Friday, February 20, 2015

Out of the Firing Line ......

Albert 'Berty' Olley, a butcher from Ascot Vale, was one of thousands who answered the call in July 1915.  Rod Martin recounts Berty's part in the conflict - out of the Firing Line and into the Fire.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Chenhall family members at 27 Byron Street, Moonee Ponds, early 1916.   Back row from left: Gordon McRae (Elsie’s fiancĂ©), Elsie, Ida Chenhall nee Morell, Sergeant Cecil Chenhall, Ethel, Ruby Chenhall, Charles Clayton. Front row, seated: Leura, Mrs Morrell, Mary with Bob on her knee, Ruby, Howard Trathan, Clarence Clayton Chenhall (son of Ethel and Charles).  Ruby married Howard Trathan.  Photo courtesy of the Chenhall family collection.

Cecil Chenhall, a 21 year old salesman, had trained with the 58 Infantry (Essendon Rifles).  In January 1916 he enlisted in the AIF and embarked as a Sergeant with the 39 Infantry Battalion.  This interesting photo shows the family gathered, possibly to farewell the soldier.  Cecil embarked on 27 May 1916, and on the same day, Gordon McRae, picture above at the far right, enlisted.  Howard Trathan, sitting cross-legged on the right, enlisted later in October 1916.  One of the three did not return.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Army Remount Depot, Maribyrnong

A 26 minute silent film of the work at the Remount Depot, Maribyrnong shows horse types, branding, shoeing, veterinary treatment and loading on the transport ship SS Gracchus.  Well worth viewing!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Two Moonee Ponds West State School lads at Archangel

The North Russia Intervention in 1918 saw the allies invade land at Archangel and drive the Bolsheviks back. Source: Daily Mail. 
In 1918 Winston Churchill wished to support the White Army against the Bolsheviks, and sent some naval vessels to Archangel in Russia. Leading Seaman Walter Rupert Lawson, RAN, of Ascot Vale was  serving on a British destroyer at the time, and went ashore at Archangel.

The Argus related a story that did the rounds at a 1938 "Back To" Moonee Ponds West State School:

In 1915 [sic] Mr Lawson was serving on a British destroyer and found himself in Archangel. While on shore leave he went to a cafe, and saw a tall, bearded "Cossack," whose face seemed familiar. Lawson spoke to the "Cossack," and to his surprise the "Cossack" answered in English. The "Cossack" was Mr. "Dick" Thompson, who had attended the Moonee Ponds West State school, and who had gone to Russia and settled there. 

Are there descendants of Dick Thompson still living in Archangel, we wonder?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Zealand Online Cenotaph

Welcome to the enhanced Online Cenotaph website - our digital social space where enthusiasts, families, and researchers can share their interconnecting experiences of New Zealand servicemen and women.

To coincide with the First World War Centenary commemorations, Online Cenotaph has been redeveloped in collaboration with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, with new content contributed by Auckland Libraries.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

C Company, 3rd Pioneer Battalion

In the back row, far left, is No 840 Private Fred Gunson Marsden who joined the 3rd Pioneers in Queensland in 1916.  He was identified in a photograph of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion by his granddaughter, Ellie Tyssen.
Some years ago I put some sections of a very long photo of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on my website in the hope of identifying which particular embarkation it represented.  After some very useful comments by Edwin back in 2013 I focussed more on the officers in the photo, and thought I had identified one of them.

Then I heard from Ellie Tyssen who was the first to recognise someone in the lineup, her grandfather Fred Marsden.  Ellie provided the photo above, and hopes that someone may be able to identify her grandfather's comrades.  The man standing on the far left was his mate Harry "Plug" Southerland from the same Company.  C Company were overwhelmingly from Queensland, though with a small number of Victorians included.

You can see C Company, 3rd Pioneer Battalion here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Heroic Airman Dies at Sea, 1917

Airman's funeral, Sleepyhillock, Montrose.  Courtesy of Ian Edwards, 2015.

Arthur Ernest Percival Mott of Salisbury St Essendon was training as a pilot when his aeroplane was lost at sea near Montrose, Scotland.  It was some time before his body was found on the beach.  A military funeral was arranged, which may even have been the one pictured above.  Arthur, though still very young,  had made an impression on the military authorities already, and you can read why here.