Samuel Edward TOWNSHEND

TOWNSHEND, Samuel Edward

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 29 September 1914, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Mackay, Queensland, 29 June 1885
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia
Schooling: Sydney High School, Sydney University
Occupation: Barrister-at-Law
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, 9 May 1915, aged 29 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Crawley University of WA Captain Samuel Edward Townshend Memorial Plaque, Crawley University of Western Australia Honour Roll, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, North Curl Curl War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

29 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Officer, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Perth, Western Australia
1 Oct 1914: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''

22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
9 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Officer, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), ANZAC / Gallipoli

Captain Samuel Edward Townshend

Samuel Edward Townsend was born on 29th June 1885 in Port Mackay Queensland, the only child of Edward Beecher Townsend and Eliza Ellen White. Edward was born in Ireland in 1857 a son of Samuel Townsend and Charlotte Augusta Beecher who had been married in 1884. Samuel was a Justice of the Peace. Edward left London in early 1882 and arrived in Sydney on 24th April 1882. He married Eliza on 22nd December 1883 in Queensland. Eliza had been born in Somerset England in 1858 and left Plymouth in late 1881, arriving in Sydney on 2nd February 1882. Tragically Edward was drowned on 17th August 1886. The Queensland Times recorded it thus “Mr. Townsend, a Customs officer, was drowned, last night, in consequence of falling off the Government Launch at Flat-top Island. He was last seen at 1 o’clock in the morning, and at daylight he could not be found. After a brief search, his body was seen lying in 6ft. of water, and under the launch. It is supposed that Townsend had fallen overboard during the night, and struck his head in falling. He was a good swimmer.” Sometime after his death they moved to New South Wales where Eliza married Walter Barnes in Randwick in 1895. Walter had been previously married to Sarah Ware in 1884 in England and had three children; Flora, Arthur and Walter. Sarah had passed away in 1893 in New South Wales. Eliza and Walter had one more child together, Ida Doris Barnes in 1897. Walter served in the Boer War as Private 432 in the 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles. Good shots and good riders were required with previous military service or rifle clubs given the preference. They sailed for Cape Town from Sydney on 17th January 1900, arriving here a month later. The regiment served in South Africa for over a years, seeing action in Orange Free State, Transvaal and Cape Colony. In March 1901 they embarked for Australia, arriving in Sydney and disembarking on 1st May. The family lived at 141 Alison Rd in Randwick East.

Samuel had his early education at Sydney High School. He then went to Sydney University where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. He also did a Diploma in Military Science, studying under Colonel Foster’s lectures, receiving a high distinction in Tactics and Military History and a distinction in Strategy and Military History. While there, he was a member of the Sydney University Scouts and was a Private in 1903, but by 1912 had risen to the rank of Captain (from 12th August). Samuel graduated in Arts in 1905 and in Law in 1909, obtaining first class honours. He was also a University Medallist (LL.B.). He was called to the New South Wales Bar in 1909 and held a position in the Registrar General’s Department. From 1910 to 1913 he was Clerk of Examinations at University of Sydney and while there passed the accountancy examinations in the department of economics and commerce. Samuel appears on the 1913 Electoral Roll for Randwick at Allison Road and he was listed as a barrister. In 1913 he also travelled to Ireland, visiting relatives there. From 1913 to 1915 he was the Registrar at the University of Western Australia, which had just been newly established.

