Tag Archives: Wilfred Ernest McDonald

Honour Roll

Coo-ee March Roll of Honour

Stephen and I have found through our research on the 263 men who were recruited on the 1915 Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee March, that 41 of them died while on active service overseas during WWI.

Stephen and I visited the graves of the fallen Coo-ees in France, Belgium and England in 2012, 2014, and 2016. During our 2016 visit we took a travelling wreath to rest on  each of their graves.  The Coo-ee March 2015 Inc. (Gilgandra Sub-Committee) provided the purple Coo-ee “badge” ribbon that we placed on our wreath, which had been created to be worn by the marchers during the 2015 Coo-ee March Re-enactment in memory of the purple “badges” worn by the original Coo-ees during the 1915 Coo-ee March.  We left an Australian flag and a commemorative information card on each of their graves.

4730 Private Harold BAXTER

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Harold Baxter’s headstone, at Bancourt British Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

Harold Baxter was born at Illford, Essex, England.  He gave his age as 22 years and 4 months (though he was actually only 18 years and 4 months at the time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as a farm labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra. He was attested at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915, and completed his medical examination on the 10th October 1915 at Gilgandra.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He was transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt on 19th April 1916.

Private Baxter was killed in action on 22nd November 1916, near Guedecourt, France.  His age at death is listed at 20 years on his headstone, but he was only 19 year and 6 months of age when de died.

He was buried at the Bancourt British Cemetery, at Bancourt, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/05/01/harold-baxter/

 

4460 Private Charles William Gordon CONROY

54th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

“CONROY C. W.” name on V. C. Corner Cemetery and Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 10/9/2016)

Charles William Gordon Conroy was born at Thames, New Zealand.  He gave his age as 41 years and 6 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as chemist, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Orange.  He was attested, and completed his medical examination, at Orange on 25th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A70 Ballarat on 16th February 1916, with the 14th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He was transferred to the 54th Australian Infantry Battalion in Egypt on 1st April 1916.

Private Conroy was killed in action on 19th/20th July 1916, during the Battle of Fromelles, aged 42 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on Panel 10 at the V.C. Corner  Australian Cemetery and Memorial at Fromelles, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/04/07/charles-william-gordon-conroy/

 

4757 Private Bernard COYTE

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Bernard Coyte’s headstone at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

Bernard Coyte was born at Borenore, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 21 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as farmer & labourer when he enlisted.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Orange on 14th October 1915. He joined the Coo-ee March when the Coo-ees arrived at Orange on 23rd October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

Private Coyte was killed in action on 18th September 1918, in the vicinity of Le Verguier, France, aged 24 years.

He was buried at the Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension at Jeancourt, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/03/31/bernard-coyte/

 

4753 Private James CRAWFORD

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

James Crawford’s headstone, Contay British Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 8/9/2016)

James Crawford was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  He gave his age as 38 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as farmer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra.  He completed his medical on 8th October 1915 at Gilgandra, and was attested on 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

Private Crawford was wounded in action near Mouquet Farm, France, on 31st August 1916.  He died of his wounds at the 49th Casualty Clearing Station on 3rd September 1916, aged 46 years.

He was buried at the Contay British Cemetery at Contay, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/05/30/james-crawford/

 

Lieutenant Harry DAVENPORT

4th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Swendson H. (served as Davenport H.) name in Lieutenant section on 4th Bn. Australian Infantry Battalion panel at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper (Ypres), Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Harry Davenport (aka Harry Swendson) stated on his Attestation Paper that he was born in Toronto, Canada ( but he was actually born at Hawthorn, Atchison County, Kansas).  He gave his age as 41 years (though he appears to have been several years younger), his marital status as widower, and his occupation as billiard table proprietor, when he enlisted.  He was on of the men who stepped forward and gave his name when the Coo-ees recruited in Wongarbon on 14th October 1915.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Orange.  He completed his medical examination, and was attested at Orange on 24th October 1915.

After attending the A.I.F. Officer Training School at Duntroon, Second Lieutenant Davenport embarked for active service from Sydney on SS Port Nicholson on 8th November 1916, as part of the 22nd reinforcement for the 4th Infantry Battalion.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 16th July 1917.

Lieutenant Davenport  was wounded in action on 4th October 1917, at Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium.  He died of his wounds that same day, aged 35 years.  He was buried at Broodenside Ridge, however his grave marker was destroyed in further fighting.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/12/21/harry-davenport-aka-harry-swendson/

 

4759 Private Harold Brooks DAVIS

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Harold Brooks Davis’s headstone at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2016)

Harold Brooks Davis was born at Parramatta, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 18 years (although he was actually only 14 years and 8 months old at this time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as plumber, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March in the Blue Mountains on 8th November 1915.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.  He was the youngest of the Coo-ees to enlist.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He was transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt on 19th April 1916.

Private Davis was wounded in action on 21st February 1917 in the vicinity of Guedecourt, France.  He was evacuated to the 6th General Hospital, at Rouen, France. He died of his wounds on 28th February 1917, the day before his 16th birthday.  His age is recorded as 16 years on his headstone.

He was buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/05/04/harold-brooks-davis/

 

3017B Private Allan James DENMEAD

19th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

A.J. Denmead’s name on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Allan James Denmead was born at Goulburn, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 27 years and 8 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Bathurst.  He was attested at Bathurst on 28th October 1915.  He did not complete a medical examination on the Coo-ee March.

He was initially discharged as medically unfit with varicous veins on 13th December 1916, but he successfully re-enlisted at Bathurst on 28th June 1916.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A 11 Ascanius on 26th October 1916 with the 7th reinforcements for the 53rd Battalion.  He was transferred to the 19th Battalion after he arrived in England in early 1917.

Private Denmead was killed in action on 3rd May 1917 during an attack on the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt, France, aged 29 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/tag/allan-james-denmead/

 

6251 Private Francis Charles FINLAYSON

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

F. C. Finlayson’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Francis Charles Finlayson was born at Redfern, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 28 years, his marital status as married, and his occupation as book keeper, when he enlisted. He joined the Coo-ee March at Parramatta.   He completed his medical examination and was attested at Parramatta on 11th November 1915.

Acting Corporal Finlayson embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A14 Euripides on 9th September 1916, with the 20th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He reverted to the rand of Private on arrival in France on 17th January 1917.

Private Finlayson was killed in action on 4th February 1917 in an attack on the German trenches in the vicinity of Guedecourt, France, aged 29 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the on Villers Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/tag/francis-charles-finlayson/

 

6289 Sapper Charles Arthur FINN

13th Field Company, Australian Engineers, A.I.F.

Charles Arthur Finn’s headstone at H.A.C. Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

Charles Arthur Finn was born at Mt McDonald, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 27 years and 3 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as blacksmith, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra.   He completed his medical on 7th October 1915 at Gilgandra and was attested on 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A26 Armadale on the 21st of March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 1st Field Company Engineers.  Sapper Finn was transferred to the 13th Field Company Engineers on 27th August 1916.

Sapper Finn was killed in action on 7th April 1917 in the vicinity of Bapaume, France, aged 29 years.

