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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013


OUR ANZACS

If it be possible, spare, oh spare my son ANZAC Day, 25 April, is a special day in Australian history. It marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in 1915. It was here that the Anzac legend was born and, in the subsequent grim fighting, traditions of mateship, courage and perseverance were established as hallmarks of the Australian serviceman. During the Gallipoli campaign, the number of Australians killed and wounded (19,000) shocked the nation, yet much worse was to come. During the battles of the Western Front in France from 1916 until the end of the war in November 1918, 500,000 Diggers fought in the trenches of the Somme battlefields, sometimes for weeks at a time and up to their knees in mud. The bodies of nearly 40,000 Australians lie in the immaculate war cemeteries in France and Belgium; a further 11,000 have no known grave. More than three times this number were wounded, many of them on more than one occasion. In the years that followed the war, many returned soldiers died from poor health resulting from

their wounds and the aftermath of being gassed. As we gather each Anzac Day, we remember the fallen, each of whom had people who cared deeply for them and longed for their return. Reading through the war records, time and time again we came across letters from parents and siblings of lost soldiers beging for more information. The return of personal belongings to give a tangible reminder, or often vain attempts to locate their loved ones final resting place. This poem was sent to us as we prepared this year’s Anzac editions. It struck a chord with us immediately, and gives a stark and stirring insight into the pain and suffering of whose who sent their loved ones off to war. The writer of the poem was Violet Bushell of Chelsea. Her son had enlisted in the Otago Mounted Rifles in New Zealand and served first at Gallipoli before being transferred to the Western Front. Despite the pleading poem, the worst outcome was to befall Violet with the loss of her son. Dante was killed in action at

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Messines in Belgium on 27 March 1917. Very little else is known of the subsequent suffering of Violet following the loss. The only entry found was in an Australian Red Cross Society wounded and missing enquiry file that read: “Officially reported as killed in action on March 27th, 1917. Mother desires to know all available particulars of the circumstances surrounding this soldier’s death, place of bural etc.” 61,928 Australian soldiers and 18,052 New Zealand soldiers died during the First World War. They were sons. They were brothers. They were friends. Their loss would have been sorely felt by those they left behind. The tragic loss of wartime would have been repeated in tens of thousands of homes during this bloody conflict. On this Anzac Day, spare a thought for the mother whose words were not heeded: “If it be possible, spare, oh spare my son.”

IF IT BE POSSIBLE Savior, the dread offensive has begun, Wilt though, in thy great mercy, stand close to my son. I would commit him solely to thy care, believing for Christ’s sake thou will accept my prayer, I do not know what I should ask of thee, If it is possible keep him safe for me. In this dread hour of danger, draw though nigh, Let him not be afraid either he live or die. Let him not feel afraid - thy courage give. If it possible, grant that he may live. If life is granted, give him strength and skill, And make him brave every hour to do thy holy will. And if he is to fall – within thy arms, May he be ever blest and safe from war’s alarms. If it be possible, spare him any pain. If it be possible, bring him home again. My heart is longing so for him tonight. Lord keep him ever in thy holy sight. Help me, submissive to thy will to be Ever do only what is best for him and me. Lord in this time of horror soothe my fears. In agony I cry to thee, in bitter tears. Saviour, hear my cry – Stand close beside him now, whether he live or die. I ask the best – thy will, not mine be done; If it be possible, spare, oh spare my son – Violet Bushell

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013


OUR ANZACS

Spitfires and sport - A Rye veteran By Peter McCullough LES Streete’s accomplishments were many: he flew Spitfires in Europe towards the end of World War II, ran in the Stawell Gift on two occasions, and was largely responsible for the establishment of the magnificent Rye RSL complex. His most precious possession, which he wore every Anzac Day, was a white scarf made out of parachute silk; it was part of a larger item which saved his life in 1944. Shortly after he celebrated his 90th birthday in August 2012, I spoke with Les so that we could tell his story in the 2013 Anzac Day edition of this newspaper. Sadly, Les Streete died on 15 April. His family believes that his story should still be told. ***

LESLEY Theodore Streete was born at Alstonville, New South Wales, on 12 August 1922 to Albert and Polly. His father was employed by the Post Office (or PMG as it was then known) and Polly was a hairdresser. Les had two younger brothers: Ivan and Cecil. When the family moved to Lismore, all of the boys became heavily involved in sport. Ivan was a keen bike rider and Les excelled at football, tennis and athletics. He was also a keen boxer and became the Northern NSW featherweight champion, undefeated in 13 bouts. Les left Lismore High School with his Intermediate Certificate and started work as an apprentice motor mechanic at Robinson’s garage. He would have liked to become a teacher but the family could not afford the

Old and young: Les wearing his parachute scarf and war medals aged 90. Right, Les as a child.

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OUR ANZACS additional costs of education. In 1940 Les was called up for the militia and sent to Maitland in NSW. He subsequently transferred to the Australian Imperial Force. When Les was 10 years old his mother had taken him on a joy flight in the Southern Cross flown by Kingsford-Smith. It was at that point that Les decided he wanted to be a pilot. Accordingly, when the government called for volunteers for the Empire Air Training Scheme, Les put in for another transfer. On 1 January 1943, Les was sent to the 2nd Initial Training School at Bradfield Park where he received a course in ground instruction lasting until the end of March. For his preliminary training he drew Narromine in the north-west of NSW. In May and June of 1943 Les developed a proficiency at flying the Tiger Moth and this was supplemented by many hours of class instruction. The results at Narromine earned Les a place in the advanced training course in Canada. By 24 August 1943 Les and a number of other Australian pilots had commenced a 16-week course on fighter trainers at No.6 Service Flight Training School at Dunnville, Canada. The planes they would train on were Harvards - worlds away from the little Tiger Moths. On 10 December 1943, Les was presented with his wings and was posted to an operational training unit at Bagotville in Northern Quebec on the Saguenay River. By February 1944 Les and his colleagues had commenced advanced pilot training in severe weather conditions; proficiency at instrument flying was mandatory. The pilots had now moved on to the faster Hurricanes.

After some formation practice on 20 March 1944 Les was ordered to take his Hurricane to 28,000 feet. At 25,000 feet, without warning, the cockpit began to fill with smoke and fumes. When he noticed flames below his seating area, Les realised he had to get out since a full explosion, totally destroying the aircraft and killing him in the process, was the likely outcome. At 20,000 feet he was still too high to bale out, but the risks of remaining were too great. The lack of oxygen at this height would give him precious seconds before hypoxia would send him unconscious. Les, putting into practice the drill to exit the aircraft, exited through the open canopy and into the airstream. The bitterly cold air grabbed him and he seemed to lose all sense of time. Then he was brought back into focus as the parachute opened with a jolt. Looking up, Les saw what he considered “..the most beautiful sight I have ever seen; the shape of the silk parachute above me.� Unfortunately the jolt had shaken off one of his boots and the cold was excruciating. Eventually Les drifted into a cluster of fir trees. His first action was to tear some silk from his parachute to wrap around his foot. With some difficulty Les extricated himself from the fir trees and made his way to a cabin only 100 yards away. There he burst in on two startled French-Canadian women. The ladies gave Les some warm soup, and a sock and shoe to replace the missing boot. While he was waiting to be collected by someone from his base, the ladies busied themselves in sewing a section of the parachute into a scarf. Embroidered, in one corner, in royal blue thread, was an inscription in French; trans-

lated it states, “My life saved by this. 20th March, 1944.� After that day Les always flew with that scarf and it received an annual outing each Anzac Day. Although sabotage was suspected since two other Hurricanes from the base had inexplicably caught fire, Les resumed flight training the next day, and for the next two days he was involved in formation flying and mock attacks. His final training course in Canada was at the No.36 Operational Training Unit at Greenwood (Nova Scotia), a Mosquito base. This course lasted until 2 June. When Les arrived in England he was posted to No.57 Operational Training Unit at Eshott, Northumberland. It soon became apparent that pilots there were being trained to fly Spitfires, and their training course continued until 3 November. By the end of that month Les had been posted to 66 Squadron where he would fly Spitfires from a base in Belgium. The Spitfire was a superb fighting aircraft, and by the end of the war 20,334 had been produced. As it happened, Les’s entire combat experience was to be from the cockpit of the Spitfire Mark XVI. By late 1944 the days of the big bombing raids and the dogfights were almost over. By then the Spitfire was being used predominantly to strike at targets on the ground. Accordingly, the armaments of the Mark XVI typically consisted of two Hispano 20mm cannons and two .50 inch Browning machine guns. In addition it could be configured to carry 1000 lbs of bombs; a central 500 lb bomb and a single 250 lb bomb slung under each wing. As the drive into Germany entered its final stages, the aircraft was fitted with a number

Bert Streete: Les’s father, Bert in his PMG (Post Master General) uniform. Bert was a First World War veteran and a keen boxer and runner. He competed with the Australian Imperial Force track team in Paris.



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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

& Midday 6am at Cenotaph. Service 1145am leaves from flagpole near newsagent to cenotaph Free traditionall 11145am 14 leaves gunfire from fro flagpole breakfast @ nea newsagent near Club House. ANZAC Day, Thursday April 25th 2013.to cenotaph

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Men from 11 Battalion’s D Company at Blackboy Hill training camp, 1914. Photo: The West Australian.

DAWN SERVICE will commence at 6-00 a.m. at the Cenotaph on Sorrento foreshore. This will be followed by a free traditional gunfire breakfast at the ANZAC Day, Thursday April 25th 2013. clubrooms 1-3 Hurley St, Sorrento. All welcome. DAWN SERVICE willat commence at 6-00 a.m. at the Cenotaph on Sorrento MAIN STREET MARCH 1145 leaves flagpole near newsagent in Main St to the foreshore. This will be followed by a free traditional gunfire breakfast at the cenotaph, Sorrento Foreshore. clubrooms 1-3 Hurley St, Sorrento. All welcome. MIDDAY SERVICE 12 noon at cenotaph with Naval Catafalque Party & MAIN wreath-laying STREET MARCH at 1145 leaves flagpole near newsagent in Main St to the community ceremony. Sorrento Foreshore. Lance Davis and Lindsay Fox GUEST cenotaph, SPEAKERS: Lt Commander

MIDDAY SERVICE 12 noon at cenotaph with Naval Catafalque Party & community wreath-laying ceremony. ShouldGUEST you wish to lay Lt a wreath, please the Secretary SPEAKERS: Commander Lancecontact Davis and Lindsay Fox and advise the

name of the wreath layer and their position in your organisation.

