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

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.