Heber (Jack) Buxton was born in South Anston, Yorkshire in 1888 and migrated to Australia in 1911. He enlisted in the 9th Battalion, AIF, on 2 September 1914 and embarked from Australia on 24 September 1914 for Egypt. He had been employed as a salesman before enlisting.
The 9th Battalion was one of the first Australian units to land at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
Jack was badly wounded to the left hand and chest at Gabe Tepe on 6 June 1915. He was transferred to the No. 1 Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis. He also suffered a severe ear infection and spent some time in hospital in Cairo in late 1915.
The 9th Battalion left Alexandria on 27 March 1916 for Marseilles arriving on 3 April, 1916. The Battalion was engaged in battles in the Somme and around Ypres in Belgium. Due to ongoing health issues, Jack was assigned to the Postal Corp where he remained for the rest of the war.
He attended Musketry School at Sutton Veny in England from 16 January to 16 February 1918 becoming proficient in the use of the Lewis Gun before returning to France on30 June 1918.
Jack remained in England for some time after the end of the war and married Enid Durie. Together they left England on 9 January 1920 aboard the ‘Megantic’ to return to Australia. He was discharged from the army on 13 March 1920. He later became manager of the Brisbane firm, Hoey and Fry. Jack died in 1960.
John Tunney was born in 1884 in Newcastle NSW. His occupation was coal miner. He enlisted in the 34th Battalion, AIF, on 22 January 1916 and embarked from Australia on 23 June 1916 on the Hororata to travel to Plymouth. He went to France on 21 November 1916.
John received a gunshot wound to the neck on 12 October 1917 and was transferred to hospital in England. He returned to France on 30 January 1918 and was hospitalized in France due to illness from 9 March 1918 to 12 May 1918.
He was killed in action at Mont St Quentin on 31 August 1918. His official records show that he was buried in a shell hole behind the water well. His remains were later moved to Hem Farm Military Cemetery.
Frederick Thomas was born in Roma, Queensland in 1891. He enlisted in the 9th Battalion, AIF, on 2 September 1914 and embarked from Australia on 24 September 1914 for Egypt.
The 9th Battalion was one of the first Australian units to land at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Thomas was wounded that day. According to Chris Lowndes in his 2011 book, ‘Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Service’ published by Boolarong Press, Brisbane on the deeds of the 9th Battalion, ‘Thomas’s shoulder was smashed by shrapnel.’
Fred returned to duty at Gabe Tepe on 23 May 1915 and left Gallipoli on 4 January 1916 on the ‘Grampian’ to Alexandria.
The 9th Battalion left Alexandria on 27 March 1916 for Marseilles arriving on 3 April, 1916. The Battalion was engaged in battles in the Somme and around Ypres in Belgium.
On 2July 1916 Fred was wounded in the knee and returned to his unit a week later. He was hospitalized from 14 to 22 November 1916 due to illness.
He attended Musketry School at Sutton Veny in England from 16 January to 16 February 1918 becoming proficient in using the Lewis Gun before returning to France on 30 June 1918.
Fred left England on 24 September 1918 on special leave and returned to Australia. He was discharged from the army on 24 January 1919. He never married and worked on the Brisbane trams after leaving the army.
Arthur enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 April 1916
The enlistment form said that he had 4 years in the Senior Cadets S.A. and 2 years 4 months in the Citizen Forces, AMC.
Arthur was assigned to the Sixth Machine Gun Reinforcements, 12th MG Coy. He departed Melbourne on 30 October 1916 on the vessel Pt Lincoln and transferred to the Ulysses in Sierra Leone on 5 December 1916 arriving Devonport, England on 28 December 1916. He was then transferred to the army base at Perham Downs. On 18 February 1917 he was assigned to the 5th Divisional MG Coy and proceeded overseas to France on 25 April 1917 as a reinforcement for the 13th MG Coy. He joined this company on 16 June 1917. On 27 September 1917 he received a shrapnel wound to the neck and was admitted to the 2nd AGH at Boulogne. Arthur rejoined his unit on 24 October 1917 and was wounded a second time on 22 January 1918. This time it was a gunshot wound to the back and he was transferred to the War Hospital in Chester.
Arthur was released from hospital on 18 February 1918 and after furlough was ordered to report to No. 1 Com. Depot, Sutton Veny on 4 March 1918. After further training in England he proceeded to the Machine Gun Depot at Camiera in France on 26 April 1918. On 7 May 1918 he rejoined his unit now re-designated the 4th MG Coy. On 6 November 1918 he contracted influenza and he was transferred to the 3rd AGH at Abbeville, France on 15 November 1919.
On 12 May 1919 Arthur left England as a part of Quota no. 25 on board the Pt Napier to return to Australia arriving Sydney on 4 July 1919.
Apart from the wounds recorded on his army file, other information on the file indicates that he had been gassed and treated several times in field dressing stations.
Service No. 152 6th Battalion and 2302 Aust. Light Rail Operating Company.
Sapper Leo William BOOTH enlisted twice. The first time in Melbourne on 17 Aug 1914.
Photographed with his brother Vincent Paul BOOTH. He worked for the railways as an Engine Cleaner prior to enlisting. Leo was born at Crossover on Dec 5th, 1894 the 3rd son of Charles and Margaret Selina BOOTH(nee Serong).
He embarked for overseas service from Melbourne on 19th Oct, 1914. Severely wounded by gunshot fracturing his right thigh at Gallipoli on 1st May 1915 he was admitted to No.5 Indian Hospital. He was not taken off the dangerously ill list until 15 Sept 1915, some four months after being wounded. He was invalided to Wandsworth Hospital in the UK per “Goorhka” and eventually returned to Australia per “Euripedes’ n 24 June 1916.
He re-enlisted at Broadmeadows on 19 Oct 1917 and proceeded overseas again serving in France and England before returning to Aus. on the “Karmala” being discharged on September 10th 1919.
In civilian life he rejoined the railways working at Pinnaroo, Ultimo and Rutherglen before his death in June 1953. He is buried at Carlyle Cemetery, Wagunyah, Victoria.
Born 30 July 1898 at Camberwell to Henry Edward and Caroline Rogers(nee Booth).
He was an apprentice carpenter when he enlisted on Dec 29th, 1915 in Melbourne, claiming to be 18 years. He was only 17 and 5 months.
