Thursday, July 21, 2016

Maher brothers of Pakenham

I thought we would take  a look at some brothers who enlisted in the War, because it's an interesting to think about how their family back home must have felt - it would be stressful enough with one son enlisting let alone two or, in this case, three sons. We have found examples of three brothers enlisting before. Frederick, John and Julian Whiston were from Garfield, you can read about them here; Alfred, Charles and Norman Kent were from Narre Warren and you can read about them here.  Our post on the Yallock Honour Roll had four sets of three brothers - Alfred, Arthur and Claude Leeson from Yannathan;  Alfred, Norman and Thomas Light of Yallock; George, Robert and William Harker and David, George and Thomas Hatty. You can read about them here. Their were five Fahey Brothers who enlisted, they are on the St Patrick's Catholic School Roll - you can  read about them here.

This post looks at  three sons of Stephen and Bridget  (nee Ryan) Maher of Pakenham. Stephen was a member of the Police Force and he was stationed at Pakenham for a number of years from around 1912 until he retired in 1920, after 33 years of service.Stephen and Catherine had ten children, Rosaline (born 1886), Cathleen (1888), Florence Mary (1890), Olive Veronica (1893), Stephen Raymond (1894), John Thomas (1896), Thomas Francis (1899), Daniel Michael (1901) and Leonard Joseph (1903) Mary Monica (1905). According to a report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of June 17, 1920 after his retirement he planned to take up farming and grazing on a property he has acquired locally. Stephen died in April 1931 aged 70 and is buried at Pakenham and Bridget died in January 1939 aged 77 and is buried at Box Hill. You can read an obituary of Bridget in The Advocate here and her death notice from The Advocate is below.

The Advocate February 9, 1939

The three sons of Stephen and Bridget who served overseas were Raymond Stephen (called Roy on his enlistment papers), John Thomas  and Thomas Francis. Mrs Maher's obituary said that four sons enlisted in the Great War, three seeing active service so I presume that the fourth son must have been Daniel who was born 1901, but that would still have made him only 17 when the War ended, so not sure about that and Leonard would have been far too young.

Roy (Service Number (SN) 2228) enlisted on August 27 1914 at the age of 20, occupation Labourer. He served in Gallipoli and France and Returned to Australia October 8, 1918.

John Thomas  (SN 1049) enlisted at the age of 21 on June 14, 1915. He is confusingly called Thomas on the Embarkation Roll.  He Returned to Australia on July 3, 1919. John also served in World War Two, he enlisted in December 1940 and was discharged in June 1944, when he was nearly 48 years old.

Thomas Francis (SN 50190) was an 18 year old student when he enlisted on October 22, 1917.   Corporal Thomas Maher Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919. Thomas was granted an 80 acre Soldier Settlement farm on his return, you can read his full record here on the Battle to Farm website.

Pakenham Gazette  November 1 1918

Pakenham Gazette July 15, 1915

Roy sent a letter home to his parents in 1915, he makes it all sound rather pleasant as though he was on holiday and not just having survived Gallipoli,  but obviously was restricted in what he could write. It's  a lovely letter and interesting letter and I have transcribed it below. It was published in the Pakenham Gazette.

Mrs Maher, wife of Constable Maher, Pakenham, has received the following letter from her son Ray, who is fighting the Turks and Germans at the Dardanelles.

I received your most welcome letter a little time ago. We are back again from the Dardanelles, as there is not space to get the horses off, and the mules can do better there, as the country is very hilly and rough. We have a nice camp out from Alexandria about nine miles, with a train running right through the camp, and the tram within 10 minutes walk. Best of all, the beach is only about a quarter of an hour's walk. We go down to swim the horses now and then, but go our selves every evening, It is where all the tourists come for their holidays, and there are a lot of English and French people there, so we have a good time with them.  I only wish I could speak French; I can only speak a little of it, also a little Egyptian just enough to be understood.  

The people here seemed to think Australia .only a little island, but they were surprised to hear that it is bigger than Europe, and that most of the inhabitants are white, instead of black, as they thought. I am writing this in the horse lines, as I am on stable guard, taking the place of my mate, who wanted to go to the races. The sun is about 200 in the shade - that is what it feels, at any rate; and the flies would drive a fellow mad.  

Most of our chaps are at the Dardanelles, but a lot of us had to come back with the horses. Many of our men who were wounded are going back in a day or two; they are getting well again.

I think Italy will make a difference when she comes into the war; she will make the war end sooner. 

I must bring this letter to a close, with love to all at home from Ray.

