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30 December 2009

Signaller Alan Stuart Bigg of Blackwood

Alan Bigg was born at Nairne, SA on 9 March 1895, the son of Richard and Harriet Louisa (nee Atkinson) who ran a general store in the town. Alan and his brothers attended Nairne Public School until 1905 when the family moved to a farm near Echunga, and they were schooled at the Hahndorf Academy. Alan served in the senior cadets and citizen forces and was apprenticed as an electrical engineer to Newton McLaren in Leigh Street, Adelaide from 1910 until he enlisted. While he was at Newton McLaren he lived in a boarding house in Norwood.

With his father's permission, on 16 June 1915 he enlisted under regimental number 1419 in the 11th reinforcements of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment. He arrived in Egypt in late November 1915, and received training as a signaller using semaphore, heliograph and telephone before joining A Squadron, 3rd Light Horse Regiment. He was kept very busy manning observation posts along the front with the Turks around Girga between February and April 1916. He returned to Zeitoun for more signals instruction in May 1916, then rejoined the regiment in mid June 1916 when they were operating near Romani.

After going on several fighting patrols in the area, he was with A Squadron during the Turkish attack on Mount Meredith in the early stages of the Battle of Romani on 4 August 1916. He was shot through the right foot during the fighting withdrawal of 1st Light Horse Brigade. The regimental doctor couldn't treat him due to the battle conditions, so he propped his foot on his horse's feedbag and rode back to the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance where they dressed his foot and evacuated him back to Cairo where two days later his foot was operated on. After examination, a medical board determined that he would be unfit for further service because of his wound. He left Egypt to return to Australia, and after a short stopover in Melbourne, returned to Adelaide on 2 October 1916. He was treated at 7th Australian General Hospital at Keswick Barracks for six months after his discharge in March 1917.

Before the war ended Alan, his brother Lloyd and their parents moved from Echunga to Adey Rd, Blackwood to finish building the house that Alan and Lloyd's brother Lyn had been building before he enlisted. Lyn died of wounds during the War. Alan worked for another engineering firm in 1918, then on ships of the Adelaide Steamship Company until 1922. He married Dorothea Alice Hewett on 20 October 1923 at the Blackwood Methodist Church, and they had two children, Margaret and Robert. He worked as a carpenter on the '1000 homes' project in Colonel Light Gardens in the 1920's, then turned to poultry farming in Ascot Park during the Depression. His wife passed away in 1975, and he remained at Ascot Park until shortly before he passed away in 1984 at the age of 89 and was cremated at Centennial Park. His name is inscribed on the Echunga War Memorial.

24 December 2009

Private Cecil Claude Ahrens of Upper Sturt

Cecil Ahrens was born at Upper Sturt, SA on 19 March 1897. His father Wilhelm (known as William) died the following year, and he was raised by his mother Elizabeth Jane Ahrens (nee Morgan). Cecil attended Scott's Creek Public School, and had spent a year in the senior cadets with the 74th Battalion at Stirling. He was working as a baker's assistant in Gumeracha immediately before he joined up.

He enlisted at Adelaide on 1 November 1915 at the age of 18, and was alloted to the 15th reinforcements of the 10th Battalion AIF, one of several battalions to be recruited solely from South Australia. He embarked from Adelaide on 9 March 1916, and was transferred to 50th Battalion reinforcements in May 1916 not long after he arrived in Egypt. He shipped to France and joined the 50th Battalion on 27 July 1916.

On the night of 12 August 1916, the 50th Battalion moved into the trenches opposite Mocquet Farm near Pozieres, France, and were subjected to a long and incredibly intense artillery bombardment. Sometime that night, he and a Corporal Noble were near each other when a shell landed close by and killed Cecil. Corporal Noble was so badly shell shocked that their officer wouldn't rely on Noble's statement about Cecil's death, so he posted Cecil as missing in action instead. In March 1917 an inquiry decided that Cecil had been killed in action on 16 August 1916, and this is what was put on the official roll of honour. He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.

On 6 July 1919, Mr George Laffer unveiled an honour roll in the Ironbank Methodist Church sunday school. That honour roll included Cecil Claude Ahrens. A gravestone erected by his mother is in the Cherry Gardens cemetery alongside that of his father.
Photograph: Courtesy State Records of South Australia

Wow, that really took a long time...

I'm finally back at it and grinding away at a long list of names (244 at last count). 44 done and 200 to go.