He embarked for Plymoth on May 20 1916, 2 months prior to his 18th birthday. In Dec 1916 he was posted to France and on 20 April 1918 suffered severe gunshot wounds to the head, arm and hand. Listed in a dangerously ill condition with a compound fracture to the skull, he was evacuated to England 3 weeks later on the “Essequibo” and later returned to Australia in August 1918 on the “Wiltshire” for discharge on November 11th 1918 at the age of 20 yrs.
The 7th son of James and Julia Booth. He had travelled to Boulder, Westen Australia and was employed as a miner.
A highly skilled marksman and in the Citizens Military Forces he spent many years with the Boulder Rifle Club and represented WA in competition shooting. He was 45 on enlistment at Blackboy Hill, WA, single and with both parents already deceased, he nominated his older brother Thomas in Victoria as his next of kin.
Embarking for France on the ‘Ulysses’ on 20 Feb 1916.
He was transferred to the 3rd Tunnelling Co. before being wounded in action on 1 April 1917, he was transferred to Weymouth, UK.
His medical report in October 1917 lists fibrosis of the lungs and overage as reasons for his repatriation home. He returned to Australia on the ‘Benalla’ and was subsequently discharged. In 1922 unable to work any longer he was admitted to “The Edward Milne” repat hospital in Victoria Park where he subsequently of Tuberculosis in November 1922. He was buried in a public grave in Karrakatta Cemetry. Despite dying in a repat hospital and his attestation form listing Thomas as NOK, his death certificate lists no next of kin. Sadly his grave has also now been redeveloped.
Many thanks for acknowledging him somewhere, his GG neice Ann Bullen.
Born at Clifton Hill on 30 June 1892, the second son of Charles and Margaret Selina BOOTH (nee Serong). A sawmill hand at ‘Mississipi’ Saw Mill at Warburton, he enlisted at Surrey Hills on 24 Aug 1914, one week after his younger brother Leo had enlisted. Service records show Warburton as his middle name. This is not correct, it was the place where he worked.
He fought at Gallipoli and was shot in the leg at Cape Helles on 16 May 1915 not rejoining his unit until 22 July 1915. He was transferred to the ANZAC Provost Police Corp on 16 Sep 1916 attached to the 1st Artilliary Battalion.
On Oct 31st 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal for Service in France.
On Aug 6th,1918 he was injured when he fell from a moving train transporting soldiers and horses. He was lucky to be dragged from the train line by witnesses just avoiding being run over by another train. He rejoined the 8th Batt. from the Provost Corp and on 8 Oct 1918 was granted special leave and returned to Australia. He served in Alexandria, Gallipoli, Zeitoun, Marseilles and Belgium.
He returned to the sawmill for a few years before finding his way to South Australia a troubled soul, changing his name to Vincent ‘de’ Paul BOOTH and dying in South Australia at the age of 35 with ‘no next of kin’ listed despite his mother, 2 sisters and younger brother Leo still alive and living in Victoria.
It is thought that it is Vincent on the right and his brother Leo on the left.
A Banker prior to enlistment on 14th Sept 1914 at Camperdown.
He served in the Dardanelles campaign and was shot in the shoulder on 2 May 1915 at Gallipoli. Evacuated to Heliopolis after 11 weeks recouperating, he was posted to the Quarter Masters at Cairo where he was again hospitalised in Sept 1915 with Malaria. He saw further service in Alexandria with 24th Howitzer Brigade before being transferred in January 1917 to the 10th Field Artillary Brigade in France. A gunshot wound on 29th May 1917 fractured both his Tibia and Fibia, evacuated to England his leg was amputated below the knee and he was repatriated home on the “Ulysses” and discharged on 18 Feb 1818.
He led a long life in public service before dying in 1980 at the age of 87.
You have a soldier listed, ‘Henry (Harry) David O’Connell’ No 1971 who died, I believe at Bullecourt in France in 1917.
He was a great uncle of mine.
His sister Violet O’Connell was my grandmother. Violet married in Wellington and settled in Port Chalmers in the South Island.
Harry’s brother, Vincent O’Connell came to live in, Port Chalmers, New Zealand with his sister Violet O’Connell.
Vincent O’Connell joined up with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and also went to France. He was wounded while fighting in the New Zealand army in France and repatriated back to Australia.
Violet, Harry and Vincent were all Australian citizens.
I came across these facts while researching my family history. It shows, I believe, the Anzac spirit.
Unfortunately Harry was first reported wounded on April 11 1917 when Violet made enquiries about him from New Zealand, and his death was not confirmed until July. I found copies of six telegrams online regarding the enquiries.
Violet married a scottish merchant seaman, Murdoch Ross, who served on the NZ troopship, SS Tahiti and made nine trips to Egypt.
Violet died in 1938 in New Zealand. One of her three children, John O’Connell Ross, became a Rear Admiral of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
In Memoriam, after William’s funeral in South Melbourne – detailing a letter sent home referring to William being awarded the DSO by King George. The Record (Emerald Hill, Victoria) Saturday 1 December 1917, Page3. (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75014582)
Charlie was born Charles Weaver Vessey in 1897, the eldest of two surviving sons of Francis Staley Vessey and Lydia Vessey (Ricketts), one of 8 children. Charlie’s older sister, Daisy, was Lyndal’s maternal grandmother. He spent most of his early years living in Tennyson Street, Kew. On leaving school Charlie worked as a warehouseman at the Foy & Gibson’s department store complex around Smith Street, Collingwood. Foy & Gibson’s was one of Australia’s earliest department store chains, modelled on Le Bon Marché in Paris and other European and American stores of the period.
Foy & Gibson Department Store, Smith Street, Collingwood
Constructed to the design of renowned architect William Pitt over several decades from 1887, the Foy & Gibson factory complex still dominates the area in Collingwood bounded by Stanley, Wellington, Peel and Little Oxford Streets. The factories provided goods for the Foy & Gibson department stores and produced men’s clothing and shirts, ladies’ underclothing, millinery, furniture, hardware and bedding.
Foy & Gibson ‘Panoramic view of 2 miles of mills’ - from the reprint of Foy & Gibson’s 1923 catalogue.
