Saturday, December 14, 2019

Men from the Berwick Show Committee enlist

This is an interesting article about the Berwick Show Committee - seven of the men enlisted to serve in the Second World War and the article also lists the Committee members who served in the First World War. The Berwick Agricultural & Horticultural Society, to give the Show Committee its formal name, was established in 1856 and they held their first show in the form of a ploughing match in 1857 at Holly Green, Thomas Walton's farm at Narre Warren. You can read about the 1857 and 1858 ploughing matches, here.

Dandenong Journal November 15, 1939

We will have a look at the men in more detail. For information on the World War Two men, you can access the Nominal rolls, here  The World War Two records are in the process of being digitised by the National Archives of Australia, so you may be lucky and find a fully digitsied record, here The Archive series number is B883, so that will help you locate the records. The World War One men have their Service Numbers (SN) listed and you can see their full record on the National Archives of Australia, website.

The newspaper article is dated November 15, 1939 and implies that the men enlisted at that time, even though they (apart from David Knox) all enlisted much later according to the Nominal Rolls, in fact, all in July 1942 and they all have more than one service number, so it seems there is something about this that I don't understand. I believe the digitising of the National Archive records will be completed in September 2020 and they will provide more information.

Anderson, J. W - This maybe John Wilson Anderson, son of Leslie Wilson  and Isabella Henderson Anderson of Girvan, Wilson Street, Berwick. He was born in 1918 in Warnambool, and the family are listed in the 1942 Electoral Rolls at Berwick. However the only John Wilson Anderson who enlisted was born in 1912, also by coincidence in Warnambool - so J.W. Anderson's identity is unconfirmed at the moment.

Gamble, William Crawford  (VX 102742 / VX 23433) William  lived at  Hazeldene, Berwick. He was a farmer, born April 20, 1916. He enlisted on July 7, 1942 and was discharged April 24, 1946 and he  returned to farming at Berwick after the war.

Gardiner, John Morris (VX89492 / V23862) John was born February 26, 1916 and was a dairy farmer from Glenbarr, Berwick. He enlisted on August 27, 1942 according to the Nominal Rolls, but December 16, 1938 according to his record at the National Archives. His application form includes a medical examination, and it was conducted by long-term Berwick doctor, Percy Langmore.  John was discharged on December 7, 1945 and he returned to his farm on Buchanan's Road in Berwick. 

Knox, David William Robert Lieutenant  (VX 174) (listed  in the report as Know) David was born December 4, 1916  and his parents were Sir Robert and Lady Knox of Greenknowe, St George's Road in Toorak. In February 1939 David was engaged to Miss Peggy Mollard, you can read an account of their engagement party, here and see a photo of the lovely couple, here.  David enlisted on October 26, 1939, and his occupation was 'merchant and agent.' Sadly, his engagement to Peggy did not last and in December 1941 he announced his engagement to Eirene Rose Angliss and they were married in January 1942. David was discharged March 3, 1944.  I presume the Knox family had a farm in the Berwick region and that is why he was involved with the Show Committee. After the war, David is listed in the Electoral roll as a farmer at Nagambie. 

Lloyd, John Charles.  John lived at Brechin at Narre Warren, now the site of the Fountain Gate shopping centre, you can read about John and Brechin, here.  John's uncle, Charles Lloyd, had purchased the property, then called Holly Green,  in 1924, from the Webb family. Sidney Webb had purchased Holly Green from Thomas Walton, and it was as we said where the first 'Berwick Show' was held in 1857.  John, born October 21, 1906, enlisted on July 26, 1942 and was discharged May 9, 1944. His service numbers were VX104306 and V42081. 

John Lloyd (1906 - 1984)

Moran, Laurence Alexander (VX 102747, V23861, V23863)  Laurence was born December 31, 1917, in Berwick. He enlisted on July 7, 1942. Laurence was discharged February 13, 1944 and he returned to farming at Narre Warren.

Wilson, George Pritchard Harvey  (VX89093 / V23857) George enlisted on July 20, 1942 and was discharged August 16, 1944. He was born on March 10, 1918 to George and Maria (nee Pritchard) Wilson. George was the grandson of James Wilson (1833-1910) and great nephew of William Wilson (1830 - 1907) early Berwick pioneers. It was William Wilson who started the Berwick Quarry, now Berwick Botanic Park. You can read about the Wilson family and the Quarry, here

The article also lists the Show Committee men who served in the First World War. 

