This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Sunday, March 10, 2019

He was only 19. Private Laurie James

Troops on board HMAT Hororata at Port Melbourne, 17 April 1915, AWM PB0448.
Laurie James, a bricklayer from Ascot Vale, was 19 years old when he swung out of the front gate of his family's tiny weatherboard home in Walter St, Ascot Vale and headed into Melbourne to enlist in the AIF.  It was January 1915.

The Hororata had left with the first contingent of troops in October the previous October, but had returned in time to embark a fresh lot of troops, including Laurie James, in April 1915.  The first troops had not yet scaled the heights of Gallipoli on the day Laurie left Melbourne on 17 April. By July that year Laurie was landed at Anzac Cove.  From that time forward Laurie was almost continuously engaged in warfare. For years it seemed he led a charmed life, but it all came to an end in an offensive against the Germans in August 1918.  As Rod Martin put it, 
"He had come so close to the end of the war, successfully fighting at Gallipoli, Pozières, Mouquet Farm and Passchendaele, only to fall less than three months before the Great War came to  a close."
Laurie served with the renowned local Battalion, the 7th Battalion, and in his story about Laurie, Rod Martin traces the dogged steps of the 7th Battalion as they ground their way towards an Allied Victory.  You can read Laurie's full story here.

No comments:

Post a Comment