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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Two Moonee Ponds West State School lads at Archangel

The North Russia Intervention in 1918 saw the allies invade land at Archangel and drive the Bolsheviks back. Source: Daily Mail. 
In 1918 Winston Churchill wished to support the White Army against the Bolsheviks, and sent some naval vessels to Archangel in Russia. Leading Seaman Walter Rupert Lawson, RAN, of Ascot Vale was  serving on a British destroyer at the time, and went ashore at Archangel.

The Argus related a story that did the rounds at a 1938 "Back To" Moonee Ponds West State School:

In 1915 [sic] Mr Lawson was serving on a British destroyer and found himself in Archangel. While on shore leave he went to a cafe, and saw a tall, bearded "Cossack," whose face seemed familiar. Lawson spoke to the "Cossack," and to his surprise the "Cossack" answered in English. The "Cossack" was Mr. "Dick" Thompson, who had attended the Moonee Ponds West State school, and who had gone to Russia and settled there. 

Are there descendants of Dick Thompson still living in Archangel, we wonder?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Zealand Online Cenotaph

Welcome to the enhanced Online Cenotaph website - our digital social space where enthusiasts, families, and researchers can share their interconnecting experiences of New Zealand servicemen and women.

To coincide with the First World War Centenary commemorations, Online Cenotaph has been redeveloped in collaboration with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, with new content contributed by Auckland Libraries.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

C Company, 3rd Pioneer Battalion

In the back row, far left, is No 840 Private Fred Gunson Marsden who joined the 3rd Pioneers in Queensland in 1916.  He was identified in a photograph of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion by his granddaughter, Ellie Tyssen.
Some years ago I put some sections of a very long photo of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on my website in the hope of identifying which particular embarkation it represented.  After some very useful comments by Edwin back in 2013 I focussed more on the officers in the photo, and thought I had identified one of them.

Then I heard from Ellie Tyssen who was the first to recognise someone in the lineup, her grandfather Fred Marsden.  Ellie provided the photo above, and hopes that someone may be able to identify her grandfather's comrades.  The man standing on the far left was his mate Harry "Plug" Southerland from the same Company.  C Company were overwhelmingly from Queensland, though with a small number of Victorians included.

You can see C Company, 3rd Pioneer Battalion here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Heroic Airman Dies at Sea, 1917

Airman's funeral, Sleepyhillock, Montrose.  Courtesy of Ian Edwards, 2015.

Arthur Ernest Percival Mott of Salisbury St Essendon was training as a pilot when his aeroplane was lost at sea near Montrose, Scotland.  It was some time before his body was found on the beach.  A military funeral was arranged, which may even have been the one pictured above.  Arthur, though still very young,  had made an impression on the military authorities already, and you can read why here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

British Red Cross Volunteers A-D online

If you have family members who volunteered with the British Red Cross in WW1, the British Red Cross have started to load up records for them, with A-D being currently available.

HEROIC AIRMAN. Lost in Sea Fog. A Loss to the Empire.

Lieutenant AEP Mott's memorial in Montrose, Scotland. Courtesy of Ian Edwards.
Lost in Sea Fog. 
A Loss to the Empire. 

By the death of Lieutenant Arthur E. Mott, of the Australian Flying Corps, who was lost in a sea fog off the coast of Scotland, and drowned on 24th December, at the age of 22 years, the Empire (says the Melbourne "Herald") has been deprived of a brave soldier, who appeared destined for unusual distinction as an airman.

HEROIC AIRMAN. (1918, January 10). Bendigonian (Bendigo, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 27. Retrieved January 8, 2015, from

You can read why Lieutenant Mott was regarded as a "Loss to the Empire" here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Is this photo of the 3rd reinforcements, 14th Infantry Battalion?

Thought to be the 3rd Reinforcments of the 14th Battalion, courtesy of Jenny Fawcett.
 The above photo was recently the subject of a blog post by Jenny Fawcett, who hopes to identify the unit involved with the help of descendants of the men in the photo.  She believes it is the 3rd Reinforcements of the 14th Infantry Battalion.  You can see her original post on her blogpost Mystery WW1 Photo: 3rd Reinforcement 14th Battalion AIF? together with a transcription of their Embarkation Roll

I was interested to note that the Embarkation Roll included two local men included in my database: Gladwyn Garnett of Ascot Vale and William Kelly of Essendon.

Unit unknown, courtesy of Christine Laskowski.

I was also interested to note the similar background to the photo  of another one I have been given with a view to identifying the group.  I haven't started on it, but it would be useful to identify the location the photo was taken, so if anyone knows or has seen something similar, both Jenny and I would be very interested to know of it.

To see a larger image, Right Click and then select View Image, then click again.