Should you wish to lay a wreath, please contact the Secretary and advise the name of the wreath and their in your After the Midday Servicelayer please join position us at the cluborganisation. rooms for a BBQ and afternoon of live music featuring the fabulous Surrey Hills Mob playing in the After the Midday Service please join us at the club rooms for a BBQ and Beer Garden. afternoon of live music featuring the fabulous Surrey Hills Mob playing in the Beer Garden.

Secretary: Kate Smith, ksmith@y7mail.com. Ph: 03 5984 2886 Secretary: Kate Smith, ksmith@y7mail.com. Ph: 03 5984 2886


OUR ANZACS of external tanks to extend its range, bringing targets deep inside Germany within its reach. Les was based initially at Grimbergen, about 8 miles south of Brussels. After some familiarisation flights, Les flew his first mission on 15 December, 1944. Weather permitting, he then flew almost daily until 27 April 1945, generally bombing and strafing enemy troops and equipment. On occasions Les’s squadron provided an escort to Allied bombers. Although most of his success was achieved by hitting ground targets, Les was credited with shooting down four V-1 rockets and several German fighters.

As the Allies advanced 66 Squadron moved to new bases: Woensdrecht, Schijndel, and then Rheine. It was then decided to disband 66 Squadron. Of the original 36 pilots, only three were left. By early June Les was back in England learning to fly the latest fighter, the Tempest. In mid-June he received his commission; he was now Flying Officer Les Streete. When Les returned to Lismore in September 1945 he was a troubled man. Bad memories flooded his mind: of close mates shot down over Holland and Germany, and of Dutch civilians fleeing when his squadron was ordered

to destroy a Gestapo headquarters in North Amsterdam when the building was in fact a transport depot. Les’s parents were extremely upset by the change to his personality; today it would be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. To purge himself from his demons Les threw himself into athletics and then had the good fortune to meet a young nurse (Phyllis) who understood and was prepared to listen. Les and Phyllis married in 1948 and moved to Victoria. Les had spent time at Rye when training for the Stawell Gift and, with the support of Har-

Officer and a shopkeeper: Les Streete on the occasion of promotion to Flying Officer. Right, after the war Les ventured into business with Streete’s Corner Store in Rye.

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OUR ANZACS ry Anderson who had sponsored him in the 1947 Gift, Les and Phyllis bought a mixed business in Rye: it would not only provide a living but a new focus for Les. For a number of years Les and Phyllis worked at their business: summers were particularly hard work when the Mornington Peninsula was crowded with holiday makers. Then someone made Les an offer: a swap of some subdividable land in Rye for his business. It turned out to be a profitable venture and Les commenced working in real estate. Phyllis returned to nursing and worked for many years at the Rosebud Hospital. Les supported her with his fund raising efforts for the hospital, and was honoured by being made a Life Governor in 1972. Not long after settling in Rye, Les became involved in the affairs of returned service men and women. When the Rye sub-branch of the RSL was established in 1951 Les was a foundation member, becoming Secretary in 1957. While the real estate business prospered, Les’s heart was in the RSL. In 1963 he became manager, a post he held until 1987. His service was unstinting and he was awarded life membership in 1971. In 1999 he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the RSL, the League’s highest award. Les’s community involvement was not restricted to the Rye RSL or the Rosebud Hospital. He played in two premiership teams with Rye Football Club in 1951 and 1954, and was named on the wing in Rye’s team of the decade. He coached the Rye Junior Football Club, was a Foundation Committee Member of the Rye Sea Scouts and was also a Foundation Committee Member of the Fishing, Golf and Indoor Bowls Clubs associated with the Rye RSL. Les and Phyllis were a happy and dy-

namic couple who still found the time to raise four children. After a wonderful life together, Phyllis contracted cancer and passed away in 1984. In his later years he enjoyed and appreciated the support and companionship of Margaret. Les continued to be a valued member of the Rye community, particularly at the RSL. In August 2012 a special function was held to celebrate Les’s 90th birthday. Apart from the enjoyment of catching up with family and friends, there were two other matters which added to the excitement of the evening. The first was the opportunity to launch Peter Fitton’s biography of Les. (Never Been Hit is a detailed account of Les’s war record and is available from Farrell’s Bookshop in Mornington. Peter Fitton has also created a website at www.neverbeenhit.com) The second cause of excitement was the surprise arrival of a special guest. When Les was on leave in England he generally headed for London with one or two of his mates, and they were always made welcome at the home of his cousin, Louie. Louie had a young family and Les always enjoyed taking them shopping and to shows. His second cousin, Adrian, was only seven years old when Les last saw him in London at the end of the war. It was a massive surprise for Les when he walked into the Rye RSL club to join in the birthday celebrations. FOOTNOTE It would not have been possible to complete this story without the assistance of Les’s daughter, Vicki Higgins, who provided notes and photographs. I have also borrowed from Peter Fitton’s biography and would recommend it to anyone interested in this part of our history.

Ready for take-off: Les in the cockpit of his Spitfire.

They shall grow not old, As we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, And in the morning We will remember them. Lest we forget

PAGE 8

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013


OUR ANZACS

Les and the Stawell Gift ON his return to Lismore in 1945, while still dealing with his memories, Les joined the local athletic club where he met Bert Hicks. Bert was a local trainer who had retired from Victoria to be near his two sons. He noticed that Les was quite fast, and told him about the Stawell Gift which was run every Easter in Victoria. Bert said he had a contact in Victoria, a highly respected trainer named Ron Wilson. So Les entered the 1946 Gift where he was beaten in the semi-final by the eventual winner, Tommy Deane. (Tommy, a young footballer from Tatura, had been trained by the 1933 winner, Goldie Heath from Baillieston East. Heath, running in the Depression years, was attacked on the morning of the final when, according to the official record, “...a vicious attempt was made to kick and injure him. Because of his presence of mind, Heath skilfully evaded the onslaught, and was not lacking in the courage to deal out a little justice for himself.”) Although 1946 might have been a disappointment, Ron Wilson introduced Les to a Mr Harry Anderson who owned a hosiery factory in Coburg; he said with more experience and proper training he would sponsor Les for the 1947 Gift. Les trained enthusiastically, often at Rye during weekends as Mr Anderson had a holiday house there. The 1947 final was strongly disputed and is so controversial that it is shown every Easter as part of

The squad: Les (middle row, third from the right) with his E.A.T.S. training squad.

The finish: Stawell final of 1947. Les in the centre with white top.

the TV commentary. These were the days before electronic timing and it was not until 1949 that the first step was taken in that direction with the Draper Electronic Finish Machine. In 1947 the accuracy of the judges was therefore paramount. The only “evidence” is the press photograph (above) which was taken front-on as the five runners hit the finish line. Les recalled, “I thought I had won it and the judges initially awarded me the race. However further consultation between the judges took place and the decision was overturned, with the two contestants

on either side of me (Gardiner and Martin) judged to be joint winners. Gardiner should have been disqualified as he broke the tape with his mouth rather than his chest. Martin won the run-off later in the day and it was decided that I had in fact run last! According to the rumours that swept through Stawell at the time, one of the joint winners had a close family connection with one of the judges. We thought of taking court action but were told that the judges’ decision was final. I was still only 25 but the events of 1947 killed off my enthusiasm.”

The Empire Air Training Scheme BY the early 1940s the war planners in England had foreseen that the number of pilots, co-pilots, navigators, engineers, gunners, observers, bombardiers, and radio operators would grow to a stage where their own training facilities would not be able to meet the demand. The RAF requirements for the war against the Axis powers would run to 50,000 men per year. Britain could supply 22,000. The Empire Air Training Scheme (E.A.T.S.) was designed to make up

the projected shortfall, with personnel coming from Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia, New Zealand, and Canada. Ultimately 37,000 Australians were trained under the E.A.T.S. Most went to Canada for advanced training, though some were trained in Australia to fighter pilot standard before being sent straight into the squadrons. Excerpt from Page 21 of ‘Never Been Hit’ by Peter Fitton.

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

PAGE 9


OUR ANZACS

Too close for comfort - Les vs. the V-1 By Peter Fitton THE last day of 1944 would be a busy day for Les. He would fly three missions. Flying LZ-Q in the morning, the Squadron escorted a force of Boston bombers to the Namea area of Holland. This was in central Holland, close to Apeldoorn. It was bitterly cold, but without snow or rain. The countryside almost appeared in black and white tones, with patches of grey, patches of snow and the occasional tint of drab green. At 10.00 hours they linked up with the

bombers. It was while the fighters were weaving above them that Les thought he saw something.. Signalling to his flight, he moved off towards the object. It was as small as it was fast. Les only noticed it because of the flame. Since he had arrived at Bergen Op Zoom, these things had been raining down at random. The mission this day was to provide cover to a flight of Bostons. But, glancing around, he noticed that all was quiet; no enemy fighters, no flak, just this unendur-

able coldness. Les moved his hand to the throttle. At the same time he shoved his spade control over to starboard. The Spitfire nosed over as he peeled away towards the V-1. The flying bomb was moving across and away from him. Hand still on the throttle, Les squeezed on maximum power. The PackardMerlin engine bellowed with a growl that reverberated through the airframe. He was at full boost. Two thousand horses were out front and they were screaming to get loose.

