For Evan John Kelly, enlisted in Armidale NSW, and born in Grafton NSW.
No: 2196 - KELLY E.J.
WWI Listing Service No B2455
Next of Kin : Evan John Kelly Byrons Paternal Grandfather
He was my half uncle. Evan John Snr. married for the 2nd time after wife died and my father (Francis Leslie Kelly dob. 1911) was one of 4 in the 2nd family also fought in the 2nd World War.
Details for Kelly, Evan John
Wilfred John Counsel – First World War Service
This is an account of SGT Wilfred John Counsel’s Great War experience, leading up to his death at the First Battle of Bullecourt on 11 April 1917. The data was sourced from his Service Records located at the Australian National Archives, Unit Histories from the Australian War Memorial, Witness Accounts from the Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau WW1 Files, and post war accounts.
Wif, as Wilfred Counsel was known to his mates, joined the 1st Australian Imperial Forces at Claremont, Tasmania, on 26 October 1914. He was posted to 15th Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade, 1st AIF. Wif’s Attestation Paper on enlistment noted that he had been previously refused enlistment at Claremont, Tasmania, on account of having boils on his legs.
Wif took the oath on 30 October 1914 and was given the Service Number of 1172. Wif’s service record notes that he was 20 years and 4 months at enlistment. He was 5 feet, 6 inches in height. Wif weighed 10 St, 4 lbs. He had blue eyes and dark brown hair.
Wif’s pay accounts upon enlistment note that he was paid 5 shillings per day pay and one shilling per day issuable upon completion of service with the Expeditionary Force. Wif’s pay account states that he kept 2 shillings per day and allotted 3 shillings per day back to Australia. The remaining 1 shilling per day was payable to his estate. Author’s Note: As he was promoted, his pay would have risen to 10 Shillings per day as a SGT.
Upon enlistment, Wif was posted to Broadmeadows Army Camp in Victoria for initial Army and pre-embarkation training. Wif embarked on HMAT Ceramic, departing at 2:30 pm from Port Melbourne on 22 December 1914. According to the unit history, owing to a lack of deck space, training of the troops was found to be difficult. Company Officers were instructed to prepare lectures in infantry training for recruits. Orders were issued for parades to be held for 4 hours daily, except Sundays. The work consisted of instruction in Musketry, Physical Training, Rifle Exercises, Care of Arms, etc. During that voyage, Wif was charged with failing to obey an order, receiving 2 extra duties.
Wilfred John COUNSEL (Standing), seated unknown
Egypt and Gallipoli
The unit arrived at Alexandria, Egypt on 3 February 1915, disembarking at 1:30 pm. The unit entrained in two trains for Cairo, arriving that same evening. The unit was encamped at Heliopolis Aerodrome for training from 3 February to 11 April 1915.
Upon arrival in Egypt, the 1st AIF (Australian Imperial Force) began training for war when Turkey entered the war. A Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) composed of British Empire and French troops was hastily assembled in Egypt. Among the British Empire forces were the men of the AIF and the NZEF (New Zealand Expeditionary Force) who had been training in Egypt when the decision to invade Turkey had been taken. They were now combined into one army corps, known as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and the men who fought in the corps became known as Anzacs. Wif departed Egypt for Gallipoli with the MEF on 12 April 1915.
On 12 April 1915, the Battalion left Helmich, Cairo, for Alexandria by train at 2:45 am. The Battalion embarked at Alexandria in the ships HMAT A48 SS Seang Bee and The Australind. They departed Alexandria at 5 am on 12 April for Mudros on the Island of Lemnos, arriving at 9 am on 14 April 1915.
On the morning of 24 April 1915, the Battalion was on their transport ships at the entrance to the Dardanelles, observing the bombardment and landing of British Troops, prior to travelling on to the Western side of the Dardanelles at 4 pm, in preparation for their landing on 25 April 1915. The transports anchored at their disembarkation point at 4 p.m. on 25 April 1915. The 15th Battalion remained on their transports until it was their turn to disembark. Disembarkation from the transports commenced at 10:30 p.m. and continued through to the early hours of 26 April 1915, with the finaly Companies disembarking from the Seeang Bee at 9 a.m. The vessels came under fire during disembarkation and some men were hit by shrapnel.