Monday, July 11, 2016

French Island Great War Service men and women

French Island is not part of any Local Government area - but it does border the old  Shire of Cranbourne and has historic connections to local towns through trade, sport, recreation and medical matters. There is a touching article in the Mornington Standard of August 22, 1895 about  a French Island settler who had an accident, he was then conveyed two and  a half miles on a stretcher to a  boat, where they had to wait until low tide when he was rowed across to Tooradin,  a voyage that took two hours. The Doctor from Cranbourne met him at Tooradin. He then had to wait until the next day before he could be sent to hospital  by train and the article ends with this sad note 'No hopes are entertained of his recovery' You can read the full report here

There are also accounts of injured Islanders being taken to Lang Lang for medical treatment. Other newspaper accounts relate to holiday makers staying at Tooradin and visiting French Island for the day and the French Island cricket team playing against Tooradin. In 1946 Ken Gartside established a regular barge service between Tooradin and French Island, previous to this Islanders had to use their own boats to cart goods. You can read an account in the Dandenong Journal about this barge here.

So because we have these historic connections to French Island I feel the soldiers and Matron Ross, an Army Nurse deserve a place in our blog. What follows is a list of French Island service personnel including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record at the National Archives of Australia

Most of these  people are listed on the French Island Honour Board, located at the French Island Community Hall. You can see a photograph of the Honour Board on the Monument Australia website here. There may be more who should be in this list, feel free to let me know. The main towns on French Island are Tankerton and Fairhaven.

This article from the Powlett Express said that there were 19 men who had enlisted by 1916

Powlett Express  February 25 1916

Bayford, Hugh Staynes (SN 1878) Hugh was 25 years old when he enlisted on February 7 1916. His next of kin was his mother who lived in Moreland, but according to the Electoral Rolls Hugh had been  a farmer on French Island since 1909. Hugh was Wounded in Action on three occasions, including sustaining a gun shot wound to his right eye and Returned to Australia on November 8, 1918.

Bennetts, Albert Edward (SN 7029)  Albert enlisted on January 25, 1916 at the age of 34. He was a farmer from Fairhaven.  Albert Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919 and according to the Electoral Rolls returned to living on French Island.

Bond, Frederick William (SN 585)  Frederick was a 28 year old miner when he enlisted on September 5, 1914 at Rosebery Park in New South Wales. His next of kin was his father, James Bond, of French Island. Frederick was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on April 27, 1915.

The Argus June 8, 1915

Chapman, Albert Claude (SN 2790) A.C Chapman is listed on the Honour Board and there is an Albert Claude Chapman on the Electoral Roll at Fairhaven in 1918, occupation farmer so I presume they are the same people, however I cannot actually link Albert to French Island through any information in his service record. Albert enlisted on November 30, 1916 aged 32, his occupation was warehouseman, he was born in England and his next of kin was his father who lived in London. Albert Returned to Australia January 25, 1919.

Chilcott, Frank William Leslie  (SN 5673) Frank enlisted on February 7, 1916 aged 24. His next of kin was his mother, Margaret Chilcott, of French Island. Frank Returned to Australia on June 12, 1919.

Collinson, John Henry (SN Depot)   J.Henry is listed on the Honour Board and   the Electoral Roll lists  a John Henry Collinson at Fairhaven from 1918 until 1927. I presume this is the same John Henry Collinson who enlisted on May 22 1915 at the age of 21. He was an electrician. John was discharged as unfit for military service on July 5, 1915 due to 'overlapping toes', the 'first toe on both feet overlap the big toe' was the note on his record.
Collinson, Wilfred (SN 2210)  Wilfred was born in Hull, in Yorkshire in England, as was John, above, so I believe they were brothers. Wilfred enlisted at age of 19 on November 16, 1914. Wilfred Returned to Australia on April, 10 1919.There are two letters in Wilfred's file from Mrs Jean Harrop, 'Long View', Tankerton  one dated May 26, 1919 and the other dated June 5 1919 (see below) asking for information about Wilfred. In one letter she writes 'I am interested and would like accurate information' The response was that they didn't have an official report on Collinson but if they did they would communicate with his next of kin, his father. I wonder who Mrs Harrop was? She was also connected to Alfred Pocock, below.

Letter from Mrs Jean Harrop enquiring about the well being of Wilfred Collinson.

National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Cremin, J  The Honour Roll lists a J. Cremin and according to the National Archives there were only two Cremins who enlisted - John Francis Cremin (SN 593) and a Samuel Cremin (SN 369). There was however, a James Stuart Cremen (SN 838) who also enlisted. So if we eliminate Samuel then we are left with John and James. I think we can eliminate James Stuart Cremen as he was born, worked (as a crockery packer) and enlisted in Sydney, the surname spelling is irrelevant as I have seen lots of incorrect surnames on Honour Boards. That leaves us with John Francis Cremin (SN 593) John  was born in Scotland, his next of kin was his mother who lived in London. He enlisted on April 16, 1915 at Broadmeadows at the age of 21 and he was a Clerk. John married Ada May Lambourne in May 1917 when he was in England. John Returned to Australia on June 16, 1919 and the couple are listed in the Electoral Rolls in the 1920s as living in Prahran. Is John the J. Cremin listed on the Honour Roll? I can find nothing that connects him to French Island, but I feel that he's the most likely candidate,  but happy to be proven wrong.