Warehouses stored imported goods and the complex was a major hub for home delivery, firstly with horse-drawn vehicles and later with motorised trucks. A major source of local employment, the Foy & Gibson factory complex employed around 2000 people in all stages of the production process, from spinning to despatch and delivery.[i]
After Federation in 1901, one of the first acts of the new Commonwealth was to create a national Defence Department. In 1911, compulsory military training in peacetime (referred to as Universal training) was introduced. All eligible males of a specific age group were liable for military training in peace time and for service within Australia in time of war. This new army consisted of a small permanent garrison, a paid part-time militia and a force of unpaid volunteers. Before the First World War, Australia was the only English speaking country to have a system of compulsory military training during a time of peace.
Between 1911 and 1929 Australian males between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to perform militia service within Australia and its borders. There were three levels of training. Boys between the ages of 12 and 14 had to enrol in Junior Cadets, which were mainly school based and did not wear uniforms, from 14 to 18 they became members of the uniformed Senior Cadets and from 18 to 26 years they became members of the Citizen’s Military Forces, requiring 16 days’ paid training per year up until they reached the age of 20, after which they had to attend an annual muster.
Exemptions were given to those who lived more than five miles (8 kilometres) from the nearest training site, those passed medically unfit, to resident aliens and theological students. Those who failed to register for military training were punished with fines or gaol sentences. Many boys did not register for their military training, and between 1911 and 1915 there were 34,000 prosecutions, with 7,000 gaol sentences imposed. From the age of 15 Charlie did his duty for five years as a Senior Cadet and with the 53rd (Glenferrie) Infantry Battalion at the Drill Hall in Burwood Road, Hawthorn. Although the original timber building has long since been replaced the drill hall is still in use for the Army Reserve in 2013.
The call of King and Country
When war broke out in 1914 the government pledged Australia’s whole-hearted support to Great Britain. “To its last man and last shilling”, according to Prime Minister Andrew Fisher. Australia recruited a force of volunteers for overseas service with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). With the landing at Gallipoli by the ANZACs on 25 April 1915 Australia formally entered the Great War in Europe. Things did not go well in that campaign and the call of King and Country for young men just like Charlie to join in was loud and insistent, particularly to those already serving in the units of the militia.
Charlie enlisted on 20 July 1915 but did not leave Australia for several months. In the second half of 1915 there was a nation-wide epidemic of cerebro-spinal meningitis. Even today Meningitis has a high mortality rate if left untreated but has a good recovery rate if treated with broad spectrum antibiotics. While in 1915 antibiotics had still to be developed, a serum was available that had proved reasonably successful but a supply of the serum was seriously delayed due to its having missed the last mail ship from the United States.
One reason for the rapid global spread of the disease is believed to have been associated with the mobilisation of the world’s military and the social disruption that occurred as a result. Meningitis moved quickly through the troops undergoing training. By the end of August the total deaths in Melbourne had reached 70.
An Isolation Camp was established at Ascot Vale to quarantine soldiers who had been exposed but who had not necessarily contracted the disease. Often whole units would be in isolation at Ascot Vale for 3 weeks at a time. Owing to this crisis, and to the large numbers of recruits wishing to enlist, measures were taken in July to suspend entry into camps for one month. To deal with the numbers of recruits expected on this deferred date, new camps were established at Warrnambool and Royal Park. Delaying the entrance of so many recruits ensured that no man was sent to a camp where there was any danger of infection with meningitis.
Finally, on 27 September 1915 Charlie Vessey boarded the SS Hororata bound for Gallipoli via Egypt as a reinforcement of the 14th Battallion.
The ship docked in Alexandria on 8 January 1916 the same day that the last British soldiers left Gallipoli. The reinforcements were immediately moved to the Isolation Camp at Moascar. In addition to the measures already taken prior to embarkation, the camp was set up to screen those soldiers arriving in Egypt as reinforcements to ensure that after having been crowded together for long periods, no infectious diseases were spread among the otherwise healthy troops. Most soldiers stayed about three weeks in the camp and if no illness appeared the soldier was then passed on to the training unit.
Other soldiers who had contracted an illness stayed longer until fit and for Charlie it was going to be a longer stay. On 10 February Charlie presented with a throat infection. He was admitted to the No 1 Stationary Hospital in Ismalia with tonsillitis finally joining his unit on the 19th. On 18 March Charlie was promoted to Lance Corporal.
Charlie goes to France
The First World War was dominated by the use of artillery. Trench warfare is a gruelling form of warfare in which the defender nearly always holds the advantage. In World War I, both sides constructed elaborate trench and dugout systems opposing each other along a front, protected from assault by barbed wire. The area between opposing trench lines was fully exposed to artillery fire from both sides. Attacks, even if successful, often sustained severe casualties as a matter of course. An infantry attack was rarely successful if it advanced beyond the range of its supporting artillery.
In addition to bombarding the enemy infantry in the trenches, the artillery could be used to precede infantry advances with a creeping barrage, or engage in counter-battery duels to try to destroy the enemy’s guns. Artillery mainly fired fragmentation, high explosive, or, later in the war, gas shells.
Artillery pieces were of two types: guns and howitzers. Guns fired high-velocity shells over a flat trajectory and were often used to deliver fragmentation and to cut barbed wire. Howitzers lofted the shell over a high trajectory so it plunged into the ground. The largest calibres were usually howitzers.
Artillery was generally heavy and cumbersome to move quickly. Mortars, capable of lobbing a shell in a high arc over a relatively short distance, were widely used in trench fighting. They were able to harass the forward trenches, cut wire in preparation for an attack, and destroy saps or tunnels dug under friendly positions to plant explosives as well as dugouts and other entrenchments. In 1914 the British fired only 545 mortar shells but in 1916 they fired a total of 6,500,000.
Stokes 3 inch Trench Mortar
Frederick Wilfred Scott Stokes designed the mortar in January 1915. The British Army was at the time trying to develop a weapon to match the Imperial German Army’s Minenwerfer mortar in use on the Western Front. The Stokes mortar was a simple weapon, consisting of a smoothbore metal tube fixed to a base plate to absorb recoil, with a lightweight bipod mount. When a mortar bomb was dropped into the tube an impact-sensitive primer in the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube and detonate, firing the bomb towards the target.
When Australia expanded the Australian Imperial Force in 1916 each of the new divisions included a new Light Trench Mortar Battery to provide support to its infantry units. On 1 June 1916 Charlie’s unit boarded ship in Alexandria arriving in Marseilles on 8 June. As the new 4th Division began to assemble in France Charlie was transferred into the newly formed 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery at Bois Grenier, a village outside Armentieres.
