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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Not forgotten at Christmas time, Egypt 1915

Christmas billies, provided by the Australian Comforts Fund, being distributed to 1st Light Horse Regiment at the Brigade camp at the aerodrome, Heliopolis, Egypt, Christmas 1915.  Australian War Memorial Collection, JO2506.

Three local volunteers embarked with the 1 LHR: 
 Neither Thomas Wheatley nor Robert Robertson ever had Christmas with their families again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Remembering Bill Scurry

 Bill Scurry as a Captain, in France, 1917,  seated on the left, with officers of the 15th Light Trench Mortar Battery.  Standing behind on the left is Lieutenant Leonard Frederick Morris, a school-fellow of Scurry's, attending Ascot Vale State School.  Courtesy of the AWM

Today an article in The Age reminds us that at this time 100 years ago, the last of the Anzacs were being evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula.  Lance-Corporal William Scurry from Ascot Vale  invented a clever device to encourage the Turks to think that the Anzacs were still in their trenches, though it was only one element of a much more extensive plan, prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Brudenell-White, to get the men off Gallipoli without casualties.

Tomorrow, Sunday 20 December, a plaque will be unveiled at the Lilydale Lawn Cemetery to remember Bill Scurry.

The Families and Friends of the First AIF website has further information about the evacuation.

An account of the evacuation was written by an unidentified Australian officer, but most likely Major Alfred Jackson.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three mates out rabbiting, 1920s

Three mates out rabbiting, 1920s.  Courtesy of Louise Hill-Coleman.
Louise Hill-Coleman had this photo in her family collection, but knew little about it other than recognising her grandfather Thomas Hill in the centre, out rabbiting with mates. 

Louise had contacted me some while back about her grandfather Thomas Hill and his son Arthur, who had been killed in France, an underage soldier.  She kindly provided photographs and papers relating to Thomas and Arthur for the website. A previous post about Arthur can be seen here.

Earlier this year I was likewise contacted by Matt Freckleton, whose grandfather Eric Herman had also served in the Great War.   Previous blog postings about Eric can be seen here and here.

Both Thomas Hill  and Eric Herman, and Eric's brother Joseph, had ended up in 4th Division Headquarters in France.  Matt had unearthed the AWM photo of the 4th Div HQ, which he sent me to illustrate his story of his grandfather's war service.  The soldiers in this photo had been named, and when I had a look at it (just in case I knew any other local men in the photo), I recognised the name of Thomas Hill.  I also noted that both Thomas Hill and Joseph Herman (also in the 4th Div HQ photo) had been employed as tobacco workers before the war, which suggested they might have known each other before the war.  They were the same age and had enlisted on the same day.  It was possible.  I put Louise and Matt in touch with one another, and they have since enjoyed corresponding about their respective grandfathers, and doing further research.

Louise, painstakingly working through their B2455s, went on to discover that Joseph Herman and Thomas Hill had been charged on the same day with the same offence - and Matt had a possible explanation!  You can read about that in the story he wrote about his grandfather Eric Herman.

Louise, having seen the photo of Eric, had a sudden brainstorm and burrowed into her grandfather's photos to find the one above - which shows three mates out enjoying a rabbiting expedition in the 1920s.  She now knows them as probably Joseph Herman on the left, Thomas Hill in the middle, and Eric Herman on the right.  Matt's mother thought the man on the left looked like Joseph.

This story illustrates the value of sharing family stories and photos, as the piecing together of the story of Thomas Hill and the Herman brothers, and the understanding of who was in the photo  to which Louise had not attached a particular meaning, could only have happened  with a willingness to share.  More than just unknown mates, the three men had a shared history in the Great War. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gunner Tatterson says farewell

HMAT Orsova leaving Port Melbourne, 16 December 1916.
If  Nellie Tatterson took her three children down to Port Melbourne to farewell Gunner John Forrest Tatterson eight days before Christmas 1916, it was the last time they were to see their husband and father.