Of the 244 I have a 13 that are resisting being positively identified:

W Arnold (from a local Anglican Church honour roll)

EJ Cox (on the Coro Valley War Memorial)

CJ Howarth (also on the Coro Valley WM)

G Jeffrey (Blackwood Memorial)

EW Jones (Blackwood Memorial)

FWH Martin (Blackwood Memorial)

HJ Nicolle (Coro Valley WM)

SW Opie (The Anglican roll)

FC Pegler (Blackwood Memorial)

C Thomson (Blackwood Memorial)

EJ Thorp (Blackwood Memorial)

F Wall (Blackwood Memorial)

AC Weston (Blackwood Memorial)

If anyone has any clues on these ones, I'd love to hear them.



09 December 2009

I am still alive...

Been incredibly busy on the family front, interstate for my father-in-law's memorial and interment, and laid up with a crook back for the last couple of weeks so haven't been on here much. Keep getting calls from family members, so will be posting again soon.

20 November 2009

Private Wesley Paul Choat MM of Cherry Gardens

Image: AWM P03236.156

Wesley Choat was one of seven sons of Joseph Choat and Alice Mary Choat (nee Broadbent) and was born at Cherry Gardens in 1895. His parents subsequently moved to Clarence Park and he attended Goodwod Primary School and worked as a farm labourer before the war.

Wesley enlisted alongside two of his brothers, Raymond Haddon and Archibald Percy in A or Ack Company of the 32nd Battalion on 12 July 1915. The three brothers were allocated sequential regimental numbers of 66, 67 and 68. The battalion embarked for training in the Middle East on 18 November 1915, arriving a month later. After a short stint in hospital, Wesley was charged for refusing to carry a box off a church parade. In June 1916 the battalion shipped to Marseilles and by train to the front.

On 19 July 1916 the inexperienced battalion was thrown into the poorly planned Battle of Fromelles, and along with many other members of the battalion, both of Wesley's brothers were killed. Wesley himself was wounded by shrapnel and captured by the Germans. It took three months for his family to receive news of his capture and internment in a prisoner of war camp in Dulmen, Germany. He attempted to escape in September 1917 but was caught. After he recovered from his punishment of six weeks imprisonment on bread and water, he escaped again in December along with another South Australian soldier, Lance Corporal James William Pitts, and they managed to make it to Holland (a neutral country in that war). They made it back to England a few weeks later.

Wesley's parents were extremely relieved to hear of his escape, and wrote to the Army asking that he be spared from the firing line given the death of his brothers. However, by the time their request reached England, the commander of Australian troops in England had already decided to send both back to Australia in recognition of their nearly 18 months of hardship in captivity and their successful escape.

Wesley and his fellow escapee were awarded the Military Medal for the courage they displayed in escaping from Germany. It appears he lived in Curramulka on the Yorke Peninsula for some time after the war, although he did live on Unley Road, Unley in the early 1920's.

Wesley died in 1977 aged 81 and was cremated at Centennial Park. His name is inscribed on honour boards in the Curramulka Uniting Church, Goodwood Primary School and Unley Town Hall.

18 November 2009

Private Eric Leland Light of Coromandel Valley

Image: Courtesy of Bryan and Margaret Burton

Eric Leland Light was a son of John and Jane Light and was born and raised in Coromandel Valley. He attended Coromandel Valley School and worked as a house painter and decorator before the war.

He enlisted at Adelaide on 17 March 1916 and was allocated to the 13th reinforcements to the 27th Battalion, one of the battalions recruited from South Australia. After a stint at the Mitcham Camp, he embarked on the 'Bulla' at Adelaide on 24 June 1916, and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 24 August 1916.

After a short period of training, he crossed to France and was re-allocated to the 32nd Battalion (a mixed SA/WA unit) joining them on 13 October 1916. Five days later he went sick to hospital with the mumps, , but returned in early November, only to be hospitalised with trench feet in early December. He spent some time in England recovering and undergoing training, crossing the Channel back to France to join his original unit, the 27th Battalion on 20 October 1917. In early February 1918 he was detached for duty with the 7th Brigade Signals Section as a 'pigeoneer' (sending, receiving and looking after homing pigeons). The 7th Brigade included the 27th Battalion, and was heavily involved in the fighting to stop the German Spring Offensive in March and April 1918 and follow-up battles at Morlancourt, Hamel and Amiens later that year.