The new unit’s initial training used borrowed mortars and a total of 100 rounds were fired successfully with fortunately no casualties. On 6 August 1916 Charlie’s unit moved to the front line.
Mouquet Farm was located about 1.7 kilometres north-west of the high ground near Pozières on the road running north-west from Albert to Bapaume north of the Somme River. Following the fighting around Pozières in late July 1917 the British decided to gain control of the ridge beyond the village in order to create a gap in the German lines. A salient had developed around the German-held fortress of Thiepval a few kilometres north-west of Pozières. In military terms a salient is a part of the front line of a battle that projects into enemy held territory. Such a situation is often created when the support to an attacking force moves at a slower pace or stops moving altogether. Any bulge in the front line is then exposed to counter-attack on three sides. By capturing Mouquet Farm, the British hoped that it would destabilise the German position and enable further gains.
During the battle, the three Australian divisions of I ANZAC Corps, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions, advanced northwest along the Pozières ridge towards the German strongpoint of Mouquet Farm, with British divisions supporting on the western side. The Australians moved quickly across the high ground while on their flank the British Division became bogged down in the quagmire from the constant rain of artillery on the muddy lowland. The approach to the farm by the Australians was under observation from German artillery spotters who were able to call down barrages on them from three sides. This meant that the Australians were under fire, not only from the enemy ahead, but from those units that were still operating from either side.
This resulted in heavy casualties among the attackers before they even reached the farm. Over the course of August and into September the Australian divisions managed to reach the farm three times, only to be forced back each time.
After the first week of the battle, having lost 2 men dead, 1 wounded and another suffering from shell-shock, Charlie’s unit was relieved. On 12 August the unit struggled into camp at Albert, to the south-west of Pozières. If the men were looking forward to a rest they were to be disappointed. The following day saw the brigade back on the road as they trudged a further 20 km west to La Vicogne.
After manoeuvres that included a lot more marching as well as the transport unit managing to misplace their mortars and bedding on the way, the unit was again ready to move back to the front line. On 21 August Charlie was promoted to corporal and on the 27th the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery had its mortars back in the front line around Mouquet Farm.
Trench Map of the Pozières and Mouquet Farm Battlefields
The use of aircraft was another weapon that both the British and Germans were making greater use of during the Somme battle, particularly with their ability to fly above the level of effective rifle fire and drop hand-held bombs onto positions below. Early on the morning of 28 August Charlie’s unit repelled two separate bombing attacks. During one of those attacks a piece of shrapnel struck Charlie in the leg.
Charlie’s wound wasn’t serious and he only spent a few days in hospital. He was able to rejoin his unit when they had again been relieved from the front line. This time they boarded a train at Doullens, 30 km north-west of Albert, bound for Poperinge in Belgium.
I ANZAC Corps suffered 6,300 casualties at Mouquet Farm and was so depleted that the entire Corps had to be taken off the front for the next two months. As the battle dragged on, the Canadian Corps took over from the Australians, who were withdrawn on 5 September. However, by the time the battle concluded in mid-September, the German garrison still held out. The farm was eventually captured on 26 September following the general attack of the Battle of Thiepval Ridge by British and Canadian forces.
Life in the trenches – Winter 1917
The 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery settled into a new routine on a new part of the battlefield. For the next few months as winter closed in life consisted of a routine of about one week in every three in the trenches at the front line, with the time in between spent moving from one camp to another.
Trench conditions varied widely between different theatres of the war, different sectors within a theatre, and with the time of year and weather. Trench life was however always one of considerable squalor, with so many men living in a very constrained space.
Scraps of discarded food, empty tins and other waste, the nearby presence of the latrine, the general dirt of living half underground and being unable to wash or change for days or weeks at a time created conditions of severe health risk (and that is not counting the military risks). Vermin, including rats and lice, were very numerous; disease was spread both by them, and by the maggots and flies that thrived on the nearby remains of decomposing human and animal corpses.
Troops in the trenches were also subjected to the weather. The winter of 1916-1917 in France and Flanders was the coldest in living memory. Whenever it rained the trenches flooded, sometimes to waist height. Men suffered from exposure, frostbite, trench foot, and many diseases brought on or made worse by living in such a way. Trench foot was a wasting disease of the flesh caused by the foot being wet and cold as well as constrained into boots and puttees, for days on end. [ii]
Trenches on the Somme 1916
On 16 September Charlie’s unit joined up with the 11th Canadian Light Trench Mortar Battery at Voormezele, about 4 km south of Ypres. While the combined units were in a good position from which to fire at enemy targets they were hampered by poor ammunition supply. Over two days the combined units were only able to fire 300 rounds. The Canadians left the following day and over the next 11 days the battery was only able to average between 150 and 300 rounds per day.
On 17 October the battery was taken out of the line for a well-earned rest. After a march of about 20 km south-west to Steenwerck they marched another 30 km north-west the next day to Caestre. From Caestre they boarded a train that took them south-east almost to the coast at Pont Remy a few km outside Abbeville. More marching, this time inland along the River Somme to Yzeux.
Finally, a chance to take the boots off, have a wash and a decent feed. The unit rested at Yzeux for a full week before setting off once more.
On November 5th two attacks were launched; one near Gueudecourt during the small hours, in rain which made the attempt a nightmare; the other near Flers in mid-morning. In the first attack the troops for the assault reached their front line exhausted after a terrible journey over the mud, some of them late. The advance battalion was seen and shelled and therefore unable to assemble in no-man’s-land. In the drizzle the troops advanced in good order; but, slithering over shell holes, they could barely keep pace with the creeping barrage.[iii]
On 9 November, with the winter rains now upon them Charlie’s unit moved off again and marched up river to Picquigny where they boarded busses to take them on through Amiens to Ribemont-sur-Ancre. After spending the night in billets described by the battery’s Commanding Officer in the unit’s War Diary as “filthy and decked in mud”, they headed off once more on foot to Dernancourt, about 2 km south of Albert. With the first snows starting to fall the unit camped in woodland where the slushy ground quickly began to freeze.
Rain fell almost constantly until the battery moved forward on 27 November to the trench line north-east of Guedecourt facing the German-held town of Bapaume. The trenches were filled with liquid mud often more than a meter deep. There was little for them to do in the way of firing at the enemy so the men were kept busy making tracks with duckboards to make movement possible. Even when the weather turned fine the bitter, piercing wind caused significant hardship.