Rod Martin outlines the service of Gunner Tatterson, who despite embarking with the 13 Light Horse Regiment, saw most his time overseas with the Field Artillery Brigade.  Transferred to work with howitzers, dangerous work owing to the proximity to the German lines.  Read the full story by clicking on the link above.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trooper Harry Griffiths acknowledged as war dead

Harry David Griffiths died in 1919 after his return to Australia and was buried at the Heidelberg Cemetery.  His family have worked to have his service in the AIF acknowledged as contributing to his death by the Office of Australian War Graves. This new plaque also recognises his earlier period of military service with Cameron's Scouts in the South African War.  A dedication will take place at the Heidelberg Cemetery tomorrow.  Photo courtesy of Wendy Moline. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Missing in 1916, found in 1924

4th Division Memorial at Ballenglise, France.
There was special suffering for those families whose lost sons, brothers and husbands had no known grave.    The family of Lionel Rupert Fox Walker, a hairdresser from Essendon, was one of those families.  The Red Cross had been unable to determine what had become of Lionel and his body could not be found - until 1924.  Rod Martin describes the carnage that characterised the battle for Mouquet Farm, in which Lionel was lost.   Lionel's last posting was with the 52 Battalion, which was part of 4 Division.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A teacher joins the machine gunners

Frederick Almonde Coe was teaching at St Thomas' Grammar School, Essendon, when he enlisted in February 1916.  The image above shows the Vickers medium machine gun on which Coe trained, and later operated in France. Rod Martin describes how the machine gun crews operated, and the outcome of Frederick's part in the war.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unidentified soldier at Moonee Ponds

From the State Library of Victoria collection, H99.166/52.
This fellow was photographed at Leighton Studios, 14 Margaret St, Moonee Ponds.  He may well not have been a local, but on the other hand, it is worth considering that he was a local. One of the older fellows in his late 30s.  If anyone should recognise him, please get in touch.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Rossi brothers do their bit

Gunner Les Rossi, back row, far left, trained in Swanage, England with reinforcements of 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column.  They embarked for France on 10 Feb 1917,  where Les was subsequently transferred to the 4th Divisional Ammunition Column.  Please get in touch if you recognise any of the men in the above photo.

Standing on the left is Les Rossi's brother, who enlisted as Francis Ross.  Frank embarked with the 18th Reinforcements of the 23 Infantry Battalion.  This photo was taken in Melbourne prior to embarkation, but his comrade is unknown. Photos courtesy of Bron Rossi.

Les and Frank both returned to Australia. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Percy Fallshaw of the 39th Battalion

Crozier, Frank: The sinking of the Ballarat, 25 April 1917  (AWM ART 13329)
Joiner Percy Fallshaw was 24 and married when he joined up in January 1917.   He and his comrades in the 39th Infantry Battalion might not have made it to the charnel-house of Europe when their troopship, the Ballarat, took a German torpedo in the English Channel. The men were all successfully taken off the ship, and the 39th continued on its way.  Rod Martin takes up the story of the 39th Battalion's engagement at Broodseinde Ridge in September 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres towards the end of 1917, and then the hard slog of 1918 leading to the end of the war.  The Battalion was pitilessly worn down to a meagre 368 men, but Percy Fallshaw was one of those who came home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

'WW1 - Love and Sorrow' Exhibition at Museum Victoria

The honour board at Museum Victoria, originally from the Newmarket Saleyards.
 Last week I visited Museum Victoria to see the two WW1 Exhibitions showing there - 'WW1 -Love and Sorrow', which is the Museum's own exhibition, and the one from the Imperial War Museum, the 'WW1 Centenary Exhibition'.  The latter will close on 4 October.

The Love and Sorrow exhibition is the story of eight individuals, told most poignantly with photographs, documents and relics. 
The honour board at the Pakenham Saleyards.
On the way out of the exhibition I was quite surprised to see the memorial board for the Stock and Station Agents of Melbourne, which I had thought to be located at the Pakenham Saleyards.  But on further enquiry it turns out that there were two honour boards.  The board that used to be at Newmarket Saleyards is the one now held at Museum Victoria. 

Deborah Tout-Smith, a senior curator at Museum Victoria, has pointed out that the ram's head at the top of each board appears to have been carved by a different artist.

The Museum is seeking further information on this board, and is also collaborating with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to seek out further information about honour boards commemorating the Public Sector.  See the Museum website for a more detailed request for help from the public.

The men named on the Associated Stock & Station Agents of Melbourne board who lived in Essendon and Flemington are detailed on the Empire Called and I Answered wepage.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

38th Battalion on the spot

A machine-gun post on the Somme Canal - deceptively quiet in 1918. 

