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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Missing Embarkation Roll, N&MEF, 1914 - Updated! Updated again

Going Ashore: Naval Reserve drawn up on Rabaul wharf. Source unknown.

Rabaul, New Guinea, circa 1914.  German Headquarters after capture by the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force.  The photo shows a New Guinea Guard lined up outside.   (AWM.  P00595.157)

The following list of men who volunteered for the Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in 1914 is not included in the AWM lists of Embarkation Rolls, nor do the men have a service record at the National Archives of Australia unless they re-enlisted after their return to Australia in 1915.   Later embarkation rolls for the NMEF exist, but this first one appears to have been lost.

This list includes the first casualty in the First World War, Able Seaman William George Vincent Williams.*  His death was described in a letter by Leading Seaman Robert Curwen, published in the Essendon Gazette on 15 October 1914, p.3.  (See update below)

A handful of men from the Essendon and Flemington district are noted in the list below.  Further research is being done on these men.


The following official list shows the ranks, names and addresses of Victoria's naval contribution to the successful Expeditionary force now in German New
Guinea -

Lieut. R G Bowen, Naval Staff Office, Port Melbourne
S. Lt. Chas Webber, 51 Dundas place, Albert Park, V
S. Lt. Avenal Hext, 42 Findlay street, Albert Park, V
Gnr. Young, N S Office, Launceston
Mid. Chas Wm Hicks, 11 Mitchell street, Northcote
Mid. Richards Stanley Veale, 17 Findlay street, Albert Park
Mid. Reg Langdon Fuller, 2 Chester street, Moonee Ponds    SEE BELOW
Mid. Colin Laurence, care of W N Edgar, Woodleigh, South Gippsland
Eng. Mid. Harry Alexr. Willian, Victoria street, Williamstown
Eng. Mid. Charles Matthew Cock, Mount Alexander road, Moonee Ponds
Ag. Yeo. Sig. Cyril Motton Urquhart, 47 Page street, Albert Park.
Ag. Yeo. Sig. Wilfred Jamieson 330 Montague street, Albert Park
L.S. Percy Collier, 188 Albert street, Port Melbourne
Acting Artif. Francis Geo Caborne, 8 Johns street, Footscray.
First Writer Ronald Fowler, 105 Verdon street, Williamstown V
A.B. Robert Williamson Goldie, Port Fairy North.
A.B. Frederick Horace Hale, 274 Russell street, Melbourne.
O.S. Geo Archd. Allen Guthrie, 125 Adams street, North Williamstown
O.S. Ed. Michael Smith, 86 Sutherland street, North Brunswick
O.S. Oswald Geo McLaren 11 Nerford place, Albert Park.
O.S. William Nathaneul Gothard, care of Jenkins, Arthur street, Fairfield.
O.S. Charles Craig Philpot, 50 Davis street, North Carlton.
Second Writer Leslie William Trickey, 124 Lord street Richmond.
O.S. Alfred Henry Holmes, Golf Links avenue, Oakleigh
Sto. 1 Alex Joseph Congues, 31 Cruickshank street Port Melbourne.
Second Ck. Albert William Hudson, 136 Thistlethwaite street, South Melbourne.
O. Sig. Oscar Vincent, 4 Isabella grove, Hawthorn.
Second SS William Charles Parlett, 13 Launder street, Glenferrie
Sto. 2 George Jarrett, Percy street, Portland
Act. Art. Raymond S. Hammerburg, 300 Ross street, Port Melbourne
O.S. Frederick Jackson Sinel, 17 Leek street Yarraville.
O.S. Sydney Lewis Patterson, Gawler street, Portland
O.S. William Higgie, 21 McGregor street, Middle Park
Blacksmith's Mate, Percy Reginald Harrison, 16 Railway street, Footscray.
P.O. Henry Richd Orpen, 10 Sydney road, Moreland.
A.B. Rupert Leslie Bourne, Rossville, Speight street, Northcote
A.B. George Revington Spunner 20 Bruce street, Kensington
L.S. William George Redfern, Allestree, Portland
L. Sto. Edward James Butler, 50 Ireland street, West Melbourne
A.B. Vivian Pithouse, Pentinok street, Portland
A.B. John Stubbs, 56 Chetwynd street,West Melbourne
R.M.L.I. Alfred Mitchell, 9 Winter street, Malvern
A.B. Joseph Henry Watford, 13 Princes street, North Williamstown.
A.B. Cyril Frank Hall, Falstaff Restaurant, Spencer street Melbourne
R.M.L.I. Sydney Edward Bunelow, 36 Ridgway avenue, Kew.
A.B. Thomas McCarron, 60 Lorne street, Moonee Ponds.
L. Sig. (R.N.V.A.R.) William Arthur Vale, 4 Sturt street, Collingwood
T.S. Fred Knight, 219 York street, South Melbourne
A.B. Frank Caulton, 117 Stevedore street, Williamstown.
A.B. Herbert Campbell, Dover street, Williamstown
A.B. Charles Burgess, Park crescent, Williamstown
A.B. Leslie Miles, 359 Rae street, North Fitzroy
A.B. George Royston McDonald, 100 Langridge street, Collingwood.
A.B. Theodore Sydney Hooks, 181 Pelham street, Carlton
O. S. Frank Melbourne Robertson, 208 Albert road, Albert Park
C.P.O. George Robert Palmer, 60 Fitzgibbon street, Parkville
A.B. Harry Mumford, 7 William street, Yarraville
A.B. Sidney Edward Staines, 103 McIlwraith street, North Carlton
A.B. George Henry Elkine, 74 Francis street Ascotvale.
A.B. William Walter Allen, Hurd street, Portland
A.B. Nelson Blair Beglin, Hurd street, Portland
A.B. James Dumbleton, 17 York, street Yarraville.
A.B. William Thomas Tonkin, 9 Evelyn street, Brunswick
A.B. Arthur William Robinson, Cramer House, Cramer road, Beaumaris.
A.B. Frank Currie, 181 Pelham street, Carlton
O.S. Henry James Merrick, 37 Garden street, Port Melbourne.
Sto. Arthur William Bennett, care of Mrs Waters, Little Collins street, Melbourne.
Sto. 1 William John Looby, 55 Charles street, St Kilda.
Sto. 1 Frederick Taylor, 14 Stawell street, Farnley
P.O. 2 George Hunt, 401 Nicholson street, North Carlton
M.A.A. John Hartley Beaton, 174 Osborne street, Williamstown 