The four-bladed air screw was in coarse pitch, the maximum twist on the blades. It drew the aircraft forward with a surge that pressed Les back in his seat. By then all he could see of the V-1 was the little flame coming from its pulse jet. From a different angle it would have been lost to sight. The Germans had painted it well. Its dark grey-green colour made it blend to perfection with the equally dark countryside. It was just that they had not succeeded in masking the flame. Les looked back towards his flight. They were merely dots against the lighter background of cloud. A look at his instruments. Another glance around. As he did this, it came to him as in class, “Keep a proper watch. Don’t sit looking about. Scan the middle distance, then further away. Move across from left to right. Run your eye over the instruments in between. Check above and keep alert for bandits.� His airspeed was 380 mph and still creeping up. A little forward pressure on the spade control and the nose of the Spitfire dropped slightly. Les thought, “That’s better.� He needed more airspeed to catch the V-1 and with the slight dive he had his aircraft close to 400 mph. The noise from engine and slipstream was incredible. He was getting closer. A look around. Overhead clear. Nothing in view out the sides. Lift up the safety cap on the circular firing handle. Reaching towards his dash mounted gun-sight, Les twisted the dial, filling the circular graticule with the image of the V-1. Not delaying, he

squeezed off a burst from his two half inch Browning machine guns. The tracers surged forward. They hit but there was no difference. Les took aim again, this time rolling his thumb so that it would press the cannon button as well. Rapid firing 20mm with an explosive warhead. Pressing the trigger, his plane shook and slowed. The smoke spat forward from both wings as Les watched the shells streak towards the quarry. The next thing, the V-1 exploded. A violent eruption of an explosion. No notice. Just bang. The V-1 had seemed so small, yet the violence of the disintegration shocked him. He had forgotten that its payload was nearly a ton. In an instant his aircraft flew through this tangle of fire and wreckage. With a crash, he was through it and into clear sky again. Was he part of the wreckage? His reaction was to sit and wait. A second or two. No. The Spitfire was still under control. But there was a difference. He could feel it. No fire. No loss of control. What then? He banked and headed back to his Squadron and the flight of Bostons. Back to base. He landed normally and taxied to dispersal. His ground crew came towards him at a trot. They were pointing. It was only when Les climbed out of the cockpit that he could hear their chatter. The propeller spinner had been blown off, yet the aircraft was otherwise undamaged. He walked towards them smiling but could feel the palms of his hands were warm and moist. Excerpt from pages 121-126 of ‘Never Been Hit’ by Peter Fitton.

Friend and foe: Les in flying gear with his trusty Spitfire. Below, the Germany V-1 flying bomber being prepared for launch in occupied France.

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OUR ANZACS

Wartime crash the second on Arthurs Seat By Matt Vowell Arthurs Seat has been the scene of two RAAF aircraft crashes. The first involved an Avro Anson A4 on 10 August 1938, resulting in the loss of four lives and only one survivor. The second saw a Bristol Beaufort A9-64 crash on 12 July 1942, with all four crewmen killed. This is the story of the Bristol Beaufort crash. *** IT was 7am on Sunday 12 July 1942. Four RAAF members were manning a Bristol Beaufort A9-64. The Beaufort, which was a British twinengined torpedo bomber, was flying lower than usual in low clouds and mist when without warning, the peak Arthurs Seat in Dromana appeared out of the fog. The pilot responded and hastily pitched the aircraft up. The summit of Arthurs Seat was narrowly missed. However, the pilot stalled and lost control of the aircraft and it came plummeting back down, dropping into the densely forested area just south of Arthurs Seat lookout tower, in the scrub lands. All four crew members in the plane were killed instantly on impact. This was the second aeroplane crash at Arthurs Seat in five years. The previous incident involved an Avro Anson A4 bomber which crashed on 10 August 1938 under similar circumstances. The crew members killed in the Bristol Beaufort crash were Field Officer Robert Elcoate, 24, of Melbourne; Sergeant Dudley Merton Wehl, 22, of Capella, Qld; Sergeant

James Robert Axon, 22, of Brisbane, Qld; and Sergeant Charles Martin Redgrave, 32, of Grafton, NSW. The crashed Beaufort bomber was salvaged and scrapped for parts in August, not long after the crash in July. Prior to the crash, the Beaufort A9 Bomber had a quite interesting history in Australia. British designed, the Beaufort aircraft was built in Australia to help with the war effort during World War II. The planes were produced at a factory at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne and at the Mascot factory in Sydney. To accelerate initial progress, parts for eight complete aeroplanes were supplied from Bristol in the UK. After using the parts for those planes, future planes were built with locally available resources. The ability to manufacture the Beaufort in parts was one of the primary reasons it was chosen for war service over other planes. A majority of the workload was contracted to railway workshops. The front fuselage, undercarriage and stern frames were built at the Chullora Railway Workshop in Sydney, while the rear fuselage was built at the Newport Workshop in Melbourne. All the parts were brought in and pieced together at Fishermans Bend, where many women were employed to help with the war effort. The first Australian-assembled Beaufort, the A9-1, was completed with British supplied parts and had its maiden flight on 5 May 1941. The

first Beaufort A9 using Australian parts came off the production line in August of the same year. The Beaufort was most prominently used by the Royal Australian Air Force in the Pacific until the end of World War II. Production of the Beaufort A9s ceased in August 1944, by which time about 700 Australian Beauforts had been built. A monumental plaque dedicated to all those who died in the two bomber crashes was unveiled and dedicated on July 12 1995, to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Beaufort crash. It was designed and constructed by the Dromana and District Historical Society in memory of the crews involved.

The Bristol Beaufort: Under assembly, and flying over Sydney Harbour.

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OUR ANZACS Mornington man mortally wounded in Gallipoli assault By Matt Vowell FREDERICK Ernest Wilson, or Ernie as he was commonly known, was born in Mornington on 28 August 1889. He was the son of William McDonald Wilson and Emily Matilda Wilson (nee Horton) of Hastings. He was the third of twelve children who lived around the Hastings and Mornington areas. Growing up, he worked as a labourer. Prior to enlistment after the breakout of the First World War, he worked in the artillery militia for three years, before it

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

disbanded before the war. After being considered fit, Ernie enlisted into the Australian Infantry Force 5th Battalion ‘B’ Company just two weeks after the declaration of war against Germany, on 11 September 1914, and took the oath to the King on the same day. He became #1193 Private Frederick Ernest Wilson. He was of average height, had dark blue eyes and brown hair. He was 32 years old at the time. The 5th Battalion was one of the first infantry units raised for the Australian Imperial Force at the beginning of the First World War. It was raised within just

a fortnight of declaration. The battalion was raised in Victoria, and with the 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions, they made up the 2nd Brigade. Ernie’s battalion boarded the HMAT Themistocles in Melbourne on 22 December 1914. Upon arrival in Egypt, the 5th Battalion began their training and preparation for the upcoming Gallipoli assault. The assault against the Turkish was planned for months before. However, in the lead-up to the attack five Allied battleships were sunk by mines in the Dardanelles Straits, which were defend-


OUR ANZACS ed with minefields, meticulously placed artillery and large fortresses along the coast. Three months later, a large fleet of French and British battleships tried to power through to Constantinople (now Istanbul), but the entire fleet was sunk and crippled by the heavy Turkish defences. Naval commanders came to the conclusion that they could not survive another attempt through the Dardanelles Straits, and their only option to cripple the Turks was to invade and occupy the Gallipoli Peninsula, and so the plan for the Gallipoli landing was born. The landing at Gallipoli was supposed to go off without a hitch, with tens of thousands of men ready to fight. On 25 April 1915, the ANZACs orchestrated the first assault, landing on Gallipoli in Turkey. Although troops were supposed to land on Brighton Beach, which had a more accommodating terrain, a mistake was made and ships instead landed on Anzac Cove, which gave the defending army a great advantage on the high cliffs. The 5th Battalion made up part of the 2nd reinforcements of the landing force. Ernie would have come ashore on an amphibious troop carrier, and would have watched the carnage on the beach battlefield as the ANZACs fought the Turkish Army who were bunkered on the cliffs. Ernie made the landing, but was hit in the abdomen by shrapnel which caused him grave injuries. He was first sent to the City of Bonares ship to receive treatment for his wounds but was then transferred to the No.17 General Hospital at Alexandria in Egypt with many other wounded soldiers from the landings. Ernie died eight days later on 3 May 1915 of his wounds.

Although in the following months, Wilson’s sister made many written enquiries, none of Ernie’s belongings were ever recovered. The Gallipoli landing turned into a lengthy battle and a massacre of Allied troops. After many months of brutal combat, in which virtually no enemy ground was taken by the Allies, the British called for the attack to be called off, and for all Allied troops to evacuate. Ironically, unbeknown to Allied commanders, the defending enemy were out of ammunition, which would have made it possible to pass through the Straits and into Constantinople with relative ease. Had they known, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved, and it would have been a very different war. Although his effects were never returned home to his family, Frederick Ernest Wilson’s grand sacrifice for his country is recorded on the War Memorial Monument at the Hastings foreshore, where he is listed as ‘E Wilson’, with the ‘E’ an abbreviation for Ernie. Frederick’s name is also located at Panel 45 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. After the catastrophic Gallipoli landing, the 5th Battalion went on to fight in many pivotal battles at Cape Helles, ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine and on the Western Front. The Battalion fought all the way up to the peace treaty which marked the end of the war. They returned home after that, having lost a great majority of their numbers in battle, so much so that the returning troops from the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions were amalgamated to form the 2nd Brigade Battalion.

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

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OUR ANZACS

Hotel owner son’s sorry tale

William Hoban: A photograph from 1901, when he would have been about 17.