After a couple of weeks leave in England in October 1918, Eric returned to 27th Battalion on 23 October, a little over two weeks before the war ended. He spent six months on leave in England taking advantage of the AIF Employment Scheme and working as a decorator, before finally leaving to return to Australia in November 1919. He was discharged on 30 December 1919.

Eric Light died on 25 January 1962 aged 65 and was cremated at Centennial Park. he is remembered via a plaque on the Columbarium Walls at Centennial Park, and his name is inscribed on the Coromandel Valley War Memorial.

17 November 2009

Private George Frederick Dall of Blackwood

Image: Courtesy of Morgan Dall
George Frederick Dall was a son of George Frederick and Annie Dall of Blackwood. He was known as Fred to avoid confusion with his father, who had been living in the area for over 60 years when the war began, and was a significant community leader. According to birth and military records Fred was born near Laura, SA in 1890. He attended Coromandel Valley School and moved to Tintinara, SA in 1908 where he farmed a large property. His brother Walter ran a neighboring farm.
Fred enlisted at the age of 25 at Keswick, SA on 5 July 1915 and was allocated to the 32nd Battalion. The 32nd Battalion was a mixed South Australian and Western Australian unit. fred left Adelaide on 18 November 1915 aboard the transport 'Geelong'. The battalion arrived in Suez in December 1915 and commenced training. In April 1916, Fred was selected to be a driver in the transport section of the battalion. The transport section consisted of one officer, a sergeant and two dozen soldiers who were responsible for the unit's horse-drawn transport and pack animals. The transport section were usually located a short distance behind the frontline, and were responsible for carrying supplies forward to the companies of the battalion, such as food, ammunition and water. In late June 1916, the battalion shipped to France, landing in Marseilles and moving by train to training areas behind the front.
Fred arrived in Morbeque, France on 4 July 1916, and during the next two weeks the battalion was billeted in several towns including the town of Fleurbaix. On the evening of 19 July 1916, only three days after they entered the trenches for the first time, the 32nd Battalion were committed to the disastrous Battle of Fromelles, where the unit took 718 casualties, comprising 90% of the strength of the battalion before the attack commenced. The 32nd spent some time being reinforced and re-trained, and spent some time in the trenches during the remainder of 1916, but was involved in no more large-scale battles that year.
In March 1917, Fred was hospitalised for a couple of weeks due to illness, but after returning to the battalion on 4 April 1917, spent the rest of the war with the battalion in France. During this time the 32nd Battalion fought the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917, the Battle of Amiens in August 1918, and the capture of the Hindenburg Line in September and October 1918. Fred's cousin Private Joseph William Dall served with the 10th Battalion and survived the war.
Fred left Europe to return to Australia in May 1919, and was discharged in Adelaide on 12 August 1919. He returned to Tintinara after the war and married a former nurse from the United Kingdom who had emigrated to Australia to marry another returned serviceman, but had second thoughts and married Fred instead. While they were farming near Tintinara, Fred's brother Walter and his sister-in-law were murdered by an itinerant worker and their daughter abducted. In 1938 Fred and family moved to Smithfield. During the Second World War, Fred worked at the munitions factory at Penfield and a son served with the RAAF. They later moved to Mallala. When he retired in 1950 they lived on South Road near the old John H. Ellers car yard.
Fred died on 5 November 1956 at the age of 66, was cremated at Centennial Park and his ashes scattered. His name is inscribed on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial.

11 November 2009

Remembrance Day at Coromandel Valley Primary School

Image: News Limited

A really excellent Roll of Honour presentation ceremony today, attended by quite a few descendants of the men from the school who served in the First World War, including members of the Winn, Watchman, Jones and Smith families amongst others.

Well done to Principal Chris Bayly and his team, particularly Carol Moncrieff and her husband, and Geoff Lock and Ken Cocks. They have already discovered information about an ex-student who was not included on the Roll, but served overseas.

Lots of info to check and incorporate into my work, and several more family contacts to follow up too.

I also had a great chat with a Cherry Gardens contact about their honour rolls the other night, and have already received a pic and some new names from that area. Have a stack of files to share with them too.
Will post a big update soonish...

08 November 2009

Private Gilbert Baker

Yesterday I did the research on Gilbert Ernest Baker, whose name is on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial. He joined up soon after war was declared, served with the 3rd Light Horse on Gallipoli, and lost his hand during a bomb fight at Quinn's Post on 22 August 1915.