He was buried at the H.A.C. British Cemetery, Ecoust-St. Mein, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/05/30/charles-arthur-finn/

 

4789 Gunner Charles Alfred HAMPSON

10th Field Artillery Brigade A.I.F.

Charles Alfred Hampson’s headstone at H.A.C. Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

Charles Alfred Hampson was born at Petersham, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 17 years and 8 months (although he was actually only 16 years and 8 months at this time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as machinist, when he enlisted. He joined the Coo-ee March at Lithgow.  He completed his medical on 31st October 1915 at Lithgow, and was attested at Lithgow on the 1st November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

On 16th April 1915 Gunner Hampson was transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Tel-el-Kebir (along with his father Lightfoot).

Gunner Hampson was killed in action on 28th April 1917 during the Battle of Bullecourt, France.  Although his age is listed as 19 years on his headstone, he was only 18 years and 2 months old when he died.

He was buried at the H.A.C. Cemetery, Ecoust-St. Mein, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/04/12/charles-alfred-hampson/

 

4791 Private Oliver James HARMON

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

O. J. Harmon’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Oliver James Harmon was born at Redfern, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 31 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as boiler makers’ assistant, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Parramatta.  He completed his medical examination on 10th November 1915 at Parramatta, and was attested at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion on 8th March 1916.  On 16th April 1916 Private Harmon was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-El-Kebir, Egypt.

Private Harmon was killed in action in the Battle of Pozieres on 6th August 1916, aged 32 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/?s=oliver+harmon

 

1677 Corporal William Thomas HITCHEN

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Bill Hitchen’s headstone, Harefield (St. Mary) Churchyard (Photograph: S & H Thompson 26/8/2016)

William “Bill” Thomas Hitchen was born at Mudgee, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 44 years and 2 months (although he was 51 years old at the time), his marital status as married, and his occupation as plumber, when he enlisted.  “Captain” Bill Hitchen was the leader of the Coo-ee March.  His official enlistment date is 10th October 1915, the date the Coo-ee March commenced in Gilgandra.  However, he did not complete his medical examination and attestation until the 24th February 1916 at Bathurst, after he assisted in organising the Kookaburra March from Tooraweenah to Bathurst in early 1916.  He was allocated to the 2nd reinforcements to the 45th Battalion as Corporal.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A40 Ceramic on the 14th of April 1916.  After further training in Egypt, he embarked from Alexandria on the 6th of June 1916.  Soon after arriving at Plymouth, England, he was admitted to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park on 21st June 1916 with Melanotic Sarcoma, where he died of this illness on 3rd September 1916.  His age was recorded as 44 years on his headstone.

He was buried at the Harefield (St. Mary’s) Churchyard at Harefield, England.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/08/19/william-thomas-hitchen/

 

2196 Private Percy Walter HOLPEN

46th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Percy Walter Holpen’s headstone, Le Baraques Military Cemetery, France (Photograph:S. & H. Thompson 29/8/2016)

Percy Walter Holpen was born at Brisbane, Queensland.  He gave his age as 21 years and 11 months (athough he was actually only 17 years and 9 months at this time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as carter, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Wellington.  He did a preliminary medical examination at Wellington on 16th October 1915, and was provisionally accepted for enlistment at Dripstone on the 19th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A26 Armadale on 21st March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 1st Light Horse Regiment.  He was transferred to the 46th Battalion in France on 10th July 1916.

Private Holpen died of illness (Influenza) on 26th November 1918 at the 30th General Hospital, Calais, France, aged 20 years.

He was buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery at Calais, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/01/01/percy-walter-holpen/

 

1887 Private Frank HUMPHREY

60th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Frank Humphrey’s headstone at Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2016)

Frank Humphrey was born at Hull, Yorkshire, England. He gave his age as 33 years and 3 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as bricklayer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915.

He was discharged with his services no longer required at Liverpool Camp on 4th January 1916.  However he re-enlisted at Wangaratta in Victoria on 11th February 1916.

He embarked for active service from Melbourne on HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 1st May 1916 with the 3rd reinforcements for the 60th Battalion.

Soon after his arrival in France, Private Humphrey died of illness (Bacillary Dysentery) on 23rd August 1916 at the 7th Canadian Stationary Hospital at Le Harve, France, aged 34 years.

He was buried at Ste Marie Cemetery, Le Harvre, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/12/27/frank-humphrey/

 

4807 Private William Emerton HUNTER

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

W. E. Hunter’s name on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial (Photograph: S. Thompson 7/9/2014)

William Emerton Hunter was born at Sydney, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 21 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as wheat lumper, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Geurie.  He completed his medical examination on 16th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested at Dripstone on 19th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England  on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 Private Hunter was transferred to the 45th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir.

Private Hunter was killed in action on 7th August 1916, in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, aged 21 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux  Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/02/01/william-emerton-hunter/

 

 

4816 Private Thomas JACKSON

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

T. Jackson’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Thomas Jackson was born at Longford, Derby, Derbyshire, England.  He gave his age as 32 years and 2 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Geurie.  He completed his medical examination on 16th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested at Dripstone on 19th October 1915

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

Private Jackson was killed in action on 16th June 1917, in the vicinity of Messines, Belgium, aged 33 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/07/04/thomas-jackson/

 

4817 Private Alan Chesher JOHNSON

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

A. C. Janion served as A. C. Johnson on 45th Battalion panel at the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Alan Chesher [Chester] Johnson (aka Alan Cheshyre Janion) was born at Liverpool, England.  He gave his age as 33 years (though this may not have been correct), his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Wellington.  He completed his medical examination on 16th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested at Dripstone on the 19th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private Johnson was killed in action on 7th June 1917 in the vicinity of Messines, Belgium.  His age at time of death was listed as 31 years on his AWM Roll of Honour Circular.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/11/23/alan-chesher-johnson-alan-cheshyre-janion/

 

384 Lance Corporal Darcy KEATING

4th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

D. Keating’s name on on 4th Battalion panel [in Lance Corporal section] at the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Darcy Keating was born at Warren, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 21 years and 6 months (though it appears that he was younger), his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Wellington.  He completed his medical on16th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested at Mumbil on 19th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A46 Clan McGillivray on 3rd May 1916 with the 2nd reinforcements for the 1st Anzac Cyclist Battalion.

Private Keating on 7th September 1916 was transferred to the 1st Training Battalion at Perham Downs, England.  He joined the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion in France on 5th November 1916.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 15th July 1917.

Lance Corporal Keating was killed in action on 4th October 1917 in the vicinity of Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium.  His age was recorded as 20 years at time of death on his AWM Roll of Honour Circular.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/12/01/darcy-keating/

 

5489 Private Lewis LEOVILLE

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Lewis Leoville’s headstone at Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 8/9/2016)

Lewis (Louis) Leoville was born at Marseilles, France.  He gave his age as 41 years, his marital status as married, and his occupation as barber.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Lithgow.  He completed his medical on 3rdNovember 1915 at Lithgow, and was attested at Lithgow on the same day.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A71 Nestor on 9th April 1916, with the 17th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He was transferred to the 45th Battalion on 20th May 1916 in Egypt.

