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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas at Abbassiah, 1915

Pte Bert Manderson and his youngest brother, Bill, before embarkation.

Bert Manderson's older brother Ern arrived in Egypt in time for the brothers to celebrate Christmas 1915 together.  On Boxing Day they had a photo taken with friends during a camel ride near the Pyramids. A few months later they re-embarked for France.  Greg Manderson tells the story of his grandfather's war with the aid of  Bert's diary.  You can read the full story here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

WW1 Pictorial Honour Rolls

Cpl Kenneth Yates of Essendon
A useful site for either posting photos or searching for photos of WW1 servicemen is this one for WW1 Pictorial Honour Roll

They are organised alphabetically by state.  You can also search by name. Many of the photos are from well-known sources, but many are from private sources.

Lost Heroes of the Great War

There must be many WW1 group photos out there in which one soldier is known and the others are unknown.  This photo shows Corporal James Anderson on the front right, but who are the others?  If you have photos like this, an interesting site where  you might post them is Lost Heroes of the Great War.  Link removed as the site has been taken over.  Don't yet know what became of the photos. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Private John Christian Herweg, 23 Bn

Private John Christian Herweg, brother of Lance Corporal Robert Herweg, was another boy soldier who enlisted at the age of 17 and died of illness in Heliopolis a few months later.    You can read his story here.

Lance Corporal R H Herweg, 14th Bn

Lance Corporal Herweg was a six foot blacksmith's striker from Moonee Ponds.  He landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula with his Battalion on 26 April 1915, and a couple of days later was sent to relieve Quinn's Post.  See his story here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The boy soldier

Private Arthur Hill aged 16, taken in Melbourne circa 1916.
 A certain amount of connivance on the part of the authorities allowed a 16 year old boy to embark for active service in March 1916.  His father Thomas had already departed with the AIF in 1915.  You can read their stories at the above links.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Captain Reginald Walter Jones, 14th Battalion

Captain Reginald Walter Jones of the 14th Infantry Battalion was an electrician from Essendon.  The History of the 14th Infantry Battalion, AIF says:

"An Original, he enlisted as a private, but his ability soon brought him to the front. A deadly rifle shot, he did much effective sniping on the PeninsulaHe had been wounded several times,but it never altered his outlook on life. He was noted for his daring in a Brigade of brave men, but his daring was always controlled by intelligence. Much scouting and reconnaissance work must be placed to his credit during his long and honourable career with the Battalion".

Jones served with Albert Jacka VC throughout much of the war.  His two brothers, also in the 14th Battalion, were killed in action.  You can see details of Jones' career here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Villers-Bretonneux, 1918

Villers-Bretonneux from a field near Bussy, by A Henry Fullwood
In August 1918, 24 Infantry Battalion, including Lance-Corporal Wilfred Lorimer Colclough of Edward Street, Essendon, was in the vicinity of Villers-Bretonneux.  Read Rod Martin's account of  of Lorrie's active service here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Died at Sea

HM Hospital Ship Formosa.  Photo: Gallipoli Association website

Pte Tom Aldridge died at sea on board the Hospital Ship Formosa after injuries received at Courtney's Post on 26 August 1915.  See Rod Martin's of the events that led to Tom's death here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Maribyrnong-Bagotville Hill Memorial, Victory Park

This memorial in Victory Park commemorated the war service of the men of Ascot Vale West, known at the time as Bagotville Hill, which is the area bounded by Epsom Road and the river, west of Lang's Road and east of Maribyrnong Road. 

In 1922 a summary of the work done by the Maribyrnong-Bagotville Hill Soldiers' Reception Committee was published in the Essendon Gazette, noting:

"The area dealt with by the Committee covered 114 houses, and of these, 40 contained no residents eligible for active service. From the 74 houses remaining, no less than 67 men were sent to the front. Of these, 44 have returned home and been welcomed and each presented with a gold medal.  Nine were killed, and their mothers or next of kin were also the recipients of medals". 

