Category Archives: Cemeteries and Memorials

Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension – France

WARLOY-BAILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

On Thursday 4th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, which is located on the east side of the village of Warloy-Baillon, which is about 21 km northeast of Amiens, and 8 km west of Albert.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, burials were made in the extension on the eastern side of the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery from July to November 1916 following fighting on the northern sector of the Somme, then some further burials were made after the German offensive in the spring of 1918.

There are 1,331 First World War Commonwealth soldiers buried in this extension.

Lewis Leoville, who joined the Coo-ees at Lithgow, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. On the 8th August 1916 Private Leoville was wounded in action during the Battle of Poziers, and died the same day after being evacuated to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance set up in the village of Warloy-Baillon.

The photograph below shows Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension. Lewis Leoville’s grave is the first one visible on the left.

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Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Lewis Leoville’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Contay British Cemetery – France

CONTAY BRITISH CEMETERY

On 4th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Contay British Cemetery, which is located on the outskirts of the village of Contay on the road to Franvillers. Contay is about 19.6 km north east of Amiens in the Somme (Picardie region), France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, Contay British Cemetery was used for burials from the 49th Casualty Clearing Station from August 1916, and later from the 9th Casualty Clearing Station, until March 1917. It was then used again for burials from the 38th and other Divisions from April to August 1918. There are 1,133 First World War burials in this cemetery.

James Crawford, a Scottish born farmer per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. On the 31st August 1916 during the Battle of the Somme Private Crawford received a gunshot wound to his back. He was evacuated to the 49th Casualty Clearing Station, where he died of his wounds on the 3rd September 1916.

The photograph below shows Contay British Cemetery. James Crawford’s grave is the first one visible on the left, which is in the first row.

Contay British Cemetery, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

Contay British Cemetery, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on James Crawford’s grave from our 2014 visit will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Visit to Australian War Memorial : Roll of Honour, name projections, and a photograph of the Coo-ees

Visit to Australian War Memorial 3rd-5th January 2015

Last weekend (3rd-5th January 2015) Stephen and I visited the Australian War Memorial. We attended the Last Post Ceremony on the Saturday evening, and listened to the story presented on a local WWI soldier from Wongarbon.

On Sunday morning we located and photographed the names of the fallen Coo-ees on the Roll of Honour bronze panels.

Leoville L. and Letcher S. J. names on the 45th Battalion AWM Roll of Honour (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/1/2015)

LEOVILLE L. and LETCHER S. J. names on the 45th Battalion Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/1/2015)

I noted the names of Coo-ees Louis Leoville (who joined the Coo-ee March at Lithgow) and Spencer John Letcher (who joined at Bathurst) are next to each other on the Roll of Honour in the 45th Battalion section. We placed poppies next to their names in remembrance of them.

Researching their stories this week I was saddened to learn that they both died within three days of each other, while fighting in the front lines at Pozieres in France – Spencer  John Letcher being killed in action on the 6th August 1916, and Louis Leoville dying of wounds on the 8th August 1916.

Three more Coo-ees on the 45th Battalion Roll of Honour who also died while the Battalion was at Pozieres in this three day period are William Emerton Hunter (who joined at Geurie), Jack Morris (who joined at Parramatta), and Rowland John Wilson (who joined at Lawson). Jack Morris was killed on the 6th August 1916, William Emerton Hunter on the 7th August 1916, and Rowland John Wilson on the 8th August 1916.

The Australian War Memorial during the 2014-2018 centenary period is at night projecting the names of each of the 62,000 Australians who gave their lives during the Great War on the wall of the Hall of Memory, about 30 times over these four years. The names are visible for 30 seconds, and people can search the Roll of Honour database on the Australian War Memorial website to see when a particular name is planned to be projected.

In the early hours of Monday morning we visited the Australian War Memorial to view the Roll of Honour name projections for two of the fallen Coo-ees – Rowland John Wilson at 1.52 a.m., and William Emerton Hunter at 2.44 a.m. We saw only a mob of kangaroos near the entrance gate, a rabbit on the lawns, a friendly black cat who came up to us as we walked back to the car, and a lone security guard wandering around with a torch during our night time visit.

Hunter W E name projected on the the Hall of Memory wall at the AWM (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/1/2015)

HUNTER W E name projected on the the Hall of Memory wall at the Australian War Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/1/2015)

On Monday morning we met with a curator in the Research Centre to view a photograph of the Coo-ees entering Dubbo in October 1915 that is listed on the Australian War Memorial catalogue (with no image of the photograph). It has apparently only quite recently been donated to the Australian War Memorial collection. I have not seen this particular photograph before so was very excited to see it.

I have placed an order for a print copy of the photograph so I can have a closer look at it, and hopefully a digital image of the photograph will then be placed on the AWM catalogue.

