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25 January 2010

Lance Corporal Robert Harold Brealey of Cherry Gardens

The last of the Brealey's (I think!). Robert Brealey was born in Cherry Gardens, SA but enlisted in WA. He was just 18 when he enlisted, and joined the 51st Bn in France in April 1918 just in time to re-take Villers-Brettoneux at the end of the German Spring Offensive and some of the later allied offensives that led to the end of the war. He survived and returned to WA, also serving in the Second World War. Again, no photograph as yet, but his WW2 file should have one... if all else fails.

Private Sidney Brealey of Cherry Gardens

Just did the basic research on Sidney Brealey of Cherry Gardens, a private with 4th Pioneer Battalion who spent over two years on the Western Front. One of the Cherry Gardens Brealey clan, he was brother to Charles Brealey and (probably) cousin to Robert Harold and James Newman Brealey. He enlisted in WA where he was working at the time. More once I get a photo.

Progress Report

Have been consolidating my research and working away at my name list over the Xmas break, and as I'm back to work from Wednesday, I thought I'd do a progress report listing the names of the 51 sailors, soldiers and nurses I have researched so far. Some I have blogged and some not, as I haven't got a photo yet...

Cecil Claude Ahrens
Thomas William Alley
Alfred George Alsworth
William Altree
Gilbert Ernest Baker
Harold Alonzo Banks
Mark Alfred Betts
Alan Stuart Bigg
Lloyd Atkinson Bigg
Lyndon Samuel Bigg
Horace Lionel Billing
Victor Rupert Sydney Boothey
Harold Braley
Charles Brealey
James Newman Brealey
Gordon Cathcart Campbell
Neil Campbell
Bernard Revett Cant
Harold Charles Carne
Wesley Paul Choat
Irwin Nicholas Coad
Harry Stanley Conigrave
William Arthur Conlon
Tressilian Herbert Coombs
George Frederick Dall
Cyril William Davies
George Hamilton Downer
John Lanarch Downer
William John Dunn
Andrew Francis Flanigan
John Patrick Flanigan
Thomas Roy Gamble
John Besley Gillen
Alexander Bosworth Gosden
Hiram Bailey Gosden
Robert Storrie Guthrie
Albert Ernest Hall
Charles Irvine Harris
John Brooas Harris
Russell Hope Harris
Eric Leland Light
Keith Macrow
Frank Leslie Ougden
Oswald Vincent Pearson
Alfred George Sinigear
John Lewis Smith
Edward Charles Sparkes/Sparks
Malcolm Neale Tilbrook Steele
Harold Sullivan
Harold Thorp
Percy Wade

If you have a relative on this list, please email me and I will share my research with you!

16 January 2010

treasure trove...

A few days ago I discovered that State Records of SA hold a collection of photographs of WW1 sailors, soldiers and nurses that were sent in to the old Public Library under a voluntary program run until 1952. So far I have identified about 40 photographs against the names on my list.

I am heading into town on Tuesday to go through them and see what quality they are and find out about the cost of digitising them.

08 January 2010

Sapper Malcolm Neale Tilbrook Steele of Blackwood

Photo: Courtesy Jenny Sharman (nee Steele)

Malcolm 'Mally' Steele was born in Mount Gambier, SA in 1895. He served in the senior cadets for two years, but was considered too short (at 5 foot 2 inches tall) for the citizen's forces. Despite his height, he was a handy amateur bantamweight boxer, and had won some fights before the war. He was a wood working machinist and was living with his mother in Norwood at the time of his enlistment at the age of 20.

He enlisted on 6 July 1915 and was allocated to the 32nd Battalion, a unit which included West Australians as well as South Australians. He arrived in Egypt with the rest of his unit in December 1915 and was allocated to the battalion machine gun section. After a spell in hospital, during which his unit prepared to ship out to France, he was transferred to the 9th Light Horse Regiment as a trooper. He served with the Regiment from May to October 1916 before a further stint in hospital then a transfer to the signals engineers as a sapper. He was allocated to the ANZAC Mounted Division Signals Squadron which used despatch riders, heliograph, telephone and semaphore to communicate between the brigades and regiments of the Division. He served with the Division between April and October 1917, but bouts of malaria prevented him from active involvement in the fighting during 1918.

After the war ended he was selected as a member of the AIF boxing team to compete in the Inter-Allied Games held in Paris in June/July 1918. He also fought bouts aboard the 'Prinz Ludwig' on his return trip to Australia in late 1919. Malcolm married in 1925, and was a member of the Norwood Sub-Branch of the RSL and a keen supporter of the Norwood Football Club all his life.

Malcolm also served in the Second World War reaching the rank of Corporal in the 4th Garrison Battalion. For some time he was in charge of the guardhouse located at the entrance of what became the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, SA. He also worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider at one stage during that war.

In 1949, Malcolm, his wife Dorothy, his daughter Jenny and her husband moved to Blackwood and built a home at 8 Cypress Avenue, Blackwood (later Hawthorndene), and Malcolm lived there until his death in 1973.