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

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Trooper Cyril Kaighin - one of the 'Glorious Dead'

 This is a tale of blighted expectations, told by Rod Martin.  

Cyril and his older sister, Mabel Mona (b. 1891), about 1900

(Rodd Johnson/Greg Kaighin)

Cyril was working as a clerk at the GPO in Melbourne when he decided to enlist in 1918.  Things did not go well for him from that time. See Rod's story here.

Cyril is commemorated on the GPO Roll of Honour "To the Glorious Dead".

Monday, October 25, 2021

2nd Lieutenant Vivian Garner and the Lost Plaque

 2nd Lieutenant Vivian Gilber Garner was featured with the story of his service in the AIF on The Empire Called and I Answered website.  The story was written by Rod Martin, whose name is well-known by followers of this blog, and published back in 2011.   

I was pleased to notice Vivian's photo pop up in my blog roll on the Lost Medals Australia blog, as Glyn Llanwarne managed to trace a relative to whom he could return a lost plaque.  Glyn's story of tracing the relatives (Viv left no descendants) is an interesting one, made even more so by the story of the relative, Bill Garner.

I commend both stories, linked above,  to readers.

Sapper Hermann Taylor, a casualty of typhoid, 1916

 Military Infectious Diseases Hospital, Choubra, Egypt, November 1915.

Hermann Taylor was performing clerical duties at the AIF Headquarters, Cairo, when he was stricken with typhoid and taken to the Choubra Military Infectious Diseases Hospital.  Rod Martin takes a look at Hermann's fairly short term of military service for Australia.  You can read the full article here.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

John Hunt Kelleher , a Lost Boy

John Hunt Kelleher's brother Wilfred Kelleher, who served, not with the AIF, but two prison terms at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

We always expect a good yarn from Marilyn Kenny, and this time is no exception.   Robberies, police raids, lost wills, orphaned children, 'Pompey' Elliott taking a dunking into the Somme - this story has everything. 

Who will be the beneficiary of John's estate?   His twin sister Grace, whom he named as his Next of Kin, or the ne'er do well brother Wilfred? 

Grab a fresh cup of tea, and sit back and click here for the story of John Hunt  Kelleher, the Lost Boy.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Letters to Lily Vale

When War was declared in August 1914, Ern Latchford was working as an Instructional Officer at the 58B training depot in Ascot Vale.  Instructional Officers had been selected to train boys involved in  the compulsory Universal Training Scheme.  The local area - Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Ascot Vale, Flemington - was designated Area 58. On reaching 18 the boys would transfer to the militia 58 Infantry (Essendon Rifles).

Instructional Officers were too valuable to be allowed to enlist with the AIF - they were needed for training at home, and Ern was dispatched to train Light Horse recruits at Broadmeadows.  It was not until 1916 that he was permitted to enlist for overseas service, and embarked as a Lieutenant with the 38 Infantry Battalion.

Using Ern's own letters, as well as detailed research, Mark Latchford has recreated Ern's world, from his infancy, through work at Coles Book Arcade, his interest in military cadets, selection as an Instructional Officer, embarking with the 38th Battalion, being recuited by General John Monash to join a British force in Persia, taking on the training of the White Russian Army in Russia, his postwar Army career and involvement in the 2nd World War.  

There is also the romance with the love of his life, Linda Dehnert of Lily Vale,  Ballan, to whom he devotedly wrote every week until they finally married.  

Ern's letters recreate his war experience for Linda in an articulate and immediate fashion.  He told what it was like to be there - a most remarkable historical record of his time, which will reward the reader.

"Letters to Lily Vale”: The Life and Letters of Ernest William Latchford MC, MBE 1916 to 1919 France, Persia and Russia, by Mark Latchford, Openbook Howden, 2020: ISBN 9780648845621. 

Available from the History Victoria Bookshop.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Private Frank Archer, husband and father, died in April 1917

The twenty-six year-old blacksmith had a wife and two children to support and care for, and the initial rush to enlist after war broke out in 1914 suggested that there were plenty of eager and single young men to fill the ranks.  By 1916, however, things had changed.  News of the diasters at Gallipoli had led to a significant reduction in the numbers enlisting, and a commitment by the Huges Labor goverment to provide an extra 50,000 troops on top of those who had already enlisted led to a substantial propaganda campaign across the country. It may have finally persuaded Frank that he had to go and do his bit.

Rod Martin takes up the story of this young husband and father, and the anguish caused to his family due to a mistaken identification.  See the story here.  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The sterling qualities of Staff Nurse Margaret Leonard


Nurse Leonard on her graduation. Table Talk 21 Oct 1909 p 21

Graduating at the end of 1909 from the Homoeopathic Hospital, St Kilda Road, Margaret nursed for six years before enlisting in the AANS in 1916.  After a 4 month training in military nursing, Margaret was appointed Staff Nurse and embarked for overseas.  She nursed in France and Italy in British military hospitals before returning home.  Her devotion to the members of the AIF saw her continuing on at the Caulfield Military Hospital for the rest of her working life.  Newspaper paragraphs about Margaret inevitably commented on her kindness and other sterling qualities.  You can read more about Margaret's training at the Homoeopathic Hospital and her nursing experiences in Europe on the Time Travellers website.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Gunner Nott, organist

Fred Nott, of Ascot Vale, was a well-known musician in Essendon and Melbourne before the war, and had left for England in January 1914 to further his studies in music at the Royal College of Music. When his studies came to a standstill in November 1914, he played in a few concerts and at churches in England, but returned to Australia in 1915. He took up his musical posts and teaching again, but in October 1916 he joined up, and went into camp with the Artillery in Maribyrnong. Fred was given leave while in camp to play the organ at St Peter's on Sundays, as the church hadn't been able to replace him. In the photo above he is in his uniform as a gunner. The army kept him in Australia for 12 months, playing in military bands, until he was finally able to embark. Marilyn Kenny has turned in another excellent piece of work in her research into the life and musical career of Frederick John Nott. If you would like to read more about Fred's part in the war, go to the Empire Called website.