 Private William James Bale enlisted on Anzac Day 1917.  Once in England for training he became ill and spent some time in hospital and convalescing.  He did not arrive in France until February 1918.  Intended for the 59th Battalion, he was transferred as soon as he arrived in France to the 38th Battalion.  

Rod Martin outlines the Australians' campaign of 1918 that contributed to the end of the war, and William's part in it.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wally Essay, posted Missing at The Nek

8 Light Horsemen moving out of a rest area, 1915.
The anniversary of the battle at The Nek having just passed, Rod Martin relates the story of Trooper Camillus "Wally" Essay of Kensington.  The group of 8 Light Horsemen in the above photograph may have included Wally, who did not return from The Nek.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Victorian unit war histories

The original link I gave some while ago to the Victorian Veteran's Virtual Museum which included a link to digitised unit war histories has become such a convoluted affair with various changes at the State Library of Victoria, I thought I would repost a more direct link to them.

Not all of the infantry history books have been digitised, some are more recent histories, still subject to copyright, which have had only the covers and list of contents digitised, but still useful for discovering what books are available.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lieutenant Earl Haddon Simpson Chapman

Portrait of Haddon Chapman in his Essendon Rifles uniform before the war.
Earl Haddon Simpson Chapman, known as Haddon by his family, was a young man showing a lot of promise.  Educated at the local State School, he was a sufficiently good scholar to win white collar job as a clerk and obtain a Commission with the pre-war militia unit, the Essendon Rifles. In the All Australian Memorial Victoria - Australia's Fighting Families,  he was described thus:  "Lieut. Chapman was a keen student, a good cricketer, and was among the first to volunteer."  In his role in the Essendon Rifles he sufficiently impressed his officer, Colonel "Pompey" Elliott, to be offered a Commission as a 2nd Lieut with the new 7th Battalion.   Rod Martin takes up his story, which you can read here.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Commemorating the Battles of Lone Pine and The Nek

Corporal Harry Webb, DCM, a groom of Buckley St, Essendon, died at Lone Pine on 8 August.

The following men from Essendon and Flemington died at Gallipoli during the period 6 to 14 August during the August offensive.  Both the attacks at Lone Pine and The Nek were designed as diversions but ended very badly for Australian troops.  The 8th and 10th Light Horse took the brunt of casualties at The Nek. This list does not include those who died later of wounds in hospitals at Lemnos or Malta.

Kenneth McLennan of Waratah St, Ascot Vale died 6 August
Adrian Charles Bonnefin of Hudson St, Moonee Ponds died 7-14 August
Henry Murtagh of McConnell St, Kensington died 8-9 August
Samuel Arthur Roberts of Hudson St, Moonee Ponds died 7-12 August
Peter Robert Burns of The Parade, Ascot Vale died 8-9 August
Henry Cowell of McPherson St, Essendon died 7 August
Wallace Essay of Henry St, Kensington died 7 August
Gladwyn Garnett of Roseberry St, Ascot Vale died 8 August
Charles Frederick Johnson of Rankins Rd, Kensington died 7 August
Robert Kerr of Brewster St, Essendon died 7 August
William Lang of Union Rd, Ascot Vale died 7 August
Horace Gilchrist Lennox of Bowen St, Moonee Ponds died 7 August
John E Marshall, Balmoral St, Essendon died 7 August
John Eddy Phillips of Norwood Place, Flemington died 8 August
Charles Gordon Wood of Fletcher St, Essendon died 8-9 August
Harry Webb of Buckley St, Essendon died 9 August
Alexander John Robertson of Hutcheson St, Moonee Ponds died 6 August
Stanley Paul Vaughan of Mangalore St, Kensington died 8 August

You can find information about these men at the Empire Called website.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Eric Survives Lone Pine

We met Private Eric Herman a little while ago, but now his grandson has provided the story of Eric's service with the AIF.  Buried before his time in a bomb blast at Lone Pine, Eric's next appointment to 4 Div Headquarters unit kept him a little further away from the front line, but not from the risk of shelling.  See Eric's story  on the Empire Called and I Answered website.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Spirits of Gallipoli talk tonight by Kim Phillips

Cape Helles Cemetery, Gallipoli Peninsula.
Hello folks, just a reminder that Kim Phillips will be at the Sam Merrifield Library  tonight at 7.30.  Come and hear some stories of young Australians who were lost at Gallipoli.  Join us for a cuppa afterwards.