Beaumont, Norman Edward.   Norman was born October 1895, had an operation to fit himself for active service, but did not pass the medical, so he took himself off to England to offer his services to the Empire and was employed at the Ministry of Munitions as as trainee chemist. He wrote to the Pakenham Gazette in May 1917 outlining his role, you can read it here. Norman Beaumont is a co-author of Early Days of Berwick. He is also a grandson of Ann Wilson (1827-1909, Mrs James Buchanan), the sister of William and James Wilson, mentioned above.

Cooper, Robert William (SN 199)  Robert enlisted at the age of 28 on September 14, 1914, his occupation was a farrier. He Returned to Australia December 9, 1919. Robert is listed in Electoral Rolls at Berwick from 1931.   

Gamble, William.  William served in the Boer War in the First Victorian Mounted Infantry Company. He was the father of William Cooper, listed above, William, snr, had been Principal of the Dookie Agricultural College and they came to Berwick in 1922. I found this out from Mrs Gamble's obituary, which was in the Dandenong Journal in January 1944, you can read it here.  

Gardiner, John James (SN 1651) John served in the Boer War and the First World War. I have written about John and his three brothers and two nephews who served in the Great War, here. John and his wife, Moya, did not have children, so I don't know if he is connected to John Morris Gardiner, listed above.

Greaves, Charles Forrester (SN 13156) Charles enlisted on July 10, 1915 aged 24.  Charles Returned to Australia  May 6, 1919.
Greaves, Sydney Alexander (SN 6523) Lieutenant Greaves enlisted at the age of 23 on July 16, 1915. He Returned to Australia  May 29, 1919. 
Charles and Sydney were the sons of of Edwin and Margaret (nee Forrester) Greaves of The Springs, Berwick. Edwin's brother, William, owned Picnic Park at Lyndhurst. The brothers are listed on the Cranbourne Presbyterian Church Honor Roll, see here

Rae, George Frederick (SN 5071) George enlisted on January 20, 1916 at the age of  23 and he Returned to Australia March 25, 1919. George was the son of Frederick William and Annie (nee Troup) Rae.  George's grandfather, George (1830-1899) opened a store in Narre Warren North (then just called Narre Warren) in the late 1860s. George was a Berwick Shire Councillor and was also involved in the Dandenong Agricultural & Pastoral Society, read about this here

Ryan, Rupert  Colonel  (1884 - 1952).  Colonel Ryan was the brother of Lady Casey and they inherited Edrington  in Berwick from their aunt, Winifred Chirnside in 1934, read about the Caseys and Edrington, here.  Colonel Ryan had a distinguished military career and after the War he was an arms salesman for Vickers Ltd and was also involved in intelligence-gathering (he was a spy!) In 1935 he returned to Australia and had a Romney Marsh sheep stud at Edrington. He was also a politician and held the seat of Flinders. This biographical information comes from his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry, written by Diane Langmore, read it here.

Sturken, John Ferdinand (SN 75) John was 21 when he enlisted on March 19, 1915.  He Returned to Australia October 31, 1915 and was discharged on medical grounds (neurasthenia)  in March 1916. John also enlisted to serve in World War Two in March 1942 and was discharged in the November. John married Euphemia 'Effie' Wilson in 1923. Effie was the granddaughter of  Ann Buchanan (nee Wilson) who we mentioned before and thus the first cousin of Norman Beaumont. Effie was also the granddaughter of William Wilson (1830-1907) as her mother, Annie Buchanan, had married her first cousin William Wilson jun (1860-1938). People did that in those days, married their first cousins, it's still legal to do so, but appears to be a rare thing now. You can read John's obituary in the Dandenong Journal of February 3, 1943, here

Thewlis, James Sydney (SN 609)  James enlisted on November 22, 1916 at the age of 20 and he Returned to Australia April 5, 1919.  He was a farmer at Pakenham and also a Shire of Berwick Councillor for many years. Thewlis Road in Pakenham is named after the family.

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