 After the war the committee raised money to erect a memorial in Victory Park, Ascot Vale, and this was unveiled by Brigadier General H E "Pompey" Elliott, a commander of the 7th Infantry Battalion which recruited many volunteers from the district.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Len McKay, groom from Moonee Ponds

Len McKay joined up in July 1915 and found himself in the fleshpots of Cairo before a more serious engagement in France with the 14th Infantry Battalion.    Read Rod Martin's story of Len's service here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2nd Lieut Viv Garner, 14th Infantry Bn

Fellow officer Lieutenant Ted Rule remarked of Viv Garner that "the boys were closely attached to him" and that "he was not one to squib it; in fact, he was too much the other way".  Rod Martin tells the story of this popular young officer, who didn't "squib it", here.

RAN exercises Freedom of Entry to Melbourne

Today the Royal Australian Navy exercised its Freedom of Entry with 'Swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying' to the City of Melbourne.  The parade commemorates the century of the granting of Royal Assent by King George V to the Navy, and mark the important contrubution that Melbourne and the State of Victoria continues to provide to the Royal Australian Navy.

About 1,300 RAN personnel took part in the march past the Melbourne Town Hall, most of whom are currently serving at HMAS Cerberus at Flinders.  HMAS Cerberus this year celebrates 90 years of training officers and sailers to serve at sea, having Commissioned in 1911.

The RAN first came into being as the Commonwealth Naval Forces on 1 March 1901 as a small coastal defence force.  In 1909, in response to increasing international tensions and the recognition that Australia needed to assume full responsibility for its broader maritime defence, the nation embarked on a significant naval expansion program.  Its aim was to created a national navy capable of both defending Australia's maritime interests and contribute to regional defence.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Company Quartermaster Sergeant Joel Reginald Eade

Private Joel Eade of Edward St, Essendon, soon impressed the AIF with his physical attributes, education and training and was promoted quickly to Company Quartermaster Sergeant.  He embarked for Egypt early in 1916, but things began to go wrong.  Read Rod Martin's account here.

A 1915 recruitment poster from the
Australian War Memorial Collection.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

He answered to the Empire's call

JUNIER. -Whose death has been officially con-
firmed, previously reported wounded and missing,
Pte. Edward Wilfred (463, "Dolph"), youngest
beloved son of Mrs. Junier, 73 Hall street,
Moonee Ponds, and the late C. A. Junier, formerly
of Morwell, Gippsland, who fell at Gallipoli on the
25th April, 1915, loved brother of Ernest, Elsie
(Mrs. Fordred), Albert, Gus, and Ethel, aged 23

Buried in a nameless grave
Laid aside with other brave,   
His life for King and country gave -
My youngest son.
He answered to the Empire's call;
We ill could spare him, one and all, 
And prayed God would not let him fall -
My dearly loved son. 
But all should fight, and some must die,  
He took his chance - my youngest son;
And I can only grieve and say -
Thy will be done.
I kept the home fire burning, but the lad I've  
waited and yearned for will speak to me never  
Family Notices. (1917, October 6). The Argus ), p. 11.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Victorian Veterans Virtual Museum

The photo above was taken by Gordon Anderson.
The Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development has developed an online Virtual Museum for material relating to our war veterans.  Explore the resources here.  They include:

Victorian War Heritage Inventory

Victorian War Memorials

Digital Stories - In Our Words

Preserving Veterans Heritage

Anzac Centenary

Victorian Unit Histories 

Wouldn't you know it, they've moved the Victorian Veterans Virtual Museum, now under the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Private James Thomas Roy Easton of Kensington

A shipping clerk from Bellair Street, Kensington, Roy Easton joined the AIF in July 1915, not long after the landing at Gallipoli.  He embarked with the 14 Infantry Battalion, and died of wounds after a trench raid in 1916.  Rod Martin tells his story here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pte John Dalglish, 21 Inf Bn

Soldiers of the 21 Inf Bn searching the village of Hamel for 
survivors, July 1918 (Australian War Memorial Collection E02666)

Private John Dalglish arrived in France in February 1917 to reinforce the 21 Infantry Battalion, AIF, and from that time forward, apart from periods in hospital or on leave, was involved in very heavy fighting.  In July the Australian took the village of Hamel (or what survived of it) from the Germans in ninety-three minutes.  Rod Martin tells of this and other battles which Dalglish survived, only to succumb to broncho-pneumonian in December 1918, not long after the Armistice.  Read his story here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sergeant Leo James Harty, MM

Sergeant Leo James Harty of  Normanby Street, Moonee Ponds, survived the landing at Gallipoli and the battle of Lone Pine, but was probably killed in the bombardment at Messines in 1916.  Rod Martin tells his story here.   The photograph, by John Philpott, shows the Berks Cemetery Extension where Leo was buried. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Did this officer win a Military Cross for eating?