Where:  Sam Merrifield Library, 762 Mount Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds
When:  Wednesday 29 July, 7.30 pm
Cost:  Free
Bookings and enquiries:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Spirits of Gallipoli: A Centenary of Anzacs

All of us would be familiar with the heroic efforts of our brave Anzacs as they fought in the First World War at Gallipoli.

Yet, we do not have many records of the background or of the families of these brave men.  Probably many Australians were deprived of knowledge about their grandfathers, or their great uncles, and may not have had a photo of them.

Anyone who has visited Gallipoli cannot helped but be moved by the experienceKim Phillips certainly found it a deeply moving experience when she first visited in the year 2000.

On returning home, she wanted to find out more about the campaign and the Anzacs that fought and died in it.   However, in her research, she couldn’t find out much at all about the men, and this frustrated her to the point where she decided to do something about it.   Thus, “The Spirits of Gallipoli project” was started.

For the past 15 years, Kim has devoted herself to finding out as much as possible about these men and in 2009 she led a team of self-funded enthusiasts to Gallipoli, where they photographed all the headstones, memorials and cemeteries which now form part of a large amount of information gathered by the project, available to those interested.

Kim Phillips will introduce you to her project, give you a brief history of the Gallipoli Campaign and take you on a tour of Gallipoli today.

Where:  Sam Merrifield Library, 762 Mount Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds
When:  Wednesday 29 July, 7.30 pm
Cost:  Free
Bookings and enquiries:
Seating is limited, so please book using the above email. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Eric Herman at the Helouan Convalescent Hospital

Pte Eric Herman and other convalescents, courtesy of Matt Freckelton.
Eric Herman, front left, at the Australian & New Zealand Convalescent Hospital, Helouan, Egypt, between 17 September 1915 and 16 Jan 1916.  Eric, 7th Infantry Battalion,  had received injuries to his leg and back at Gallipoli, and spent some time in Helouan recovering.    Get in touch if you can identify anyone else in this photo.

The AWM has a photo of convalescents at  Helouan which shows the same balustrading.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Where is this War Memorial?

Does anyone know the location of this war memorial - most likely in France, or possibly Belgium.  There is a member of the 12th Field Ambulance standing behind it.  The album in which it was included was sent home to Australia in 1917, so the photo was taken no later than that.

Where is this WW1 tank?

There are those who would like to know where and when this tank was photographed.  The men having a good look around it are most likely from the 12th Field Ambulance Corps.  It is mostly likely in winter in early 1917.  The tank is No 746, and the crew is C17.  I have looked at the Unit War Diary of the 12th Field Ambulance and am none the wiser.  Does anyone know when there was a little bit of snow on the ground in France?  The 12th Field Ambulance seems to have been around Becordel, Bernafay, N. Flers, Decauville, Deauville, Longueval and  Mametz Wood in January 1917.  Does anyone have any further information about it?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

More on the Williams Brothers' Album

I have lately been given access to a small collection of photos owned by 4755 Private Patrick Heneberry O'Callaghan of the 12th Field Ambulance, with captions. Several of these were also found in the Williams Brothers Album which I loaded onto the Empire Called website some time ago.  Amongst the duplicated photos was this one:

The caption from Pte O'Callaghan reads:

"12 Field Ambulance Stretcher bearers carrying through Poziere wood, the one at the back was killed later carrying with me, we had only just changed ends.  Better born lucky than rich in France."

Trawling through the AWM collection for photos relating to the 12th Field Ambulance, I found the above photo, of which I have a different copy on the Empire Called website.  The AWM description reads in part: 

3219 Corporal George Lloyd MM (right) and two other unidentified stretcher bearers, one believed to be 3373 Private (Pte) Norman Henry Sadler MM (position unknown), of the 12th Field Ambulance carrying a wounded man.

It was recorded in 3373 Norman Henry Sadler's B2455 record that he had been killed on 28 August 1916. Reference to the Australian Red Cross Correspondence turned up a report of Sadler's death, and included a statement from Patrick O'Callaghan, confirming the caption on the photo:

12 Field Ambulance AIF

Killed 20-8-16

Witness states that he was with Sadler when the latter was killed.  They were carrying a stretcher with patient on it.  A few yards before casualty happened, they changed ends.  States that a shell burst in front of them when crossing a sap about 100 yards from Pozieres Cemetery.  Piece of shell went through Sadler's helmet in front and came out at back of head.  He was unconscious.  Took him back to dressing station, where he died.  Did not regain consciousness.  Next morning SADLER was buried by witness and others at Casualty Coral by Protestant Minister.  There is a cross on grave with his name and name of unit on it.
Cert:  by: - O'Callaghan, P A 4755, 12 FA
3rd Aux Austr Hosp, Dartford.