First few days on Gallipoli
No 15 Battalion landed and proceeded to take up position on the right of 3 Bde, whilst some took up position at the head of a Gulch between the positions held by 1st and 2nd Bdes, and remained there until 30th April. On 30th April, 15th Bn moved to Monash Valley for the purpose of reorganising the battalion. The unit occupied Pope’s Hill (see map below),. In the afternoon of 30th April, the enemy attacked the right of the Bn’s position and were repulsed and 15 Bn inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. (AWM)
The unit remained on post at Pope’s Hill where the unit made a concerted advance on the enemy’s position. The unit reached the enemy’s trenches, but was unable to hold them as they were unsupported. Wif was wounded in this action. (AWM)
On 2 May 1915, at Gallipoli, Wif received a Gun Shot Wound (GSW) to his lower exterior (thigh) and was repatriated to Lemnos for recovery. He then travelled to England on the ship ‘Gascon’ and was admitted to No 2 Western General Hospital in Manchester on 20 May 1915. Upon arrival at Southampton, Wif wrote to his mother on 19th May to advise that he had been wounded in the thigh, but could still walk a bit. (Examiner 8 July 1915) On 12 August 1915, Wif departed England for Gallipoli. He re-joined his unit, 15th Bn, at Gallipoli on 3 September 1915.
On 23 May 1915, Next of Kin (R. Counsel) was notified by telegram of Wif’s injuries. On 6 June 1915, R Counsel wired an enquiry on Wif’s condition. Army responded with his hospital location in Manchester England. On 18 August 1915, Wif’s Next of Kin was advised of his return to Egypt for duty.
Wif was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 October 1915.
Wif was evacuated from Gallipoli on 19-20 December to Mudros on the Island of Lemnos. On 29 December 1915, Wif disembarked Mudros for Alexandria, Egypt, on the ship “Ascanius”.
On 25 January 1916, Wif was promoted to Temporary Corporal (T/CPL).
Wif was admitted to hospital, sick (Mumps), on 4 February 1916. Wif also reverted in rank to Lance Corporal (L/CPL). An interesting point to note is that Wif’s brother, Basil, had arrived in Alexandra Egypt in mid-January 1916 as a reinforcement and was admitted to hospital on 18 March 1916 with Mumps. Could Basil have visited Wif in Hospital and caught Mumps from him?
Wif’s Next of Kin was notified of his hospitalisation for Mumps on 14 February 1916.
He was taken on strength from 15th Bn to No 4 Auxiliary General Hospital in Cairo Egypt on 9 March 1916. On that same day, Wif was taken on strength with the 4th Machine Gun Company, from the 15th Bn at Serapeum, Egypt.
The 4th Machine Gun Company, 4th Infantry Brigade, AIF
The 4th Machine Gun Company was formed in Egypt on 12 March 1916 and assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade.
On 1 June 1916, he embarked on the Ship ‘Canada’ at Alexandria, Egypt, for Marseilles, France, to join the British Expeditionary Force, arriving on 9 June 1916.
Wif was promoted in the field to Sergeant (SGT) on 20 June 1916.
Wif was wounded in action on 8 August 1916, but remained on duty at his unit.
Wif was again wounded on 1 October 1916, this time by his service revolver to his left thumb. This wound was ‘deemed’ self-inflicted in the field. He was admitted to a field hospital at Hazebrouck on 3 October 1916. Wif was embarked on the ship ‘SS St Andrew’ from Boulogne to England.
Wif was given Furlough on 24 November 1916 until 9 December 1916.
After furlough, Wif marched into No 2 Camp at Parkhouse on 11 December 1916.
On 28 December 1916, Wif marched into the Australian machine Gun Training Depot at Grantham.
Whilst at Grantham, Wif was charged with ‘Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline’ for his self-inflicted wound. At his Court Martial, Wif pleaded Not Guilty, but was found Guilty. Wif was fined 28 days stoppage of pay and was posted to the Machine Gun Training Company at Grantham with effect 28 December 1916.
(Author’s Note: Post war inquiries into soldiers that were listed as Missing In Action provided an eye-witness account of Wif’s death, noting that he had an ‘accident’ with a revolver at Vermoselle, suggesting that Wif may not have been guilty of this crime after all – such was military justice of the day) (A further personal observation is that a crime of ‘Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline’ is quite a severe crime in the battlefield, particularly self-inflicted wounds – which usually carry the connotation of cowardice in the face of the enemy, and which would usually attract a significant penalty for a SNCO. As Wiff was not reduced in rank, which (as a senior military officer) I am very surprised, this suggests there may have been mitigating circumstances presented in his defence, particularly as he would not have been able to call on any witnesses.)
