Thursday, March 1, 2018

Edmond Danaher, tinsmith of Newmarket

Reconstruction of a ‘Gallipoli boat’, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance   (Rod Martin)
The above reconstruction of a boat used to ferry the soldiers from troop transports to the shore of Gallipoli clearly illustrates how exposed the soldiers were when Turkish troops opened fire on them.  In his new story about Edmond Danaher, Road Martin tells the story of a young man who went to war and never came home.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Lieutenant D F C Coles, 8th FAB

Officers of the 8 Field Artillery Brigade, courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 1364/1/15
David Frederick Clifford Coles, a sergeant in the Royal Artillery, came to Australia in 1913 to take up an appointment as a Staff Sergeant Major with the Instructional Staff at the Royal Military Academy, Duntroon, in 1913.  On 1 May 1916 David enlisted in the AIF, being given an immediate commission with the 8 Field Artillery Brigade.   Rod Martin tells the story of David Coles' service with the AIF here.

Chaplain Captain Potter

Chaplain Captain Sydney Morkham Potter, courtesy of Marjorie Morkham.
Sydney Potter, a minister at the Newmarket Baptist Church first went overseas, aged 38, with the YMCA to provide comforts to Australian Soldiers.  While overseas he was appointed Chaplain, with the honorary rank of Captain.  You can read a little more about Sydney on his webpage:

By clicking on the tags Chaplains or YMCA on the above webpage, you will get a list of other local men who served the AIF in this way.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Private Charles Malcolm Baker

  24 Tennyson St, Kensington.  Reproduced with the permission of

From this single-fronted terrace house at 24 Tennyson St, Kensington, salesman Charles Malcolm Baker, known as Malcolm, left in 1916 to do his bit for the war effort.   Initially allocated to the newly formed 39 Infantry Battalion, Malcolm later transferred to the battle-hardened 7 Battalion which had strong links to the Essendon district.

Rod Martin is on a roll, and tells the story of Malcolm Baker's war service on the Empire Called website in his usual sparkling style.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Private John Knox Adams - missing

The Argus 25 Apr 1916 (Courtesy of Kim
Phillips, Spirits of Gallipoli website.)

John Knox Adams of McPherson St, Essendon, was an enthusiastic AIF recruit of 22 years when he enlisted at the outbreak of the war in 1914.   He worked as a grocer in Sydney Rd, Brunswick, and was a keen baseballer and cricketer  on weekends.

John Adams stepped ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April and no-one was able to say what became of him after that.  Probably those who knew were also missing.

Rod Martin tells the story of this young man's appointment with fate on The Empire Called website.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gunner Youlden of the 8 FAB

Members of 14 FAB battery, Ypres Front, 28 September 1917   (AWM E00920)
Gunner Frederick Henry Youlden, formerly of Bendigo but lately of Moonee Ponds, was posted to the 8th Field Artillery Brigade where they operated eighteen-pounder field guns as shown above.  The stacks of shells close to each gun amply illustrates how entire gun crews could disappear if the enemy guns found their range.   Fred Youlden died of shell wounds to the chest received on 28 September 1917.    Rod Martin tells the story of Fred Youlden's service here.

His bride Gertie did  not have a child and never remarried, remaining a widow for 35 years. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Life in Egypt, and other places, with the AIF

Unknown Album. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection.

The photo above was contained on page 42 of  a photograph album by a mystery photographer who took his camera with him when he enlisted. The photographs are not necessarily in chronological order.  They depict life in Egypt, Lemnos, and Gallipoli and Broadmeadows. The SLV catalogue entry describes the album thus:

Album, containing annotated photographs depicting scenes in Egypt, Gallipoli, Lemnos and Malta. No indication of the compiler's or photographer's name is given. Photographs include men in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 14th Battalions; the 7th and 8th Battalions leaving Mena for Ismailia (1915); the crossing of the Panama Canal on the transport Jaika (Dec. 1918); troops on the Minnewaska en route for Gallipoli and on the Osmanick at Gallipoli; the terrain, and men in the trenches.

There is no provenance given with the album, and the best guess from me is that the soldier served originally with 14 Battalion in A Company and later moved to 8 Battalion, and probably as a cook.  Not all photos are captioned, but some of the groups that are mention that they are cooks.  

I checked all the names mentioned in the album against my database of men from Essendon and Flemington, and the only one I found was Herbert Troy Swindells, whom I thought was probably the Bert Swindles mentioned in the caption above.  He had been a trained baker when he enlisted.   His service record doesn't indicate whether he served as a cook in 8 Battalion, but it is possible he did.  The only other man I could identify in the photo is "Bert Glangell", whom I think was
William Henry Herbert Gangell who also served in 8 Battalion and who was also a baker when he enlisted.  

It is not entirely clear when the photo was taken - it appears on a page where other photos were taken at Broadmeadows, Zeitoun and Mena, but given the sand underfoot, probably it was taken in Egypt.  8 Battalion had two periods in Egypt, in 1915 before the landing at Gallipoli, and in 1916 after the evacuation, so it is not entirely clear when it was taken.

It is an interesting album to browse through, showing ordinary aspects of camp life, such as in the image below:

"Fight.  Mena."