Private Leoville was wounded in action in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, on 8th August 1916.  He died of his wounds later that day, aged 42 years.

He was buried at Warloy-Baillon Communal Extension Cemetery, at Warloy-Baillon, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/01/24/lewis-leoville/

 

4832 Private Spencer John LETCHER

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Spencer John Letcher’s headstone at AIF Burial Ground, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 8/9/2016)

Spencer John Letcher was born at Cowra, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 18 years and 1 month (although he was actually only 16 years and 7 months at that time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as painter, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Bathurst.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Bathurst on 28th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private Letcher was killed in action on 6th August 1916 in vicinity of Pozieres, France.  Although his age was recorded as 18 years on his headstone, he was actually only 17 years and 4 months at the time of his death.

He was buried at the A.I.F. Burial Ground, at Flers, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/01/24/spencer-john-letcher/

 

4830 Private Samuel LUKE

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

Samuel Luke’s headstone at Vaulx Hill Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

Samuel Luke was born at St. Marys, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 38 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at St. Marys.  . He completed his medical examination and was attested at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 25th April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Serapeum, Egypt.

Private Luke was killed in action on 21st April 1917 during the 1st Battle of Bullecourt in the vicinity of Vaulx-Vraucourt, France, aged 40 years.

He was buried at the Vaulx Hill Cemetery, at Vaulx-Vraucourt, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/04/06/samuel-luke

 

4840 Lance Corporal Laurence Leslie MAGUIRE

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

L. L. Maguire’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Laurence Leslie Maguire was born at Gilgandra, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 25 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra.  He completed his medical examination at Gilgandra on 8th October 1915, and was attested at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 20th May 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1st November 1917.

Lance Corporal Maguire was killed in action on 2nd April 1918, in the vicinity of Dernacourt, France.  He was buried near Albert, but after the war his grave could not be located.

His age at time of death was recorded as 28 years on his AWM Roll of Honour Circular.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/06/28/laurence-leslie-maguire/

 

4541 Corporal John MARTIN

54th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

John Martin’s headstone at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 9/9/2016)

John Martin was born at Melbourne, Victoria.  He gave his age as 34 years 10 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Molong.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Molong on 22nd October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A70 Ballarat on 16th February 1916 with the 14th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion at Ferry Post, Egypt.

He was promoted to Corporal on 27th May 1917.

Corporal Martin was killed in action on 1st September 1918 at Peronne, France, aged 38 years.

He was buried at the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, at Peronne, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/03/22/john-martin/

 

4858 Gunner Wilfred Ernest MCDONALD

4th Division Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Battery Field Artillery A.I.F.

W. E. McDonald’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Wilfred Ernest McDonald was born at Dubbo, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 21 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer.  He completed his medical on the 8th October at Gilgandra before the beginning of the Coo-ee March.  He presented to join the Coo-ee March at his home town of Wongarbon on 14th October 1915. He was attested at Stuart Town on 19th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On the 16th of April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Telelkebir.  On the 27th May 1916 he was taken on strength of the 4th Division Ammunition Column.  On the 25th June 1916 Gunner McDonald was transferred to the V4 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery.

Gunner McDonald was killed in action on 3rd May 1917 between Ecoust and Bullecourt in France, aged 22 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/07/01/wilfred-ernest-mcdonald/

 

4920 Private Edward Joseph MCGARRY

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

Edward Joseph McGarry’s headstone at Heilly Station Cemetery, France. His name is on the bottom of the headstone (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 12/9/2016)

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, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Bathurst.  He was attested at Bathurst on 28th October 1915, but did not complete his medical until 13th November October 1915 at Liverpool.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 16th April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion in Egypt.

Private McGarry was wounded in action on 12th December 1916 in the vicinity of Longueval, France.  He died of his wounds the next day on 13th December 1916 at the 38th Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly, France, aged 35 years (per his headstone and AWM Roll of Honour Circular).

He was buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, at Mericourt-L’Abbe, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/01/02/edward-joseph-mcgarry/

 

4857 Private Joseph Raymond MCGUIRE

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Joseph Raymond McGuire’s headstone at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 29/8/2016)

Joseph Raymond McGuire was born at Redfern, N.S.W. He gave his age as 33 years and 10 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as tinworker labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March on 11th November 1915, the day the Coo-ees marched from Parramatta to Ashfield. He completed his medical examination and was attested at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private McGuire was wounded in action on 29th September 1917 in the vicinity of Westhoek Ridge, Belgium.  He was evacuated to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station, but died of his wounds later the same day, aged 36 years.

He was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, at Lijssentoek, Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/10/19/joseph-raymond-mcguire/

 

2708 Private Archibald MCINTYRE

56th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Archibald McIntyre’s headstone at Puchevillers British Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 8/9/2016)

Archibald McIntyre was born at Glasgow, Scotland.  He gave his age as 31 years and 6 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Blayney.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Blayney on 26th October 1915.

He was discharged at Liverpool Camp on 29th November 1915 for defective vision.  He successfully re-enlisted on 19th May 1916 at Sydney, passing his medical examination on 19th May 1916, and was attested at the Royal Agricultural Showground at Sydney on 20th May 1916.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A40 Ceramic on 7th October 1916 with the 6th reinforcements for the 56th Battalion.

Private McIntyre was with the 56th Battalion in France when he was evacuated to hospital sick on 22nd March 1917.  He died of illness (Cerebro Spinal Meningitis) on 26th March 1917 at the South Midland Casualty Clearing Station Puchevillers, France, aged 32 years.

He was buried at Puchevillers British Cemetery, at Puchevillers, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/02/11/archibald-mcintyre/

 

4849 Private Jack MORRIS

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

J. Morris’ name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Charles James “Jack” Morris was born at Pennant Hills, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 18 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as rivetter, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Parramatta.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Parramatta on 11th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private Morris was killed in action on the night of 5th/6th August 1916, in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, aged 18 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/06/07/jack-morris/

 

2369 Trooper William Henry NICHOLLS

7th Light Horse Regiment A.I.F.

W. H. Nicholls’ name on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour (Photograph: S. &. H. Thompson 5/1/2015)

William Henry Nicholls was born at Camperdown, Sydney, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 27 years and 6 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as contractor, when he enlisted.  He completed his medical examination at Coonamble on 2nd October 1915, and was attested at Dubbo on 21st October 1915, before joining the Coo-ee March at Molong.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT Palermo on 18th April 1916 with the 16th reinforcements for the 7th Light Horse Regiment.

Trooper Nicholls was killed in action on 7th May 1918 when enemy aeroplanes bombed the camp of the 7th Light Horse Regiment  at Jericho, Palestine.  He was aged 30 years.

He was buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery at Jerusalem, Israel.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/07/05/william-henry-nicholls/

 

4865 Private Karl ALEX FREDERICK NIELSEN

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

K. A. F. Nielson’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Karl Alex Frederick Nielson  (aka Karl Frederik Nielsen) was born at Sjelland, Denmark.  He gave his age as 24 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as bushman, when he enlisted.  Although he was not attested and did not complete his medical examination until 13th November 1915 at Liverpool, his date of joining on the nominal roll was recorded as the 8th November 1915, when the Coo-ees were on their way from Lawson to Springwood. Per The Blue Mountains Echo he was one of three recruits to join the Coo-ees from Hazelbrook.