That's 38 names researched out of 237... Only 199 to go, but I keep finding new names at a rate of one a week...

In a strange coincidence, his grandson rang me today and left a message saying he had read about the project and that he had some memorabilia and photographs.

06 November 2009

The Bigg family of Blackwood

Had a call today from a niece of Lyndon BIGG, who told me the story that Lyndon was building a house on Adey Rd, Blackwood before he enlisted (and living in a shed on the block), and after he was killed, his parents moved to Blackwood from Echunga and finished the house. After the War, his brothers Lloyd and Alan also lived in the house.

Apparently both Lloyd and Alan kept diaries, which were transcribed by family members and have since been donated to the Museum at the Repat Hospital at Daw Park.

That two more for the list (now at 237!), and more photos and diaries to look through (plus a visit to Repat next week!).

04 November 2009

Private James Newman Brealey of Cherry Gardens

Photo: AWM P07791.001

James Newman Brealey was a son of John William and Elizabeth Lillian Brealey. Newman (as he was known) was born in Southern Cross, WA. The family lived in Cherry Gardens when Newman was primary school age as he attended the Cherry Gardens Public School. The family must have moved back to WA soon after and then moved around a fair bit, as Newman also attended the Yalgoo State School (500 km north of Perth) and the family lived in various gold mining towns along the road west from Perth towards Kalgoorlie. It appears that Newman's father and brother were gold miners at one time. Newman himself worked as a labourer or 'lumper'.

He enlisted at Black Boy Hill, WA on 13 March 1916 at the age of 19, as a reinforcement for the 16th Battalion. He joined the battalion in France in December 1916 after a couple of months of training in England. The freezing winter meant little action until April, when the battalion's first commitment after the spring thaw was the attack on the German Hindenburg defensive line near Bullecourt, France on 11 April 1917.

On the eve of his first battle, probably at the urging of his officer or sergeant, Newman wrote a brief will and testament in his pay book, leaving his possessions to his mother in case of his death. On the following day, the 16th Battalion attacked without adequate artillery support but with the support of tanks, many of which broke down. Despite this, the battalion captured its objectives, but ran out of ammunition and bombs and were eventually forced to withdraw back to their original trenches. Of the 17 officers and 700 soldiers of the 16th Battalion that attacked that day, only 3 officers and 87 soldiers returned to their start line. One of the soldiers left on the battlefield was Newman Brealey. As his body was never found, his name is inscribed on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France, along with thousands of other Australians who have no known grave.

On 2 November 1918, nine days before the War ended, a photograph of Newman Brealey was unveiled in the schoolhouse of the Cherry Gardens Public School alongside others from Cherry Gardens that had been killed. His name is inscribed on the Cherry Gardens War Memorial. His brother, Lance Corporal Robert Harold Brealey served with the 51st Battalion and survived the War, returning to Australia in July 1919.

By 1923, the family had moved again, and were living in Manjimup, WA (360 kms south of Perth).

02 November 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

A stream of calls off the back of the notice in VetAffairs and now the Blackwood Times (I haven't got my copy as yet...) have added a few more names to my list.

I've had calls from relatives of:

  • Lieutenant Rob Reid, MC (who used to be the Blackwood carpenter and had a shop in the corner of the roundabout where the bank now is);
  • Private Lance Lightfoot (who was captured by the Turks at Gallipoli and who lived in Eden Hills between 1932 and 1942);
  • Second Lieutenant Arthur Hall, MM (from Coromandel Valley);
  • Lance Corporal Percy Scroop (from Coromandel Valley); and
  • Private Herbert Sydney Clark (who lived in Willunga St Eden Hills after the war).

Lance and Herbert were new names...

I also chatted with some of the people who have done the research behind the Coromandel Valley Primary School Roll of Honour, and am planning to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony at the school.

30 October 2009

Coromandel Valley Primary School Roll of Honour

Today I got two calls. One lady called me after she saw the notice in VetAffairs and gave me a new name (her Dad, Leslie John Smith who was a stretcher bearer in France and ended up living on Coromandel Parade in his retirement), and the second call was from Miles Badcock, the editor of the Blackwood Times, who told me about the Roll of Honour that had been located by Coromandel Valley Primary School earlier this year. There's a copy of it in the 29 October school newletter linked to the title of this post.

