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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Researching Australian Servicemen and Women of the Great War

In 2015 Australia will commemorate the centenary of the Great War.    To aid research on your family members, or names commemorated on district memorials, the RHSV will hold a workshop
on Tuesday 17th April 1.30 to 4 pm at RHSV Headquarters, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne.

Presenters will be:

Lenore Frost “Official and unofficial sources”
An RHSV Volunteer  “WW1 holdings in the RHSV collection”
Andrew Kilsby     “The use of Unit War Diaries at the AWM”.

Attendees will receive a Bibliography of sources and RHSV holdings. 

Cost: $20.00 for members, $30.00 for non-members
Bookings essential:  phone 9326 9288 or email

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cpl Horace Lang, lost in the Battle of Bullecourt, 1917

Australian troops prepare to attack at Bullecourt, May 1917.  Australian War Memorial Collection.
Horace Lang was a twenty-two year old clerk from North Street, Ascot Vale when he joined up  in March 1915. He arrived in the Middle East in time to see service on the Gallipoli Peninsual, and later took part in operations in France.  His brother Sergeant Thomas Lang of the NZEF subsequently died of illness in Cairo in 1918.  See Rod Martin's story of Horace Lang's part in the Great War.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A sentimental soldier

Trooper George Ross of the 4th Light Horse Regiment sent home this sentimental photo of himself with his sister Kate Ross inset at the top.  Kate went on to marry Pte James Simonsen, who served with  the 4th Field Ambulance in Gallipoli and France. George Ross served entirely in the Middle East, and probably took part in the famous Charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917.  Photo courtesy of Jim Rowley.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Second Nelson brother dies

Arthur Streeton: Bellicourt: entrance to St. Quentin Tunnel  (AWM ART03517)
Just two months after the death of his younger brother Alex near Amien in July 1918, Alfred Nelson was killed in the Battle of St Quentin Canal.  Originally buried at Amiens, Alex was exhumed an reburied in the Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery.  Alfred's body was never identified.  He is commemoriated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.  Read Rod Martin's stories of Pte Alfred Nelson and of Pte Alexander Nelson, two young men from Kensington.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pte Simonsen of the 6th Field Ambulance

James Simonsen of Ascot Vale enlisted with the AIF in May 1915, and spent some time on Gallipoli and in Egypt before moving on to France. He embarked with the 6th Field Ambulance, later transferring to the 12th Field Ambulance.  After the war James returned to work at the Cordite Factory, Maribyrnong, where he had been apprenticed before the war.  Grandson Jim Rowley tells James' story here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Private Alex Nelson of Kensington

An Australian ambulance 1917 (AWM P09191.003)
Alex Nelson, as an 18 year old,  had to get his mother's permission to enlist in June 1915.  He embarked with the 8 Inf Battalion, but over the next three years made a number of transfers to other units, including the 60th Infantry Battalion, the 5th Pioneer Battalion, the 3rd Field Ambulance, and finally the 6th Light Mortar Battery.  Rod Martin relates Alex's story here.