Corporal George Lloyd 3219 was in charge of a party of four, which included O'Callaghan, Charlie Watson and Norman Sadler.

Lloyd's description of having dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair accords with the AWM caption that George Lloyd is the man on the right.  Sadler's description recorded fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. 

This helps greatly with dating and placing some of the photos, and identifying a couple more of the faces.

Friday, June 12, 2015

AIF stripes,chevrons, patches, badges etc

I have just noticed an extremely useful article on the Australian War Memorial website by Dianne Rutherford explaining the stripes, chevrons, patches, buttons, titles and badges

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ASC Football Team AIF England 1917-18

This was another of the photos in Sgt James Anderson's wallet when he was wounded by a bomb fragment which went through the wallet first.  Jim is not in the photo, but he was in the ASC and may have known some of the players.  James served with both the 10th ASC and the 31st ASC in 1917.  Any identifications welcome.  The photo was taken by a photographer from Sutton Veny in the winter of 1917-18.  You can see a larger version of the photo on this page

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jim Anderson's wallet saves the day

 Jim Anderson's wallet, above, was crammed with his notebook, letters and photographs when it slowed the entry of a bomb fragment on its way to send him to oblivion.  The fragment passed through his folded up tunic, wallet and contents and still fractured Jim's jaw and cut a blood vessel, in July 1918. Evacuated to England, his recovery was long enough to prevent him re-entering the war, and he returned to Australia on Special Leave for 1914 men in December 1918.

”[Jim] received his wound whilst asleep early in the morning.  A bomb dropped from an aircraft exploded near his tent.  A piece of metal cut through his wallet which in his tunic pocket was acting as a pillow.  The wallet and contents – photos, cards, letters etc was nearly 2 inches thick and it was pierced right through slowing the metal,  stopping it in his neck. He stood up – had lost his hearing and put his hand to his neck to discover blood squirting  out.“

Jim carried a recent photo of his wife Elsie and daughter Margaret in his wallet - Elsie received a wound to the chest!

You can see more of the contents of Jim's wallet on the Empire Called website.  Jim served with 10 ASC and later 31 ASC, landing at Gallipoli, and later in France.

Soul of the Battalion: the role of brass bands in the Great War

An illustrated lecture by Jillian Durance

Grainger Museum, 28th Jun 2015 3:00pm
Royal Parade, near Gate 13
The University of Melbourne

Free admission. Please book ahead as numbers are limited
Contact the Grainger Museum at or telephone 8344 5270.
  Using selected items in the Grainger Museum's current exhibition, Pack up your troubles: Music and the Great War, as well as items in Herbert Godber's own personal collection, Jillian Durance will explore the experiences of the battalion bandsmen, both at home in the training camps and overseas, on the battlefront and behind the lines. Through photographs, diary entries and memoir, Jillian will look at the origins of the bandsmen as well as their musical backgrounds. In particular, she will tell the story of her grandfather's role as a bandsman of the 21st Battalion. This lecture will touch on the lives of all those bandsmen who played to enliven the spirits of others, to provide solace to the wounded, to lend dignity to ceremonial occasions and to provide a vital cultural link between those fighting at the front and those waiting at home for their return.

Jillian is the author of the book Still Going Strong: the story of the Moyarra Honour Roll.

Pack up your troubles: Music and the Great War

Grainger Museum
24 April 2015 - 20 December 2015 
The Grainger Museum's contribution to the Centenary of ANZAC is the exhibition Pack up your troubles: Music and the Great War. With a focus on Australia, the exhibition explores the powerful and varied role of music and musicians during World War I and why music resonated so strongly across a broad spectrum of domestic, civic and military life.
On display are popular songs, printed as sheet music with striking covers, which chart the entire course of the war, from those first months through to Armistice and beyond. Other features of the exhibition include posters, artworks, photographs and musical instruments: those that went to war – or were made there.