 

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 16th April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion in Egypt.

Private Nielsen was killed in action on 6th August 1916 in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, aged 25 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/06/20/karl-alex-frederick-nielson/

 

7048 Private Patrick Joseph O’LOUGHLIN

3rd Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

P. J. O’Loughen’s name on 3rd Battalion Australian Infantry panel [third row in centre on right] at the Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2012)

Patrick Joseph O’Loughlin (O’Loughlen) was born at Ballyvaugan, County Clare, Ireland.  He gave his age as 27 years and 8 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He was one of the four recruits sent by the Parkes Recruiting Association to join the Coo-ees at Molong.  He completed his medical examination at Molong on 22nd October 1915, and was attested at Molong (8 miles east) on 22nd October 1915.

He was discharged medically unfit (varicose veins) on 29th November 1915.  However he successfully re-enlisted at Dubbo Army Camp on 27th October 1916.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A24 Benalla on 9th November 1916 with the 23rd reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion.

Private O’Loughlin was killed in action on 18th September 1917 in the vicinity of Dickebusch, near Ypres, in Belgium, aged 29 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/11/30/patrick-joseph-oloughlin-oloughlen/

 

6199 Private James O’NEILL

18th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

James O’Neill’s headstone at the Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 30/8/2016)

James O’Neill was born at Hay, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 35 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Wellington.  completed his medical examination on 17th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested on 19th October 1915 at Stuart Town.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A11 Ascanius on 25th October 1916 with the 17th reinforcements for the 18th Battalion.

Private O’Neill was wounded in action on 19th September 1917 at Bellewaarde Ridge, Belgium.  He was evacuated to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, where he died of his wounds later that day, aged 37 years.

He was buried at Menin Road South Military Cemetery, at Iepers, Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/10/19/james-oneill/

 

 4866 Private Joseph PARRISH

4th Machine Gun Battalion A.I.F.

Joseph Parrish’s headstone at Terlincthun British Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 11/9/2016)

Joseph Parrish was born at Monmouthshire, Wales.  He gave his age as 18 years and 5 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as miner, when he enlisted.  He presented to join the Coo-ees at Wellington.  He completed his medical examination on 16th October 1915 at Wellington, then joined the Coo-ees at Orange, where he was attested at Orange on the 24th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On the 16th April 1916 Private Parrish was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir.

On the 12th May 1918 Private Parrish was transferred to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.

Private Parrish was wounded in action on 10th June 1918 in the vicinity of Villers-Bretonneux, France. He died of his wounds on 27th June 1918 at the 53rd General Hospital at Abbeville, France, aged 21 years.

He was buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, at Wimille, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/01/29/joseph-parrish/

 

4886 Private Arthur Charles REID

4th Division Medium Trench Mortar Battery A.I.F.

Arthur Charles Reid’s headstone at La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 31/8/2016)

Arthur Charles Reid (Read) was born at Forbes, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 25 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as shearing machine expert, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March by the time the Coo-ees reached Katoomba.  He was attested on 5th November at Katoomba, and completed his medical examination on 6th November 1915 at Lawson.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 16th April 1916 Private Reid transferred to the 4th Division Artillery and his rank designation changed to Gunner.  On the 25th June 1916 he was taken on strength of the 4th Division Medium Trench Mortar Battery in France.

Gunner Reid was wounded in action on 8th September 1916 in the vicinity of Vierssraat, Belgium.  He was evacuated to the 11th Canadian Field Ambulance, where he died of his wounds the next day on 9th September 1916, aged 25 years.

He was buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, De Klitje, Flanders, Belgium.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/11/15/arthur-charles-reid/

 

4891 Private John Thomas SMITH

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

John Thomas Smith’s headstone at Melcombe Regis Cemetery, Weymouth, England (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 14/9/2016)

John Thomas Smith was born at Wigan, Lancashire, England.  He gave his age as 30 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as miner, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Wellington.  He completed his medical examination on 16th October 1915 at Wellington, and was attested on 19th October 1915 at Stuart Town.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 25th April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el Kebir.

Private Smith was wounded in action on 5th April 1918 near Henencourt Wood, France. He was evacuated to England, and died of his wounds on 23rd April 1918 at the Dorset County Hospital, England, aged 33 years.

He was buried at Melcombe Regis Cemetery, at Dorset, England.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/12/26/john-thomas-smith/

 

6320 Private Stanley Everard STEPHENS

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

S. E. Stephens’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Stanley Everard Stephens was born at Melbourne, Victoria. He gave his age as 24 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as journalist, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Gilgandra.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915.  On the march he was given the rank of Acting Sergeant, and was appointed Secretary of the travelling committee of control appointed for the Coo-ee March at Stuart Town.  .

Acting Sergeant Stephens embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A14 Euripides on 9th September 1916 as 20th reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On 22nd December 1916 he arrived at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples, France, where he reverted to the rank of Private.

Acting Sergeant Stephens departed Sydney on the HMAT A14 Euripides on 9th September 1916 as 20th reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

His rank reverted to Private when he arrived in France on 22nd December 1916.

Private Stephens was killed in action on 11th April 1917 during an attack on the Hindenburg Line near Bullecourt, France, aged 26 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/10/04/stanley-everard-stephens/

 

4605 Private John TARLINGTON

4th Pioneer Battalion A.I.F.

J. Tarlington’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

John Tarlington was born at Glen Innes, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 38 years and 7 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as laborer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Blayney.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Blayney on 26th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A70 Ballarat on 16th February 1916 with the 14th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion at Ferry Post, Egypt.  On 23rd May 1916 Private Tarlington was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion in Egypt.

Private Tarlington was killed in action on 6th August 1916 in the vicinity of Pozieres, France, aged 39 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/05/24/john-tarlington/

 

4903 Sergeant Thomas THORNE

13th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Thomas Thorne’s headstone at Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, England (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 13/9/2016)

 Thomas Thorne was born at Hay, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 22 years and 2 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as motor driver, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Lawson, and was attested at Lawson on the 7th November 1915.  He completed his medical examination at Liverpool on 13th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916, and he was admitted to the 31st General Hospital at Port Said, Egypt, on the same day.  He was discharged for duty on 21st May 1916.

Acting Sergeant Thorne was admitted to Devonport Military Hospital on his arrival in England, and he died of Pneumonia two days later on 18th June 1916, aged 23 years.  He was the first of the Coo-ees to die on active service.

He was buried at Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, at Plymouth, England.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/12/26/thomas-thorne/

 

4617 Private Joseph Patrick WALLIS

54th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

Joseph Patrick Wallis’s headstone at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France (Photograph S. & H. Thompson 10/9/2016)

Joseph Patrick Wallis (aka Joseph Patrick Wailes) was born at Darlinghurst, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 18 years and 4 months (although he was actually 17 years and 1 month old at that time), his marital status as single, and his occupation as seaman, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Dubbo.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Dubbo on 13th October 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A70 Ballarat on 16th February 1916 with the 14th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion I Egypt.

