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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bert McDonald and a sprig of Wattle

A delightful cache of photos has come my way, courtesy of the kindness of the McDonald Family.  Pictured above is Bert McDonald, who enlisted in December 1917, but was discharged for medical reasons prior to embarkation.  Bert was a member of the Moonee Ponds Methodist Church, and photos of the groups associated with the Moonee Ponds Methodists, such as the Wattle Club and the Cricket Club, feature other young men who joined up.   Bert's particular friends were Alec Hosking, Arthur Hutchison and Bill Heathershaw    who appear in several of the photos.

If a relative is mentioned on the Honour Roll of the Church, he may be pictured in the McDonald photos.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scotch College - The School at War

The State Library of Victoria now has a digitised copy of the Scotch College memorial booklet The School at War.  A feature of the booklet are the photos of the former Scotch pupils who died in the war.  Quite a few of the Essendon-Flemington boys went to Scotch, and the photos have been very useful on the Empire Called website.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Can a recruit change his eye colour?

22 Battalion, newly arrived from Egypt, going into line at the southern part of Lone Pine, 6 September 1915  AWM A00847
When Davey joined the 22 Inf Bn in 1915 his eyes were blue, but when he re-enlisted in 1917 after being sent home wounded, his eyes were brown.   One of life's little mysteries.    Rod Martin tells this and other stories about the life and death of Private Davey of Moonee Ponds.  Once wasn't enough for Alman Davey - he enlisted twice, but wasn't so lucky the second time.   Read his story here.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Fair Dinkums, by Glenn McFarlane

In this recently published book, The Fair Dinkums, Glenn McFarlane examines a cohort of men from the 8th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion, who embarked on the Anchises in August 1915.  They were called the Fair Dinkums because they knew about the disaster at Gallipoli, and enlisted anyway,  knowing the risks.  Among this group was McFarlane's great-uncle Alf Layfield.

Also among the group was a name well-known to the folk of Moonee Valley - the renowned William Scurry whose invention of the drip-system of firing a rifle to aid in the evacuation of Gallipoli won him the Distinguished Conduct Medal and promotion to Commissioned rank.

McFarlane draws heavily on the letters Scurry wrote home to his mother at 70 Middle St, Ascot Vale, and mentions other local men, both with the 8th Reinforcements and other units.  

The one big hole in McFarlane's work is the lack of an index, so I have indexed references to our local men, and have put the page numbers on their web-pages in The Empire Called website.

McFarlane follows the service and fate of the above men, and others from the 8th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion, including those who were transferred to other Battalions. Endnotes provide sources, though there is no bibliography.  McFarlane has provided a number of previously unpublished photos and portraits of the men.