It was a relief when the order finally came on 6 December for the men to get back on the road. They marched south through Delville Wood and Longueville to Montauban. There they rested for a few hours at a railway siding by a quarry just outside the town and at 2am boarded a train to take them the 20 km back to Mealte. Tired and half frozen they marched on to Ribemont. After a week of training and fatigue duties the battery headed south to Cardonette, a village 3 km north of Amiens where they stayed until 2 January.
A road on the battlefield, Westhoek
For two full weeks they rested, undertaking training whenever the rain eased up and even managing to get a few hours off in Amiens. Christmas was celebrated with a Battery Dinner and the New Year with a sports day, all the while being pummelled by rain that never seemed to stop.
On 2 January 1917 they were on the move again. They marched back to Ribemont and on to Mamely Camp where they relieved the 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery. This time they had to prepare the site for a medical unit to move in. “Corduroy” roads were built by laying logs side by side along the muddy track and making parking stands for the ambulance vehicles soon to be arriving. It was obvious to all that the division was preparing for something. On 14 January the weather suddenly cleared. Four weeks of colder, brighter weather froze the land and water hard. It temporarily banished the mud and covered northern France with snow.[iv] Now all four Australian divisions of the I Anzac Corps were in the line. In preparation for an imminent attack on the Germans the corps was ordered to place the enemy under strain by carrying out small assaults.[v]
On 24 January the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery moved back to the front line, once again facing Bapaume. This time they were to support the 15th Battalion in one of these small assaults.
At 7 pm on 1 February two companies of the battalion moved forward supported by mortars from the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery. They assaulted the German lines along a front about 500 m wide. The Australians reached their objective and 50 prisoners were taken. At 11 pm the Germans counter-attacked but were quickly beaten off. A much stronger counter-attack came at 4.30 and by 5 am the Australians were forced back to where they started.
The 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery lost four men killed and another two wounded during that night’s attack and of the ammunition fired by the mortars 75% were “duds”.[vi] During the rest of the morning the battery attempted to recover bodies from the frozen ground but the ground was too hard to break through. In the afternoon with the temperature slightly warmer three bodies were located and eventually retrieved. On the next night the 13th Battalion assaulted the same position. At 10 pm an artillery barrage, including mortars from Charlie’s unit, opened on the enemy position enabling the battalion to move forward. The battalion’s War Diary describes the fire as being “so excellent” as to enable the assaulting wave to approach “as close as 5 or 6 yards of the barrage”. This time the assault was successful.
Of the mortar support provided the diary adds: “The unsatisfactory burning of the cartridges for the mortars nearly resulted in the wire on our left not being cut. This is a vital matter. Some of the bombs failed to travel half way to their objective and were a frightful danger to the mortar crews. They were very brave men to stick at it the way they did in order to cut the wire for us.”
The 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery’s own War Diary says of this: “Ammunition 20% duds.” At least it was better than the 75% failure of the previous assault. On 9 February the battery once more moved back to Ribemont.
The Hindenberg Line
The winter of 1916 – 1917 affected people in different ways. Some succumbed to influenza, others suffered miserably from trench foot while others caught infections resulting from the appalling conditions under which they were forced to live. Charlie was no different.
On 21 February Charlie reported to the Medical Officer with his eyes oozing from Conjunctivitus. While we wouldn’t consider it as a major illness today, in France in 1917 it was likely that it could spread quickly through the men at the front. Charlie was hospitalised with the 4th Field Ambulance at Warloy but was transferred to the 3rd Field Ambulance at Millencourt the next day while the 4th Field Ambulance prepared to move closer to the front.
After a week in hospital Charlie rejoined his unit at the camp at Ribemont on 6 March. The weather was changing, moving from constant rain to often fine and sunny with morning mists that concealed the enemy trenches for hours at a time. It was even possible to stand outside the trenches, invisible to the ever-present danger of a sniper’s rifle. The drawback to the sun was that the ground began to thaw and the trenches became channels of foetid mud.
While Charlie was in the hospital the war changed too. The German Army was withdrawing. Attacks on German outposts brought little resistance. Le Barque and Ligny-Thilloy were taken bringing the ANZACs to just south of Bapaume. It was easy to believe that the allies were gaining the upper hand but the reality didn’t justify the optimism. The Germans were withdrawing to fortified positions along what the allies would later call the Hindenberg Line.
By the time Charlie was out of hospital the Australians were at Grevillers, only 2 km to the west of Bapaume. Early on the morning of the 17th the Australians moved into Bapaume only minutes after the Germans had departed. In what could only be described as exhilaration, they chased them across green fields seemingly untouched by war. But as the Australians moved north their numbers thinned as they left behind small groups to secure the vacated German lines and thus secure their own supply line. Orders came from the British Command that they were to hold a line through Bapaume and Peronne. As the Germans withdrew they left behind them nothing that could be of any use. Trees were cut down, buildings and railways destroyed and many of the roads were blown up to prevent their use by vehicles. At every town and village small, determined garrisons remained to offer resistance to the allies.
On 25 March the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery left their camp along with the rest of 2nd Division and moved as the Reserve to follow the main advance. First to Fricourt and then north to Bazentin, about half way to Bapaume. From Bazentin they entered Belgium and on to Grevillers, Bapaume and then to Favreuil.
On 1 April blizzards swept across the fields of Flanders leaving a blanket of ice across the land. By 8 April Charlie’s unit had moved up to Noreuil, via Vaulx and had begun to carry their ammunition forward in preparation for their turn at the front.
The Battle of Bullecourt
The Battle of Bullecourt was not the most decisive event of the war but it did mark an important moment, particularly for the men of the 4th Brigade of which the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery was an integral part.
The British planned to attack German defences at Arras on April 9th but wanted a secondary attack to take place at the northwest end of the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt. It was believed by British senior army commanders that once they had broken through at Arras, retreating German forces would move towards Bullecourt and be effectively trapped.
The plan was for the British 1st and 3rd Armies to attack the towns of Vimy and Arras while the Australians, along with the British 62nd West Riding Division attacked to the south at Bullecourt on the following morning. As the allies moved through Bullecourt they would be assisted by the cavalry having charged through the German lines with the earlier attack.
German trench map of bullecourt
Immediately to the east of the Australian line of attack on Bullecourt was the town of Quéant. Quéant presented a risk of a German counter-attack so the entire area was bombarded by heavy artillery fire prior to the attack. When it was realised that the artillery had not destroyed as much of the German barbed wire as was hoped, the British came up with a bold, new plan. Tanks would move forward in advance of the infantry and destroy the barbed wire instead of relying on artillery.