Private Wallis was killed in action on 20th July 1916 during Battle of Fromelles, France.

He was buried at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, Fromelles, France.  Although his headstone records his age as 19 years, he was actually only 17 years and 10 months when he died.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/06/01/joseph-patrick-wallis/

 

4917 Private William WEBBER

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

W. Webber’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

William Webber was born at Granville, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 23 years and 5 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as fitter, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March on 11th November 1915, the day the Coo-ees marched from Parramatta to Ashfield.  He completed his medical examination and was attested at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private Webber was killed in action on 6th April 1918 in the vicinity of Dernacourt, France, aged 26 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/06/08/william-webber/

 

4910 Private Rowland John WILSON

45th Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

R. J. Wilson’s name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

Rowland John Wilson was born at Tallawang, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 24 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer, when he enlisted.  He joined the Coo-ee March at Lawson.  He was attested at Lawson on 7th November 1915.  He completed his medical examination at Liverpool on 15th November 1915.

He embarked for active service from Sydney on HMAT A15 Star of England on 8th March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  On 19th April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

Private Wilson was killed in action on the night of the 7th/8th August 1916 in the Battle of Pozieres between Pozieres and Martinpuich, aged 24 years.

He has no known grave.  His name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial, France.

Click here to read his full story: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/06/20/rowland-john-wilson/

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial – France

VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL

On 7th August 2014 Stephen and I visited the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which is located about 2 km north of the village of Villers-Bretonneux. It was our second visit to this memorial.

The photograph below shows the Villers-Bretonneus Memorial, with some of  the headstones in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in the foreground.

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (PhotographL S. & H. Thompson, 5/9/2012)

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 5/9/2012)

Red poppies grow in the garden beds near the entrance to the memorial. Beautiful roses and other flowers are planted in amongst the graves in the cemetery section. Bullet holes from World War II German aircraft can be seen on a wall, and on the tower.

Bullet holes in wall at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2014)

Bullet holes in a wall at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2014)

A quite prophetic article in The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate described the importance of this memorial, which was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938, as follows:

‘A magnificent and dignified structure, it will perpetuate the memory of thousands of Australians who gave their lives on the battlefields of France in the greatest war the world has yet known. It is not the only war memorial dedicated to the memory of Australians and other sons of the Empire who died in France, but to us it is the most significant, for it marks the scene where Australians played an outstanding part in stemming the flow of the grey enemy hordes which threatened to engulf France. It was there, on April 24, 1918, that sons of Australia helped to halt the Germans who had burst through the British lines. It was the turning point of the war, for it was followed with a counter attack on April 24 – eve of the third anniversary of Anzac Day – which started the general allied advance that eventually brought peace. On that Anzac eve, there were 2500 Australian casualties, so the blood toll was heavy. The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial however, symbolises something more that the feats of arms and self-sacrifice of Australia’s sons. It stands as a reminder of the bond between France and the British Empire, cemented imperishably during 1914-18. Australians joined with the French in facing a common enemy, and France will not forget. Even when Time dims the memories of the awful horrors of the war years, the Villers-Bretonneux and other memorials will stand as mute sentinels of the friendship between the French and English. Generations to come will remember that French soil has been enriched by British blood; that sons of Australia and other parts of the Empire are sleeping beneath the poppies which blow on the foreign land they died to save …’[1]

The photograph below, taken from the tower at the top of the memorial, looking towards the main entrance, shows the size of the beautifully laid out site, and the rolling hills of the surrounding French countryside.

Looking from the Tower to the Main Entrance at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. &. H. Thompson 5/9/2012)

Looking from the Tower to the Main Entrance at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. &. H. Thompson 5/9/2012)

This Australian National Memorial was erected to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought and died in France and Belgium during the First World War, and to name those who have no known grave.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the names of 10,762 Australian soldiers are commemorated by this memorial. They died in the battlefields of the Somme, and Arras, and in the advance by the Germans in 1918, and the Allied advance to victory.

The memorial is situated behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which contains the remains of graves brought in from other burial grounds and the battlefields in the area.

The names of 12 Coo-ees are commemorated at this memorial. Their names are listed in unit order on the walls.

Wilfred Ernest McDONALD 4th HTM Bty, who joined the Coo-ees at Wongarbon

Karl Alex Frederick NEILSEN 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Springwood

Oliver James HARMON 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

John TARLINGTON 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Blayney

Francis Charles FINLAYSON 13th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

Stanley Everard STEPHENS 13th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra

Allan James DENMEAD 19th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst

William Emerton HUNTER 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Geurie

Lawrence Leslie MAGUIRE 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra

Jack MORRIS 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

William WEBBER 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Ashfield

Rowland John WILSON 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Lawson

A photograph of their name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial will be placed on each individual Coo-ee’s blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

[1] Villers-Bretonneux, The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 23 July 1938, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132276037

 

 

Coo-ee March plinth at Dubbo War Memorial

Coo-ee March plinth at Dubbo War Memorial

After attending the dawn service at Dubbo War Memorial this morning along with a record size crowd, I took the opportunity to view the new Coo-ee March plinth on the Anzac Memorial Walk at Victoria Park, just near the cenotaph.

'The Coo-ee March' plinth near Dubbo War Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 25/4/2015)

‘The Coo-ee March’ plinth near Dubbo War Memorial (Photograph: H. Thompson 25/4/2015)

It is one of ten plinths recently erected by Dubbo City Council to commemorate different aspects of Dubbo’s involvement in the First World War, which was officially unveiled last Thursday, 23rd April 2015.

The Coo-ees had held a recruiting meeting in Dubbo, and stayed overnight at Dubbo Military Camp at Dubbo Showground on 13th October 1915.

Looking at the wreaths laid on the cenotaph I remembered reading a 1925 newspaper article in the Dubbo Liberal about the unveiling of this cenotaph and laying of the wreaths ceremony held 90 years ago today, on Anzac Day in 1925.

The wreaths included a ‘beautiful wreath nearly three foot in diameter, to the memory of the unknown soldier’, and ‘individual wreaths and those to battalions’ which ‘covered the whole of the base on one side of the monument’, and ‘above the wreaths was placed the historic flag which had been carried by “The Coo-ees” in their march from Gilgandra to Sydney’.[1]

Wreaths at Dubbo War Memorial in the same area where a flag from the Coo-ee March was displayed during the 1925 unveiling of the cenotaph (Photograph: H. Thompson, 25/4/2015)

Wreaths at Dubbo War Memorial in the same area where a flag from the Coo-ee March was displayed during the 1925 unveiling of the cenotaph (Photograph: H. Thompson, 25/4/2015)

Wilfred Ernest McDonald’s name is listed on the Dubbo War Memorial Roll of Honour, who was born in Dubbo, and had joined the Coo-ees at Wongarbon.  He was killed in action in France on 3rd May 1917 and has no known grave.

'MCDONALD W E' name on Dubbo War Memorial Roll of Honour (Photograph: H. Thompson, 25/4/2015)

‘McDONALD W E’ name on Dubbo War Memorial Roll of Honour (Photograph: H. Thompson, 25/4/2015)

[1] “Laying wreaths,” The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 28 Apr 1925, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76099146.