By Matt Vowell William Joseph Hoban was born in 1884, in the suburb of Oakleigh, southeast of Melbourne. He spent his childhood there before he moved to Hastings, as his father purchased the Royal Hotel in 1905. At age 31 on 15 March 1915, having suspended his career as a laborer, he enlisted as a sergeant in the Australian Infantry Forces to fight after the breakout of the First World War. He enlisted in Liverpool, New South Wales into the 17th Battalion¸ part of the 5th Infantry Brigade. Later that year, he joined thousands of other soldiers aboard the HMAT A32 Themistocles, embarking at Sydney, and heading for the city of Alexandria in Egypt, on 12 May 1915. He received at-sea training while on the voyage, as was standard for Australian solders on the HMAT Themistocles during their time on the troop carrier. The Themistocles arrived in Alexandria on 8 March 1916. As part of the process for soldiers arriving in Egypt, William passed through the military isolation camp, Moascar. There, he was screened for measles and other infectious diseases that were quite common among Australian and New Zealand soldiers who travelled for long periods of time in ships, in extremely cramped and crowded conditions. Like most soldiers, William stayed just over two weeks under observation for possible symptoms of a va-

riety of diseases. After his two weeks at Moascar, Hoban and the 17th Battalion joined the troops in the ranks of the remainder of the British Expeditionary Force, one of the largest bodies of soldiers sent by the British military in the First World War, at Ghezireh. During his stay at Ghezireh, he was fined a day’s pay for being absent from Military Tattoo, and again within the next few days for being late to Tattoo. He spent just over a week in Egypt with the British army before the British and the 17th Infantry Battalion shipped out to France, with several troops, to join the British and French soldiers already fighting against the Germans on the Western Front. Upon his arrival in France on 23 March 1916 he was based with the British and Australian soldiers in Marseilles, a large camp serving as a rendezvous point for the allies. He remained in Marseilles for almost all of 1916, until 5 December, when he fell gravely ill and was rushed to a hospital in Amiens, France. Amiens had been invaded and captured by Germany in August 1914, and recaptured by the French in September of that year. Amiens’ proximity to the Western Front made it an important position for both the enemy and the allies to hold. In hospital, William Hoban was diagnosed with myalgia, a severe

muscle and joint pain that could have been caused by rigorous activity or a viral infection in his muscles. He spent two days in a military hospital before being moved to a civilian hospital in Rouen, France, which had become a hub for military and civilian hospitals during the First World War. He was officially discharged from hospital in Rouen after four days, and spent the remainder of the month in Etaples, France. He joined Australian and British soldiers in Etaples, a small fishing town that was converted into a large military base and military hospital hub by the Australian, New Zealand and English militaries. Etaples was strategically important because of its railway connections to many districts in northern France. He stayed at the military base for just over a month, after which the 17th Infantry Battalion was reformed and went on to fight at the Front. Unfortunately, William suffered affliction again, this time a fungal infection called ‘trench foot’, most likely contracted walking in the muddy, wet surface of the trenches en route to the fight on the Western Front. He was sent to a nearby military hospital, where he stayed for almost three weeks, after which, he returned to the 17th Battalion. By this time, his rank as Sergeant was on probation because of his absences from action. After a month of supervision, he was demoted to the rank

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013


OUR ANZACS

Off to war: HMAT Themistocles.

of Temporary Corporal, replacing a Corporal Rogers, who had been wounded in battle. He continued in action for four months without injury until, yet again, he was forced into hospital with rheumatism. He spent just over a week, from 9 September until 17 September 1917 in a military encampment set up in St Omer, in far-northern France. He was transferred to Boulogne for a

day’s observation, after which he marched out of hospital and went to Le Havre, where he rejoined his battalion. Upon re-recruitment into the 17th Battalion, he was promoted to be Temporary Sergeant after the former Temporary Sergeant was himself promoted. He only held the rank of Temporary Sergeant, however, from 13 November until 23 November, after which he was returned to

the rank of Corporal. After Le Havre, on New Year’s Day, the 17th Battalion transported into Belgium to join the 5th Training Battalion for a week of combat training. After his training in Belgium, William and the 17th Battalion were transferred across the Channel into England to complete more training. William completed just about four months of training courses, where

he practiced with rifles, muskets and machine guns. He became extremely proficient with the rifles and muskets. While in England, he met a young woman, Cicely Beryl Adshead, whom he fell in love with and married within just four months. After their training had finished in England, the 17th Battalion disembarked from Dover to France, via Fovant in England, to aid the

allies fighting on the Western Front against the Central Powers. A month after his redeployment in France, on 13 May 1918, William Hoban was killed after being hit in the head and chest by machine gun fire. A subsequent Red Cross investigation provided more details on the circumstances of William’s death. On 27 February 1919, Private Henderson of the 17th Battalion

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OUR ANZACS wrote: “I saw him being carried out on a stretcher. He was killed by machine gun fire at Morlancourt. He was buried in a cemetery at the back of the reserve lines there. He came from Victoria and I think his mother has a hotel there. He was in the same company.” On 25 June 1919, Private S. Ridley wrote: “I saw him hit at Morlancourt by machine gun bullets in the head and stomach. He was in “A” Company. He did not regain consciousness, after being hit at 9pm, and died in the trench soon after. He was in charge of a working party digging a trench and I was one of the party. He was buried near Morlancourt and a cross was erected by the Battalion Pioneers. I was not at the funeral and I have not seen the cross. He was a well educated man and a commercial traveller, single, ginger hair, and one of the best known men in the battalion.” Private Mulligam from William’s battalion stated he was present at the burial “in a small cemetery of six graves near Sailly-le-Sec in France on 14 May 1918. War records show he was subsequently reburied at Villers-Bretonneux, east of Amiens, where he remains to this day. This marked the end of a threeyear journey as William Joseph Hoban joined the 60,000 Australian men who were killed in the First World War. However, for William’s wife in London and family in Australia, the story was far from over. Shortly after his death, after several unsuccessful attempts by the military to contact his wife, London police discovered that Mrs Cicely Beryl Hoban had received a payout

from the Australian Commonwealth regarding her husband’s death in action. This would have been normal practice had she not been previously married to two other Australian soldiers, meaning she was married to three husbands at the same time, including the late William Hoban. As it turned out, Cicely Beryl Hoban had given a false name to William Hoban. Her maiden name was Cecilia Paterson, a wealthy woman living in Askew Mansions, London. She married her first husband, Bertram Adshead, an Australian sergeant fighting in Germany. She had later married Reginald Gerald Paterson under the name Cecilia Richards at Sydney, Australia. Reginald Gerald Paterson was a conscript who was soon sent to France en route of England, to fight in the war. Upon her return to England, she met William Hoban, whom she made her third husband while still legally married to the other two. When she was investigated by Detective-Sergeant Taylor, she had been receiving £20 a month in respect of allowances, allotments and pension. She was charged with double bigamy and defrauding the Australian Commonwealth. Before being jailed for her crimes, she sent William Hoban’s sister, Eileen Morphett of Hastings, her deceased brother’s identification, with a letter stating she had the most right to it. After the revelation that Corporal Hoban’s beneficiary of his will was no longer eligible for receiving his medals, the Australian Commonwealth struggled to find any living male blood relatives. For many months, letters were sent back and forth from Commonwealth officials,

Family business: The Royal Hotel on High Street, Hastings, around the time the Hoban’s owned it. Initial grave: Right, William Hoban’s resting place before being moved to a war cemetery.

representatives of the deceased ANZACs, and even Hoban’s family members, amid confusion about his next of kin. The attempts to find Hoban’s original next of kin, his mother, were unsuccessful because, as discovered later, she had died. After a letter sent by Hoban’s sister, Mrs Morphett, the Commonwealth discovered William had a brother living in Hastings. His brother, Michael Hoban, was the oldest living male relative, being of three brothers, William, Michael and a younger brother, Daniel Hoban. In March 1921, William’s brother Daniel visited the Commonwealth of Australia offices in London to put his case forward for being the next

of kin for William. A subsequent letter to Base Records in Australia from the London office read: “The next of kin of the aboved named NCO is recorded in this office as Mrs C. B. Hoban, 18 Askew Mansions, Askew Road, London, W.12, but all efforts to get in touch with Mrs. Hoban have proved unsuccessful and the police are unable to trace her present whereabouts. Mr. Daniel E. Hoban, brother of the deceased, called in this office today and intimated that he had come from Australia and was visiting his brother’s grave. He also stated that his family were unable to get in touch with his deceased brother’s widow and that he was in possession

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of information which disclosed that she is of undesirable character. In these circumstances Mr D. Hoban, who resides at Hastings, Victoria, has completed the Memorial Form in respect of his brother and has registered as the person to whom all communications regarding the late Cpl. Hoban will in future be addressed.” After considering Daniel as recipient for William’s medals, the Commonwealth instead decided to give them to Michael, but sent Daniel his brother’s memorial plaque. This splitting up of a soldier’s belongings was extremely rare.

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OUR ANZACS Newspaper coverage of the scandal Western Argus, Kalgoorlie, WA Tuesday 25 February 1919 REMARKABLE BIGAMY CASE That she had contracted a marriage with three soldiers each unknown to the other, was the remarkable statement made at the Westminster Police Court, London, in the case in which Ada Annie Adshead, otherwise Cecilia Paterson, was charged with double bigamy, and also with defrauding the Australian Commonwealth of £25 pension allowances while passing as a widow. Detective-Sergeant Taylor produced certificates to prove that the woman was married in her maiden name of Ada Annie Richards, of Chiswick, to Bertram Adshead, now a sergeant, that she went through a second ceremony of marriage with Reginald Garold Paterson, in the name of Cecilia Richards, at Sydney, Australia, in December, 1915, and a third form of marriage in March this year with Sergeant William Joseph Hoban, who was soon afterwards killed in action. Sergeant Bertram Adshead said that after his marriage at Chiswick with the accused in 1907 he left for Australia with her, and they lived together there until 1914, when he came over for the war. He understood she returned to England later. Exhibiting a ring paper, Detective-Sergeant Taylor mentioned that the accused had been drawing a separation allowance at Twickenham in respect of this soldier until November this year; in fact, it was believed that altogether she had been drawing about £20 a month in respect of allowances, allotments, and pension. Mrs. Emily May Briden, a soldier’s wife, of Askew Mansions, Shepherd’s Bush, said she knew the accused in Australia when she

was passing in her maiden name of Richards. She told the witness that she was living with a man named Peterson. The witness was present this year on March 16, at Hammersmith Registry Office, when the accused, describing himself as a spinster, went through the ceremony of marriage with Sergeant William J. Hoban, of the Australian Force. Reginald G. Paterson, a driver in the Australian Artillery, stated that he married the accused at the end of 1915 at Sydney, she describing herself as single. She followed him over from Australia, and they lived together in this country, both coming to London. When he came home on leave they lived at Shepherd’s Bush. He was home about March, but he had no idea that at that time she married someone else. She was not at home when he arrived. Mr. David Williams examiner of war pension for the Commonwealth of Australia said that from July of this year a widow’s pension of 52/3 a fortnight was allowed the accused in respect of the death of her husband Sergeant Hoban. She had drawn about £25. In the certificate and documents the accused was given as “Cicely Beryl Hoban.” Detective-Sergeant Taylor said that when arrested the accused said, “I admit having the money, and I am very sorry.” The accused, who several times fainted during the case, was committed for trial, and, as she was stated to be ill, bail was accepted.

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

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OUR ANZACS Max Harrison – an inconsequential casualty of war

Life cut short: Max Harrison in his RAAF uniform. In January 1943 at age 26 he was shot down in an aerial dogfight over Libya.