At 4:20 am on 10 April with a heavy snow driving from the darkness the men of the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery waited along with the other units of the 4th Brigade ready for the attack to begin. The men were all in the open having crossed the railway embankment just south of the German trenches with only the black of the pre-dawn as cover. 4:30 am, zero-hour, rolled past with the light growing slowly through the lashing snow as each minute passed. The tanks had got lost.
At 5:00 am the attack was called off, but it was already light enough for the Germans to see the movement of men heading back to the safety of their own lines. It wouldn’t have taken much, only a slight raising of the head above the skyline with the dawn glowing from behind. Charlie had no idea what had happened, only a sudden blinding pain in his frozen face as he was struck in the cheek and neck by a single German round.
The shot was an unlucky one but the fact that the attack had been cancelled gave him a much bigger advantage than if it had actually gone ahead. The unit suffered only two casualties that morning and both were quickly taken from the field to the dressing station. While the other wounded soldier died Charlie was able to be moved on to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance at Bapaume where he was operated on immediately. The rest of the division wasn’t as fortunate. On the next morning once more the men were lined up by 4:30 am waiting for the arrival of the tanks to lead the attack. Running 15 minutes late, only three of the expected twelve tanks arrived. The remainder had either broken down or had again become lost in the darkness and the featureless terrain.
British Mark 1 tank used during the Battle of Bullecourt.
For the 4th Brigade no tanks arrived at all and they were forced to cross the open ground completely exposed to enemy fire. The Germans were ready for them. After the British attacks at Vimy and Arras immediately to the north, and the aborted attempt the previous morning, they had a high degree of expectation that another attack was imminent. Despite this the Australians managed to fight through to their initial objectives but by 10:00 am they were under a heavy counter-attack and, desperately short of ammunition, were forced to withdraw to their original start positions.
For the gain on no ground whatsoever the 4th Brigade lost 3,000 men. According to the official war historian Charles Bean, “Bullecourt, more than any other battle, shook the confidence of Australian soldiers in the capacity of the British command; the errors, especially on April 10th and 11th, were obvious to almost everyone”.
Oxford, Harefield and Home
They called it a Blighty wound. That is a wound not serious enough that treatment was impossible but bad enough to get you sent back to Britain. Charlie was moved quickly from the front line to the general hospital at Rouen ahead of the casualties expected from the postponed attack on Bullecourt. On 19 April he was taken on board the SS Viper at Le Havre and carried across the channel. By 23 April Charlie was resting comfortably in one of the converted facilities of Oxford University that had been taken over by the Army to form the 3rd Southern General Hospital.
It was a long recovery for Charlie. The formal description of his injury was a gunshot wound to the left cheek and neck with severe facial paralysis. A month after his injury Charlie’s family was advised that his condition was ‘progressing favourably’ and in August he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield in Middlesex.
"In November 1914 Mr and Mrs Charles Billyard-Leake, Australians resident in the UK, offered their home, Harefield Park House and its grounds, for use as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers of the Australian Imperial Forces. In December the property became the No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, the only purely Australian hospital in England. The hospital consisted of Harefield Park House, a 3-storey plain brick building, some out-buildings and grounds of some 250 acres. It was proposed that the hospital would accommodate 60 patients in the winter and 150 in the summer. It would be a rest home for officers and other ranks, and also a depot for collecting invalided soldiers to be sent back to Australia." Harefield hospital still exists today.
The Lake, Australian Hospital Harefield Park, Middlesex
By October Charlie’s condition was described as ‘convalescent’ and he was allowed to sail home later that month on the SS Beltana.
Charlie was discharged on 18 February 1918 and returned to work for Foy & Gibson’s. On 11 June 1921 he married Mildred (Millie) Lucie Wallis and lived in Derby Street, Kew, close to both their families. They settled in Adelaide a few years after that. At the outbreak of World War II Charlie re-enlisted and served as a Staff Sergeant at the Junior Leader School at Woodside.
It would be nice to say that they lived happily ever after but not long after the war the marriage was in trouble. The couple divorced in Adelaide. Millie returned to Melbourne while Charlie stayed in Adelaide. In 1951 he married Clarice (Claire) Saint. Neither marriage produced any children. Charlie died in Adelaide in 1984.
When I was growing up I always knew that my paternal Grandfather, had died in the First World War; my Father was completely unapproachable about the subject so it was down to my Mother to tell me that “Your Grandfather was killed at the Battle of the Somme, he joined the Australian Army, and Dad and my Grandmother received a pension from the Australian Government after he was killed. He has no grave as he was blown to pieces”. “Oh” I would say, “… perhaps one day we could visit the Somme and see Granddad’s memorial plaque”. She would shake her head “… no, it is out of the question, your Father would not want to go”. As I was growing up, the retort from my Mother, when I misbehaved would be “Well I don’t know where you get your ideas from, certainly not my side of the family; you must get them from your Father’s side”. I used to wonder who was my Father’s side of the family, so once again questions were asked, and my Mother would reply “oh there was a family row, and your Father never saw his Father’s family again” and that was that! She did tell me once that when my Father was small he said that he used to think that perhaps his Father had suffered from ‘shell shock’ and in error gone back to live in Australia, and one day he would remember them and come back and find them and everything would be all right. My Father was also given his Fathers medals and a photograph, but he threw them in the bin with a retort of “I wanted a Father not medals and a photograph”.
The years went by, my Father died in 1983; my life continued as lives do, but sometimes I would ask myself, who was my Grandfather? I knew his name, William Pritchard – the same name as my Father but that was it, just a name.
Then along came the Internet and with it the ability to search the First World War records, so off I started my research. First I tried the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ‘Debt of Honour’ web site. There were lots of Pritchard’s, but none killed on the Somme. There was one killed at Gallipoli, but the next of kin was wrong, I was looking for my Grandmother Ada Pritchard. Many long nights followed, coffee made by my husband Steve left to go cold, and then I would give up for a few months. When I looked at my Father’s family tree, it was just my Father and my Grandmother and his half sisters. His mother (my grandmother) had remarried in the 1930s but there was no father for my father, and then I would start searching again. I would sit down at my computer and say, ” … right Grandad tonight I am going to find you” then nothing.