On his Application for a Commission in the 16th Battalion AIF, Samuel stated his educational qualifications were a B.A. LL.B. from Sydney University. His military qualifications were about 13 years’ continuous service with Sydney University Scouts, him being Captain and third in command up to 2nd August 1914 and he was recommended on that date to be Ordnance Officer of 22nd Infantry Brigade. His present civil employment was Registrar at University of Western Australia, which was also his postal address. He was a single British Subject. Mrs E. Barnes of “Selwood” Allison Rd. Randwick Sydney (his mother) was listed as next of kin with a note of his father being dead written in another pen. The form was dated 29th September 1914. For his medical certificate he was described as 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighed 10 stone 5 pounds, chest measurement of 34 to 36 inches and both eyes had 6/6 vision. He was recommended by the Commanding Officer to be appointed a Captain and posted to C Company of 16th Battalion on 2nd October 1914, with the District Commandant signing the recommendation on 20th November. His appointment as Captain was noted to be from 1st October as listed in the Commonwealth Gazette of 24th October, and his terms of service was for the duration of the war and 4 months afterwards. His religion was listed as Methodist on the nominal roll.
The Battalion trained together in Victoria. With the 16th Battalion, Samuel embarked at Melbourne on HMAT Ceramic A40 on 22nd December 1914. The Battalion arrived in Egypt in early February 1915 and proceeded to john the MEF at Gallipoli on 12th April 1915, landing there late in the afternoon on the 25th. As he was transport officer, he was unable to take part in the landing. After suffering many losses at the attack on Bloody Angle a week later, the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line at ANZAC. He landed on 7th May and was appointed to the command of a company. Captain Townshend was involved with an attack “at Quinn’s Post. He was in a party of about 40 that made a charge at the Turk’s trenches. They got there, but only five or six escaped. Their officer, Captain Townsend, of Sydney, was shot in a leg. When the order was given to retire, Sergeant Cross took the officer up in his arms and almost succeeded in getting him to the line when a bullet hit the officer in the head, and he fell dead in his arms. That bullet went through the right sleeve on the Sergeant’s coat.” This story was published in the Sydney Mail on 15th September 1915, Volume 7, page 12. The Sergeant was William Alfred Joseph Cross 712 of the 13th Battalion and he was eventually awarded a DCM for this and other actions at Gallipoli. His citation for the DCM reads a bit differently – “on the 9th May 1915, during operations near Gaba Tepe (Dardanelles), in taking an enemy’s trench. Out of a party of 40 men to which he belonged, only 12 reached their objective. On the Officer in Command being wounded, he endeavoured to assist him back, but the Officer was again shot and killed.” Samuel was listed as killed in action on Gallipoli Peninsula with the original date of 10th May 1915 changed to the 9th, and that date being accepted as correct.
Another articles mentions the story thus- “Charles Bean described his actions in the final charge in some detail. With officers being shot all around Townshend led the men over the parapet in the dark. He shouted to them ‘Fix your bayonet, then told them, ‘When I call “Australia for ever “, charge boys.’ Some were killed immediately. Townshend was shot in the foot, and then killed outright when he was shot again as he was carried out of the fight. His body was not located until after the war.” Lance Corporal 422 Lawrence Dominic McCarthy (Fats), who was his runner, bought his body in during the night. Lawrence later rose to the rank of Lieutenant and was awarded a Victoria Cross.
The War Diary for the 16th Battalion does have the date as the 10th. It has written on 10th May at Gaba Tepe – Monash Valley that the objective was “ridges and trenches over Quinns”. Machine gun fire from the Turks made the new positions untenable. “Captain Townsend with a party of men suffered heavily the Captain is feared being killed”. It also talks about the order for the attack being given on the night of the 9th/10th. The War Diary also lists him as being in A Company. Samuel is remembered on Panel 50 on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.
He was still listed in the 1916 Western Australia Electoral Roll, living at “Martalup” St. George’s Terrace in West Perth and was listed as “Registrar University”. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia said of him “By sheer determination, ability and hard work he had reached a good position, and he was quite willing to surrender it all for his country….His death is a glorious and fitting close to a brilliant career.” This was recorded in the Book of Remembrance from the University of Sydney.
His will was done in 1913 in New South Wales. Samuel was described as a Barrister at Law of Randwick, Sydney. He directed Victor Haigh, a Barrister in Sydney to be executor of it and left all his property to his mother. It was signed on 25th April 1913. Victor wrote to Base Records in Melbourne on 11th June 1915 stating that as he was executor he “was about to take out Probate of his estate in N.S.W, & I would be obliged if you would furnish me at your earliest convenience with a certificate of his death.” He also stated Samuel’s mothers address and again stated that he had been killed on Gallipoli on 10th May. Base Records replied on the 18th advising that “it is regretted that certificates of death of those who fall in action cannot be furnished until the receipt of the necessary confirming documents from the front”. It would be sent as soon as possible. A letter from Messrs Robberds, England and Vickery on 17th September was replied to on 2nd October by Base Records with certificates of reports of death for 3 soldiers, but for Samuel it was held over pending confirmation. Probate was granted on 9th November 1915 with his estate valued at over 1200 pounds. It noted his date of death as 10th May 1915. But the certificate of the report of Captain Townshend’s death was not sent to Victor until 8th December 1915.One was also sent to his mother on the same day and another to Messrs Robberds, England and Vickery of 2 Martin Place Sydney.

