Tag Archives: Bathurst recruits

Charles Henry HUNT

Charles Henry HUNT

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4804), Charles Henry Hunt was born at Hargreaves, N.S.W. He gave his age as 43 years, his marital status as widower, and his occupation as labourer. His description on his medical was height 6 feet 1 ½ inches tall, weight 176 lbs., with a medium complexion, blue eyes, and medium brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

According to William Laurence Hunt’s and Jack Henry Hunt’s service records, Charles Henry Hunt signed consent forms (for persons under 21 years of age) for his two sons to enlist on 7th October 1915. According to the Bathurst Times, their father saw them off in the start of the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra, ‘but the thought of the parting was too much for him’.[1]

He went to Dubbo to enlist, and completed his medical on the 28th October 1915 (two weeks after the Coo-ees had passed through Dubbo), and was attested at Dubbo on the 28th October 1915. He then proceeded to Bathurst to catch up with the Coo-ees. According to the National Advocate, ‘on the road from Bathurst to Yetholme … a father, hearing that his two sons were amongst the marchers, overtook them near Raglan, was examined and took his place alongside his two sons’.[2]

After catching up with his two sons and the Coo-ees on Friday 29th October between Bathurst and Yetholme, he completed the Coo-ee March and went to Liverpool Camp, as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Wingadee, Coonamble, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as daughter, Miss P. O. [Pearl Olive] Hunt, St. Patrick’s Convent, Dubbo, N.S.W.

On 8th March 1916 Private Hunt, along with his two sons, and many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, and arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On the 2nd June 1916 Private Hunt left Alexandria aboard the transport Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 8th June 1916.

Private Hunt served with the 45th Battalion through its first action at Fleurbaix, France in July 1916 then moved with it to Pozieres in early August 1916. On the 16th August 1916 the 45th Battalion was being relieved from the front line trenches between Pozieres and Martinpuich, France. Private Hunt was evacuated to the 7th Field Ambulance with shell shock and bruises. He rejoined the Battalion after only a short absence.

On the 28th October 1916 the 45th Battalion was training at Brucamps, France when Private Hunt was evacuated to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Rouen, France, suffering from Pleurisy. He was discharged on the 24th November 1916 and sent to the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples, France, arriving on the 25th November 1916. On the 4th December 1916 Private Hunt was admitted to the 26th General Hospital. On the 7th December 1916 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Cambria sailing from Calais, France, for evacuation to England, suffering from Debility.

On the 11th December 1916 Private Hunt marched into the Number 1 Command Depot at Pernham Downs, England. On the 25th January 1917 he was transferred to the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England. On the 30th January 1917 Private Hunt underwent a medical board where it was determined that he suffered from Pleurisy and Rheumatism and he was classified as not suitable for active service nor home service.

On the 17th March 1917 Private Hunt departed England aboard the HMAT Beltana bound for Australia. He arrived in Sydney on the 15th May 1917, and was discharged as medically unfit on the 9th June 1917.

[1] ‘The Coo-ees’, The Bathurst Times, 10 October 1916, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109934579

[2] A “Tramp falls in. Father joins his two sons’, National Advocate, 30 October 1915, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158152728

Spencer John LETCHER

Spencer John LETCHER

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4832),Spencer John Letcher was born at Cowra, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 18 years and 1 month (though he was younger), his marital status as single, and his occupation as painter. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 8 inches tall, weight 132 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Methodist. He claimed that he had no previous military service. He completed his medical on the 28th October 1915, and was attested at Bathurst on the 28th October 1915. He joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 15 Busby Street, Bathurst, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as father, J. J. [John James] Letcher, 15 Busby Street, Bathurst, N.S.W.

On 8th March 1916 Private Letcher along with many of the other Coo-ees departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, and arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On the 19th of April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On the 2nd of June 1916 Private Letcher left Alexandria aboard the transport Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 8th June 1916.

Private Letcher served with the 45th Battalion through its first action at Fleurbaix, France in July 1916, then moved with the Battalion to Pozieres in early August 1916. It was whist the 45th Battalion was in action in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, that Private Letcher was killed in action on the 6th August 1916. He was buried on the battlefield.

After the war Private Letcher’s grave was located and his remains exhumed. He was reburied at the nearby A.I.F. Burial Ground, Grass Lane, Flers, France.

Private S. J. Letcher's headstone at AIF Burial Ground, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

Private S. J. Letcher’s headstone at AIF Burial Ground, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

Private Letcher’s name is commemorated on panel 140 on the Australia War Memorial First World War Roll of Honour.