On 1 March 1917, Wif proceeded back to France to the Machine Gun Base at Camiere, arriving on 2 March 1917.
Wif re-joined the 4th Machine Gun Company on 12 March 1917, at Camiere, France.
Wif was posted Missing in Action on 11 April 1917 as a result of action at the First Battle of Bullecourt, France. After an investigation, Wif was posted Killed in Action on 18 August 1917.
The battle in which Wif was lost was considered a disaster that delivered the greatest Australian casualties (about 3300) and soldiers taken prisoner (about 1200) of any single battle to that point in the war. A further point noted in Bean’s account of the First and Second Bullecourt Battles note that the 1st AIF endured over 7000 casualties between 11 April and 17 May 1917.
A short synopsis of the battle follows:
On 11 April 1917, the Australian 4th Division assaulted the Hindenburg Line in the First Battle of Bullecourt, which formed part of the greater battle of Arras. The purpose of the battle of Arras was to draw German troops away from the area into which the French would launch the Nivelle offensive to the south. The First battle of Bullecourt attack was hastily planned and mounted and resulted in disaster. Tanks which were supposed to support the attacking Australian infantry either broke down or were quickly destroyed. Nevertheless, the infantry managed to break into the German defences. Due to uncertainty as to how far they had advanced, supporting artillery fire was withheld, and eventually the Australians were hemmed in and forced to retreat. The two brigades of the 4th Division that carried out the attack, the 4th and 12th, suffered over 3,300 casualties; 1,170 Australians were taken prisoner - the largest number captured in a single engagement during the war. (AWM)
Relief map of the Bullecourt battleground
This relief map of the Bullecourt battleground in France (today) shows the attack of the 4th and 12th brigades on 11 April, 1917. Also shown are the German trenches and final positions of the tanks during the battle, including the tank that broke down on top of the 48th battalion headquarters. It is shown as a small bump on the horizon on the left of the railway embankment on the photograph of Bullecourt in 1917. (‘Hard Jacka’ http://www.hardjacka.com/bullecourt.html)
The Unit Officer Commanding’s (Capt Mitchell) ‘hand written’ account of the 4th MG Coy, 4 Bde, action on 9th and 11th April 1917 at Bullecourt, reproduced verbatim, is as follows:
An attack on the Hindenburg Line from M 30 a.1.5 to U 28 c.5.9 was carried out by 4th + 12th Aust Inf Bdes – 4th Bde taking right sector. Attacks were supported by 62nd Divn + 12 tanks. Zero hour the tanks moved forward, advance being covered by machine gun fire – 6th Aust M.G. Coy. Guns of this Coy being allotted 4 to each battalion, + going forward in rear of 3rd wave. This attack was postponed until morning of 11th – zero hour being 4.30 a.m.
At 4 a.m. tanks moved forward, but only two reached objective. Wire was not cut sufficiently to allow troops through, consequence being heavy casualties from rifle and machine gun fire. However, 1st + 2nd objectives were ultimately reached. Certain number of machine guns reached 2nd objective, but owing to enemies heavy artillery, rifle + machine gun barrage, supplies could not be got forward to the captured position. The enemy organised a powerful bombing counter attack + owing to our supplies failing at 12.30 p.m. we were forced to retire on our old line. Out of 5 officers, 110 men + 16 guns + all accessories, only 1 officer, 15 men and 2 guns were returned to our lines. On my opinion, the tanks were the cause of our absolute failure. All guns had to go forward so as to protect our flanks + frontage should our 3rd objective been reached. With an ordinary artillery barrage, there is little doubt that our objectives would have been reached. (AWM)
At 7 p.m. the 6th M.G. Coy relieves our only two remaining guns + company returned to billets at Favreuil. (AWM)
It should be noted that it was not until 28th April that an ‘informal’ Court of Inquiry was held to enquire into the whereabouts of members of the company reported ‘Missing’ and ‘Wounded + Missing’. The Court of Inquiry was led by Capt Mitchell and assisted by Lt Hunt. (Author’s Note – to enquire at AWM to obtain copy of this enquiry, as it does not appear in the unit history record)
The OC of No 4 MG Coy allotted 4 MGs to 16th Bn, 2 guns to 15th Bn, 4 guns each to 14th and 13th Bns and 2 guns were held in reserve. No 1 Section was allotted to 13 Bn, 2 to 14, 3 to 15 and 4 to 16 Bn. As 15 Bn had only two guns, with the remaining two held in reserve, there would have been only a half strength Section sent forward. The Order of Battle required each Battalion to set their four respective companies up in four waves, with each MG Section going in behind the third wave. The 4th MG Coy Commander wrote in the daily unit history that the first and second objectives were met and that a ‘certain number of Machine Guns reached the second objective’, which was OG2.