Company Sergeant Major (later Lieutenant) Rothwell Gordon's friends in Essendon thought his prodigious eating capacity may have scored him a "tin cross".

 You can read Marjorie Conning's story about her uncle here.


We saw it in the papers
But we don’t quite believe all they say
That Roth had been up to some capers
Had won a tin cross by the way
Tho' his fame we’ve no wish for defeating
There’s something we’d just like to know
Did he get that there medal for eating?
In that line he wasn’t too slow


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Private Bert Harvey and the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial

When Bert Harvey of Ascot Vale went missing during the battle of Pozieres, no trace was found of his body.    His name, along with 11,000 other Australians with  no known graves, is recorded on the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.  The above view is taken by Greg Manderson from the Memorial tower.  Greg is a relative of Bert's.

Read Rod Martin's account of Bert's last days near Moquet Farm here, illustrated with several of Greg Manderson's photos.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Private John Aldred - Conduct Prejudicial

Serapeum, Egypt, circa 7 Apr 1916.  Punt crossing the Suez. 
Australian War Memorial Collection.

An innocuous incident in which a soldier, fed up with the heavy work pulling a punt across the Suez at Serapeum, and under the influence of some alcohol, swore at his corporal, was overheard by an officer who sent for the MPs to arrest him.  The soldier expressed his contempt for "star men", and offered to fight him.  This led to the court martial of the soldier, and his return to Australia under a 12 months sentence with hard labour.  Still only 22 when released from prison, he tried to put his life back together.  The question of whether he succeeded is still open.  Read his story here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pte George Joseph O'Neill, awarded Croix de Guerre

George O'Neill enlisted in the 4th Field Ambulance Corps, and served from 1915 until the end of the war in Lemnos, dealing with the Gallipoli wounded, and later in France and Belgium.  While the citation for his Croix de Guerre has not yet come to light, Rod Martin describes the arduous and heroic service of a stretcher bearer in the front lines here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Survived the War - Harry O'Neill

Private Henry Francis O'Neill landed at Gallipoli with the 7th Infantry Battalion on 25 April 1915.  On the last day of the war, Lieutenant O'Neill was still with his Battalion, having survived the whole war and everything the Germans and the Allies could throw at him. In this picture he is standing in the doorway of 7th Battalion headquarters. Rod Martin tells his story.

Sapper Frederick Dart

Sapper Frederick Ryall Dart of Moonee Ponds developed an early interest in wireless and signals.  After completing four years of Senior Cadets with the 58A Cadets in Moonee Ponds, Dart joined the 21st Signal Troop, Citizens Military Force, which trained at South Melbourne.  When he enlisted in 1917 aged 18 he was assigned to the Wireless Training School.  The Armistice was made before he attained his 19th birthday and probable overseas embarkation.  Dart continued his interest in the military after he war, and a copy of his eventual discharge certificate in 1921 can be seen here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The battleground of Third Ypres, 1917

Gunner Gordon Doig, working with the Australian Field Artillery on the Menin Road fell victim to German shelling of his gunpit.  Rod Martin tells his story.

Private Alfred Aspinall, who fell at Gallipoli

Private Alfred (Fred) Aspinall grew up in Kensington.  He had been a member of the Holy Trinity Church of England choir as a lad, and as a teenager developed an interest in physical culture and boxing.  He also attended drill with the 64th Infantry Battalion, CMF  at the drill hall in Victoria Street, Melbourne.  The photograph courtesy of Kim Phillips of Spirits of Gallipoli, shows Fred as a Senior Cadet.  Sheila Byard examines the record of Fred Aspinall who fell at the landing at Gallipoli.

