Horace Lisle RINTEL

RINTEL, Horace Lisle

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 20 July 1915
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Clunes, Victoria, Australia, 26 August 1891
Home Town: Warragul, Baw Baw, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: School Teacher
Died: Killed In Action , 800 yrds East of Clapham Junction, Menin Rd, Belgium, 20 September 1917, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial
Plot XLVII, Row D, Grave No. 4
Memorials: Warragul War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

20 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Officer, 8th Infantry Battalion
23 Nov 1916: Involvement 8th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Hororata embarkation_ship_number: A20 public_note: ''
23 Nov 1916: Embarked 8th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
2 Aug 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
20 Sep 1917: Involvement Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 8 Battalion awm_rank: Lieutenant awm_died_date: 1917-09-20

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

Ballarat & District in the Great War

The connections to Ballarat and district came in all social forms. Of course, the basics of birth and/or death here are immediately obvious. Attending school in the area was another defining influence, as too was working in the city and the various towns that link into Ballarat. There was also a number of men who married into local families. Then there were men like Horace Rintel, whose links were forged in a number of ways.

Born at Clunes on 26 August 1891, Horace Lisle Rintel was the only child of Jewish businessman, Henri Rintel and Jane Eliza Herrity. The Rintel family, originally from Poland via Scotland, was one of intelligence and education. Horace’s grandfather, Moses Rintel, was a minister and teacher at the East Melbourne Synagogue.

Although he was the couple’s only offspring, Horace was far from being and only child. His mother had been married previously to Charles Manning, an English gold prospector and hotelkeeper, who was nearly 30-years her senior. Their union had produced five children. When he died on 15 September 1888, Manning made clear provision for his wife, but especially for the ‘education and maintenance of his children.’ So, Horace was born into a ready-made family of siblings, who came to dote on their youngest brother.

By 1897, the family had settled in the rural township of Toolangi, north of Yarra Glen. Henri Rintel took over the license of the “Ye Olde Englishe Inne” and had it re-named the Toolangi Hotel. It was at the Toolangi bush State School, that Horace began his education.

During this era, many Victorian children wrote to the column “Our Letter Box” that appeared in the Weekly Times newspaper. Letters were sent to “Aunt Connie” and were printed in the paper. Young Horace wrote several times to the column, including descriptions of his life at Toolangi. At one time they had a tame wallaby, ‘but somebody let it out and it got away.’ He described how the river ran right passed the school and that, in the hot weather, the children amused themselves with fishing. Horace himself managed to fall in the river when he was seven, and, after the ‘very unexpected bath’ was dried off and immediately put to bed.

The column also enabled children to raise money for various charities using a collecting card scheme. Horace took part during 1899 and 1900.

‘…Toolangi, 6th April, 1899. — Dear Aunt Connie,
I am sending in my collecting card. I have got L2 Os 8d. [2 pounds 8 pence]
We had a chopping match here last week, and sports. We had races also, and I won one, although there were bigger boys than myself in it. There were girls' races as well.
Mr Brian, the champion wood-cutter of Australia, won the chopping match.
— Horace Rintel…’

He in turn received a reply through the Weekly Times,

‘…You have made a good collection, Horace. I am glad you won a race, especially against bigger boys than yourself. — Aunt Connie…’

A letter written the following year indicated that the family was moving to Warragul.

Toolangi, September 22nd,
1900.— Dear Aunt Connie,—
I return you my collecting card, with LI 14s. the amount I have collected.
We are going 'to leave here soon and going back to live at Warragul. When we are settled there I will send to you for another card.
We have had a very wet winter. Dad says we have had 46 inches of rain this year. We are expecting soon to have a railway line here: The roads are so bad that the waggons cannot travel.
I remain, your loving nephew,
Horace Rintel…’

On this occasion Horace had been raising money for the purchase of cots for the Children’s Hospital. Once again, he received a personal reply from “Aunt Connie”.

‘…Well done, Horace. You have made a very good contribution to the cot funds.— Aunt Connie…’

Once the family settled back in Warragul, Horace continued his studies at the local State School, where he excelled. He was obviously influenced by his father, who was known for his ‘untiring energy’ and ‘unbounded enthusiasm.’ Henri, who had now turned to farming, also became one of the founders of the Warragul District Hospital.

In September 1904, Horace gained his Merit Certificate. As a member of the Lower Sixth Class, this was accomplished ahead of time. Three students achieved the honour, and the headmaster, Mr Parker, presented them with silver medals for their unique feat.

The following year, Horace was awarded a scholarship – one of only two awarded in Gippsland that year – which allowed him to continue his studies at the prestigious Wesley College as a boarder. Once he was settled in his new school, Horace quickly found his feet – he joined the military cadets and took up rowing. In 1908 and 1909 he represented Wesley College in successful eight’s rowing crews, taking his place in the second seat.

In 1908, Horace was Dux of that year’s matriculation class. He was also sergeant of cadets. Then, in December 1909, he gained 2nd Class Honours in English Language, English Literature and British History during public examinations.

The following year, Horace entered the University of Melbourne to begin studying for his Bachelor of Education. As part of his studies, he was sent on placement as an assistant master at Hamilton High School.