The search went on in this way for five years. I emailed the Australian authorities but they said they had no record of the pension. I even started to wonder did this man ever exist, but he had to have existed. Talking to the family, no one knew anything, my three aunts in Australia, knew nothing. However, I never gave up hope of finding him. I tried birth records, but there was the problem of trying to find someone with the name of William Pritchard when you are not quite sure when or where they were born, and there were a great many people with the same name. I also looked for the record of his marriage to my Grandmother, but found nothing. I was actually starting to feel quite down, but always in the back of my head was the War Pension from Australia, so they had to be married.
Then one night I was sitting there staring at the census records yet again, and I realised that I was looking at things the wrong way round. I should be looking for my Grandmother marrying my Grandfather, and ‘bingo’ the first search up came the record of their marriage. Overjoyed, I immediately sent away for the marriage certificate and waited - it seemed to take ages to arrive!
In the meantime one of my aunts in Australia was busy trying to help me, and one morning at 4.00am I could hear the phone ringing. It was my Aunt, she was in tears, Carole she said “… I have found your Grandfather, sorry to ring you so early but I just could not wait any longer”. She gave me a website address; I looked at the site but was still not sure - it listed William Pritchard killed Gallipoli next of kin James and Ellen Prichard – not my Grandmother. Then the marriage certificate arrived and I found out that my Great Grandfather was called James and where he lived. If I said it once I must have said it a hundred times that night to my husband “… did you know that my Great Grandfather was called James” - he would just smile and nod.
I was getting so frustrated I emailed everyone on a web site who had a William Pritchard born in London, hoping that I may not have the fully story, but perhaps they might have any information. Most people responded, but of course it was all negative, so when I had the wedding certificate and knew who my Great Grandfather was, I started emailing everyone again, and that is when I got the reply back saying yes it looks like we are related. I explained to her about my Grandfather but she did not have any information either but she said she would try and help me as I had made her curious, but I needed my Grandfather’s birth certificate and got that and yes I had finally found part of my Grandfather’s family, so in the space of 2/3 weeks I knew the names my Great Grandfather and my Great Grandmother, I knew where my Grandparents had married, I knew where they both lived before they were married, and from this relation I found all of the names of my Grandfathers brothers and sister. My Father’s side of the tree was now getting full, but there was still the question of Grandfather’s death in the First World War.
Late that day the family member that I had found emailed with a link to the Australian Service records and said “look at page 10”, when I did I found the next of kin ‘James Pritchard’ crossed out and in red ink ‘Ada Pritchard’ added. I then went through the documents that she had found on line for me and on page 25, there it was, Widow Ada Pritchard, dependant William Joseph Pritchard (my father). It even told me how much pension they received, which was £1 every other week for my Father and £2 every other week for my Grandmother, so why did she tell my Mother that my Grandfather was killed at the Somme. I just sat looking at the screen it had been there all the time, but of course how was I to know, I must be honest I cried really cried tears of joy, I had done it I had found him, but I knew very little about Gallipoli. But before I go any further I would like to introduce you to my Grandfather.
He was 5ft 4in tall (not very tall, but one must remember that a lot of people were malnourished in those days), he weighed 10 stone 6lbs, he had a dark complexion, his hair was dark, his eyes were brown and he had tattoos on both forearms and right upper arm as well (oh dear, sorry but tattoos, how could you Granddad!)
He was born in Brick Lane London in 1890. He was 25 years old when he joined the 4th Battalion, A.I.F (yes this was the Battalion that went on the rampage in Cairo!) and served in ‘D’ Company. He enlisted at Liverpool Camp, New South Wales on 6 November 1914 and left Sydney on the HMAT Seang Bee for Egypt, as a 2nd Reinforcement, on 11 February 1915.This was the day before my father’s 1st birthday. He left Alexandria on 5 April 1915 on T.S.S. Lake Michigan for Gallipoli and landed on the 25th April 1915 at ANZAC Cove at approximately between 11 and 12. He was killed between 6 - 9 August 1915 during the attack on Lone Pine, and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial. There was a Court of Enquiry at a place called Fleurbaix, France, which confirmed his death in action but when I asked the Australian Government if they had the papers, they said unfortunately they have no other papers on my Grandfather.
I have no pictures of him at all, no diaries nothing as I said above all I had was a name.
The Attestation Papers give his occupation as a Farm Labourer, but on the Marriage Certificate to my Grandmother he is what we today would call a French Polisher. In fact according to my relative, all the men in that family work with wood and still do today.
It is unclear whether my Grandfather travelled to Australia to enlist – certainly I was told this by my Mother ” … he joined the Australian Army because they paid better than the British Army, and if he was killed, then my Grandmother also got a better pension” - and one must remember that £6 a month in 1915/16 was a lot of money in those days. However, he could have gone to Australia in 1914 to seek a new life and employment on the land, but war upset his plans. My feeling is that he intended that my Grandmother and my Father would settle in Australia with him, I suppose the thought of a bright new future in Australia was very appealing. The family row, oh well that was because his father - James Pritchard wanted some of the pension money! It is unclear why my Grandfather put his father, James, down as next of kin on the Attestation Form. Perhaps he did so in case the Australian Army would not take married men from England. But that is something else for me to look up.
My Grandfather’s death in the period 6 – 9 August occurred when the 4th Bn. of the 1st Australian Division were engaged in bitter fighting at Lone Pine. An action in which seven VC were awarded. The attack is well chronicled – C E W Bean devotes no less than 40 pages to it in The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. He records thatthe attack began at 5.30pm on 6 August, on a narrow front with the first troops filing into tunnels, which extended some fifty yards beyond the front line. The attacking troops reached the Turkish front line but found it roofed over with heavy logs, which the Australians tried to remove while others went further forward and then worked their way back along the communication trenches. Much of the fighting took place in semi-darkness with attacks and counter-attacks that lasted until 9 August.
Another author, Alan Moorhead, comments in his book Gallipoli ‘… it is really not possible to comprehend what happened. All dissolves into a confused impression of a riot, of a vicious street fight in the back alleys of a city, and the metaphor of the stirred-up ant heap persists …’
What we do know is that 1st Australian Division lost over 2,000 men during the battle. The 4th Battalion, in which my Grandfather, served went in with 20 officers and 722 other ranks and suffered the loss of 15 officers and 459 other ranks killed wounded or missing (63% of those engaged).