Anyway, they have done it up, made some copies and Chris Bayly, the principal of the school is having a ceremony on Remembrance Day (11 November) to unveil it. It has 70 names on it, almost all of which (I haven't finished checking it yet) I think I already have. But there are at least 5-8 I don't have, so I'm getting closer to 250! They also have several photographs I don't have, and I have been able to direct them to or give them several photographs I have located myself.

I'm hoping to go to the ceremony on Remembrance Day and see the Roll of Honour itself (and maybe get copies of the pics!).

Thanks for the tip Miles!

29 October 2009

The Terrell brothers of Cherry Gardens

I received an email the other day from the grandson of Frederick Leopold Terrell (and great nephew of Eric Gordon Terrell whose name I already had on the list) of Cherry Gardens. Another one to add to the list (now 233 names). Apparently the family have Frederick's diary and some other memorabilia...

It is great to get these emails. I can write a good chronology of a soldier's service history from the various records, but there is nothing quite like personal stories and pictures from the family!


The project was included in the 'Noticeboard' section of the VetAffairs newspaper that comes out every two months from the Commonwealth Department of Veterans' Affairs. Hopefully more calls and emails...

26 October 2009

Bob and Dick Winn

Had a very welcome call today from a relative of the two WINN's I have on my list, Hector (called Bob) and Richard (called Dick). From the well-known Blackwood-Coromandel Valley WINN family that ran the bakehouse that still stands on Winns Road, and is used as a museum.

Fantastic information about Hector's diary (with the piece of shrapnel that smashed his arm still embedded in it) and that that both of them have children still living who can tell me more about them. Plus hopefully more photos. It's great to get a call like this one.

There is going to be an article in next month's Blackwood Times about the project which will hopefully generate even more interest and calls (and hits on this blog).

18 October 2009

Lieutenant Harold Charles Carne of Blackwood

Photo: AWM J00519
Harold Carne was the third son of the Reverend Alfred Harris Carne, a Methodist minister. He was born in Samoa whilst his father was engaged in missionary work there. He was a student prior to the war and as he was a single man, he was living with his father in Wattle Street, Malvern, SA at the time of his enlistment. Harold was probably a Methodist student minister and it appears he was in charge of the Blackwood Methodist circuit prior to the war.

He enlisted on 13 May 1915 at the age of 25. He was allotted regimental number 1684 in the 2nd reinforcements of the 27th Battalion, the second infantry battalion to be raised exclusively from SA, and embarked on 23 June 1915 for the Middle East. During the voyage he held the rank of Corporal, which is unusual as he had only been a member of a rifle club before the war, and his records show no previous military service. It may have been a recognition of leadership skills he had developed as a minister. His records show he reverted to the ranks then re-embarked on 4 September 1915 from Alexandria to join his unit on Gallipoli. He returned to Egypt with his unit in January 1916. The unit was transferred to France in March 1916. Early on, he seems to have had some difficulty adapting to life in the trenches, being charged with disciplinary offences three times up to July 1916. Whilst he was with the 27th Battalion it was involved in the Battle of Pozieres in July and August 1916. In November 1916 he was hospitalised with a gunshot wound to the left cheek during the attack on Bayonet Trench during the Battle of Flers, during which his unit and brigade took appalling casualties. Due to a case of trench feet, he didn't rejoin his unit until February 1917.

Later that month he was transferred to the 6th Battalion (a unit raised in Victoria) apparently because his brother Captain Alfred George Carne was serving in that unit. Things had clearly changed, because in May 1917 he commenced officer training at Codford in the UK, and returned to the 6th Battalion in France in late October 1917 as a Second Lieutenant. In February 1918 he was hospitalised, and rejoined his unit the following month, shortly after he was promoted to Lieutenant. In March and April 1918, the 6th Battalion helped stop the German spring offensive, and in August 1918 participated in the Battle of Amiens. The photograph has been cropped from a photograph of 6th Battalion officers taken at Ailly Le Haut Clocher, France on 5 November 1918 (AWM J00519).
After the war ended, Harold participated in the AIF Education Scheme, and attended a stock breeding course at an agricultural college in Aberdeen, Scotland. He asked to be repatriated to Victoria with his brother and the rest of his unit.

Harold died on 19 April 1943 at Renmark, SA aged 53 and is buried in the Renmark Cemetery. His name is inscribed on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial, on an Honour Board at the Terowie Institute, Terowie, SA, and on a memorial clock tower in Western Samoa.