PAGE 18

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

By David Harrison FAR from, and sometimes despite, the shrieking shells and screams of the wounded and dying, the paperwork proceeds remorselessly. Folk with pencils, pens and typewriters note every tiny detail of a war: rank and serial number, sorties and wounds; leave, and medals; date and place of death. All this can be read at Australia’s National Archives in Canberra (www.naa.gov.au), every file revealing a tiny element in the great enterprise of war. The two files on Maxwell Charles Harrison hold 74 sheets of paper, recording his short career in the RAAF from sign-up on 8 November 1940 to his death on 14 January 1943 aged 26 years 8 months and 25 days, shot down in a dogfight over Libya. Dark-haired, saturnine, sharptongued and rebellious – he was discharged from the Royal Australian Engineers at his own request for “disobeying a direct order” – the 174cm, 51.5kg 22-year-old had first applied to join the air force in December 1938. He was rejected because of his army record. “Hold decision on this man until arrival of Army papers,” reads a note on his application. “His own story seems to indicate that he was a bit of a nuisance and the Army discharged him on the first opportunity. Check up.”

Below the note is another in different handwriting: “As this man’s Army conduct sheet reveals that he has been crimed a number of times, DR decided that he is not suitable for enlistment.” Well, that’s the army’s story and Max’s attitude was that of many a man who donned the khaki, even in the late 1930s when the world was still recovering from the Great Depression and a regular pay packet was prized. Australian troops were notorious for their indiscipline. Nearly two years later, in 1940, Max and my father enlisted together in Hobart. Dad’s number: 408083; Max’s 408093. Perhaps Max sent his young brother in first, hoping it would help his chances. The brothers trained at the RAAF’s training school in Somers. Sheet 25B in one archive file lists the personal items sent home to his father in Launceston after Max’s death. “Permit me to extend to you the profound sympathy of this Department in your great loss,” concludes a letter, sent to so many households, signed with a hasty squiggle. It is a touching list, a mix of the banal and the poignant, detailing the necessities of a man lost in a maelstrom – shirts, shorts and drawers, a shaving brush and towel, a five-bob canteen credit he was fated never to present.

Then there are the comforting personal minutiae: his volume of Shakespeare, a prayer book, a damaged mother-of-pearl brooch, held close by a young man far from home, his life at risk daily in a Kittyhawk fighter aircraft high over the Libyan desert. Like millions, Max was an insignificant man in the context of a world war, but his death was a huge tragedy for the family who read the telegram and opened the sad package of personal effects. The body of “Sgt Harrison, M” was never found. Nazi forces occupied the area and sending search parties to the crash site, a minefield, was not possible. But he was probably treated decently by Rommel’s men if he was found. He may still lie in that minefield. He is honoured in a Libyan war grave. For some odd reason his name is not on the war memorial in Launceston near the high school he attended with his brother Ray – my father – and my mother Betty. “He was a sarcastic devil,” she once told me but offered no more. The National Archive file page marked 28B, dated 25 February 1948, records with dispassionate precision Max’s end during an unmemorable action. On 14 January 1943, Max was “piloting Kittyhawk FR.415 ... a member of a formation of 12 fighter aircraft, airborne at 1130 hours to act as a medium cover


OUR ANZACS

Brother and nephew: A young David Harrison and his father Ray in Launceston after the war. The survivor: Ray Harrison in front of a bomber in Africa during the World War II.

escort to 18 Boston bombers whose target was Bir Dufan North Landing Ground”. “The formation was continuously attacked by more than 20 ME109s and Macchi 202s from the coast to the target, and on the return journey a fierce running fight was kept up between the fighter escort and the enemy aircraft. “Anti-aircraft fire was experienced from Bir Dufan Landing Ground, and also from along the road South of Churgia and Tanorga. “Sgt Harrison failed to return from the operation and nothing is known regarding his fate. “It would be greatly appreciated if Imperial War Graves Commission would check their records for any burial particulars, or any ‘unknown’ which might be linked to this casualty. “Failing a link ... Air Ministry’s instructions on the closing of this case are requested.”

Elsewhere in the files Max is recorded as “having no known grave”. His squadron leader wrote: “This (No. 450 RAAF) Squadron claims one ME109 destroyed and four ME109s and two Macchi 202s damaged as a result of this engagement. “Four of our pilots failed to return.” But the target was “successfully bombed”. Just a day earlier Max took part in an early morning ground-level strafing raid on Churgia that damaged an ME109 and another aircraft. “Intense, accurate anti-aircraft fire and small arms fire were encountered, and Sgt Harrison’s aircraft was holed through the mainplane,” his CO wrote. Of necessity, apart from a few such glimpses, Max’s file is dry and to the point. Much of it is furry carbon copies that are hard to decipher.

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PAGE 19


OUR ANZACS However the file does hold a few clues to his history and personality. Dad rarely spoke of him. Some scars don’t fade. Max’s applications to enlist state that he passed the University of Tasmania General Certificate at Launceston High School in 1931 with first class results in physics, chemistry and history, and passes in English, geography, French, arithmetic, algebra and geometry. In 1935 he gained a diploma in radio engineering by correspondence.

Bright, sarcastic, rebellious, brave. Somehow those traits, and the sight of his ebullient handwriting, make me warm to him and to reflect on just what nations lose when their sons and daughters go to war. Lest we forget. Footnote: I have just one item that belonged to Max – a 78 RPM record signed with a yellow crayon by pre-war singing star Richard Tauber, who visited Sydney apparently when Max lived there. I have never played it. I doubt Max did either.

The belongings sent home

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Yours respectfully: Max Harrison’s father writes seeking hopeful news on the fate of his son.

MAX Harrison’s parents received a carton and a parcel. Parcel contents: “1 leather shirt & collar case; 1 metal cig. case inscribed M.H. from M.H. (possibly his younger sister Margaret); 1 black leather wallet init. M.C.H.; 1 brown ditto; 2 birth certificates; 1 canteen order No. 0211607 value 5/-; 1 University Intermediate certificate; 19 negatives; A.M.F. discharge certificate; 2 school reports; 1 drivers licence in folder; 1 pilots brevet (rank); 1 identity disc; 1 pr. gold cuff links; 1 book of Shakespeare; 57 photos; 2 references.� The carton contained the parcel, plus “2 K.D. bush jackets less belts; 1 white shirt; 1 pr. drawers; 1 shaving brush; 1 towel; 1 woollen scarf; 1 leather toilet case damaged; 1 Religious token; 1 set square; 1 pilots brevet; 1 metal cig. case; 1 Mother of Pearl brooch (damaged); 10 souvenir coins; 1 Prayer book; 3 handkerchiefs; 1 pr. khaki sports shorts.�

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OUR ANZACS Max Harrison – Letters reveal a cultured larrikin

Hopes dashed: Max Harrison is assumed dead in 1943. No remains were ever recovered.

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By David Harrison LETTERS that Max Harrison wrote to his younger brother Ray, my father, when he was posted to his fighter squadron reveal a lively, cultured man who played protector and adviser – and leading mischief-maker – to his sibling. The letters were passed to me when rediscovered in a house move after dad’s death. Max and Ray were cooped up in a large transit base in Egypt with little to do. It was almost certainly Max who suggested a quick tourist trip to Palestine, gambling they would not be missed in the seething camp. They hitch-hiked, Dad said, gaining a ride with a member of the Tel Aviv Symphony Orchestra, gliding up the east Mediterranean coast in a sleek American limousine for a wonderful two weeks of AWOL (absent without official leave), comprising largely of music and oranges. Their absence was noted. Called before the commanding officer on return, they were met with an icy silence and made to stand to attention while he finished a task. Then he looked up and spoke. “I could have you shot for desertion,” he said. My father skipped over further details, such as punishment. One can presume it was designed to demean. Latrine duty, perhaps. Max’s letters reflect the language of an Australia still close to Britain, fighting without question for their King – “chaps” and “clots” abound in his prose. And there is nicely turned humour. From Aden, Max wrote to dad: “It is called Aden gut here, naturally enough, I suppose, and I go in mortal fear of doing a damn childish thing. “This place is one of the traditional sites

of the Garden of Eden ... Cain after murdering Abel fled from India to Aden (according to Hindu legend) and tradition has it that he built the first fire temple here.” He goes on to wonder when they will be sent back to defend Australia from the Japanese, who “seem to be getting a bit above themselves, don’t you think?” Their war experience would count because “back home the chaps are largely inexperienced”. Max’s news gets darker when he writes from his squadron: “You may remember Derek [surname illegible] and Curly Evans. They have had it.” His sense of humour resurfaces in the tale of a colleague who contracted an eye disease from night flying. Max “can’t help suspecting that that lad is a subscriber to Pix” – a girlie magazine of the day. Then sombrely he passes on the news that his first flying instructor “with whom I was on pretty good terms, has had it. I was very sorry about it”. In probably his last letter, written in a shaky hand perhaps because he had not fully recovered from malaria, Max writes: “I had a distressing experience the other day, when I shot the CO [commanding officer] down by mistake. We were strafing and things were happening. “I mistook him for an E.A. [enemy aircraft] and drew a bead. Fortunately he crash-landed and was unhurt. It was later announced from Berlin that he was taken prisoner.” On the 9765th day of his life, some three months shy of his 27th birthday, Max was not so lucky. He and his Kittyhawk disappeared in the desert. I hope his end was quick and clean.

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OUR ANZACS

The Tuck family of Flinders This biographical sketch is based on the introduction written by Ann Lorkin for the book ‘Poems of a Peninsula Pioneer-Henry Tuck 1845-1930’ published by the Flinders District Historical Society in 2009. Henry Tuck senior was born on the Isle of Skye in 1810. As a young man he worked as a fisherman at Yarmouth in England before arriving in Van Diemen’s Land in 1830. He worked as a sawyer in the Huon Valley and at Esperance and Oyster Bays. Catherine Falvey arrived on the Bussorah Merchant passenger ship as an assisted immigrant on 12th December, 1837. Catherine was born in the city of Cork, Ireland, in 1814 and her ship sailed from Cork in August 1837 carrying 235 immigrants. The number of children who died during the voyage was recorded as 58. The ship was immediately quarantined at North West Bay south of Hobart for three months; it was a location close to where Henry Tuck was working. The family bible records their marriage on 14 February, 1838, and the ship’s record noted that Catherine and two other single women were married from the boat. Henry and Catherine’s first child, Elizabeth, died only 15 months after her birth in November 1838. A second daughter, Mary, was

The patriarch: Henry senior.

