Tag Archives: Francis N. White

Francis Noel WHITE

Francis Noel WHITE

Per his military service record (regimental no. 2395), Francis Noel White was born at Canterbury, Kent, in England. He gave his age as 35 years and 9 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as wheelwright.  His description on his medical was height 5 feet 7 ½ inches tall, weight 12 stone 7 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Anglican.

He completed his medical at Gilgandra on 7th October 1915, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915. He claimed to have had 2 years and 3 days previous military service with the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles. He also stated he had been rejected once before as unfit for His Majesty’s Service with a “hit knee”.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Menangle Light Horse Camp as reinforcement for the 6th Light Horse Regiment.

Francis Noel White was reported in The Bathurst Times as having been charged at Bathurst Police Court with ‘having travelled between Sydney and Bathurst without a ticket on the night of February 5’ 1916, and also ‘having attempted to travel on the return journey’ without a ticket, and was described as ‘a member of the Sixth Light Horse, and a rather good-looking Englishman of cultured speech’, who was ‘fortunate enough to be remembered favorably by Captain Hitchen’, and that ‘had not Captain Hitchen came to his rescue’, White ‘would in all probability be now spending two days in the shamed seclusion of the Bathurst Gaol’, instead of back in camp at Liverpool. White said in court that he was on final leave, and that he sailed on Friday. White also said that ‘he was from England originally’, and had been ‘working on stations up to the time’ he joined the Coo-ees. Captain Hitchen ‘informed the Bench that White had come all the way with the “Coo-ees” as a transport driver’, and that White had been in his ‘employ for a few weeks before the commencement of the march’, and that he ‘had found him a man of good character at all times, and one who had conducted himself well right through the piece’, and offered to pay White’s fare.[1]

An initial regimental number of 2254 is crossed out on his service record, and ‘16th REINFTS 6th L.H.’ stamped over 15th Reinforcements 6th Regiment, A.L.H., which had initially been recorded for his unit, so it appears this episode may have held up his embarkation overseas.

On his embarkation roll his address as time of enrolment was not recorded, and his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mrs Merser, c/o Mrs Bosworth, “Linton”, College Lane, East Grimstead, Sussex, England.

Trooper White departed Sydney on the HMAT Hymttus 1 on 3rdof May 1916, as 16th Reinforcements for the 6th Light Horse Regiment.

After arriving in Egypt he was taken on strength by the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Tel-el Kebir on 27th June 1916.

On 8th September 1916 he was temporarily attached to Military Police Headquarters, at Moascar.

On 27th September 1916 a Field General Court Marshal was held at Moascar, where Private White charged with drunkenness when on active service on 20th September 1916, and he was sentenced to 21 days Field Punishment Number 2.

On 1st October 1916 he was admitted to the 24th Stationary Hospital, with Paraphimosis.

He rejoined Police Headquarters from Hospital on 14th October 1916.

On 18th October 1916 he rejoined the 6th Light Horse Regiment.

On 16th November 1916 Trooper White was transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps at Abbassia. On 19th November 1916 he was taken on strength of 3rd Company, Imperial Camel Corps.

Trooper White served with the Imperial Camel Corps in El-Mustagidda and El-Arish in Egypt until 5th February 1917, when after jumping off a camel he aggravated an old injury to his right knee where he had been ‘kicked by a horse 11 years ago’ , resulting in him being hospitalised.  He was taken by hospital train and admitted to the 24th Stationary Hospital with Synovitis knee on 9th February 1917.

On 12th February 1917 he was admitted to the No. 14 Australian General Hospital at Abbassia.

On 8th March 1917 Trooper White embarked from Suez, Egypt, aboard the HMAT Willochra bound for Australia, with Arthritis in the right knee.

He arrived at Melbourne on 25th April 1917. He was discharged medically unfit in Sydney on 25th May 1917.

[1] ‘A Coo-ee charged at Police Court : Captain Hitchen to the rescue’, The Bathurst Times, 8 February 1916, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109940688



Day 1, Sunday, 10th October, 1915, Gilgandra to Balladoran

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

Transcribed from The Farmer and Settler, 12 October, 1915, p. 3.


Gilgandra’s greatest of all events, the start of the route march, became a fact of history on Sunday last, when the contingent after a simple religious ceremony stepped out on its long march to the coast.

On Saturday, when the ‘Farmer and Settler’ special reporter, who will march to Sydney, arrived at Gilgandra, he found Captain Nicholas and Drs. Burkitt and Cooper, of Dubbo, on the ground. Captain Nicholas has been appointed to take charge of the contingent, and be will be their leader and instructor all the way through to Sydney.

On Saturday afternoon twenty-five recruits were sworn in. Two failed to pass the doctor, but they will march through to the coast nevertheless. The number of recruits would have been double if the recruiting association had not been compelled to wait so long for the permission of the military authorities, the result being that many men grew tired of waiting, and went into camp. The doctor said that the Gilgandra men were as fine a body of recruits as he had seen, with good feet and sound constitutions. On Saturday night a torchlight procession paraded the town, headed by the band. The recruits were followed by the rifle club and the boy scouts. In the interval of a picture show, Major Winn, of Sydney, and Private Lee, the ex-clergyman recruit, made special appeals to the young men to volunteer.

There were fully three thousand persons, almost the whole population of the district, at the open-air consecration service on Sunday morning, when the Rev. W. Jenkins commended the men to their Creator.

The shire president, Mr. Barden, said he was sure that the twenty-five starting out would be five hundred at the end of the long march. Almost the whole of the people, the largest gathering ever seen at Gilgandra, accompanied the march to Boberah, where a general programme of hand-shaking took place. A guard of honor of young horsewomen   rode at the head of the procession, and the local recruiting association and shire councillors took part. Captain Nicholas formed up his little force — grown already to thirty-one men; and Mr. W. T. Hitchens had the honor of giving the first words of command–‘Quick march.’ Amid resounding cheers the route march had begun, and it was followed for several miles of its long journey, by a great cavalcade of horses and vehicles. Then there was a halt, with more good-byes, more cheers, and the rifle club fired a parting volley.

The heat was intense, and the dust hung over the troops like a pillar of cloud — a fiery cloud, so that when the first stop, Marthaguy, was reached, all were grateful for the lunch spread by the residents, and not less for the facilities provided for a wash and a freshen up. At Marthaguy one new recruit fell in. Many of the Gilgandra folk still followed the column. The young daughter of a prominent citizen left her car and marched alongside the men for some distance; she announced her intention of being present in Martin Place at the finish, and declared that if she had been a boy she would have marched all the way, and gone to the front with the contingent. It is a pity that some of the boys have not the spirit of the girls.

Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

‘Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march’ – Coo-ees on the road to Balladoran (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

At Balladoran the townspeople met the column a mile out of town and escorted them to their camp with banners, and gave them a hearty welcome. The camp was reached at five o’clock, and here another recruit joined the column.

Following are the names of the first twenty-five to enlist:–

John Quinn, John Macnamara, Stanley E. Stephens, Jack Hunt, William L. Hunt, Albert W. Pearce, Leslie W. Greenleaf, Arthur C. Finn, Francis N. White, Alfred Wardroffe, Victor Quinton, William Alston, Sidney Bennett, John R. Lee, Harold Baxter, Charles R. Wheeler, E. T. Hitchen, James McKeown, James Crowford, Charles E. Marchant, Andrew J. MacGregor, Lawrence L. McGuire, Robert C. Campbell, Peter Wilson, and Frank Humphrey.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116668904