Heilly Station Cemetery – France

HEILLY STATION CEMETERY

On 4th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Heilly Station Cemetery, which is located approximately 2 km south west of the village of Mericourt-l’Abbe, which is about 19 km north east of Amiens and 10 km south west of Albert in France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, Heilly Station Cemetery was begun by the 36th Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly in May 1916, and was used for Commonwealth burials up until the last burial in May 1919.

The 36th Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly Station was close to the Somme battlefields, and was on the route taken by ambulance trains taking casualties back to hospital behind the lines.

There are 2,890 First World War Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. The Cemetery also contains 83 German graves. Due to the large number of burials being carried out, many of the headstones have more than one name on them, as many of the graves were too close together to be marked individually.

Edward Joseph McGarry, a fuelman on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on 13th December 1916. He shares a headstone with another Australian soldier.

A photograph of the headstone on Edward Joseph McGarry’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

The photograph below shows Heilly Station Cemetery on the left, and in the distance, Heilly Station at Heilly. The green crop on the right is potatoes.

Heilly Station Cemetery and Heilly Station (Photograph: S. Thompson 4/9/2014)

Heilly Station Cemetery and Heilly Station (Photograph: S. Thompson 4/9/2014)

 

Ste. Marie Cemetery – France

STE. MARIE CEMETERY

On Tuesday 2nd September 2014 Stephen and I visited Ste. Marie Cemetery, which is located in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France. It is a large general cemetery, and it would have been very difficult to find the grave we were looking for without the Cimetiere Sainte Marie map that was given to us by a very helpful man in the office at the West Entrance gate.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org, Le Havre was one of the ports that was used to disembark British and other Allied troops from August 1914, and housed 3 general and 2 stationery hospitals, and 4 convalescent depots by May 1917. Ste. Marie contains 1690 First World War Commonwealth burials. It also contains 364 Second World War burials.

Frank Humphrey, a bricklayer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra (and was later discharged, and re-enlisted in February 1916), is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of illness at No. 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Le Harve on 23rd August 1916.

The photograph below shows part of the First World War Commonwealth military graves at St. Marie Cemetery. Frank Humphrey’s grave is third from the left in the third row on the left (just in view).

Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 2/9/2014)

Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 2/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Frank Humphrey’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery – France

FROMELLES (PHEASANT WOOD) MILITARY CEMETERY

On Monday 1st September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, which is located in the village of Fromelles in the Nord/Pas de Calais region of Northern France, 104 km south east of Calais, and 22 km west of Lille.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org, Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery was completed in July 2010, and was the first new war cemetery to be built in the last fifty years by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A new information centre has been constructed at the site since our last visit in 2012.

There are 250 Australian and British soldiers buried in this cemetery, whose remains were removed in 2009 from some mass graves located behind Pheasant Wood, where they had been buried by the Germans after the Battle of Fromelles on 19-20 July 1916.

Joseph Patrick Wallis (Wailes), who gave his occupation on enlistment as seaman per his service record when he joined the Coo-ees at Dubbo, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He was killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles on 20 July 1916.

The photograph below shows Joseph Patrick Wallis’ headstone (1st on left) at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery.

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Joseph Patric Wallis’ grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

His name is also recorded on the memorial wall at V.C. Corner Memorial and Cemetery.

V.C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial – France

V.C. CORNER CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

On Monday 1st September 2014 Stephen and I drove to V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, which is located 2 km north-west of Fromelles, in France.

V.C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

V.C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, V.C. Corner Cemetery is the only uniquely Australian cemetery on the Western Front. The cemetery was created After the Armistice, and contains the graves of 410 Australian soldiers who were killed in July 1916 during the Battle of Fromelles, and whose bodies were found on the battlefield, but could not be identified. The large area containing the graves is covered with a garden bed containing red rose bushes in this cemetery.

Instead of marking the unidentified graves individually, it was decided to record on a memorial in the cemetery the names of all the Australian soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Fromelles whose graves are not known. There are 1181 soldiers either buried in unknown graves and/or commemorated in this cemetery.

Two of the names on the memorial were Coo-ees. One was Joseph Patrick Wallis (Wailes) who joined the Coo-ees at Dubbo. He was one of over a 100 of those named on the memorial whose remains were later identified and re-interred at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery in 2010.

The other Coo-ee named on the memorial was Charles William Gordon Conroy, who according to his service record was a chemist when he enlisted, and joined the Coo-ees at Orange. He was killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916.

The photograph below shows Charles Conroy’s name (name 10 from the bottom in the left row in the first panel on the left) on the 54th Infantry Battalion’s list of names on the memorial wall at V. C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial. (Joseph Patrick Wallis’ name is on the middle panel).