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born in August 1840 in a hut they occupied on the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets, Melbourne. The family subsequently moved to Collingwood, then called Newtown, where two sons were born: Thomas in May 1842 and Samuel in January 1844. Henry then worked as a sawyer and carpenter for Captain Reid at the Tichingorouke Run on Balcombe Creek near Mt Martha, and subsequently was employed by Andrew McCrae to help build his homestead on the Arthur’s Seat Run. It was at the McCrae’s homestead that the third son, Henry Tuck junior, was born on 28 July 1845. Georgiana McCrae’s journal describes the conditions establishing the Arthurs Seat Run and the building work done by “Tuck� (Henry Tuck senior). She noted the rations of beef and flour for Tuck and that he had taken ill on 9 July, 1845 and that Mrs. Tuck’s boy had taken ill on 13 July. Tuck was still “ill or sulky� on 19 July and had shut himself up in his hut without finishing the kitchen door, but a few days later he fastened the two halves of the door to the hinges, “thus excluding the dogs and geese and Master Tommy Tuck.� It is interesting to note that the Run on which Henry was born was owned by the father of another and better-known litterateur and poet- George Gordon McCrae - who became a life-long friend of Henry

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Tuck. The Tuck family was now established on the peninsula. By 1846 Henry was employed by John Barker on the Cape Schanck Run, and in that year he squatted on the Manton’s Creek Run at Western Port. A sixth child, again Elizabeth, was born in March 1847 and another daughter, Harriet, followed in August 1849. The family was completed with the birth of two more sons: John in June 1850 and William in March 1852. Henry went to the goldfields in 1852 and was able to return with enough money to purchase 160 acres as part of his pre-emptive right. He set about clearing the land for grazing and cropping, later increasing his holding to 970 acres. The large family was involved in this enterprise, and as the sons married they built their own homes on portions of land made over to them by their father. William, the youngest son, brought grief to the family when he was killed in a riding accident in April 1868, aged 16. He was one of the first burials in the Flinders cemetery. According to family folklore Catherine Tuck took pity on notorious bushrangers Bradley and O’Connor, who crossed the notorious Bass Strait from Tasmania in 1853. They landed at Bushrangers Bay and wandered along the

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Editor: Keith Platt, 0439 394 707 Journalists: Mike Hast and Jo Winterbottom, 5979 8564 Photographer: Yanni, 0419 592 594 Advertising Sales: Jasmine Murray, 0411 821 626 Nikki Lamerton, 0450 098 070 Real Estate Account Manager: Jason Richardson, 0421 190 318 Production and graphic design: Stephanie Loverso, Tonianne Delaney Publisher: Cameron McCullough ANZAC CONTRIBUTORS: Matt Vowell, David Harrison, Peter McCullough. ADDRESS: Mornington Peninsula News Group, PO Box 588, Hastings 3915 Email: team@mpnews.com.au Web: www.mpnews.com.au We are indebted to all those that made this special edition of The News possible. We must also acknowledge three main sources of information and inspiration: The Australian War Memorial, The National Archives of Australia, and members of the local community. Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

PAGE 23


OUR ANZACS

The four brothers: Taken in front of cypress tree that still stands today. Thomas, Samuel, Henry and John Tuck.

coast until they reached the Tuck homestead. Catherine fed them but they were later caught and hanged. However the Tucks made the most of the opportunity: the bushrangers’ boat was turned into the roof of their pigsty. The family had cordial relations with the Yal Yal tribe and Catherine was known as the “white lubra with a lot of piccaninnies.” The children were educated by their mother and

The matriarch: Catherine Tuck

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3 March 1894 and was buried with her son and husband in the Flinders cemetery. Henry Tuck junior In 1929 a collection of poems by Henry Tuck junior was printed by Mrs CM Blakie, the daughter of John Crichton, a pioneer of the Boneo region, and wife of Dr James Blakie who cared for Henry in his old age. It was this collection which

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she instilled strong values into them. The brothers were renowned stockmen and were always ready to assist their neighbours. The bonds of friendship were built up whilst working together with teams of men, mustering the wild cattle on the unfenced peninsula. Henry Tuck senior died on 17 March 1890 and was acknowledged as one of Victoria’s successful early colonists. Catherine Tuck died on

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OUR ANZACS

Visitor to Mantonville: Henry Tuck with one of the blind musicians who visited every year.

was republished in 2009. With the scantiest means of getting education - Henry Tuck had only three months of formal schooling he managed to pick up some general knowledge of literature with the help of a few books, chief among them being Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather, Moore’s Melodies, and the poems of his favourite author, Robert Burns. Judging from his poems, Henry was attracted to women and enjoyed their company throughout his life. He recounts the social events and celebrations held in homes with the obvious pleasure of one who loved company and the opportunity to share a yarn and a good joke. Henry was famous for his sense of humour, and the family still tell the story of his visit to the Cain family in Rye. After a heavy session with his mates

Henry called for the use of a chamber pot to relieve himself. Secretly filling the pot with more beer he proceeded to drink the contents to the dismay of the onlookers! Henry Tuck junior finally settled down and at the age of 32 married Margaret Dowling on 13 May 1877. She was younger than Henry and came from a neighbouring Catholic pioneering family who had taken up land near Shoreham. Henry wrote of building their home called “Mantonville”, a simple “cot” (today a dilapidated ruin). Henry and “Maggie”, as he affectionately calls her in several of his poems, had seven children: four daughters and three sons, one of whom, Christopher, died in childhood during a diptheria epidemic. Maggie died at the relatively young age of 56 years in 1910 leaving Henry a

widower for another twenty years, during which time his two remaining sons died on active service in World War I: Henry Thomas in 1916, aged 19, and William in 1917, aged 37. His two unmarried daughters also pre-deceased him: Margaret in 1920, and Jean in 1923. These deaths brought a great sense of sadness to Henry’s later life and he mourned the loss of his sons in the outpouring of patriotic verses. Henry remained at his home “Mantonville” until his death, sharing the house with his eldest daughter Catherine (born 1878died 1960) and her husband Robert Johnstone and their four children. The Peninsula Post recorded that Henry “...passed away in the early morning of the 3rd June, 1930 after only a few days illness. The funeral took place on Wednesday 4th June at Flinders and was followed by a cortege of about 200 mourners from all parts of the Peninsula. At the graveside old Peninsula pioneers of great ages attended, notably Mr. Samuel Tuck senior, aged 86 years, Hon. Alfred Downward aged 83 years, Mr. John Tuck aged 80 years and Mrs. T. Rogers, formerly Miss Sarah Ann Cain, of Rye aged 90 years; their combined ages totalled 339 years.” A lengthy tribute entitled “Henry Tuck, The Pioneer Poet of the Peninsula” by Henry Patterson of Flinders, also a poet, followed a few weeks later. He compared Henry to Adam Lindsay Gordon, both stockmen with claims to fame as bushman poets but in Henry’s case he was native-born and “familiar with wild bush nature-an ardent lover of the “forest primeval” and

The bush poet: Henry Tuck junior.

the windswept spaces and “the sounds and scents of the infinite sea”. The magical influences of the great solitudes caught him in their deep allure, while ever and anon his beloved Manton’s Creek, hard by

his home, sang lightly its way to the many waters of the southern ocean. Henry Tuck left behind a very simple yet noble monument, that of “An honest man, the noblest work of God.”

The Tuck family answer the call By Peter McCullough Australia’s contribution to the war effort in 1914-1918 almost defies belief; from a nation with a population fewer than 5 million, 324,000 men would enlist alongside 3,000 nursing sisters of the Australian Army Nursing Service. There were 216,000 casualties (a casualty rate of 67%), including over 60,000 deaths. Families lived in fear of a visit from the telegram boy, although sometimes it fell to the local policeman or minister of religion to convey the news. In some instances families endured the tragic loss more than once; for the Tuck family it happened on three occasions. Two brothers and a cousin “answered the call”; none of them came home. The two brothers (Henry Thomas and William) were sons of Henry of “Mantonville” while the cousin (John William) was the son of his brother Thomas who farmed across the road. Private Henry Thomas Tuck (#3937) enlisted on 27 July 1915, aged 18 years and 9 months. He was taken on strength of the 46th battalion on 16 April 1916 and killed in action on 11 August 1916. When his sister (Mary) wrote seeking further details Base Records could only inform the family that he had been killed “somewhere in France.” It was twelve months later that two eye-witnesses provided statements to the effect that Private

The three Tuck boys: Private Henry Thomas Tuck, Private William Tuck and Private John William Tuck.

Tuck had been in the front line at Pozieres and had been killed by a high explosive shell. According to Corporal Hedrick: “The boys dropped the body in and buried it on top of the parapet.” No marker was put in place and accordingly Henry has “no known grave.” In July 1917 the family received a small parcel with his personal effects: 2 discs, purse, and 8 coins. After hostilities ceased the family received the memorial scroll and King’s message (November 1921), the memorial plaque (July 1922), and the Victory

medal (February 1923). Private William Tuck (#759) was an older brother of Henry and was one of those Australians who never made it to the field of battle; they died on the troopships or in an English hospital. William was working in Queensland when he enlisted and died in the Australian Auxiliary Hospital No.1 in Harefield, Middlesex on 18 April 1917. The death certificate indicated that the primary cause of death was “amoebic abscess of liver,” and

he was buried with full military honours in the local churchyard. He was 37 at the time of his death and a member of the 41st battalion. Private John William Tuck (#5126) was the son of Thomas and a cousin of Henry and William. He enlisted on 19 February 1916 at the age of 22 years and 8 months. Jack, as he was known, spent an eventful two years or so in uniform. In September 1916, not long after arriving in England, he was admitted to hospital: his record

states “sick serious.” During 1917 several months were spent back in England from France due to illness. Eight days after returning to the Front he was wounded in action (“GSW left ankle”) in Belgium, and was sent back to England. In February 1918 he returned to France but had further spells in hospital with bronchitis and trench foot, and in July he was again wounded in action (“gas shell”). Jack rejoined his battalion on 21 August but was admitted to the 6th Australian Field Ambulance on 9 November 1918. He died of bronchial pneumonia on 14 November and was buried in the Abbeville cemetery. Like many of the “Diggers” Jack had the occasional brush with authority. His first offence, committed soon after his arrival in England, was “neglecting to obey an order of an NCO in that he failed to appear for picquet after being duly warned.” His penalty was “3 days CC and total forfeiture of a day’s pay.” When convalescing in England as a result of his GSW in 1917 he again incurred the wrath of the hierarchy in that he “went AWL from 3.00pm on 15th December, 1917 until 3.20pm on the 18th December. This time the penalty was “12 days FP No.2 and the forfeiture of 16 days pay.” Jack was a member of the 24th battalion.