Monday, May 30, 2011

He was only nineteen: Private Will Manderson

Rod Martin tells the story of young Will Manderson, a 'Fair Dinkum', who enlisted at the age of 18, and who died at the age of 19.  His body was removed from its original burial site to the one above at Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy,  France.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pte Frank Archer - Missing In Action, Bullecourt, 1917

Dora Archer's husband kept her well supplied with letters and postcards (such as the one above) while he was away on Active Service, but one day the letters stopped coming.  Rod Martin tells Dora's poignant story here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

St Paul's Church of England, Ascot Vale - Honour Roll

A page for the volunteers who were members of St Paul's Church of England in Roxburgh St, Ascot Vale, has been loaded onto the webpage and can be accessed here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Did this man die at Bullecourt?

Why did George Abbott enlist in 1915, and then desert?  Why did he rejoin the army under another name, George T Connors, and desert again?

Rod Martin asks these questions and more in his new article "Private George Abbott - the man who wasn't there?"

When George Connors was released from a one month prison sentence in August 1916, the MPs picked him up as George Abbott and returned him to training. 

Who was he really?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Charge of the Light Horse, Beersheba, 1917

Trooper Herbert James Teather, of Moonee Ponds, embarked with the Camel Corps in December 1916.  After a short period of training he was transferred to the 4th Light Horse Regiment, and took part in the legendery last charge of the light horse at Beersheba in October 1917.  Read Rod Martin's story of Trooper Teather's part in the battle for Beersheba, and learn his fate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Melbourne Cricket Club Roll of Honour 1914-1918

 As usual, looking for something completely different, I came upon this Roll of Honour for the Melbourne Cricket Club.  I found a few locals on the list, including Captain Cedric Holroyd Permezel, who received fatal wounds at German Officers' Trench, and died at sea off Gaba Tepe on 14 July 1915.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

14th Battalion Reinforcements in Egypt, 1916

No 2915 Private Ernest (Ern) Edward Warry is standing in the back row, fourth from the left.  Ern left Australia in September 1915 on the Hororata with the 9th Reinforcements of the 14th Infantry Battalion.   Working on the theory that recruits  tended to stay in the group with which they originally enlisted, I had a look at the Embarkation Nominal Roll (AWM) on which Ern appeared, to see if I could recognise any names, and in particular whether anyone in that group came from Kensington.  If you look carefully at the fellow on the far right of the middle row you will see that he inscribed "Kensington" on his hatband.  Sure enough, there was a young fellow from Kensington - a William Henry Webster, 19, a jeweller from Kensington.  This identification is not certain, but it is worth considering.  A name I actually did recognise was No 2911 Henry Leonard Wallis,  a young fellow from Moonee Ponds, photos of whom I have at my disposal.  I am confident that the young man seated in the middle row, second from the right, is Leonard Wallis.  If anyone has a relative in this Embarkation Nominal Roll, it is possible that they may be in this photo.  Please get in touch if you can identify anyone.  Needless to say, most of them are not local to Essendon and Flemington, but from right round Victoria.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Brilliant Student

Private Edwin James George Pitman of Smith Street, Kensington, departed for the war on the Barambah in August 1918.  At the time of his enlistment in January 1918 he was one of the top maths student in the state.  He had previously served four years with the 53rd (Albert Park) Battalion senor cadets, and with the Melbourne University Rifles during his period at the University.  Was the Army protecting him by sending him to the Pay Corps?  Any other volunteer of his age and previous military training might have expected to have been on a ship and heading towards France within weeks of his enlistment.  He could have spent months in France in 1918 dodging shells - instead of which he arrived in London three days after the Armistice.  Sheila Byard tells the story of this brilliant student.

Pompey Elliott: our most revered fighting general?

Ross McMullin explores the legend in The Age today.

Elliott was highly regarded by residents in the Essendon area.  He had been the commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion (Essendon Rifles) at the outbreak of the war.   When he returned he was a frequent visitor to the area, invited to preside over the unveiling of many local war memorials.  The local Citizens' Military Association presented the City of Essendon with an individual memorial for Pompey Elliott.

Friday, April 15, 2011

St Thomas' Harriers - update

A relative has identified the gentleman in the collar and tie in the group portrait of the St Thomas' Harriers Club, Moonee Ponds, as her uncle Alfred William Gregory Wheatley, enlisted as Gregory Alfred Wheatley.

