Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gunner Tatterson says farewell

HMAT Orsova leaving Port Melbourne, 16 December 1916.
If  Nellie Tatterson took her three children down to Port Melbourne to farewell Gunner John Forrest Tatterson eight days before Christmas 1916, it was the last time they were to see their husband and father.

Rod Martin outlines the service of Gunner Tatterson, who despite embarking with the 13 Light Horse Regiment, saw most his time overseas with the Field Artillery Brigade.  Transferred to work with howitzers, dangerous work owing to the proximity to the German lines.  Read the full story by clicking on the link above.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trooper Harry Griffiths acknowledged as war dead

Harry David Griffiths died in 1919 after his return to Australia and was buried at the Heidelberg Cemetery.  His family have worked to have his service in the AIF acknowledged as contributing to his death by the Office of Australian War Graves. This new plaque also recognises his earlier period of military service with Cameron's Scouts in the South African War.  A dedication will take place at the Heidelberg Cemetery tomorrow.  Photo courtesy of Wendy Moline. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Missing in 1916, found in 1924

4th Division Memorial at Ballenglise, France.
There was special suffering for those families whose lost sons, brothers and husbands had no known grave.    The family of Lionel Rupert Fox Walker, a hairdresser from Essendon, was one of those families.  The Red Cross had been unable to determine what had become of Lionel and his body could not be found - until 1924.  Rod Martin describes the carnage that characterised the battle for Mouquet Farm, in which Lionel was lost.   Lionel's last posting was with the 52 Battalion, which was part of 4 Division.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A teacher joins the machine gunners

Frederick Almonde Coe was teaching at St Thomas' Grammar School, Essendon, when he enlisted in February 1916.  The image above shows the Vickers medium machine gun on which Coe trained, and later operated in France. Rod Martin describes how the machine gun crews operated, and the outcome of Frederick's part in the war.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unidentified soldier at Moonee Ponds

From the State Library of Victoria collection, H99.166/52.
This fellow was photographed at Leighton Studios, 14 Margaret St, Moonee Ponds.  He may well not have been a local, but on the other hand, it is worth considering that he was a local. One of the older fellows in his late 30s.  If anyone should recognise him, please get in touch.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Rossi brothers do their bit

Gunner Les Rossi, back row, far left, trained in Swanage, England with reinforcements of 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column.  They embarked for France on 10 Feb 1917,  where Les was subsequently transferred to the 4th Divisional Ammunition Column.  Please get in touch if you recognise any of the men in the above photo.

Standing on the left is Les Rossi's brother, who enlisted as Francis Ross.  Frank embarked with the 18th Reinforcements of the 23 Infantry Battalion.  This photo was taken in Melbourne prior to embarkation, but his comrade is unknown. Photos courtesy of Bron Rossi.

Les and Frank both returned to Australia. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Percy Fallshaw of the 39th Battalion

Crozier, Frank: The sinking of the Ballarat, 25 April 1917  (AWM ART 13329)
Joiner Percy Fallshaw was 24 and married when he joined up in January 1917.   He and his comrades in the 39th Infantry Battalion might not have made it to the charnel-house of Europe when their troopship, the Ballarat, took a German torpedo in the English Channel. The men were all successfully taken off the ship, and the 39th continued on its way.  Rod Martin takes up the story of the 39th Battalion's engagement at Broodseinde Ridge in September 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres towards the end of 1917, and then the hard slog of 1918 leading to the end of the war.  The Battalion was pitilessly worn down to a meagre 368 men, but Percy Fallshaw was one of those who came home.