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

PAGE 25


OUR ANZACS

Henry Junior’s poems about his two lost sons

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OUR ANZACS

Christie carries on Tuck tradition

Christie Johnstone: Private Christie Johnstone about to join the 9th Division in World War II. Below, Christie Johnstone recently at Mantonville in Flinders. Top right, the old homestead at Mantonville, built circa 1877, now derelict.

“Mantonville”, the original property of Henry Tuck junior, is still farmed by his grandson, Christopher James (Christie) Johnstone. Like his two uncles, this fourth generation “Tuck” also “answered the call” during World War II. This is his story. *** By Peter McCullough CHRISTIE was born on 17 February 1920 at Main Ridge. His parents were Albert Henry and Catherine Johnstone, and he had a brother (William Henry) and a sister. His father was born in Dromana and the Johnstone family lived at Red Hill. “They were bushmen-splitting timber and that sort of thing.” His father worked in Gippsland in his younger days, later moving to Main Ridge where his parents had an orchard and grew strawberries. Christie’s mother (Catherine) was the eldest daughter of Henry Tuck Junior and the family moved to Flinders in 1924 to look after her father, who was almost 80 and to help him run the farm. His wife (Margaret) had died in 1910. Christie went to school in Flinders, starting the same day as Eric Lucas who died just recently. It was a twomile walk to school and in those days he could walk to school and home again without seeing a car. He had more rides in a horse-and-buggy than he ever got in a motor car. As soon as Christie turned 14 he left school to work on the farm. “Mantonville” was a dairy farm of 150 acres and all the milking was done by hand in those days. The family only milked about 20 cows as that was all they could handle. After the war, with machines, they were milking 50 cows. Kinross Dairies would collect the milk and take it to Edithvale. Christie milked cows for about 50 years and never took a holiday for 25 years. With a milk contract he had to be there every day. About 30 years ago he went out of the dairy business and has been running beef cattle ever since. However only 80 acres are left of the original holding. After Christie left school he did a lot of other work as well as milking cows twice a day: fence contracting, ploughing, wood cutting, and splitting posts. Just before he joined

up in 1941 he worked at the Flinders Golf course for 12 months but he never hit a golf ball: “Working there five-and-a-half days a week, I reckon I saw enough of the golf course! Besides, I was still milking cows before and after work.” Farmers were classed as an “essential trade” and were barred from joining the army. Christie had to list his main occupation as “greenkeeper” to get around that little problem. So in 1941 he was sent to the Middle East where he joined the 9th Division as they were coming out of Tobruk. Then it was on to El Alamein which was a terrible battle: the Australian casualties were 1 in 5. According to Christie, anyone who got out of that one was very fortunate. From there he went to New Guinea and spent time at Lae and Finchhaven. “By the end of 1944 we were getting on top of the Japs but the country was short of tucker, so I got a release from the army to come back onto the farm to help my brother who had been holding the fort while I was away.” The milking shed is still there: it was built in 1932. When Christie came back from the war he was building a dairy beside it “....when this chap came along - collar and tie - and he says “Have you got a permit for this?” I said “What’s a permit?” In those days we never heard of permits. Then he noticed I had my army coat on and he said “Oh! Are you are the bloke we pulled out of the army?” He was from Manpower and when I said “Yes”, he replied “Just carry on and I will send you out a permit.” Christie is one of those farmers who is reluctant to part with items that are no longer in use. His explanation for the somewhat cluttered appearance of the property was as follows: “Around the house and in the sheds and old house I have a lot of good handy stuff: it’s not junk! I make a lot of things. In my day you had to make or repair things or you didn’t get the job done. I never throw anything away. For instance my cousin, John Tuck, came over one time and he had in his hand this big spark plug that came out of a Jelbart engine. He said “I don’t suppose you would have

anything like this?” I told him that I used those in the milking machines 50 years ago and always kept a spare. We put it in his old engine which fired up. When I got home I said, “There you are! I told you if you keep a thing for long enough it will come in handy.” Christie’s wife was Valma Cleve, a farmer’s daughter from Shoreham, who passed away aged 84 on 24 February 2013. Valma and Christie had five children: three sons and two daughters. Four of them live around Flinders but their eldest daughter, Colleen, lives in Queensland. She visits every Christmas. Robert is a builder who is working on the Flinders Hotel at the moment. As a young bloke Christie’s hobbies were fishing and shooting and he still like to do a bit of spotlight shooting although his accuracy has deteriorated. He never went out fishing with his old mate Eric Lucas as he is a poor sailor; he always fished off the shore. “ During the war I probably travelled 30 to 40,000 miles and I was sick on every trip. I never got used to the sea!” In his younger days he enjoyed playing cricket and football, but these sports did not fit in with milking cows. After the war Christie joined the RSL and agreed to take on the job of secretary on a temporary basis. He is still the temporary secretary. “I’d rather dig a post hole than write a letter, but no one has put their hand up yet.” In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 Christie was awarded the OAM “For service to veterans and their families through the Flinders sub-branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia.” With so much history in his family it almost goes without saying that Christie is a long-term member of the local historical society. He was also an original member of the Shoreham CFA when it was founded in 1949 as well as being a long-term member of the CFA at Flinders. Christie was a member of the Cemetery Trust before the responsibility was taken over by the shire council, and for over 20 years he was a member of the Sports Committee in Flinders which oversaw both cricket and football.

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

PAGE 27


OUR ANZACS

Five VCs in a day - the battle for Lone Pine

On enemy ground: Australian soldiers occupy a captured Turkish trench at Lone Pine on 6 August 1915.

FOR many decades after the First World War, Australians were mesmerised by the legend of Gallipoli. An avalanche of books told of the heroic actions of the Diggers, and the anniversary of the landing at what became known as Anzac Cove was adopted as our national day of remembrance. About 20 years ago historians began to point out that, while we had glorified the brave but ill-fated deeds at Gallipoli, we had tended to overlook the achievements of our soldiers on the Western Front where so many more suffered, were wounded or killed. Accordingly, over the past decade or so, there has been a steady stream of historical accounts of the achievements of the AIF in France and Belgium. One such book was “Somme Mud� by E.P.F.Lynch which was reviewed in the special Anzac Day edition of the News in 2012. Whilst there is now more of a balance between publications focusing on the Western Front as opposed to Gallipoli, it must be acknowledged that one of the outstanding war histories to come out in the past year was “The Battle for Lone Pine-Four Days of Hell at the Heart of Gallipoli’ by David W. Cameron. The Battle for Lone Pine extended from 6th-9th March, 1915 and was Australia’s only victory at Gallipoli. The battle was one of the toughest

and most brutal fought by Australians in any war, and comprised intense hand-to-hand fighting and bombing in an area covering just a few hectares, with Australian and Turkish trenches often only a few metres apart. Men used anything to gain an advantage in the close confines, including fists, bayonets, knives, rifle butts and entrenching tools. Close to 2800 Australians became casualties during these four days, and Turkish casualties were said to be at least double that number. Unlike most battles in the Great War, casualties at Lone Pine were not dominated by artillery and machinegun fire, but from small-arms, bayonets and home-made bombs. Whilst the Turks had cricket ball bombs (grenades), the Diggers had to respond with bombs “manufactured� in great number from empty jam tins. In the claustrophobic maze of trenches, clogged with the dead and dying, surprise encounters resulting in fierce isolated skirmishes, and the sudden appearance of a bomb, which might be lobbed back and forth several times before it exploded, added psychological horrors to the ordeal. Of the 9 Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians for the Gallipoli campaign, 7 were for outstanding actions of bravery and valour during those four days at Lone Pine. In fact 5 were earned in a single day of the fighting, a record in Australian

military history. Many believed a host of others would also have made worthy V.C. Recipients, but the officers who were intent on nominating them died fighting at Lone Pine before they could put pen to paper; all of the battalion commanders who took part in the initial attack became casualties and two of them were killed. It is perhaps fitting that Australia’s official commemoration of the Gallipoli conflict is conducted each Anzac Day at the Lone Pine Cemetery, built over what was in 1915 the no-man’sland between Australian and Turkish trenches. David Cameron’s book is very detailed and is largely based on diaries and other first-hand accounts. It is also extremely graphic. Below are several extracts from his work but be warned: they are not for those inclined to be squeamish! However no matter how grim the situation might be, the Diggers always attempted to find some humour, and this is reflected in the last extract. *** A Rescue from No-Man’s -Land (Page 102) One of the men in Leane’s Trench was looking through a periscope and noticed an Australian slowly and painfully trying to get up. Medical orderly Private Bertram Winzar, of the 11th Battalion, without hesitation shed all his equipment excepting his

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013


OUR ANZACS first aid bag and crept out into noman’s-land. He managed to provide some rudimentary first aid amongst bursting shrapnel shells. All around him the shrapnel was shredding the remaining vegetation as well as the bodies of the dead Turks and Australians scattered on the valley floor. Winzar was lucky, escaping any serious injury. He tied a rope around the waist of the wounded soldier and crawled, dragging his wounded cobber back into Leane’s Trench. Winzar received no official recognition for this selfless act, and would perform similar feats while serving on the Western Front. Leane’s Trench, or what was left of it, was a complete shambles. Parapets had been smashed and blown in, and dirt and gravel filled the trench. Dead bodies and wounded lay everywhere and the stretcher bearers were busy with the troops, where possible, helping to remove the wounded and dead. Turkish high-explosive and shrapnel shells continued to burst in, around and over the trench, and the surrounding ground was still being swept by rifle and machinegun fire. A shell exploded right over Lieutenant Morris’s head, leaving him dazed. He couldn’t recollect much at all during the next few hours, but knew there were mangled remains of his men all around him. He later recalled talking to one of the men: “..we were considering the best means of bolstering up our broken down parapets, when something burst just above us. I was just deafened for a few seconds, but the other chap had both his legs blown off and the back of his head blown off.”

