure the bitter winter of 1916-17.  In one of the last campaigns of the war, Lieutenant Meara won a Military  Cross. This unassuming commercial traveller returned the family home in Ascot Vale, returned to work and passed his time playing golf with the Northern Golf Club  You can read his story on the Empire Called website.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Private John Dale, 58th Bn

A member of 2 Battalion writing a letter in the mud at Flesselles, November 1916  (AWM E00030)
John Dale, a butcher of Maribyrnong, passed through Flesselles in November 1916 as a very bitter winter descended on the Western Front.  Rod Martin again looks at the overall progress of the war through the experiences of one soldier, Private John Walter Dale.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Private Stephen Fanner and the Domain Guard

Stephen Fanner was rejected for service with the AIF owing to defective eyesight, but he enlisted for Home Service with the Domain Guard, where he served for 834 days between 14 August 1916 and 22 November 1918 when he was discharged at his own request.  Stephen was also an officer of the Salvation Army, and as a Salvation Army bandsman, probably played with the Domain Military Band while he was a Guard at the Domain Camp.   Stephen and his three brothers, including recently mentioned George Fanner, appeared on the Kensington Salvation Army Roll of Honour.