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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soldier vows to change his name

John Mitchell Stuart, a well-known member of the Essendon Harriers, is pictured above in the centre row, second from the right, with the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association team selected to compete in Tasmania in 1909. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H31349.

"The secretary of the Melbourne club, A. M. Gordon, together with H. S. Stiles and J. M. Stuart, of the Essendon club, left for Egypt last week. The latter, before leaving, affirmed his intention of changing his name to Abercrombie or a'Beckett, the reason being that when about to leave with the rest of his company on a previous transport the alphabetical position of his name had, when the steamer proved to be overcrowded at the last moment, been the cause of him waving a farewell to the transport instead of from it. 

A valuable tropical outfit was contained in his luggage, well stowed away in the hold, and though ordinarily a pronounced optimist,   Stuart, when recounting the experience, most emphatically insisted on materially altering that favorite memoriam consolation of 'Not lost but gone before'."

ATHLETICISMS. (1916, January 5). Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917), p. 9. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from

The Melbourne sporting newspaper, The Winner, kept a close eye on Stuart and other harriers from suburban clubs throughout the war.  Stuart, from Moonee Ponds, served in the 31 Inf Bn.  Further stories are included on his webpage.