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OUR ANZACS *** The Headless Bugler (Page 124) With a loud chorus of cheers that could be heard above the sound of exploding Turkish shells, three waves of 600 men each, in a scatter of falling sandbags and earth, scrambled from the Australian trenches into no-man’s-land. Shells came shrieking-one decapitating a bugler, whose headless body ran on for several yards before it dropped. Red flashes from a thousand rifle barrels erupted. Lieutenant Eric Wren of the 3rd Battalion described the horrific scene: “Khaki figures that were not moving. Men lying huddled together as if awaiting another signal to move forward. Yes, some were moving-twitching. Others-crawling away-or trying tomaimed-dying. All were perfectly still-a spent wave of dead men. But there were others-they ran-they stumbled-always going forward.... The enemy’s fire opened so quickly that many men fell back killed or wounded into the trenches they had just left.... *** Young Angelo (Page 172) In Lone Pine there was no place safe for the wounded. Private Angelo Humphries, who had put his age at eighteen on enlisting, had attacked the Turkish trenches but had been wounded in the left thigh and head. He looked around to see if he knew anybody alongside him and noticed that his cobber, 36-year-old Sydney labourer Private Sidney McClure, was also wounded. McClure had taken the youngster under his wing since training in Egypt, defending Angelo’s right to remain a teetotaller. Some of the men had begun to call Angelo names , until Sidney put a stop to it. Angelo crawled over to Sidney and began to bandage his wounds but almost immediately felt dizzy from the loss of blood. Angelo later recalled Sidney’s instructions to him: “Lay down, sonny, and when you feel better you can bandage me up.”I lay down and he said “We are fairly safe here.”With that a shot came past me and killed him instantly. Sidney has no known grave and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial. Angelo was later evacuated back to a hospital in Egypt and then onto Australia. He was discharged in early 1916, not only as a result of his wounds, but due to a letter from his parents to the Department of Defence after they had heard of his enlistment and wounding, stating that their son was just fifteen years old. *** Time for a Laugh (Page 230) Had there not been some moments of humour during those terrible hours, I am sure no man could have survived. During the climax of the fighting on the Saturday Sergeant Campbell managed to provide a laugh for those present at his expense: “A sturdy bullocky of the Third(Battalion) stuck his head over the lip of the crater at the bottom of the trench and saw Mule Valley below him crowded with Turks. He shouted “Look. There are millions of the bastards down there”, but his speech was cut short by a sniper’s bullet that removed the whole of his top front teeth, which protruded beyond his upper lip as if they had been taken off with a fretsaw, Recovering from the shock, the bullocky in Campbell asserted itself, and there followed the best exhibition of cursing in between the gulping and spitting of mouthfuls of blood it would be possible to imagine. I don’t know what the

PAGE 30

Turks thought, but the dozen or so men left in the trench roared with laughter as the eloquent Campbell beat it to the beach. I was told later that Campbell hadn’t exhausted his vocabulary by the time he had reached the hospital ship.” Indeed it wasn’t only those on the front line that were experiencing humour in the face of adversity. Lance Corporal Lawrence wrote in his diary that a bloke was taking a prisoner down to the beach when over came a big shell: “The Australian cleared for his life-drat the prisoner. Well, directly the Australian ran, the old Turk ran after him. Down came the shell and burst with a terrific crash right in the centre of the track-just where they had been. The last I saw of them was the Australian going for his life round a bend in the track with the old Turk making good for a splendid second place.” Some more Anzac humour Prior to the landing at Gallipoli the Anzacs spent some months in Egypt where they trained and waited impatiently to get into the action. David Cameron provides some examples of how the men filled in their idle time: they loved to have fun at the expense of an officer, and if the officer was English, so much the better: “Pompey”(Page8) The men, however, found ways to let off some steam in camp, usually at an officer’s expense. Lieutenant Colonel Harold “Pompey” Elliott, commander of the 7th Battalion, was a hard taskmaster with a fiery temper, but even so, he was not only universally respected by the men, they worshipped himthey would follow him to hell and back. Still, at times they got their own back on their demanding CO. On one occasion they arranged for one of the local newspaper sellers to stand outside his tent in the early morning hours, declaring: “ Egyptian Times, very good newsdeath of Pompey the bastard!” “Smithy”(Page 9) When the men were finally allowed out of camp and into Cairo, their baiting of officers reached new heights. Thirty-four year old stockman and Boer War veteran Private William Smith would by war’s end be famous, from general on down, as the “first private of the AIF”.

Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

Making do with what they had: The jam tin bomb factory near the beach at Anzac Cove with soldiers cutting barbed wire and pieces of scrap metal to place in the improvised explosives. Lone Pine Cemetery: The location of the official commemoration of the Gallipoli conflict held at 11am every April 25th.

He was universally known in the Australian Corps as “Smithy”. A private he was, and a private he intended to remain. Smithy had the knack of shattering any pretence of authority when out of the line, but when in the thick of the action all that knew him, including the officers who were frequently the victims of his wit, agreed he was the one bloke you wanted next to you. Smithy had only been in Cairo for a week when he and his mates invaded the plush and very respectable Shepheard’s Hotel. Compared to their British counterparts, the six-bob-a-day Australian troops were flush with spending moneythe Brits were paid just two bob. Before the colonials arrived in Cairo ther had been no need for British commanders to place well-to-do establishments out of bounds to the rank and file-a serious shortage in coin, but more importantly a structured class system, kept the British Tommy “in his place”, and that was nowhere near Shepheard’s

Hotel. The Australians had no such impediments, and as ever, authority was fair game for Smithy. In his uniform of a private of the Australian 11th Battalion, he strolled up to British General Maxwell, who was relaxing in the lounge with his staff. One of Smithy’s mates recalled what happened next: Approaching, he saluted smartly, and inquired, “General Maxwell?” “Yes, my man! What can I do for you?” was the reply. “I believe, sir, that you are an eminent archaeologist.” The general beamed and from his demeanour it was easily seen he imagined Smithy to be a university professor serving in the ranks. “I can lay no claim to eminence,” he replied, “but archaeology is certainly a hobby of mine.” “You are an authority on Cairo, sir, I believe?” queried Smithy. “I think I can justifiably say yes to that,” replied the general. “Ancient and modern?” asked Smithy.

“Yes,” said the general, “I have made a long study of Cairo, both ancient and modern.” “Then,” said Smithy, “I wonder if you can tell me where the gentlemen’s lavatory is in this hotel?” Maxwell’s staff tried to keep straight faces, but failed. A roar of laughter rang through the room. Smithy’s companions decided that a less exalted social sphere would suit them better, and escaped into the Wazzer (Derb-el-Wasa, Cairo’s red light district.)Smithy waited the general’s reply, and alone withstood the the assault of outraged authority...This earned him 28 days in the citadel. He served 24 days only-receiving a remission of 4 days for good conduct- a concession he ever after regarded as a most unjustifiable slur upon his reputation. Shortly after, Shepheard’s Hotel and similar exalted premises were placed off limits to all the rank and file.


OUR ANZACS Mr McWhinney wins the battle for better hearing IT is more than 65 years since the guns and shells of World War Two fell silent. But for many Australian veterans, the noises of war are still taking their toll in the form of hearing loss. This Anzac Day, Australian Hearing is raising awareness of the problem of hearing loss among veterans. One such veteran is Rosebud’s Norm McWhinney, who is well aware of the noise problems associated with warfare after serving between 1944 and 1946. “I was first accepted into air crew training when I was 18 and was sent to Bradfield Park in Sydney for a three month course,� he said. “Part of the training included rifle shooting in a galvanised shed. Because I’m left handed I was put on the end of the line, next to the wall. By the end of the rifle training, my ears were ringing. “I visited the doctor, who told me I had done permanent damage and because of this I was unable to continue in the air crew.� Instead, Mr McWhinney was deployed to the ground crew. After a five month training course he was stationed briefly at Darwin before moving to Alice Springs to work as an air radio operator. “While I had a hearing loss, I was still able to perform my job.� On returning from war service, he went on to study Applied Chemistry and Industrial Management. He worked as a chemist, production manager in a pharmaceutical com-

pany and a consultant before retiring. Over the years however, Mr McWhinney’s hearing loss gradually worsened, eventually leading him to his local Australian Hearing centre for help. As a client of Australian Hearing in Rosebud, Mr McWhinney now hears with the assistance of hearing aids, an FM system and a wireless headset to watch the TV. “I find the TV headset particularly useful. Before I would have to watch TV with subtitles, but now I can get the whole experience,� he said. As a keen golfer, Mr McWhinney also finds that his hearing aids help him out on the course. “I play golf regularly, that’s my main hobby. I wear my hearing aids on the course and I can hear conversations when playing.� He is also appreciative of the continued support he has received over the years. “I’ve received a lot of help from Australian Hearing and have been with them since 1997. They’ve always done the best they can for me. “ Nici Glyde, Manager at Australian Hearing, said the organisation was first established in 1947 to help those returning from battle. “War veterans are likely to suffer from hearing problems due to hearing damage from noise exposure during their war service,� Ms Glyde said. “The ability to hear enables our

Hear, hear: Nici Glyde from Australian Hearing in Rosebud gives Norm McWhinney a check-up. Photo: Yanni

veterans to appreciate special occasions, like Anzac Day, and hear the recognition and respect they deserve. It also allows our veterans to share their stories with each other, their families and friends.� “If you think you have a problem it is important to seek help. Most

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pensioners and veterans are also eligible for free and subsidised hearing services.� If you are concerned about your hearing, a hearing check is the first step to take. It’s an easy way to find out more about your hearing and what can be done to help.

Australian Hearing Rosebud (Shop 8/Rosebud Central Shopping Centre, Wannaeue Place) and Frankston (Ground Floor, Landmark Centre, 454 Nepean Highway) are offering free hearing checks for veterans and pensioners. To make an appointment, call 131 797.

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Southern Peninsula News ANZAC Special Edition 2013

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