Names on memorial wall at V.C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

Names on memorial wall at V.C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 1/9/2014)

A photograph of the Charles Conroy’s name on the memorial will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Menin Gate Memorial – Belgium

MENIN GATE MEMORIAL

On Thursday evening 28th August 2014 Stephen and I visited the Menin Gate Memorial, which is located on the eastern side of Ypres (now Ieper) in the Province of West Flanders in Belgium, on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kirtrijk).

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/ the Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the many missing WWI soldiers in the area knows as the Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders.

The Menin Gate was chosen as one of these four sites because of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who passed through the gate on their way to the battlefields. The Menin Gate commemorates those who died from the Australian, Canadian, Indian, South African and United Kingdom forces who died in the Salient with no known grave, and bears more than 54,000 names.

Menin_Gate_Memorial_Thompson_28-8-2014

Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 28/8/2014)

Every night at 8 pm traffic under the Menin Gate is stopped, and members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post as part of a memorial service held on the roadway underneath the arches of the Memorial. We attended the 8 pm memorial service, but as there was a large crowd we arrived too late to get a good spot to view the service, so the photo I have included below of the service was taken during our 2012 visit to the Menin Gate.

Last Post being played at the 8 pm service at the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 11/8/2012)

Last Post being played at the 8 pm service at the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 11/8/2012)

Names of fallen soldiers are recorded on all the internal walls listed alphabetically in rank order within their Battalion, including the staircase area on the side. Many wreaths were laid along the walls on the stairs, and in the area under the main arches of the memorial.

Wreaths on the stairs at the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 29/8/2014)

Wreaths on the stairs at the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: S. Thompson 29/8/2014)

There are five fallen Coo-ees named on the Menin Gate Memorial:

  • Patrick O’Loughlin, 3rd Battalion, a Parkes recruit who joined the Coo-ees at Molong, then was medically rejected after the march, who rejoined the AIF at Dubbo in 1916. He was killed in action in Belgium on 18th September 1917.
  • Harry Davenport (Swendson), 4th Battalion, who joined the Coo-ees at Wongarbon. He was killed in action in Belgium on 4th October 1917.
  • Darcy Keating, 4th Battalion, who joined the Coo-ees at Wellington. He was killed in action in Belgium on 4th October 1917.
  • Thomas Jackson, 13th Battalion, who joined the Coo-ees at Geurie. He was killed in action in Belgium on 16th June 1917.
  • Alan Chester Johnson (Janion), 45th Battalion, who joined the Coo-ees at Wellington. He was killed in action in Belgium on 7th June 1917.

We returned the next day on Friday 29th August to take some more photographs of the names on the memorial (as some areas such as the stairs were not well lit the night before).

H. Davenport's and D. Keating's names on the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 29/8/2014)

H. Davenport’s and D. Keating’s names on the Menin Gate Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 29/8/2014)

Menin Road South Military Cemetery – Belgium

MENIN ROAD SOUTH MILITARY CEMETERY

On Friday 29th August 2014 Stephen and I drove to Menin Road South Military Cemetery, which is located 2 km east of Ieper (Ypres), in Belgium.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the Menin Road ran from Ypres to the front line which changed position only a few kilometres during the war, and this cemetery was always in Allied control. It was used by various units and Field Ambulances from May 1915 to 1918.

There are 1657 soldiers either buried or commemorated in this cemetery.

James O’Neill, a labourer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Wellington, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on 19 September 1917.

The photograph below shows James O’Neill’s headstone (2nd from the right) at Menin Road South Military Cemetery.

Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 29/8/2014)

Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 29/8/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on James O’Neill’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

La Clytte Military Cemetery – Belgium

LA CLYTTE MILITARY CEMETERY

On 28th August 2014 Stephen and I drove to La Clytte Military Cemetery, which is located at the village of De Klijte (formerly La Clytte), 8 km west of Ieper (Ypres), in Belgium.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the hamlet of La Clytte was used as Brigade headquarters, and burials were carried out by Infantry, Artillery and Engineer units for front line burials from the Ypres area battlefields during the First World War, and after the Armistice, re-interments from isolated graves and other small graveyards from the area. La Clytte Military Cemetery contains 1082 casualties either buried or commemorated in this cemetery. There are special memorials for those soldiers who are known to have been buried in the cemetery, but whose graves could not be located.

Arthur Charles Reid, a shearing machine expert on enlistment per his service record, from Condobolin, who we think joined the Coo-ees by the time they reached Katoomba, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on 9 September 1916.

The photograph below shows Joseph Arthur Reid’s headstone (on right) looking towards the cross of remembrance at La Clytte Military Cemetery. His surname is spelt as READ on his headstone, but REID on his service record, and Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour.

La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 28/8/2014)

La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: H. Thompson 28/8/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Arthur Charles Reid’s grave will be added to his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.