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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What happens if you are an Australian Officer with a German name?

On the left is Leonard Seymour, and on the right is Henry Kaufman, winter 1916-17.
Henry Kaufman was born in Box Hill in 1884, the son of a naturalised German farmer and an English mother.  He served in the South African War with the 2nd Scottish Horse, and on returning to Australian joined the Citizens Military Forces. He spent 8 years in the Royal Australian  Artillery, 2 years on the Instructional Staff, and 2 years as a Military Clerk before enlisting in the AIF in mid 1916 with the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column.

Henry arrived in France in time to suffer the extreme cold of the winter of 1916-1917, becoming ill in February and returning to England for a few months.  In June 1917 he returned to France and was engaged with his battalion in and out of front line duty for the next six months until he became seriously ill with pulmonary tuberculosis and Bronchitis. He returned to England, and then to Australia where he was discharged in April 1918.  Henry then resumed his previous job as a Military Staff Clerk.

But somewhere in darkest Queensland a Labor MP raised the question of enemies of birth or descent being employed in the Defence Department.   Henry got caught up in this net of suspicion.  You can read the full story on The Empire Called and I Answered website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5th Battery 2nd Field Artillery Brigade at Gallipoli

Group portrait of 5th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, in old gun pit, Gallipoli. Caption on rear: "This is a snap shot of some of our battery gunners in an old gun pit.  Notice some have no shirts on". Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of  Queensland Neg No:  OM65-30/50
A number of snaps taken by, or acquired by, Lance Corporal Burdeu of Mascoma St Ascot Vale, have been donated to the John Oxley Collection, State Library of Queensland.  The photos show him and his friends in camp at Mena, on excursions to Alexandria, Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt, and later some scenes at Gallipoli.  Cyril died after only 16 days at Gallipoli, though it may have seemed like a lifetime to him.

Cyril served in the 5th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, and if you have any relatives who served in the 5th Battery (check the AWM Embarkation Roll to see the names of those who embarked with the 5th Battery) you might see them in some of the snaps.

You might also like to read the article on Driver Douglas Gibbs Baker, by Rod Martin, who served in the 6th Battery, 2 FAB at Gallipoli.