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

Monday, September 14, 2020

2nd Aircraft Mechanic Harry Nelson and the widow's fight

Four Australian air mechanics enjoying lunch at Halefield, June 1918   (AWM P10218.009)

Harry Nelson, fruiterer and cyclist of McConnell St, Kensington, enlisted in October 1917, and embarked in May 1918.  In 1917, between his enlistment and embarkation, Harry married. Harry and his bride, Florence, evidently anticipated their vows, as their son was six weeks old when Harry left the country.

Arriving in England in mid-1918, Harry was a sitting duck for the influenza sweeping though military encampments.  Harry died of illness on 22 October 1918, barely three weeks before the Armistice.  

In his new story, Rod Martin describes the difficulties Florence had getting souvenirs and assets to which she was entitled.  It is not certain if she ever did as Harry's family and lawyer set out to thwart her.  See the full story, so far as we know it, here.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Empire Called 10th Anniversary of Blogging

7th Infantry Battalion with Lieutenant Colonel Pompey Elliott in the centre of the front row, 1914, just prior to embarkation.

The date of the 10th Anniversary of the commencement of  The Empire Called and I Answered blog has come and gone earlier in the year, as my new Covid-normal is to forgetting things when every day is Groundhog Day, but it is still worth noting.  The blog was created as a companion to my webpage of the same name, which I launched later in 2010.  I use the blog to to draw attention to new additions to the website, to record new Sources for individuals who participated in the Great War (See the Tags on the right hand column), to note new books of local interest.  

The blog and website record the volunteers from Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Ascot Vale, Flemington, Kensington and Newmarket, with occasion others who had grown up in the local area and had their names recorded on local honour boards.  There are about 4500 names in the database, so worth a look if you had family in the area at the time of the Great War.  

In addition to a page for each individual, such as Private George Abbott, there are stories about the Home Front -  covering individuals, such as Mayor John Goldsworthy who created the Essendon Town Hall Honour Boards;  and organisations such as the Cheer-up Brigade.  There are links to pages where there are collections of photos from private albums, and pages where you can see what volunteers left from what street addresses.  There is a link to Acknowledgements for those people who have contributed photos, postcards, and documents, and in some cases stories.  Two people in particular have made significant contributions - Rod Martin and Marilyn Kenny - who have been great supporters of the project.   I thank them and all of the contributors.  Any further contributions of photos, postcards and documents (scans only of course) are very welcome.

I invite you all to have a good look around The Empire Called and I Answered, while I open a bottle of champage, which of course I will drink by myself while in lockdown.