 

Letter from W. H. Saunders to his sister

Extract from a letter written by William Hilton Saunders sent to his sister Doris in Wongarbon, which was published in an article titled ‘Letters from the Front. Driver H. Saunders’ in the Wellington Times, 16 October, 1916, p. 2.

“LETTERS FROM THE FRONT.
DRIVER H. SAUNDERS.
From Driver H. Saunders, (“Somewhere in France,” 13th August, 1916), to his sister, Miss Saunders, at Wongarbon:—
This is only my second letter from France, although I have sent several field service cards and a packet of fancy P.C.’s. I feel almost ashamed of myself to think I have been about two months over here and only written twice because I can just imagine how you all watch the incoming mails for a letter from “someone in France.” I hope you have received all my letters O.K. I wrote one from Serapeum, containing 17 pages; let me know if you got it alright. The only mail I have received since coming to France was a couple of papers on July 2nd and about three days ago three letters from Australia, all dated 11th July. I can tell you, Dot, I was some pleased, and felt about six months younger. I had just read the letters, and walked down the village, when who should I meet but Will Collyer. He had just arrived from England with some reinforcements, and was getting fixed up at headquarters. He looks well and was very pleased to see me. He was in England for about two months, and has had a good time.

… I saw Don Stewart and a few more of the 13th boys, including Les Anelzark [sic] and Will Robinson, also saw Mr. McKillop, one of our 13th Batt. Lieutenants. Well, Doris, we have been in action, and I had my first experience of shell fire. Fritz shelled four of our waggons one day, and one of our mules was hit in the leg and destroyed. ‘Twas in broad daylight, and when we started to get away a high explosive landed on the road 2 feet behind our waggon. It was fairly close, but although we got covered in mud and dirt, and the explosion lifted the timber about 2 feet in the air, nobody was hurt. It made my ears ring for a while, but although I have been up amongst the batteries with a bombardment in full swing, I have not felt the slightest effect. It is a very pretty and fascinating sight to watch the star shells and shrapnel bursting at night time; the sky is as bright as day, and it always reminds me of some gigantic industrial enterprise with the roaring of the cannon and rattle of machine guns representing the machinery. Our job is not a very dangerous one, but the closer we are to the line the more interesting it becomes. We are now a good many miles away from the roar of the big guns, in a quiet and secluded little village, about 10 miles from anywhere   and somewhere in France, so now, you, by that detailed description of our position, should know exactly where we are camped. (Rats.) We are resting, but expect to be doing another “shove” in the “big push” before very long, and although we have a fair weight to push, the muscle of our chaps will tell in the end, and you will be laying the table for five instead of four as is now the case. Ernie May is still with us, and looks splendid. He is quite fat and looks better now than I have ever seen him. There is no doubt this is a great life, and a healthy one. I will get my photo taken one of these days and send you a couple.

… Mack is in one of the mortar batteries, but I have not had a line from him. I have not received the parcel Mum mentioned, but I suppose it will turn up some day. How are all the home folk? I hope they are all well. I believe it is very cold at home this winter. The weather is lovely in beautiful France, but of course it is summer time now. Well, Doris, I must close now as space is limited. Best wishes to all my friends.”

Click here to view this article in Trove:http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137408900

 [Note: William Collyer, “Mack” Wilfred Ernest McDonald, and Ernest May were other Coo-ees from Wongarbon. Donald Stewart was a Coo-ee from Wellington. Leslie Anlezark was a Coo-ee from Orange].

Wilfred Ernest MCDONALD

Wilfred Ernest MCDONALD

W. Hilton Saunders, Ernest May, and Wilfred McDonald, at Dubbo, ca. Dec. 1915 (Photograph courtesy of Macquarie Regional Library)

W. Hilton Saunders, Ernest May, and Wilfred McDonald, at Dubbo, ca. Dec. 1915 (Photograph courtesy of Macquarie Regional Library)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4858), Wilfred Ernest McDonald was born at Dubbo, N.S.W. He gave his age as 21 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as laborer. He claimed that he had no previous military service. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 6 ½ inches tall, weight 9 stone 2 lbs., with a fair complexion, greenish grey eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Anglican. He completed his medical on the 8th October at Gilgandra before the beginning of the march.

He was one of the thirteen men who stepped forward and gave his name, ‘either to march under Captain Nicholas, or to come after harvest’, when the Coo-ees recruited in Wongarbon on 14th October 1915.[1] He was attested at Stuart Town on 19th October 1915.

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

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Wongarbon, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, H. G. McDonald, Wongarbon, N.S.W.

Private McDonald departed Sydney on the HMAT Star of England on the 8th of March 1916. He arrived in Egypt on the 11th of April 1916. On the 16th of April 1916 he transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Telelkebir. On the 27th May 1916 he was taken on strength of the 4th Division Ammunition Column.

On the 6th June 1916 Gunner McDonald left Alexandria aboard HMT Oriana, bound for France, arriving at Marseille on the 13th June 1916.

On the 25th June 1916 Gunner McDonald was transferred to the V4 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery.

On the 10th October 1916 Gunner McDonald was admitted to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance with conjunctivitis to his right eye. He was sent back to the 3rd Casualty Clearance station on the 11th October 1916 then to the 15th Casualty Clearance Station at Hazebrouck on the 12th October 1916. On the 20th October 1916 he was sent back to the 13th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne. On the 26th October 1916 Gunner McDonald was admitted to the 26th General Hospital at Etaples suffering a corneal ulcer. On the 10th November 1916 he was transferred to the 6th Convalescent Depot also at Etaples then on the 23rd November 1916 he was readmitted to the 26th General Hospital with Influenza. On the 27th November 1916 he was sent back to the 6th Convalescent Depot then on the 1st December 1916 he was transferred to the 5th Convalescent Depot at Cayeux. On the 22nd December 1916 Gunner McDonald rejoined his Unit.

On the 2nd of February 1917 Gunner McDonald was charged with ‘’Disobeying in such a manner as to show a wilful defiance of authority a lawful command given personally by his superior officer in the execution of his office’’. A Field General Court Martial was held on the 17th February 1917 where Gunner McDonald was found guilty. He was sentenced to Five years Penal Servitude. On the 25th February 1917 the sentence was suspended.

On the 3rd of May 1917 Gunner McDonald was with his unit occupying a position between Ecoust and Bullecourt in France, preparing to support an attack, when they came under heavy German artillery fire. The store of mortar bombs was struck during this bombardment and exploded, destroying all the battery weapons and equipment. A total of 9 men were killed, 14 were wounded, 8 suffered shell shock and 16 were reported Missing In Action. Gunner McDonald was amongst the missing. This status was later amended to Killed In Action. His name is listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

His name is also listed on the Dubbo War Memorial, and the Wongarbon Soldiers Memorial.

[1] ‘The Route March’, The Farmer and Settler, 19 October 1915, p. 3.

Letter from W. H. Saunders about HMAT Star of England voyage and arrival in Egypt 1916

Most of the Coo-ees were transported from Sydney to Egypt on the troopship HMAT Star of England, which embarked from Sydney on the 8th March 1916.  A photograph of the ship from an earlier voyage is pictured below.