The company ran out of supplies and ammunition and were forces to retire when the enemy organised a counter attack. The report articulates that of 5 Officers and 110 Men that deployed that day, only 1 Officer and 15 Men returned.
Post War Analysis:
A range of analyses were conducted into this battle, comparing it to the lessons that were learned in the Hamel Offensive in 1918, where Gen Monash used the lessons learned at Bullecourt to great effect. The failure at the First battle of Bullecourt on 11 April was largely blamed at the time on the poor performance of the British Tanks, which broke down, were too slow and thus were prone to easy attack and arrived too late in the battle to be of use.
However, various post war analyses have discovered that there were five main reasons for the failure of the battle. Firstly, whilst referring to the Relief Map of the battleground above, you will note that the German Trench System at OG1 encircled the town of Bullecourt, re-joining the main trench system, incorporating OG2, moving eastwards South of Riencourt to an intersection of trenches that veer South around Queant. The layout of the battle ground was effectively an amphitheatre, with the German trenches being on higher ground, overlooking the area of the Australian advance. At the East and West corners, you will note strategically placed German Machine Guns, which provided enfilading fire across the area. The battleground gave the Germans a significant advantage over the advancing Australians.
The second reason for the failure of this battle was the timing of the battle. The Australian leadership wanted Zero Hour to be 0300 hours, when there was zero visibility, as there was little or no moon. The British Leadership was concerned that the soldiers would not be able to see where they were going and ordered assemble at the jumping off point at 0400 hours and the attack to commence at 0430 hours. Some 1 hour and 48 minutes before dawn. The Tank Commanders were also concerned that they would not be able to see where they were going and did not depart until 0430, when they could see.
After some discussion, the Battle orders were changed to 0330 hours, when the first light was visible on the Eastern Horizon, giving soldiers about 100 yards of visibility. These orders were changed to 0345 to enable the Tanks to see too, as visibility extended to 600 yards, however the tanks did not arrive until 0430 hours. The soldiers took about 20 minutes to get from the jumping off point to the trench at OG1 (a distance of 600 yards), which meant they arrived in the area engulfed by enfilading machine gun fire without tank support. The distance between the two German Machine Guns was about 1200 yards, meaning that they could both see the soldiers running toward the entanglements in front of OG1 at 0405, when they arrived.
The third reason for the failure of this battle was poor leadership at the senior leadership level. Generals Birwood, White, Walker, Smythe, Holmes and McCay were unable to appreciate the battleground, the strategy and the technology (tanks and artillery). In one particular instance, the issue of the timing and machine gun positions noted above was raised in writing by a junior intelligence officer, but was dismissed as he was considered too inexperienced. This leadership failed to appreciate the lay of the land, the positions of the German machine guns and the fact that the quality of light favoured the Germans more than it did us. Finally, the British leadership did not appreciate the battlefield and issued orders not to jump off until they could see, giving the advantage to the enemy.
The fourth reason was that the artillery was concentrated on the entanglements in front of the trenches and did not attack the machine gun pits, which were very well positioned. Indeed, most artillery fire was concentrated on the small mill at the corner of OG1 where the trench system branches off to the South toward Queant. To add to this disaster, Artillery ceased supporting the attacking force, once they were reported to have reached OG1, as they were concerned they would hit them.
The fifth and final reason for the failure of this battle was that the tanks either did not arrive on time, broke down or were destroyed before they could be of any use. This failure led to the Australian not trusting this technology until the Battle of Hamel in 1918, perhaps resulting in substantial losses in the intervening period as a result.