The University of Melbourne's own collection items are complemented with loans from a number of public institutions notably the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Performing Arts Museum, and generous private lenders.
For the first time at the Grainger Museum, iPods can be borrowed by visitors in order to hear music associated with items on display. Hear band music, songs and even Nellie Melba or Percy Grainger performing to raise money for the war effort. There is also a short silent movie of Australian archival footage from the National Film and Sound Archive which, with vivid immediacy, illustrates a rich diversity of musical experience from a century ago.

While preparing this exhibition, note was taken of the photos on the 3rd Pioneer Battalion Band page, and some of those photos may feature in the exhibition.

Thanks to Liz Pidgeon for the reminder!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Australian Nurses in World War 1

Sister Elizabeth Gertrude Fleming,  The Penleigh Magazine 1919, p.24. Circa 1896. 
Courtesy of Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School Archives.

Another tip from Vicki's blog Exploring Military History is contained in a post on Locating a World War 1 Nurse.    This article contained a reference to the website Australian Nurses in World War 1, which provides an annotated, and sometimes illustrated list, not only of Australian Army Nursing Service women, but also Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.

Another piece of good news is that the website has a search engine and you can search by place as well as name. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Great War Reading List

A recent post on the Exploring Military History blog on "World War 1: selection of non-fiction books" which included a list of junior non-fiction, and a previous post on "World War 1 through children's fiction", I thought worth passing on. 

One of the books mentioned by Vicki on her blog was the one above, "And the Band Played On: how music lifted the Anzac spirit in the battlefields of the First World War" by Robert Holden.  This is a book I have read recently, and can also thoroughly recommend.

There is a booklist contained on the Empire Called and I Answered website, called "Sources", which covers all the material I have looked at for any mention of the local volunteers.   This list doesn't have as much current material as Vicki's list, but may suggest some less well-known material published a bit closer to the war which may be useful for research.

And just for fun, I keep a Pinterest group of covers of   WW1 Australian history books.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

3rd Pioneer Battalion Headquarters Company, 1916

A detail of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, Headquarters Company photo taken at Salisbury Plain in 1916.  In theory, if your relative's name appears in this embarkation roll, they should be included in this photo.  There are a small number of identifications on the website, and any further identifications would be welcome.  Photo courtesy of Judith Williams.

Les Vosti and the 3rd Pioneer Band

Les Vosti of Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale, is pictured on the far right of this detail of a photo of the Headquarters Company, 3rd Pioneer Battalion.  It was taken  during training at Salisbury Plains in 1916 prior to their embarkation to France.  You can find the whole band pictured at the bottom of this page about the 3rd Pioneer Battalion Band - and perhaps help with identifications if you can. 

Missing at Moquet Farm, 1916 - Private William Young

Mouquet Farm, December 1916.  The Germans were entrenched in a catacomb-like
system of tunnels under the farm.   (AWM E00564)
Young William Young was only eighteen and a half years old when he enlisted  along with the record  36 575 men who volunteered for the army in July 1915.  Rod Martin explores the brief life and unknown death of this young soldier.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

War diaries of Will Lycett of Flemington


Today the Moonee Valley Leader began serialising the war diaries of a Flemington boiler-maker, Will Lycett, who embarked with the 4th Field Ambulance Brigade on 22 December 1914.  Will kept his diaries for the four years of the war, returning to Australia in December 1918.  Through the generosity of the Lycett family, journalist Tamara Heath introduces Will, his two brothers and his father, of Railway Place, Flemington all of whom enlisted. 

From Moonee Valley Leader, 27 May 2015. Pages 8 - 9
I cant seem to directly link to the article, but you can search for it here by the date, 27 May 2015.

UPDATE from Tim L.

"Page 8-9 in the Moonee Valley Leader 27/5/15.
You'll find it under 'Western Suburbs' in the 'Select Title' tab here:"


The Lycett family were next-door-neighbours of the Stelling family in Railway Place until immediately before the war when the Stellings moved to Essendon.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pte Cyril Iles, lost at Pozieres, 1916

When General Gough congratulated the men of the 2nd Australian Division, saying they had  'inflicted a severe defeat on the enemy and secured us most valuable ground,' he wasn't thinking of the 6,846 casualties which were the cost.  The victory was severe on the 23 Infantry Battalion which had  participated in the battle.  Cyril Iles, a law clerk of Windsor was just one of the men who disappeared in the bombardment, never to be seen again.  His name was recorded on the Kensington Methodist Church Roll of Honour, and also included in the Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour.  There seems to be no obvious connection to the local area, but he was perhaps boarding locally and gave his parents' names on his attestation form.   