An inventory of his effects included 1 locked trunk, the contents of which was not known as the key was not available. It was despatched on 13th August 1915. Another one was an unlocked valise which contained some of his personal effects, including 1 housewife?! It was also despatched on the same date. A paper package containing two Sam Browne belts was despatched on 10th July 1917 to Base Records in Melbourne from the ship Port Sydney. It was then sent on to his mother on 1st September.

On 1st September 1915 his mother wrote asking when she was to receive his death certificate and personal effects as “a reasonable time has elapsed”. She also stated “he was killed on the 10th of May” so she certainly thought that was the date of his death. A reply from Base Records on 13th September advising her that the official confirmatory documents had net been received by them yet and a cable had been sent asking them to expedite the transmission of the documents. His personal effects would be sent to her by Thomas Cook. She signed for his valise and a trunk on 10th December 1915, on receipts from Thomas Cook.

Base Records in Melbourne posted his “form of Commission which has been issued by the British War Office covering the appointment of your son, the late Captain S E Townshend, 16th Battalion, as a temporary Captain in the Regular Forces of the British Army”, and asked her to acknowledge the receipt of it on 23rd December 1918. She wrote a letter back querying why the form was stamped with temporary as he joined in 1914 as a Captain wand was made Company Commander on the 8th May, before he was killed. The reply indicated with “reference to the word “temporary”, it is pointed out that this appears on all Commission Forms issued in connection with appointments of members of the Australian Imperial Force. Your son’s rank in the A.I.F. would not be referred to as “temporary”, he was serving only temporary in the Reserve Forces of the British Army, and the Form being issued by the British War Office is so worded.” She then signed the receipt on 6th January 1919 and returned it. A despatch, dated 3rd June 1921, was sent to Ellen asking if there was any nearer blood relative to Samuel to her as according to the Deceased Soldiers Estates Act 1918 they had to establish if his father was still alive or if he was married and had children, as there was an order of precedence as to who would receive his medals. On the 8th, Ellen replied advising them that his father had died 34 years ago and she had previously sent that death certificate and a copy of Samuel’s will to the 5th Military District in Perth. She also asked about the 1914-15 Star. On 24th August 1921 Base Records advised her that the 14-15 Star had been sent to the Base Commandant at Victoria Barracks Sydney in July and he would arrange to hand it to her on the first suitable occasion and any other medal or item would follow with no application needed.

The Memorial Scroll for Samuel was signed for by his mother on 3rd August 1921. Ellen sent Base Records a letter on 4th August asking about not receiving the 14-15 Star or British War Medal. She signed for the Victory Medal on 20th October 1922. Ellen, being unable to collect the Memorial Plaque in person, authorised her husband, Walter Barnes to collet it on her behalf. He signed for it on 29th January 1923.

On 18th October 1958 a cousin of Samuel’s in Southampton wrote to Base Records in Melbourne. Denice Seymour stated that Samuel’s father, Edward and his family had come from County Cork in Ireland and she wanted to go there to visit relatives if they were still in Ireland. She had been in India when her “cousin” Townshend visited so she never met. She was hoping there were younger generations she could meet and was asking if she could have Samuel’s mothers address to make some contact. There had been some past contact, as she had written a letter to Ellen before. She also hoped that a younger Townshend generation may visit her and she could make that connection. The reply from Base Records advised her of their address at Randwick, but by that time Ellen had passed away.

Arthur Barnes (born 1888 in Randwick) served in WW1 as Private 681 in the 1st Infantry Battalion which departed Sydney on 18th October 1914 on HMAT Afric A19. He was killed on 29th April 1915 in action on Gallipoli, although there was some conjecture about it which caused a lot of correspondence and grief from his father, Walter, to Base Records to sort it out. In a letter to Base Records, his father also mentions Samuel, saying “We are very distressed about the sad event, seeing that it is the 2nd member of my family to fall, “Captain S. E. Townshend, my stepson being killed on May the 10th”.” He is remembered on Panel 13 of the Lone Pine Memorial. Arthur is listed in CWGC Grave Registration Report as being 27 years old, son of Walter and Sarah Jemima Barnes of 141 Allison Rd Randwick, New South Wales, a native of Sydney.