The corollary of the five issues noted demonstrates that this battle was unsuccessful in the planning and execution phases. The initial inability to recognise the intelligence summaries that indicated that the layout of battle ground gave the enemy a substantial advantage. The positioning of the German machine guns enabled enfilading fire across an amphitheatre. The failure of the artillery to attack the machine gun emplacements enable the Germans to massacre all that lay before them. The failure of the artillery to continue walking the firing pattern forward of the advance also contributed to the failure. The timing of the battle enabled the German machine gunners to see the soldiers, who were presented as targets for some 20 minutes as they ran from the jumping off point to the entanglements in front of Trench OG1. The delay of the tanks provided no support to advancing troops and were therefore unable to deal with the substantial entanglements in time for the soldiers to get through them, nor were they able to provide the advancing soldiers cover from the machine guns. Finally, Divisional leadership was insufficient and disjointed, leading to a lack of appreciation of the battle strategy.
According to the Red Cross, Wif was communicating with a woman in London, perhaps his relationship with her was closer than that. The Red Cross received a letter from a Miss Vizard of 51 Kyrle Road, Clapham Commons, London, S.W.11 on 16 May 1917 enquiring of his situation. The two responding letters are as follows:
10 September 1917:
We regret to inform you that the SGT W.J. Counsel, No 1172, 4th M.G. Coy, AIF, who was previously reported “Missing” is now reported as “Killed in Action” on 4 April 1917.
We are making further inquiries in the hope of learning details of his death and will send you any details we receive.
Regretting the distressing character of this news.
Miss Vera Deakin
21 January 1919:
With further reference to your enquiry for 1172 SGT W.J. Counsel, 4th Machine Gun Company AIF, we beg to inform you we have received an unofficial report from Gunner N.E. Herbertson of the same unit, a repatriated Prisoner of War, who states that SGT Counsel was killed instantaneously on 11 April 1917, just before they got into the front line trenches.
Hoping it may be of some comfort to you to know he suffered no pain and again assuring you of our sincere sympathy.
Miss Vera Deakin
Eye-witness Accounts after the war:
Private Hansen was interviewed after the war, as part of the Courts of Inquiry into Missing In Action soldiers. The transcript of his interview indicated that Wif’s self inflicted wound was indeed an accident, suggesting that he may not have been guilty, as he contended in his Court Marshal. Hansen was not included in the April 28th 1917 Informal Court of Inquiry by Capt Mitchell into the whereabouts of men that were listed as Missing or Wounded, as Hansen was captured by the Germans and was interned as a PoW. The transcript is as follows:
Witness and he were both in No. 3 Section. He was known as “Wif”, about 5’8”; and had a revolver accident at Vermoselle.
About 6.30 a.m. on April 11th about an hour after the attack commenced at Riencourt, while Witness was approaching the trench, he saw Counsel’s body in a shell hole and went up to see him. He was quite satisfied that he was dead and to his identity.
As the Germans took ground that afternoon there would be little chance of our burying him.
Interview conducted by Maj F. de V. Lamb on the return journey to Australia on HMT Euripides on 7 April 1919.
Honours and Awards
Wif was posthumously awarded the 1914/15 Star (No 18797/D6), the British War medal (No 6580/D7) and the Victory Medal (No 6554/D7).
A Pamphlet called: “Where the Australians Rest” was sent to Mr R. Counsel on 24 May 1921.
Designed to bring comfort to relatives and friends of fallen soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force, a brochure entitled “Where the Australians Rest” was published under the direction of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). A copy was forwarded on behalf of the Minister to the next of kin of every member of the AIF who died on active service and was buried overseas. The publication was not available for sale to the general public.
In the dedication, which is addressed to “The Missing”, the hope is expressed not only that those whose kinfolk are buried abroad in known graves may draw some comfort from the little book but also that those who have gained no trace of fallen soldiers since they fell may learn something of the places in which they rest unidentified. “For,” says the foreword, “the authorities have been making every effort that not one soldier whose remains can be found on these old battlefields shall go without a soldier’s honourable burial.
The publication describes each cemetery and area of major loss of life. The publication was designed to provide Next of Kin with the comfort that their son had a proper resting place that was marked by his name. This publication provided a link to their loved one’s final resting place as so few had the resources to travel to Europe from Australia immediately after the war.
A memorial Plaque (No 329411) was presented to Wif’s father, Mr R Counsel on 18 September 1922.
The plaque shows Britannia bestowing a laurel crown on a rectangular tablet bearing the full name of the dead in raised lettering. In front stands the British Lion, with dolphins in the upper field, an oak branch lower right and a lion cub clutching a fallen eagle in the exergue. The inscription round the circumference reads HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOVR. The Memorial Plaque was cast in bronze and is 120mm diameter.