Greg was aged 33 when he enlisted, employed as an accountant, and a well-known amateur athlete, having competed in the 1908 Olympic Games held in Athens.

Despite having no prior military training, either as a cadet or in the Citizens Military Forces (according to his service record) his mature years, his professional occupation, his tall stature and his reputation as an athlete singled him out from the general run of recruits, and he was immediately sent to train to be a Sergeant.  Before the end of the war he was commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, later confirmed as a Lieutenant.

An unusual feature of his overseas service was a temporary transfer from his unit to the 8th Brigade Sports Unit in February 1918.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

On Friday I was very kindly nominated for a "One Lovely Blog Award" by Deb Ruth of the  Adventures in Genealogy blog.   It's a lovely thought, and very encouraging, so thank you, Deb.

To accept the award the rules are as followed:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. (alphabetical)
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

This is perhaps the best part of the award - finding new blogs to pass on the encouragement.  The ones I have chosen are those blogs which pass on their learning and passion to others.

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Australian Genealogy News by Aillin
Australian History for Genealogists by Margie
Cemetery Curiosities by AiW
Edenhope History by Tammy
Family History Research by Kerry Farmer
Geelong and District by Susie
Genealogy in New South Wales by Carole
Leah’s Family Tree by Leah
Lost Medals Australia by Glyn
Medals Gone Missing by Gary
My Family Hunt  by Carmel
My Gen Wishlist by Tina
My Genealogy Adventure
Resident Judge of Port Phillip by Janine
Stratford Historical Society Museum by Linda

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Empire Called......Invitation to a luncheon....

…to launch a website that honours the volunteers from Essendon & Flemington area who served in the First World War.

The website, still a work-in-progress, tells the stories of these men and women, and is a rich source of local history as well as a testament to the sacrifices they made.

Developed by local historian Lenore Frost it will prove to be much appreciated by future generations.

Come and hear Lenore talk about her project and view it in a PowerPoint presentation.

Come and talk to other people interested in preserving local stories and history.

12:00  Wednesday April 20th  2011
Doutta Galla Hotel
Racecourse Road
Excellent $12 meals available

rsvp by Mon 18th April to Anne:
or  phone 03 93722422

The portrait is of Private Arthur Beachcroft of Moonee Ponds who enlisted in 1915.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

St Thomas', Moonee Ponds, Harriers, circa 1914

This photo shows St Thomas' Harriers, Moonee Ponds, just prior to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.  Many of these young men enlisted.    We can identify some of them, have tentative identifications for others, and would appreciate some assistance in identifying others, and confirming our tentative identifications.  Click on the photo for a larger version. See the names on this page.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Engine trouble

Lieutenant Leonard Waller Heathcote of the Australian Flying Corps became a prisoner of war of the Turks when his biplane, a B3.2e as picture above, developed engine problems and came down in the desert near Gaza.  Read Rod Martin's story here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ken Walker, died of wounds received at Steele's Post

The poignant story of the death of the youthful 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Walker, a protege of Lieut-Colonel Pompey Elliot, told by Rod Martin.

Image courtesy of Kim Phillips of the Spirits of Gallipoli website.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pompey Elliott's memorial

Rod Martin has visited the grave of Brigadier-General H E 'Pompey' Elliott and found this wonderful soldier's memorial. 

Elliott was the commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion (Essendon Rifles),  Citizens' Military Force in 1914.  He subsequently raised the 7th Infantry Battalion, AIF and went on to become one of Australia's great WW1 military leaders.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hardiman's Hotel, formerly the Clarence Hotel

Hardiman's Hotel, Macaulay Road, Kensington, was formerly the Clarence Hotel, and home of three Hardiman brothers who enlisted in the Great War.   This is one of the sites we will be visiting on tomorrow's heritage walk.
Kevin Hardiman was badly wounded in France in 1917 and had his leg amputated.
Gerald Hardiman was wounded at Lone Pine, and discharged from the AIF in 1916, medically unfit.

The third brother, Robert Vincent Hardiman, who was the manager of the hotel when he enlisted at the age of 23 in 1917, went to Rabaul with the Naval and Military Expeditionary Force.  He was discharged in December 1918 when the AIF was demobilised, and died five months later.