Walter Barnes passed away on 27th December 1929 in the Waverley War Memorial Hospital and was buried in the Randwick Methodist Cemetery, Section F Grave 14. Eliza passed away on 30th September 1932 at her home in Alison Road and was buried in the same grave as Walter.

Samuel was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals.
There is also his WW1 Memorial Plaque, Sydney University Prize Medal inscribed LLB Examination 1909 Samuel Edward Townshend, a Sydney University Scouts hat badge 1903-27 and National Rifle Association of NSW shooting medal inscribed E S Townsend 1904.

The medals are at the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of late Edward Becher TOWNSHEND and Ellen BARNES fmly TOWNSHEND
Of Selwood Alison Road, Randwick, NSW

Although attached to a Western Australian brigade, the late Captain Samuel Edward Townshend was as well known in Sydney as in Perth, having resided here until about 18 months ago. Born at Mackay, Queensland, on June 29, 1885, he was the son of Edward Beecher Townshend, and grandson of Samuel Townshend, of Whitehall, County Cork, Ireland. His mother is Mrs. Walter Barnes, of Selwood, Allison-road, Randwick. Captain Townshend received his first military experience with the Sydney University Scouts, which he joined about 12 years ago as a private, afterwards obtaining a commission. Following this up by attending Colonel Foster's lectures on military service, he passed with high distinction in "Tactics and Military History," and with distinction in "Strategy and Military History." He received his captain's commission in August, 1912. In addition to his interest in the University Scouts, he was a keen rifle shot, and obtained many prizes at the meetings of the National Rifle Association in Sydney.

Captain Townshend received his primary education at the Sydney High School, and from there he went to the Sydney University, where he had a brilliant career graduating in Arts in 1905, and in Law in 1909, when he obtained first-class honours, and the university medal in his final LL.B. examination. He was called to the New South Wales Bar in 1909, being admitted on the motion of Mr. Leverrier, K.C. Leaving the Public Service in the same year, where he had held a position in the Registrar-General's Department, he was appointed clerk of examinations at Sydney University, and while there he passed the accountancy examinations in the department of economics and commerce. 

At the time of his enlistment for active service he was registrar of the newly established University of Perth, Western Australia. Having received this appointment while on a visit to relatives in Ireland in 1913, he entered upon the duties of the office on January 1, 1914. He left Melbourne last December, holding a captain's commission in the 16th Battalion of the Fourth Western Australian Infantry Brigade, having been transferred to the Western Australian forces on August 2 of last year. Captain Townshend was unmarried.

The University has sustained a severe loss by the death of the Registrar, Captain S. E. Townshend, who has been killed in action at the Dardanelles. Captain Townshend was born at Port Mackay, Queensland, in 1885, and educated at the Boys' Public High School, Sydney. For some years he was employed in the Registrar- General`s Department in Sydney, and during this time attended evening lectures at the University of Sydney with conspicuous success. He graduated in Arts in 1905 and in Law in 1909, being awarded first class honours and the University medal in the final examination. He was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in November, 1909, and about the same time was appointed to a responsible position on the administrative staff of the University of Sydney.

In September, 1913, he was appointed Registrar of the University of Western Australia. Writing of the late Captain, Professor Whitfeld the Vice-Chancellor of the University, states :--"Keen and energetic in all he undertook, and possessed of tact and courtesy rare in a man of his years, Captain Townshend has left his mark upon the University, and his loss has left a gap which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. He was, moreover, of a nature to make warm personal friends wherever he went, and he made many such during his residence in Perth. Like most of the brave men who have gone and are going, to the front, Captain Townshend saw quite clearly what he was risking in going to the war. By sheer determination, ability and hard work he had reached a good position, and he was quite willing to surrender it all for his country. He had travelled in Europe, and had a great admiration for both the British and French, but he had above all an intense love of Australia, and realised that now we must either fight or stand dishonoured and disgraced. His death is a glorious and fitting close to a brilliant career." 
West Australian (Perth, WA ), 3 June 1915.