Each plaque had the name of the soldier commemorated, individually embossed (although later some were engraved) as part of the design. The soldier’s full name was given without any indication of rank or honours to show equality of sacrifice of all those who lost their lives. A scroll seven inches wide by eleven inches in height was designed to accompany the plaque.
The plaques were enclosed in an envelope measuring five inches square, the flap of the envelope was embossed with the royal coat of arms. This in turn was enclosed in a thick cardboard container for dispatch to the next of kin, included was a small ‘with compliments’ slip.
A Memorial Scroll (No 329411) was dispatched to Wif’s father, Mr R. Counsel, on 15 July 1921, and was accepted on 26 July 1921.
Details for COUNSEL, Wilfred John
Vera was a nurse from Bunbury. She is one of five, she and her three brothers all served in World War I.
A great aunt found this postcard in a family bible.
Details for PAISLEY, Vera, Agnes Margaret
Three of Horace Weaver’s great-great-grandparents (John Weaver, Elizabeth Steward and Thomas Francis) arrived in Sydney as convicts on the Third Fleet in 1791. Another (Honora Collins) arrived in similar circumstances in 1796. John and Elizabeth married in 1798 and by 1900 were living west of Sydney on the Nepean River at the foot of the Blue Mountains, still an impenetrable barrier to European explorers. Thomas and Honora married at Parramatta in 1801. By the 1860s all Horace’s grandparents had settled on the other side of the mountains.
His parents Samuel Weaver, a labourer, and Emeline Price married at Manildra in 1890 and lived with Samuel’s parents at Meranburn, about 5km west along the railway line from Molong to Parkes. Horace, born at home on 20 September 1893, was their third child and the first to survive infancy. Eight more would follow.
The family moved to Orange in 1901 when Samuel obtained temporary work on the New South Wales Government Railways as a labourer. He was put off after 9 months, and would return to the railways several times before securing permanent employment as a fettler in May 1907. He would be appointed a ganger in 1913.
Horace started his railway career as a probationer on 6 March 1909. After a year’s service he was appointed junior porter. His location was given as Orange district, so he was probably doing relief work at various stations.
A brother, Frederick, followed Horace in to railway service. He commenced work as a junior porter in September 1912, but was not suited to the job. He was dismissed for unsatisfactory service after 9 months. By contrast, Horace was doing well, with his wages rising from 2 shillings and 6 pence (2/6) per day in 1910 to 8/- per day in 1913.
On 4 August 1914 Germany invaded Belgium, forcing England to declare war on Germany. Australia joined England in the conflict. Horace enlisted on 25 August 1914, with his attestation papers describing him as 6’ 2” (188cm) tall and weighting 14st 7lb (92kg) with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and light brown hair. He was originally to join the 1st Field Ambulance.
Another early enlistment was Edmund Milne. He was a NSW railway traffic inspector and part-time military volunteer. He enlisted on 17 September and was commissioned, initially as a lieutenant, with the task of recruiting and leading a railway unit to be recruited from the NSW Railways. On the same day Milne interviewed Horace at Victoria Barracks, Sydney and Horace became one of the first members of the Railway Supply Detachment, 11th Australian Army Service Corps.
Three days later he celebrated his 21st birthday with the news that the railways had promoted him to porter.
The Railway Supply Detachment left Sydney on HMAT Berrima in December 1914 and arrived in Cairo on 3 March 1915. The detachment landed at Gallipoli on 30 June. Their intended task was to build supply tramways, but the landing site was unsuitable. A tramway was constructed around the shore line, but most of the unit’s work was in general logistical support.
On 28 July Horace Weaver was on guard duty on the beach at Gaba Tepe when he was shot through the heart by a Turkish sniper and died immediately. He was buried in Beach Cemetery that night by the Very Rev Albert Talbot, the Anglican dean of Sydney.
His personal effects were sent to his mother – a purse, 4 coins, a bank receipt, a testament, a prayer book, cards and letters.
Samuel Weaver worked as a ganger throughout the central west until his retirement in 1932. Emeline joined the railways as gatekeeper at Girilambone in 1916 and stayed in the position until 1925. Frederick Weaver returned to the railways in 1917 as a fettler and retired as a ganger in 1958.
Biography by Trevor Edmonds. Dorrigo NSW
Details for WEAVER, Horace Kurnell