Cuttriss, John  (SN 1135)  John was a 27 year old motor boatman of Fairhaven when he enlisted at the age of 27 on March 6, 1916. He Returned to Australia January 10, 1918 and was discharged on medical  grounds in August 1918, due to a gun shot wound to the right elbow.

Edhouse, Charles Edward (SN 333a)  Charles was a 21 year old farm hand when he enlisted on April 24, 1916. His address on the Embarkation Roll was care of R. De La Haye, Fairhaven, French Island. Charles Returned to Australia July 9, 1919.

Gillings, Robert (SN 19847)  Robert was a 22 year old labourer, from French Island,  and he enlisted on November 23, 1915. Next of Kin was his father who lived in England. He Returned to Australia on February 19, 1919.

Griffiths, Ivor (SN 5377) Ivor was born in Wales and he enlisted on January 15, 1916 aged 24. He was a farmer from Tankerton. Ivor Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.

Haward, Martin Francis (SN 17859) Martin  enlisted on April 3, 1917, he was a 24 year old telephone mechanic from Tankerton. Martin Returned to Australia June 16, 1919.

Hill, James (SN 2782) - see below under Charles Williams.

Iliff, George Robert (SN 1734) George enlisted on May 20, 1915, he was a 22 year old labourer. He served overseas but suffered  a number of bouts of disease and Returned to Australia on October 17, 1916 and was medically discharged in April 1917.
Iliff, Joseph Ludwig (SN 6334) Joseph was a 29 year old farm labourer when he enlisted on October 25, 1916. He Returned to Australia August 8, 1919.
Iliff, William Charles (SN 1137) William enlisted at the age of 24 on July 28 1915. He Returned to Australia April 8, 1919. William was granted a Soldier Settlement farm after his return on Eight Mile Road at Nar Nar Goon - you can read about this on the Battle to Farm website here.
George, Joseph and William were brothers and their next of kin was their mother, Bertha, of Tankerton. Their father, Joseph, had died in 1905.

Leppke, William. William Leppke is listed on Discovering Anzacs website as having enlisted in 1915 when he was living on French Island. His official record has not been digitised and is part of the National Archives Series 'Applications to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force' which covers 'records for those individuals who applied to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force, and were either rejected, discharged while still in training, or went on to serve within Australia only [usually as depot troops or camp guards]. The most common reason for rejection is on medical grounds'. So apart from the fact that he was 28 years old and born in East Prussia, that's all I know about him. 

Lovie, William Wallace (SN 14077) William enlisted on February 1, 1916 at the age of 21. He was from Fairhaven. He Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919.

Maddaford, Alfred (SN 2035)   enlisted on July 28, 1915 at the age of 26. He was discharged on medical grounds in June 1916 as he had 'chronic epilepsy'
Maddaford, Richard James (SN 2949) Richard enlisted at the age of 28 on February 18 1916. He was Killed in Action in France on April 24 1918. There was an article about his death in the Powlett Express, see below.
Richard and Alfred both had their sister Lily (sometimes spelt Lillie)  as their next of kin. When Alfred enlisted her address was Ballarat (where they were born)  but when Richard enlisted her address was Tankerton. However according to the Electoral Roll, in 1909 Richard and Lily were both on French Island and in 1912 Richard and Alfred were both living on French Island and Lily had moved back to Ballarat, but was obviously back on the Island by 1916.

Report on the death of Private Richard Maddaford

Powlett Express June 7 1918

Meade, Frederick John (SN 4730) Frederick was born in Cranbourne and was a 36 year old labourer and a widower and he enlisted on February 23, 1916. His address on the Embarkation roll is French Island and his next of kin was a friend, Miss Maggie D'Arth of Stony Point.  He was discharged on medical grounds in May 1916 due to multiple fistulas which caused an abscess. Frederick married Maggie and they had three children, Charles, Frederick and Vera and are listed on the Electoral Rolls at French Island, until at least 1936.

Nicholls, Richard Wilfred (SN 4154) Richard was only 18 when he enlisted on October 26, 1915. He was a farm labourer. His next of kin was his friend, Miss Nellie Bond, of Tankerton. Nellie was the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above, who was killed at Gallipoli and the sister in law to Ernest Sisson (see below).  Richard was awarded the Military Medal and Returned to Australia on January 18, 1919.