After years of wondering and searching I now have my answers to my questions, but sometimes, I can’t believe that I found him, I wonder if I have got the right person, but I know that I have. So I have now arrived at Gallipoli, a different journey to my Grandfather, but we both arrived at the same place.
Just a foot note, my Grandmother emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1973, I wonder, as she walked down those roads/streets, did she think of her first husband, my Grandfather.
As a footnote: In June 2010 I finally managed to travel to Gallipoli and went to visit my Grandfather at Lone Pine, I was the first one ever to go and see him in 95 years.
William Pritchard 4th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement Regiment No. 1422 Killed Gallipoli 6th – 9th August 1915
Grandad, you have laid forgotten for many years, but not by me. Now I have found you and you are forgotten no more
George Henry Heather – Service Number 939, 5th Battalion A.I.F
George Henry Heather was born at Nilma, near Warragul, Victoria on 2nd July 1892, the son of George Swain & Caroline Jane Heather. At age 22, within a few weeks of the declaration of war, he enlisted at Ripponlea in Victoria on 18th August 1914 and was appointed to the 5th Battalion at Broadmeadows. Next of kin was recorded as his father, George Swain Heather of Golden Square Bendigo.
On 21st September 1914 George departed on the Orvieto from Melbourne. After a short stay in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion was transported to Egypt for further training, arriving in December of the same year. From Egypt he went with the battalion to the Dardanelles where he took part in the landing on 25th April 1915, being in the second wave.
Ten days after the initial landing George was transferred with the battalion to Cape Helles to assist in the attack on the village of Krithia. This was a disaster as little ground was gained and almost a third of the battalion was lost. George was seriously wounded on 11th May, 1915, suffering gunshot wounds to both thighs. He was admitted to the General Hospital at Alexandria on 16th May, reported as being “dangerously ill”.
By 15th August George was aboard the Astiruas, bound for England where he was admitted to King George Hospital, Stamford St London. Here his right leg was amputated above the knee. In the photo following George is at this hospital with other wounded servicemen. He is at the far right with the stump of his right leg resting on a pillow.
George returned to Australia aboard the Sueric leaving England on 21st March, 1916. On arriving home he was cared for by his mother and sister Emily, whose husband Charles Dear, was also serving abroad. George was never able to obtain a comfortable artificial leg but became very adept at hopping from place to place or moving about on crutches. He joined the anti-conscription movement and spoke at many meetings opposing conscription as he affirmed that the volunteers did not want to have to rely on others who were there to fight only because they had been compelled to do so. He even stood, though unsuccessfully, as a candidate for the Labour Party in Warrnambool for the 1920 State Elections.
Later George married, moved to NSW and produced a family of five children – four sons and one daughter. However he needed ongoing medical attention throughout his life caused by the injuries incurred during his service. He never discussed in any detail with his family what he had experienced at Gallipoli, nor did he ever attend any Anzac Day services as he considered the organisation of the whole campaign to have been a disaster.
George died at Concord Repatriation Hospital on 3rd May, 1960 at age 67.
Corporal Reginald Vandenbergh was born in 1891, son of William and Mary Vandenbergh who farmed at Robertson in the Southern Highlands of N.S.W. Reg joined N.S.W. Railways as a fireman and was stationed at Picton where he married Elsie Burgess (1894-1969) in 1915. He enlisted 6 January 1917 in 1st Railway section, 60th Australian Railway Company, and embarked on HMAT Wiltshire on 7 February, 1917. Reg served in France as a fireman and driver but developed severe nephritis and was invalided home on hospital ship HMAT Gaika. Reginald Vandenbergh was discharged on 18 December 1918 and died at Auburn, Sydney on 10 November 1967.
Corporal Malcolm Benaud Smith service no. 30307 known as “Mac” was born 8 June 1893, son of Charles Benaud and Mary Ann Smith of “Brookland Farm”, Jilliby on N.S.W. central coast. Malcolm enlisted 14 August 1916 in the 6th Army Brigade, 8th Reinforcements and embarked 9 November 1916 on HMAT “Benalla”. He served as a gunner and driver in France and returned to Australia on 20 August 1919 on “Norman”.
Malcolm married Frances Marion Harvey on 9 October 1920, they had nine children and lived on the family farm at Jilliby until they moved to Beecroft, Sydney where Malcolm established himself as a builder. He enlisted in WW11 serving in Australia no. 387896. His eldest son, Malcolm Donald Smith, enlisted in the RAAF and had a distinguished flying career as a Catalina pilot until his death in a plane crash on Lord Howe Island on 28 September 1948. Malcolm Benaud Smith died 10 April 1964.
Private Thomas Henry Harvey service no. 32910 was always known as ‘Jim’. He was born at Parramatta, N.S.W. on 23 December, 1893 – son of Thomas Henry Harvey (1859-1932) and Helen Elizabeth Ogborne (1861-1902) who had married in 1881 at Henbury, near Bristol in England and had migrated to Australia in 1882 on ‘Samuel Plimsoll’. Thomas Henry Harvey senior established a plumbing business in Church Street, Parramatta where the young Thomas worked until enlisting in the 4th Field Artillery of 12th Battalion on 8 October, 1916. He embarked 11 June 1917 on HMAT Shropshire and served in France as a gunner and driver. He returned to Australia 20 July 1919 on Mahia.
After returning to work in the plumbing business ‘T.H.Harvey and Sons’ he married Florence May Rand on 13 April 1920. They had four children and built a beautiful home at 68 Weston Street, Harris Park. Upon his father’s retirement Thomas Henry Harvey took over the plumbing business and became a prominent member of the Parramatta community. From 1940 to 1943 he was Deputy Mayor of Parramatta, a founding member of Parramatta Rotary Club and was chairman of the Patriotic Appeal Committee during WWII. Thomas Henry Harvey died at Parramatta on 11 March 1974.
My mothers late Uncle was John William Laycock who served during WW1 and was later mustard gassed. He returned home and suffered health issues and later died and was buried in with the Anzacs at Toowong Cemetary.
Charles Michael Finn is listed as having come from Tenterfield NSW. He had two older brothers who also served. They actually lived at Bungulla a small community about 10km south of Tenterfield.
William Edmund Finn, who served during the Gallipoli campaign as a reinforcement and went on to serve in France - died at Strazeele in 1918. And Martin Richard Finn, William’s younger brother, who also served in Europe and made it home in 1919.