His name is also remembered on the Bathurst South Public School Roll of Honour board.

Research note:  His NSW Birth Certificate shows that he was born on 8th March 1899, so he was actually only 16 years and 7 months when he joined the Coo-ee March, and only 17 years and 4 months of age when he died.[2]

 

[1] NAA: B2455, LETCHER SPENCER JOHN

[2] NSW Birth Certificate, LETCHER SPENCER J 11458/1899 JOHN J LOUISA COWRA

Edward Joseph MCGARRY

Edward Joseph MCGARRY

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4920), Edward Joseph McGarry was born at Kelso, N.S.W. He gave his age as 35 years and 8 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as fuelman. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 ¼ inches tall, weight 12 stone, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and black hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no previous military service. He joined the Coo-ee March at Bathurst. He was attested at Bathurst on the 28th October 1915, but did not complete his medical until the 13th November October 1915 at Liverpool.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On 7th February 1916 he was charged with being absent without leave for 5 days,

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 7 Lord Street, Bathurst, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as wife, Mrs S. McGarry, 7 Lord Street, Bathurst, N.S.W.

On 8th March 1916 Private McGarry departed Sydney along with many other Coo-ees on the HMAT A15 Star of England, arriving in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On the 16th April 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion.

On the 4th June 1916 Private McGarry left Alexandria aboard the Transport Scotian bound for France, disembarking at Marseille on the 11th June 1916.

On the 28th September 1916 Private McGarry was admitted to the 4th Field Ambulance sick. He was admitted with Influenza, and transferred to the Division Rest Staton on the 29th September 1916. He was then admitted to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance with Influenza.

On the 4th October 1916 Private McGarry was discharged to duty.

On the 12th December 1916 Private McGarry was wounded in action with a gun shot wound to the chest. He died at No. 38 Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly on 13th December 1916, and was buried on the same day in Heilly Station Cemetery, which was adjacent to the Clearing Station.

Edward Joseph McGarry's headstone at Heilly Station Cemetery, France. His name is on the bottom of the headstone (Photograph: H. Thompson, 4/9/2014)

Edward Joseph McGarry’s headstone at Heilly Station Cemetery, France. His name is on the bottom of the headstone (Photograph: H. Thompson, 4/9/2014)

An article titled ‘Died on service Private E. J. McGarry A “Coo-ee’s” sacrifice’ in the National Advocate (29/12/1916, p. 1) noted that before enlisting, he was ‘employed in the locomotive department on the Bathurst railway’, and that he left a wife and two children.

William John Luther HOWARD

William John Luther HOWARD

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4802), William John Luther Howard was born at Crookwell, N.S.W. He gave his age as 24 years and 10 months, and his address as Mountain View, Biddon, Gilgandra, N.S.W. He gave his occupation as Farmer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 ¾ inches tall, weight 11 stone 2 lbs., with a dark complexion, light blue eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Methodist. He completed his medical on the 27th October 1915 at Gilgandra, (after the Coo-ee March had started), and was not attested until after the March had finished, at Liverpool on the 13th November 1915. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

Private Howard joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst. A telegram in the official correspondence of the March from A.H. Miller in Gilgandra to Major Wynne on the Coo-ee March dated 28th October 1915 advised that Howard had been sent to Bathurst the night before to meet them (presumably by train). His name was listed as one of the Bathurst recruits in The Bathurst Times (29/10/1915, p. 2).

After completing the march he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

Private Howard departed Sydney on the HMAT Star of England on the 8th March 1916. He arrived in Egypt on the 11th of April 1916.

On the 7th June 1916 Private Howard left Alexandria aboard the Transport Huntspill bound for France, arriving at Marseille on the 14th June 1916.

After arriving in France Private Howard was sent to a Machine Gun Training School on 30th June 1916. After completing training he was posted to the 12th Machine Gun Company on the 12th August 1916, when it was engaged in heavy fighting around Pozieres.

Private Howard was admitted to hospital with influenza on 1st January 1917, returning to duty on 26th January 1917.

He was appointed Lance Corporal on the 9th October 1917 when his unit was resting out of the line at Ypres, Belgium.

On the 1st April 1918 his unit was redesignated the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.

He went on leave to the United Kingdom on 7th September 1918. He returned from leave on the 26th September 1918.

Lance Corporal Howard began his return to Australia aboard the Transport HMAT Commonwealth on the 17th April 1919. He arrived in Australia on the 19th May 1919.

He was discharged on the 12th June 1919.