Rod Martin tells Cyril Iles' story, which you can read here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pandora - Australia's Web Archive

The Empire Called and I Answered website was selected for preservation in the National Library of Australia Pandora Web Archive by the Australian War Memorial. This title is scheduled to be re-archived regularly. The archived website can be seen here.

 The Pandora Archive is an interesting place to browse for Australian websites, both defunct and current, and is sorted into subject areas, such as History.

Heritage Walk in Flemington and Kensington, Sunday 24 May 2015

Private Moss of Kensington who was the subject of a disagreement between two "Furious Females" which ended in court.

If you weren't able to attend the heritage walk held on 3 May, it will be repeated on Sunday 24 May at 2 pm.  Gold coin donation for the Inner West Branch of the National Trust.  Meet outside the Kensington Town Hall, Bellair St, Kensington.  When we return to the Town Hall, there will be an opportunity to inspect the Honour Boards inside the Hall.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Anzac Remembrance at Flemington Primary School, 2015

The poppy wreath created by the children of Flemington Primary School as the names from the School Roll of Honour were read out.

The school Roll of Honour.

A Gallipoli Oak tree was planted by The Hon Adam Bandt, MHR, The Hon Danny Pearson, MLA, and Dr Charlotte Smith, Director, National Trust.
The children at Flemington Primary School today participated in a solemn but heart-warming ceremony to remember past pupils of the school who had served in the Great War.  The children had researched names from the board or from their family, and also Attaturk Kemal. The research was displayed on posters in the school hall, or as a slide show during the ceremony in the hall.   The school choir, orchestra and string ensemble performed for the pupils and guests. 

Moonee Valley Mayor gave the Welcome to Country.  Captain Keith Wolahan  (retired) of the Australian Army Special Services, gave a simple but moving address about what Anzac Day meant to him.  Danny Pearson, MLA, made a presentation to the school which acknowledged the special relationship which now exists between Australia and Turkey.  A student leader read the poem In Flanders Fields.

Adam Bandt laid a wreath by the Roll of Honour, then as the school Principal, Mrs Leslie McCarthy, read each name from the roll, together with their occupations and the street in which they had lived, the childen and a handful of relatives of some of the servicemen, placed a poppy in the wreath.

Andrew Seymon of the Flemington-Kensington RSL read the Ode, followed by a minute's silence.  Two students played the Last Post.

After the school orchestra played the National Anthem, guests and students filed outside to see the planting of a commemorative Gallipoli Oak Tree.  

You can locate a record of each of the names on the Roll of Honour on the Empire Called and I Answered website.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Heritage Walk in Flemington and Kensington, Sunday 3 May 2015

If the demand is sufficient, another walk may be held on a later date so make sure you register your interest.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Spirits of Gallipoli: a Centenary of Anzacs, by Kim Phillips

Anyone who has had a good browse through The Empire Called and I Answered website will know that Kim Phillips has been very generous in sharing her research into the young men who died at Gallipoli.  Kim has lately launched a book and CD: The Spirits of Gallipoli: a centenary of Anzacs, the details of which you can see at her website.

Kim has also arranged for Ancestry to make her research and images available as a collection.  There is a 14 day free trial (scroll to the bottom of the page).  I was pleased to see the first memorial stone image on the Ancestry blog was for J K Adams, an Essendon lad.

I commend both to your attention.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Battle to Farm: WW1 Soldier Settlement Records in Victoria

Public Records Office Victoria has released a new series of document online from the post-war Soldier Settlement Scheme.

On this site you can access the individual records of thousands of  World War One returned soldiers who leased farming land across Victoria between 1919 and 1935. Enter a settler’s name in the search box or search by geographic location through the digital map.

You may need to be patient in the initial phases while the site is swamped by searchers.  Good luck!

UPDATE:  Found one!  The answer seems to be to search by surname only.  Searches with a first name or initials seemed got no result.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hunters in the field

Captured German 77 cm. field gun (Dunedin District, New Zealand)  (Rod Martin)
Having recently told the story of Sergeant David Hunter who died at Bullecourt in 1917, Rod Martin now looks at his brother, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Hunter of the 37th Infantry Battalion. Having both enlisted in 1915, the Army recognised both as having leadership skills, and promoted them accordingly.