 Sto 1 Thomas Cardoe, Broadmeadows Hotel Broadmeadows
A.B. Mordicia Bower Smith, Allambee, Yarragon
A.B. Claude Bensley, 103 Kerford road, Albert Park
L.S.1 Ernest Robert Midley, 6 Gillman street, East Malvern.
Sto. Charles Allen Harris, 157 Cruikshank street, Port Melbourne.
A.B. William Robert Turner, 181 Pelham street, Carlton
Sto. Ralph Wickham, 33 Blair street, Brunswick East.
A.B. Robert Lawrence Martin, 49 Grieve street, North Fitzroy.
A.B. William Robert Hartwell, care of Parsons' Brooke street, Westgarth, Heidelberg
L.S. William McLoughlan, 66 Smith street, South Melbourne.
A.B. Charles Keiller, Hurd street, Portland.
A.B. John Webber, 8 Alexander crescent, South Yarra.
A.B. Gordon Dundstrom, (?), 39 Richardson street, Albert Park.
A.B. William Everest, 125 Stoke street, Port Melbourne.
Painter Harry Herbert Porfrey, 353 Coventry street, South Melbourne
A.B. Cecil Percy Thoresby, 110 Inkerman street, St Kilda.
L.S. Robert Curwen, 35 Primrose street, Moonee Ponds.
A.B. George Alford, 96 Raglan street, Port Melbourne.
Sto. Leslie Sinclair Eastman, 617 Brunswick street, North Fitzroy.
L. Sto. Neil McDonald, 480 Albert street, East Melbourne
Sto. 2 Walter Taylor, 747 Drummond street, North Carlton.
A.B. Frank Elliott, 151 Brighton street, Richmond.
Sto. P.O. William Geo. Thomas Richardson, 37 Railway place, Williamstown
Sto 1 Alexander Allison, 14 Gladstone place, South Melbourne.
A.B. Donald McLachlan, 83 Queen's parade, North Fitzroy.
Shipwright Robert Boyd, 76 North road, Newport.
A.B. Donald Ross, 230 Richardson street, Middle Park.
Sto. 1 Charles Arthur Cook, 209 Grant street, North Melbourne.
Sto. Thomas Smith, 59 Nelson place, Williamstown.
Sto. James Fraser, Sailor's Home, Melbourne.
A.B. William Geo Vincent Williams, 36 Beaver road, Northcote    * (see above)
Engr Thomas James Hughes, Port Fairy.
A.B. William Knox, 56 Murray street, Prahran".

[104 names of Victorians]

GERMAN NEW GUINEA. (1914, September 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved March 3, 2014, from

It is possible that a similar list can be found for a NSW contingent.

UPDATE:  Further information suggests that while the first Australian to be wounded in the Great War was AB Williams,   Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley was the first to die of his wounds, aboard the Berrima, while Williams died of his wounds a little while later.

UPDATE:  I've just realised that the Midshipman Reg Langdon FULLER should be Reginald Langdon BULLER.

UPDATE: June 2020  Stoker 1 William John Looby is on my WW1 database, so I have added a link to his page.


  1. Have you discovered why they were left out? Did they join up before hostilities began? Or was the September 1914 action in New Guinea not considered 'real' war?