Pocock, Alfred James William (SN 6883)  Alfred  enlisted at the age of  18 on February 12, 1917. He was born in England, occupation was farming labourer and his next of kin was his father of The Grange in Dandenong (although his Embarkation record says his father lived in View Street, Mont Albert) Alfred went overseas and was wounded in action in May 1918 (gun shot wound arm and left thigh) and he Returned to Australia on January 22, 1920. We can connect Albert to French Island as his enlistment paper  has his address as C/O Mrs Harrop, Tankerton, French Island, the  same Mrs Harrop who wrote two letters enquiring after the well being of Wilfred Collinson (see above) - in fact it's the same writing so she must have filled out Alfred's application form.

From Alfred Pocock's enlistment papers

National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Ratford, John (SN 2982) John enlisted on February 5, 1916. He was a 22 year old labourer. John Returned to Australia on March 5, 1919.
Ratford, William John (SN 1493)  William enlisted on  August 24, 1914 at the age of 23. He was a farmer. On August 2, 1915 William  received a Gun shot wound to his femur and he Returned to Australia on December 4, 1915 and was medically discharged on April 11, 1916.
John and William are the sons of John Ratford of Tankerton.

There is an interesting account of  a cricket match between French Island and Tooradin in the Mornington Standard of May 17, 1919, which mentions the return of John Ratford to the team 'after an absence of three years at a more strenuous game' You can read the full article here

Report on John Ratford's return to the French Island Cricket team

Mornington Standard May 17, 1919

Ross, Clara Louise.  Matron Ross was born on French Island and she enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service on November 4, 1914. She was 40 years old and had over 21 years of nursing experience. Matron Ross served in Egypt and France and was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal (O.B.E) on June 3, 1919 'in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the War'  Clara also received the Royal Red Cross Decoration, 1st Class 'in recognition of her valuable services in connection with the War' on June 21, 1918. Clara Returned to Australia on August 22, 1919. 

Report on Matron Ross' award

The Sydney Sun September 15, 1918

Sisson, Ernest William  (SN 6641) Ernest enlisted on February 17, 1916 at the age of 31. He was a farmer and a widower. Ernest had married Kathleen Bond in 1914 and she passed away in  April 1915. Kathleen was the daughter of James and Emma (nee Witts) Bond and the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above. Ernest remarried when he was in England to Evaline Gillins and he Returned to Australia on May 12, 1918. Ernest was Medically Discharged on August 14, 1918, suffering from 'Myelogenenus Leukaemia'

Thompson, William (SN 61937) William was 23 when he enlisted on December 17, 1917. He was a 23 year old farmer and his next of kin was his father, Joseph, of Tankerton. He embarked from Melbourne on October 5, 1918. arrived at Cape Town in South Africa in early November, where he was in hospital with the measles and then Returned to Australia on December 4, 1918.

Toebelmann, Arnold (SN 613) Arnold was born on French Island and he enlisted on March 25, 1916 at the age of 19. His next of kin was his father, Johann, of Moorooduc. Arnold was Killed in Action in Belgium on October 4, 1917.

Walden, Charles William (SN 20362)  Charles was a 23 years farm labourer when he enlisted on September 1, 1915. Charles got married when he was overseas in April 1919 and Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919. His wife's name was listed as Minnie Maria Walden, so did he marry a  cousin or was it just a coincidence that they had the same surname?
Walden, Henry (SN 6137) Henry enlisted on March 8, 1916 at the age of 21. He served overseas and sustained a gun shot wound to his right thigh on August 23, 1918 and Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.
Charles and Henry were the sons of  Charles Walden of Tankerton.

Williams, Charles (SN 5782) Charles enlisted on February 17, 1916, he was a 24 year old farmhand from Tankerton. Charles was Wounded in Action (Gun shot wound, right thigh) on December 22, 1916, which required his leg to amputated and he passed away on January 12, 1917. There is a Statuary Declaration in his military file where Charles states that his real name is James Hill, not Charles Williams. It would be interesting to know why he enlisted under  a false name.

Yeomans, J The French Island Honour Board lists a J. Yeomans, not sure who this is.  There is Joseph Yeomans (SN 332), John William Yeomans (SN Depot), Lieutenant Julian Clyde Yeoman, James Yeoman (SN Depot), James Yeoman (SN 1696) and Captain John Stanhope Yeoman. The most likely candidate in my mind is John William Yeomans (SN Depot) who was 19 when he enlisted on August 10, 1918. His occupation was a driver and his next of kin was his father, of Bakers Road, Blackburn. John was discharged on medical grounds on November 8, 1918 due to 'old injury to elbow and old infantile paresis' but I cannot connect him (or any of them) to French Island.