Service Number: 558
Enlisted: 28 December 1914, Rutherglen, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 13th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Rutherglen, Victoria, February 1896
Home Town: Rutherglen, Indigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
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World War 1 Service

28 Dec 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 558, Rutherglen, Victoria
28 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 558, 13th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '3' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Persic embarkation_ship_number: A34 public_note: ''
28 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 558, 13th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Persic, Melbourne
3 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 558, 13th Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC / Gallipoli
29 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 558, 13th Light Horse Regiment

Background on Rupert

Rupe was always very proud to have been in the light horse and very proud of the plume in his slouch hat. After training in Egypt he arrived at Gallipoli on 3 September 1915. It appears that he saw action at Lone Pine and The Nek.

Recently I found a letter Rupe wrote to his sister Elsie on 15 Sept 1915, from Gallipoli. Elsie lived her whole life in Rutherglen. A couple of things about the letter - It was on very fine paper, which was very lightweight and written in pencil. We tend to take some things for granted. The ballpoint wasn't invented until 1938!

Of course Rupe could not talk about the military action, but he did say they were camped near the beach.....they could go for a swim! There were a lot of words about how he got an egg a day and how he cooked them and the hard biscuits. But his last few words said he would miss Christmas in Rutherglen, but hoped they would have a good time in Constantinople. We know that they never did reach Constantinople, but at that time they were still full of hope.

Rupe became the Groom for General Blamey. There is a bit of confusion about his role because I think he may have at times said he was Blamey's Batman. From what I can gather he was in fact Blamey's Groom. After Gallipoli Rupe was responsible for transporting Blamey's three horses to France. Rupe was injured and was relieved of this position. Rupe went on to serve in the many of the actions in France.

It seems that's Rupe's mother Ann was a pretty feisty person. That trait may also have been passed down a few generations. With reference to the injury, Ann wrote to the Minister for Defence and asked for Rupe to be repatriated back to Australia. It may not surprise you to hear that Ann received a letter from an officer who said "NO!" - Politely of course. A few more words about Ann - She had 5 sons who served in World War One, plus a son-in-law, Alf McKay and a brother and 5 nephews. The brother and nephews came from Milawa. It is impossible to imagine how she must have felt, with so much at risk, during this horrid war.

I learned a few years ago from my father, that Rupe had seen his brother Frank on October 2, the day before Frank's death. Rupe asked Frank if he would be in the push the next day. Frank said they would not be in it. On the 3rd Rupe saw a body covered on a stretcher and could see the colour patch of Frank's unit and thought it was strange when considering Frank's comment about "not being in it" today. Rupe was later to learn that Frank was the only one from his unit killed that day. The body on the stretcher was his brother. I now wonder how Rupe handled that image for the rest of his life.

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