Monday, February 1, 2016

Welcome Home digger!

Roland Ransome in the car on the right, 1918. Courtesy of Bronwyn Reid.
Returning convoys were met at the docks and volunteers came with their polished and decorated vehicles to convey the men through the city to receptions.  Roland Keen Ransom arrived back in Melbourne in November 1918 on special 1914 leave.   You can see the excitement as the cars push through crowded city streets.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gunner Lundmark of Kensington

A crew of the 3st Battery, Australian Field Artillery at Seymour in 1914.
Gunner John Patrick Lundmark of Kensington had been part of the compulsory Universal Training Scheme since its inception in 1912, his service record showing one and a half years in Senior Cadets and three years in the Royal Australian Field Artillery.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

From the Suburbs to the Trenches

I was  recently pleased to discover this book which describes the war service of two young fellows, one of them, Cecil Seccombe of Ascot Vale who served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, and the other Ralph Berryman of Hawthorn who served with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade.  The author, Ralph Seccombe, is a relative of both young men, and relates his own thoughts and impressions as he traces their movements in Gallipoli and France.  The book is available through Amazon.  See also this webpage.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A litte trench art

Identity disc of George MacFarlane, courtesy of Vicki Moore.
This interesting piece of trench art, a hand-made identity disc belonging to George MacFarlane of Essendon, has lately been added to his webpage.  George was a British Army veteran when he joined up in 1915, having served for 16 years with the Black Watch.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

3rd Pioneer Bandsman identified


 Going through her grandfather Ern Crouch's photos, Judy Williams located the above photo, about which she said, "Grandpa had written on the back of this photo "One of the bandboys of the 3rd Australian Pioneer Batt".  The photo is signed "Yours Truly Moule 8 Aug 16"."  

Judy's first thought was that the signature said "Monte", but compared with the other letters in the writing veered towards the thought that the name was Moule. Unfortunately there was no Moule listed in the 3rd Pioneers.

I thought there might be a first initial in the signature - perhaps it said J Coute or Coule?  Wanting to get a better look at the signature, I did a little photoshopping, after which the signature looked like this.    
The first letter of the name did seem to be M, but I thought it would be unusual for someone to sign a card just with their surname - a first initial with a surname, or just a first name would be more usual  The other possibility was Judy's suggestion of a nickname, so taking Monte as being a nickname for Montgomery, I searched in the Embarkation Rolls for someone with the name Montgomery in the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, and found Montgomery Goodall Elrington.  Although born in Echuca,  he was living in Moonee Ponds when he enlisted, which was a bonus for me. 

The B2455 confirmed that Elrington was a bandsman with the 3rd Pioneers, but could I confirm his nickname was Monte?  It eventually occurred to me that Trove might help out here, so I did a simple search on "Monte Elrington" - and up came an immediate result:

"LIKE YOUNG LIONS."  
"I am still alive, and doing tip top," Private Monte Elrington writes to his sister, Mrs. M'Cartney, Moama, from France on June 11. "We are just out on a few days' rest after a push our boys were in, and did well. I was stretcher bearing, and was up with them. Our casualties were light. Old Fritz had a rough time. A lot wore blown up with mines. I had a look at the, crater of one of the biggest, and it was surprising. There were Huns lying everywhere. It demoralised them. Our division took a lot of prisoners. Some of them are very weedy. Our infantry were like young lions, and would stop at nothing. I saw one small Australian taking five prisoners home across No Man's Land, and he did seem proud."

"LIKE YOUNG LIONS.". (1917, September 15). Echuca and Moama Advertiser and Farmers' Gazette (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154416742

 Judy's grandfather and great-uncle, Ern and Bill Crouch of Murtoa had been in the Depot Band based at Victoria Barracks since December 1915, as had Monte Elrington.  It wasn't until February 1916 that all three had joined the 3rd Pioneer Battalion.   Ern had a photo of the Depot Band but it is difficult to identify Monte in that photo. 

Ern also had a long portrait of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion Headquarters Company, including the band, and I have made a provisional identification of someone I think is Monte Elrington, which you can see marked here

If anyone can help with this identification, or any of the others in the 3rd Pioneer Headquarters Battalion or the Depot Band, please get in touch.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Not forgotten at Christmas time, Egypt 1915

Christmas billies, provided by the Australian Comforts Fund, being distributed to 1st Light Horse Regiment at the Brigade camp at the aerodrome, Heliopolis, Egypt, Christmas 1915.  Australian War Memorial Collection, JO2506.

Three local volunteers embarked with the 1 LHR: 
 Neither Thomas Wheatley nor Robert Robertson ever had Christmas with their families again.
 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Remembering Bill Scurry

 
 Bill Scurry as a Captain, in France, 1917,  seated on the left, with officers of the 15th Light Trench Mortar Battery.  Standing behind on the left is Lieutenant Leonard Frederick Morris, a school-fellow of Scurry's, attending Ascot Vale State School.  Courtesy of the AWM  http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P01786.001

Today an article in The Age reminds us that at this time 100 years ago, the last of the Anzacs were being evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula.  Lance-Corporal William Scurry from Ascot Vale  invented a clever device to encourage the Turks to think that the Anzacs were still in their trenches, though it was only one element of a much more extensive plan, prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Brudenell-White, to get the men off Gallipoli without casualties.

Tomorrow, Sunday 20 December, a plaque will be unveiled at the Lilydale Lawn Cemetery to remember Bill Scurry.

The Families and Friends of the First AIF website has further information about the evacuation.

An account of the evacuation was written by an unidentified Australian officer, but most likely Major Alfred Jackson.