Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Spirits of Gallipoli: A Centenary of Anzacs

All of us would be familiar with the heroic efforts of our brave Anzacs as they fought in the First World War at Gallipoli.

Yet, we do not have many records of the background or of the families of these brave men.  Probably many Australians were deprived of knowledge about their grandfathers, or their great uncles, and may not have had a photo of them.

Anyone who has visited Gallipoli cannot helped but be moved by the experienceKim Phillips certainly found it a deeply moving experience when she first visited in the year 2000.

On returning home, she wanted to find out more about the campaign and the Anzacs that fought and died in it.   However, in her research, she couldn’t find out much at all about the men, and this frustrated her to the point where she decided to do something about it.   Thus, “The Spirits of Gallipoli project” was started.

For the past 15 years, Kim has devoted herself to finding out as much as possible about these men and in 2009 she led a team of self-funded enthusiasts to Gallipoli, where they photographed all the headstones, memorials and cemeteries which now form part of a large amount of information gathered by the project, available to those interested.

Kim Phillips will introduce you to her project, give you a brief history of the Gallipoli Campaign and take you on a tour of Gallipoli today.

Where:  Sam Merrifield Library, 762 Mount Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds
When:  Wednesday 29 July, 7.30 pm
Cost:  Free
Bookings and enquiries:
Seating is limited, so please book using the above email. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Eric Herman at the Helouan Convalescent Hospital

Pte Eric Herman and other convalescents, courtesy of Matt Freckelton.
Eric Herman, front left, at the Australian & New Zealand Convalescent Hospital, Helouan, Egypt, between 17 September 1915 and 16 Jan 1916.  Eric, 7th Infantry Battalion,  had received injuries to his leg and back at Gallipoli, and spent some time in Helouan recovering.    Get in touch if you can identify anyone else in this photo.

The AWM has a photo of convalescents at  Helouan which shows the same balustrading.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Where is this War Memorial?

Does anyone know the location of this war memorial - most likely in France, or possibly Belgium.  There is a member of the 12th Field Ambulance standing behind it.  The album in which it was included was sent home to Australia in 1917, so the photo was taken no later than that.

Where is this WW1 tank?

There are those who would like to know where and when this tank was photographed.  The men having a good look around it are most likely from the 12th Field Ambulance Corps.  It is mostly likely in winter in early 1917.  The tank is No 746, and the crew is C17.  I have looked at the Unit War Diary of the 12th Field Ambulance and am none the wiser.  Does anyone know when there was a little bit of snow on the ground in France?  The 12th Field Ambulance seems to have been around Becordel, Bernafay, N. Flers, Decauville, Deauville, Longueval and  Mametz Wood in January 1917.  Does anyone have any further information about it?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

More on the Williams Brothers' Album

I have lately been given access to a small collection of photos owned by 4755 Private Patrick Heneberry O'Callaghan of the 12th Field Ambulance, with captions. Several of these were also found in the Williams Brothers Album which I loaded onto the Empire Called website some time ago.  Amongst the duplicated photos was this one:

The caption from Pte O'Callaghan reads:

"12 Field Ambulance Stretcher bearers carrying through Poziere wood, the one at the back was killed later carrying with me, we had only just changed ends.  Better born lucky than rich in France."

Trawling through the AWM collection for photos relating to the 12th Field Ambulance, I found the above photo, of which I have a different copy on the Empire Called website.  The AWM description reads in part: 

3219 Corporal George Lloyd MM (right) and two other unidentified stretcher bearers, one believed to be 3373 Private (Pte) Norman Henry Sadler MM (position unknown), of the 12th Field Ambulance carrying a wounded man.

It was recorded in 3373 Norman Henry Sadler's B2455 record that he had been killed on 28 August 1916. Reference to the Australian Red Cross Correspondence turned up a report of Sadler's death, and included a statement from Patrick O'Callaghan, confirming the caption on the photo:

12 Field Ambulance AIF

Killed 20-8-16

Witness states that he was with Sadler when the latter was killed.  They were carrying a stretcher with patient on it.  A few yards before casualty happened, they changed ends.  States that a shell burst in front of them when crossing a sap about 100 yards from Pozieres Cemetery.  Piece of shell went through Sadler's helmet in front and came out at back of head.  He was unconscious.  Took him back to dressing station, where he died.  Did not regain consciousness.  Next morning SADLER was buried by witness and others at Casualty Coral by Protestant Minister.  There is a cross on grave with his name and name of unit on it.
Cert:  by: - O'Callaghan, P A 4755, 12 FA
3rd Aux Austr Hosp, Dartford.

Corporal George Lloyd 3219 was in charge of a party of four, which included O'Callaghan, Charlie Watson and Norman Sadler.

Lloyd's description of having dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair accords with the AWM caption that George Lloyd is the man on the right.  Sadler's description recorded fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. 

This helps greatly with dating and placing some of the photos, and identifying a couple more of the faces.

Friday, June 12, 2015

AIF stripes,chevrons, patches, badges etc

I have just noticed an extremely useful article on the Australian War Memorial website by Dianne Rutherford explaining the stripes, chevrons, patches, buttons, titles and badges

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ASC Football Team AIF England 1917-18

This was another of the photos in Sgt James Anderson's wallet when he was wounded by a bomb fragment which went through the wallet first.  Jim is not in the photo, but he was in the ASC and may have known some of the players.  James served with both the 10th ASC and the 31st ASC in 1917.  Any identifications welcome.  The photo was taken by a photographer from Sutton Veny in the winter of 1917-18.  You can see a larger version of the photo on this page