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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.