Details about this voyage were included in a letter William Hilton Saunders (a Coo-ee from Wongarbon) wrote to his parents, which has been transcribed below. The undated letter was published in an article titled ‘Australians in Action. Letters from the Front’ in the Wellington Times, 29 June 1916, p. 3.

Troopship, Star of England at the docks, 1914 [on an earlier voyage]. Photo courtesy of: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Image number: APE-039-01-0009

 ‘Australians in Action.
Letters from the Front.
… Driver Hilton Saunders, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Saunders, of Wongarbon, writes as follows to his parents:—
I am still O.K., and still enjoying the happy-go-lucky life of an Australian soldier. I have now settled down to camp life after having had a most enjoyable trip over the water from Sydney. There is no doubt it was a lovely trip from the very day we left Sydney till we landed in Port Said. I will try and give you a brief description of some of some of our experiences and the sight we saw.

To begin with I will give you an idea of how calm the sea is in the tropics at times. Well at times it has the appearance of a very calm lake with not even a ripple on the surface except those made by the troopship. I was simply entranced when I first noticed it, and I began to imagine I was once again out on one of the Great Western Plains with a mirage dancing before my eyes; for such it resembled. You have not the slightest idea of what it looks like. The whole spectacle was a revelation to me, because I did not think the restless ocean could be so calm and placid. Then towards evening one sees more grandeur presented by nature in the form of sunset. One sunset in particular presented a very fine spectacle. Viewed from the troopship it looked like a vast work of art featuring an undulating landscape dotted with spreading trees, vegetation, lakes, and rivers. At first the whole scene was of a greyish tinge, but gradually changed to a reddish glow; giving the appearance of a bush fire raging amongst the timber in its midst. Certainly one of the most picturesque sights that has come my way since leaving Sydney. Well, mother dear, I will not weary you with descriptions of tropical sunsets, etc., but will tell you a few of the happenings on the way to Ceylon. Well, after leaving Sydney, we hugged the coast for a few days, and then lost sight of land till we hit the West Australian coast, somewhere about Cape Leeuwin. We only got a glimpse of the hazy coast line, and many were the speculations regarding our chances of landing at Fremantle. However, we were doomed to disappointment, for when we looked out next morning (Thursday 16th), all that met our gaze was an endless waste of water. Nothing very eventful happened on the way to Colombo, not even when crossing the “line” because the Colonel, for certain reasons, would not allow any celebrations to take place. On Saturday, 25th, at about 8 a.m., we sighted the coast of Ceylon. Everyone was happy and excited, because it meant, to most of us, our first glimpse of foreign land. We hugged the coast all day and dropped anchor inside the breakwater at sundown. All along the coast are to be seen hundreds of natives out in their little boats catching fish. These boats are very comical little structures cut out of a log of wood. They are about as long as one of our rowing boats at home, and just wide enough for the natives to sit in, which means about 14 or 15 inches. They have another piece of wood the same length as the boat itself, and this is lashed to the side with two pieces of bamboo and some rope. They are said to be very safe even in very heavy weather. Nearly all of them carry from two to eleven natives. Colombo has not a natural harbour, so three breakwaters had to be built at a total expenditure of £1,000, 000, and no doubt it is a wonderful piece of engineering. We were hardly stationary before the native coolies were swarming round the boat on barges loaded with coal. Of course, they don’t load coal in Columbo with the assistance of machinery the same as they do in Newcastle, but everything has to be done by black labor. These follows are a very dirty low-bred class of men, very small and thin, but very wiry. They bring 50 tons of coal in each barge, and it is all packed in bags, just the same as onion bags. The barges are brought up along-side the ship by a tug and made fast then after a lot of jabbering the loading begins. A kind of staging or scaffolding is rigged on the ship’s side in tiers, two men standing on each tier.
Each bag is lifted separately from the barge to the men on the lower stage, and so on till it reaches the deck, then two more men place it on the shoulders of a native, who carries it to the bunker hatch, and drops it in. Simple enough on paper, but in practice very hard work, and I, for one, would not care about taking it on for twenty times as much as the nigger gets (about 1s. per day). This coaling was carried on all day and all night for two nights and a day from either side of the ship, so you can guess what a state everything was in from coal dust. It seemed to penetrate everything on board, and we were continually washing ourselves, but were always dirty; in fact, it was with difficulty that our officers picked us out from the Cin- galese. On Sunday morning we all had an early breakfast, and half the boys went ashore in lighters towed by a tug at 7.30 a.m. The remainder including the Coo-ees, went off at 10 a.m., when the others came back. We were marched round the town through the main streets, and down past the military barracks along the promenade to the Grand Hotel. Then we turned round and marched back again to the barracks, were we broke off for about three-quarters of an hour, and were treated to cool drinks. We were not allowed to leave the grounds, but there were dozens of natives selling fruits, silks, postcards, curios, etc. Fruit is very cheap, and bananas can be bought about ten dozen on a bunch for 1s., cocoanuts and pineapples 1d. each. Needless to say we all speculated to a great extent in fruit, which was a welcome luxury to us after being so long without it. Nearly all the Ceylon goods are fairly cheap, but anything of English manufacture is dear. The natives have their own way of doing business, and deal very much the same as the Arabs of Egypt. They will ask 8s. for an article which can be bought after a little barnying for about 1s. 6d.   Cigars can be bought in Columbo from ls. 6d. to 5s. per box of 50, and they are real good one’s too. Everybody has something to sell from the oldest man down to the smallest boy. They are also the greatest “hums” under the sun, and I think they are taught to beg before they are out of their cradles, and thieves is no name for them; why they would steal the milk out of your tea while you were looking on. Well, when we had had a rest and eaten nearly all the fruit about the town, we were marched back to the wharf and taken back to our ship (2.30 p.m.). Everybody was disappointed at not be-ing given a free hand to see the town, and a lot of them managed to get back to shore the same night in coal barges, although a strict watch was kept by officers, guards, and native harbour police. I myself was down in the middle of a dirty old coal barge once or twice, but was always shrewd enough to get caught and hunted back on the beat. Next morning I went for a swim alongside the troopship, and among others got very sunburnt on the shoulders and arms. After lunch Mac, Ernie, Will Collyer, and a lot more of us got down a rope (very much against the rules) on to a water barge which was just about to leave for the shore for another supply of water. Once on shore again we began to look about and enjoy ourselves. First of all we had a look around the Customs Offices and wharves; everything here is done by the natives; office work and every-thing. Then we made our way down to the markets, which are a series of shops ranging in size from a small room about 4 by 4 feet to larger and better kept places. The streets leading through the markets are only about 14 or 15 feet wide, and are lined from one end to the other with carts or drays drawn by oxen which are very different to the cattle of our climes; they are only about the size of an 18-months’ old steer, and have a small hump on the top of their shoulders, very much resembling a buffalo in miniature. They are capable of pulling a fairly large load, and if there is one of these oxen-drawn carts in Columbo, well there must be two or three hundred. Everything imaginable is sold in these markets, fruit, vegetables, nuts, flowers, curios, drinks, clothing, birds, monkeys, etc. We did