  2. I had a look at the Wikipedia article on the action in Rabaul, which talked about the different groups of volunteers who went with this Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. It was a separate force from the Australian Imperial Force, and I think it likely that in this first contingent they hadn't set up a system of record keeping/storing. Don't know. But the Wiki article did not specifically mention a contingent from Victoria, so I think they must have been included in the 500 men who were in the Navy or the Royal Naval Reserve - which meant that they could be mobilised quickly. According to the article, it was a group from that 500 naval and reserve men which sallied forth to capture the wireless station, during which Williams was killed. Curwen, who wrote home about the action, and his friend Bob Palmer, were all in that group that were engaged in the action, and they were all in the group listed in the Argus. The naval ranks given in the list is evidence that it was not a raggle taggle lot of volunteers, they were men with rank or rating in the Navy or Reserve. Later contingents of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force were used to occupy the German possessions in the vicinity of New Guinea, and those embarkation rolls are included at the AWM.

  3. Further advice from Robert Simpson suggests that the RAN didn't have embarkation rolls - which makes sense. On his suggestion I have also correction my deplorable error in Williams' rank - he was an Able Seaman, not a Chief Petty Office. I clearly got over excited.

  4. Strange - I put a comment on this a day or two ago, but didn't think it got through. Thank you for letting us in on Curwen, who was a soldier settler for a short time near Maffra. All adds up in the end!

  5. Hi Linda,

    I don't know what became of your earlier comment - didn't come through to me. I need to do more work on Curwen's page, but am short of time at present.

  6. I've now checked out Henry Richard Orpen who is in this list. He lived in Moreland and had been in the Naval Reserves for 8 yrs and had been in New Guinea for 8 mths (was there in Sep 1914). He later enlisted in the 30th Btn as a Lieutenant. Was out of action for nearly 18 mths with severe shell shock and when he returned to France in Oct 1917 was deemed an unsatisfactory commander and sent home in early 1918. Poor Harry. His excuse was that he'd been suffering from malaria since his time in New Guinea. The authorities were not at all sympathetic and they questioned his right to medals and to a war service loan. I'm not sure whether he got either of these, but he was certainly made to suffer!

  7. Actually although Willams was shot first Brian Pockley was the first to die. He died at 2:00pm and Williams died at 2:50pm.

  8. Do you know know if there is a plan to have the names on the missing embarkation roll for the AN&MEF included in the AWM embarkation roll?

  9. No I don't. I wrote to the AWM asking if they would consider including these men, but I didn't get a reply. I would suggest writing to them yourself. I suppose the more people who ask, the more they are likely to consider it. Archivally it would be difficult, because the list in the newspaper is not an archival record for the AWM. So it is not as straightforward as it might seem. The Embarkation Rolls of the AWM are a specific set of records. The AN&MEF seems not to have had an equivalent set of records to the AIF. .

  10. Hi Lenore
    Your embarkation listing is vey interesting. I am working with Ted Baillieu in his role as Chair of the Victorian Govt's ANZAC Centenary Committee. As Victoria's truly first participants in World War 1, the AN&MEF group departure on 17 August to join the HMAT Berrima on 19 August is a significant part of Victoria's contribution and sacrifice in WW1. Do you have your embarkation listing in a searchable/excel format? Ted's focus for the Centenary Commemorations is to involve as many descendants in the commemorative events. If we were able to search/group your AN&MEF listing, we would be able to start tracing descendants with the assistance of Members of Parliament. Your response will be much appreciated. Best Cathy Quealy, Office of Ted Baillieu.

  11. Hi Cathy,

    I have the listing in a Word document only. A person who is clever with Excel could created an Excel list for you with the suburbs in one column for sorting purposes.

    I saw tonight that I hadn't made the link to the newspaper article a hyperlink in the post above, so I have fixed that. It was easy to miss without the hyperlink.

    After the original post I was contacted by a person who seems to be running a mailing list for people interested in this AN&MEF. I daresay some of them are descendants, so that may help you contacting people. If you email me I can put you in touch with them, and send you the Word doc.

    Best wishes,


    1. I can make it a searchable excel list - cheers

  12. I have been working on this for the last 9 years - I have post to ancestry to make connection to family members - and have made contact with Hicks - Buller - Willian - - and also other member as well as member of the Walker/Courtney - Moffatt - and South Australian members of ANMEF Sullivan - today I emailed the Courier Mail to see if they would run a story and the Sth Australian Paper run on on Tim Sullivan wounded 9 times - I have been collecting images - the Seapower Centre in Canberra site is a great - - with all of us working together to promote the men of the ANMEF and the Battle of Bitapaka - would love to share with you anything I have - we have recently been given medals of Alfred Reed while not ANMEF he is at the battle of Bitapake and revenged the death of LCDR Elwell - the family also gave a picture of the German Office whose had was amputated by Captain Pockley - I am not aware that this picture has been seen - Regards Toni Munday

  13. Toni, are you planning an exhibition on the AN&MEF at the Cerberus Museum?

  14. All items are on display - along with the Flag taken from Rabaul -

  15. Lenore
    Thank you for posting the link to the public event this Sunday 17 August at 11 am at Flinders St Station - - marking the departure of the first Victoria Troops in World War 1 - the AN&MEF Group.
    Cathy Q

  16. Lenore
    Interesting article re AN&MEF involvement in WW1 -
    Cheers Cathy Q