15 October 2009

On the Soapbox with Matt and Dave

Yesterday morning we were on the Soapbox on Mornings with Matt and Dave on ABC Adelaide 891 promoting the project. The blog has already gone from 25 hits to 51 in 24 hours, and I have had heaps of emails already. Thanks to Iain Evans MP for the leg-up!

11 October 2009

Sapper John Lewis Smith

Photo: Courtesy of John Edwards
John Smith was a son of Jacob Adam and Mary Ellen Smith (nee Mincham). He was born on 15 June 1890 at Hackney SA, and his parents owned a property behind the Coromandel Valley Primary School. Their home was built by the Weymouth family and it still stands on The Knoll Crescent, Coromandel Valley. John attended Coromandel Valley Public School and the School of Mines, and worked as a motor mechanic and fitter in the Blackwood district before the war.

He enlisted in Adelaide on 30 August 1915 at the age of 25, as a reinforcement for the 3rd Field Company (Engineers) under the regimental number 5726. He embarked from Sydney on 20 January 1916, and was taken on strength of the 15th Field Company in Egypt on 18 March 1916. He was admitted to hospital on 24 March 1916, again on 27 April, and died on 14 May 1916 of arsenic poisoning at the age of 26. He is buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery and his name is on panel 25 of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, on the State National War Memorial on North Terrace, and on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial.

His only brother, Frank Palmer Smith was wounded in the first wave to land on the beaches at Gallipoli, and survived the war. The home in Coromandel Valley is still in the family.

08 October 2009

Lance Corporal Harold Thorp

Photo: AWM P07116.001
Harold Thorp was the son of John Henry Thorp of Blackwood. He was born at Glanville near Port Adelaide on 7 May 1885, attended Coromandel Valley Public School and worked as a labourer before the war.

He enlisted at Morphettville on 16 September 1914 at the age of 29, and joined the 16th Battalion under regimental number 1334. He joined his unit on Gallipoli in late May 1915. He was shot in the buttock on 25 August 1915, after evacuation to hospital on Malta he recovered and re-joined his unit on 30 December 1915 in Egypt. He arrived in France with his unit in early June 1916 at which time the 4th Brigade became part of the 4th Division. In early August 1916, the 16th Battalion endured a massive artillery bombardment then defeated a German counter-attack at Pozieres. Harold was promoted to Lance Corporal on 5 September 1916, and after a five week stint in hospital returned to his unit in February 1917.

On 11 April 1917, the 16th Battalion took part in the First Battle of Bullecourt, a hastily planned attack which resulted in disaster, with over 3,300 casualties and over 1,170 Australians taken prisoner. Harold Thorp, who was part of 12th Platoon, Cork Company, 16th Battalion was reported missing in action, but it was later determined that he had been killed in action on that day. As he was initially reported missing and as his body was never found, his name is on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, along with many other Australians with no known grave.

06 October 2009

Private Percy Wade

Photo: AWM P04576.001
Percy Wade was a son of Robert Henry Wade, who ran brickworks located near Parham Road, Eden Hills. He worked for his father and the family lived in a house which still stands on Wade Street, Eden Hills. Before the war he was active in the Blackwood, Belair and Coromandel Boys’ Club, the Blackwood Football Club and the Coromandel 2nd XI cricket team.

He enlisted on 19 October 1916 at the age of 29, and joined the 43rd Battalion in France in November 1917. Whilst he was with the battalion, it helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, took part in the Battle of Hamel in July 1918, and in August 1918 helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. On 1 September 1918, as the 43rd Battalion commenced its attack on Mont St Quentin, Percy was hit by machinegun fire and died before his mate could finish dressing his wounds. He was buried where he fell but his burial place could not be located after the battle, and as a result his name is on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, along with many other Australians with no known grave.
His brother, Alfred Wade served with the 51st Battalion and survived the war.

05 October 2009

Progress Report

I've been working on this project since early August 2009 after the idea was suggested to me by my local State MP (the Member for Davenport, Iain Evans MP, JP) on ANZAC Eve this year. So far I have collected the names of 232 or so sailors, soldiers and nurses, and have completed my research into 39 of them. I am putting together a slideshow of the pictures I've collected so far, and will put it up on the blog soon...

We're up and running!

I'm going to use this blog to provide updates on how the project is going. The aim is to publish an A4 sized book and a website with all of the links to original archival information so people who are interested can look up family members. The plan is launch the book in the week prior to ANZAC Day 2011.