not speculate in the wares because the shops are absolutely filthy in general; so filthy that we had to hold our noses while walking past some of the shops. Of course, there are some as fine shops as I have seen anywhere. One, for instance, Cargills, Ltd., which is situated on a corner just up about 100 yards from the wharf is just as up-to-date as Anthony Hordern’s, only, of course, it is not as big. Almost anything can be bought at Cargills, including all the goods and luxuries specially manufactured for the tropics. The labor employed is mostly white, and there are hundreds of large electric fans running all day to keep the building cool. Then there is the Bristol Hotel, which was built about 200 years ago by the Spaniards, and is a beautiful big building and very comfortable inside. There is also the Grand Hotel, which is situated about 60 yards from the beach, and overlooking the Indian ocean; no doubt a beautiful hotel, and equal in comforts and cuisine to any hotel in Sydney. After seeing a few more of the principal buildings such as the post office, Mosque, Town Hall, etc., we went to the railway station and saw a train go out. From there we went and had a ride in one of the electric trams, which are very much the same as our own with the exception that they are driven by niggers (instead of whites), who are dressed in a kind of light khaki uniform. Charlie Gardiner and I then hired a rickshaw each and went for a ride all over the town again. The day being very hot, my nag began to perspire very freely, but nothing daunted kept up his steady trot, and when he happened to slacken down a little I would break a banana off the bunch I had with me, and hit him in the middle of the back. Off he’d dart again as if stung by a hornet or some other equally venomous insect. To see these fellows trotting down the street they look for all the world like emus, and many were the memories recalled to mind of the Western Plains, when I saw them for the first time. Most of the niggers who pull a rickshaw are very fine indeed, and it is almost possible to hear your pal change his mind on the opposite side of one of them. On our arrival back at the wharf we were making preparations to go aboard when lo and behold! and much to our dismay, the Star of England was just clearing the breakwater. The niggers absolutely refused to take us outside the breakwater to her, so we did not know what to do. We could see the boat outside the harbour steaming slowly, but did not know whether she was going to wait for us, or go straight on, so after a bit of consultation among ourselves we came to the conclusion that she would not wait because a troopship before us had gone off leaving over a hundred men behind to be taken on by another steamer following in a few days. Damp were our spirits, but “ne use for to cry,” so we decided to make the best of a bad thing, and contented ourselves by eating bananas and dried-figs, and discussing the future. However, after going out about a mile our ship “hove to” and dropped anchor (much to our joy), and we were taken out to her in a pilot launch. Our names were taken, but nothing happened to any of our company, although a few of another company were carpeted and fined £5 or 28 days’ detention for breaking ship. After everything turned out alright I was, in a way, glad that we missed the boat, because it gave us a bit of a lesson in punctuality. We left Columbo about 1 a.m. on Tuesday, and passed Aden about lunch time on April 4th, but did not call. The sun was very hot on April 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th, just as we were entering the Red Sea. I think the passage is called “Hell’s Gates,” and it is well named. After passing well into the Red Sea the weather began to get very much cooler. On Sunday morning, the 9th, we arrived at Suez at about 5.30 a.m., and left the same afternoon at sundown for Port Said, where we arrived early on the morning of the 10th, on Dorrie’s birthday. We had the bad luck to go through the Suez Canal at night time, and, of course, could not see very much of the scenery if there is any, but I think all that is to be seen is sand, and, of course, the bitter lakes. As soon as we dropped anchor the niggers commenced coaling, but they work very differently to the Cingalese. The coal is brought to the ship’s side in barges, and two long planks are laid from the barge to the ship; the coal is shovelled into baskets which are just the same as a carpenter’s tool carrier, and then these baskets are carried up one plank on the shoulders of coolies, who tip the coal down into the bunker hatch, and race back as quickly as possible down the other plank for another load, which is already waiting for them. They are yelling the whole time this is going on, and it is hard to hear yourself speak where they are working. They remind one of black ants, as they rush backwards and forwards with their grimy loads, but they are great workers, and do twice as much work as the Cingalese. Port Said is said to be the fastest coaling port in the world, and I don’t doubt it the way these niggers work. We were taken ashore on Tuesday morning, and taken straight to camp at Tel-el-Kebir, where we were quartered for a week only. While there I met Corporal Jack Clements when he arrived from Australia, also met Jack Hives in the Light Horse Camp. He looks well, and seems quite contented. We had a long yarn. Since coming here I have met several Dubbo chaps. There is one chap in our tent named Arthur Kidby from ‘Wait-a-While,’ just out of Dubbo, also another chap who was out on Condon’s place when Mr. Condon first came to Wongarbon. He brought his horses over for him. Aubrey Field is also in the 46th battery. I saw Len Butcher here to-day. He brought some horses from Luna Park at Heliopolis to our battery. Roy Stanbridge, who used to be with Dick Skuthorpe, was with Len, and they both look well. Roy is breaking in horses and mules in the remount unit. A couple of days ago somo artillery chaps came here from Cairo, and amongst them was Arthur Roche, who after being wounded, was sent to England, where he has been for the last eight months, and only came back about three weeks ago. He is in one of the batteries, and wishes to be re-membered to Uncle J. Dunn, etc. On Sunday afternoon I walked into the coffee canteen, and who should be there but Alf. McLean, of Orange. He went down to Sydney with us, and afterwards joined the 1st A.L.H. He came over since we did, and was up here visiting his brother. I have not struck Roy Bowling or Uel Armstrong, Lou Lassers, or the Spencer boys yet, but I know where Lou and Norman Levett are, and may get a chance to see them later. They are about twelve miles from here, and Norman has a commission in the 54th battalion. Len Butcher says he saw Jim Olsen about five or six days ago in Cairo. Try and send me the full address of Roy, Uel, and the Spencer boys next time you write, and I will try and look them up. You would not know Wil and I now, we both have moustaches, and I weigh 70 kilogrammes, which is equivalent to about 11 stone, so you see I have put on a considerable amount of flesh already since leaving Australia. I have not received any papers from home yet, but got two letters from you.

We are now camped away out in the desert, surrounded by sand and myriads of flies, but we don’t do much work, and I am perfectly satisfied with the camp and quite contented. There is nothing here to worry about except news, and we don’t get much of that. We had about 100 mules to look after for about a week, and it was great sport watching some of the lads trying to stick them. There were a good many of them who did not have much of a grip of how to ride, but usually had a better grip of the sand. We have not many horses now, and no mules, and I am glad they are gone, for although they are wonderful pullers I have no time for them; they seem silly animals, and they can kick a fellow from any angle of the compass. Why I’ve seen mules kick mosquitoes off their ears without ducking their heads. “I love those mules and donkeys, but give me a horse.” There are any amount of camels about here, and the other day about a thousand went past the camp; it took the “train” about an hour to pass. The railway trains over here have three classes. The lst is very comfortable and more elaborate than the 1st class of the western line. The carriages have no breaks on them; the engines are the only parts with breaks, and the trucks are all red the same as the carriages. One of our cooks is a brother of a J. Macnamara, of Dubbo. Remember me to all Wongarbon friends.

Click here to view this article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137412087