A happy family occasion occurred on 27 December 1910, when Horace gave his half-sister, Jane Eliza Manning, away when she married Ernest Henry Jones at the Catholic Presbytery in Warragul. It was a true indication of the love for the youngest member of this merged family.

When the new Ballarat Church of England Grammar opened in February 1911, Horace Rintel was the first assistant master appointed. In November, it was announced that he had successfully passed the annual examinations for the first year of his diploma.

There was a great deal of pride back in Warragul when it was announced in April 1913, that Horace had obtained his Diploma of Education. At that time, it was regarded as the highest honour the department could bestow. Those who had followed his progress were aware that Horace’s scholastic career had been ‘an exceptionally brilliant one.’

Horace quickly became a very popular sports master at Grammar. It was clear that he had also been imbued with his father’s energy and drive. Not content to merely perform his teaching duties, Horace became involved in the social aspects of Ballarat. He joined the Wendouree Rowing Club and the Ballarat Cricket Association as an umpire. And his interest in military training continued with the 71st (City of Ballarat) Infantry Regiment, were he held the rank of lieutenant.

From a spiritual perspective, Horace soon found his place as a member of the congregation at St Peter’s Church of England in Sturt Street.

Throughout this period, Horace continued his studies, and in March 1914 it was announced that he had successfully passed supplementary annual examinations in pure mathematics. That year he also undertook the duties of honorary secretary to the Public Schools’ Association.

In January 1915, it was announced that further successful examinations resulted in Horace achieving his Bachelor of Arts. He was also well on his way to receiving his Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts.

Experts were predicting that Horace Rintel has the makings of an exceptional career ahead of him, especially as he had already achieved so much at such a young age.

However, with the world now at war, there were mounting pressures on all eligible young men to enlist. Horace’s oldest half-brother, Charles Herrity Manning, had enlisted on 21 November 1914.

When Horace enlisted in Melbourne on 20 July 1915, he had no idea that his brother was already dead. Charlie had been killed in action at Gallipoli on 3 July. The family was to learn of the tragedy when his name appeared in the major Melbourne newspapers, The Herald and Argus in early August.

In every respect, Horace Rintel was the perfect volunteer. His education level, his military training and degree of physical fitness made him ideal. When he was examined by the Medical Officer, Horace was documented as being 6-feet ½-inch tall, weighing 12-stone 10-pounds and having the substantial chest measurement achieved by most rowers – 37¼ to 39¼ inches. Along with the usual descriptive notes – fresh complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair – it was recorded that Horace had not been vaccinated and he had a scar on his right shin.

After successfully being accepted into the AIF, Horace was immediately assigned as School Sergeant to the 5th Depot Battalion at Seymour Camp. He returned to Ballarat at the end of October, with the 14th Depot Battalion at the Showgrounds Camp.

Horace continued in training through various camps, including Broadmeadows and Castlemaine, before he applied for commission on 17 May 1916. On 6 July he was transferred to the Machine Gun Depot in the Domain Camp, Melbourne, holding the rank of second lieutenant.

In late July 1916, it was announced that he’d been selected amongst a group of officers for training at the No6 Bombing and Trench Warfare School held at Duntroon. By this time, his half-brother, Jack, had also enlisted and was in camp.

Ten days before he was due to embark, Horace, in what could only be seen as the most romantic of gestures, secretly married fellow teacher, Gwendolyn Morey. Gwen had studied at Ballarat High School, the St Andrew’s Ladies College in Ballarat and the School of Mines, before passing her examinations at the University of Melbourne. She was also a talented sportswoman, playing field hockey at a representative level. In every way, they were perfectly matched. The ceremony was held at the Christ Church in St Kilda on 17 November 1916. None of Horace’s family were aware of the marriage.

On 18 November, Horace said goodbye to Gwen and boarded the troopship Hororata at Port Melbourne to begin the voyage to England. It was to prove a particularly long trip at sea, and Horace didn’t arrive in England until 29 January 1917. He disembarked at Plymouth and immediately marched into the 2nd Training Battalion at Durrington Camp on the Salisbury Plain.

Three months later, Horace was on his way to France. He marched into the 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot at Étaples – home of the infamous “Bull Ring” – on 22 April 1917.

When Horace finally joined the 8th Infantry Battalion at Biefvillers-lès-Bapaume on 11 May, the unit had just come out of the frontline to the right of Bullecourt. He was joining one of the most experienced battalions in the AIF.

The summer months were spent in training and living in billets away from the firingline. Possibly the most exciting moment for the men was when they assembled on the main Amiens-Albert Road on 12 July to be inspected by His Majesty, King George V. For Horace, personally, there was also the satisfaction of being promoted to the rank of full lieutenant on 2 August.

On 19 September, the battalion, which was now in the Ypres Salient, moved out from Chateau Segard to the assembly point at Zillebeke Bund in preparation for the attack scheduled for the following day – the Battle of Menin Road. Heavy rain and some confusion in the leading battalions slowed their movement towards Clapham Junction during the early hours of 20 September.

This was Horace Rintel’s first experience of battle. And his last.

With enemy flares lighting up the slushy ground, the troops were exposed to heavy shelling by the German artillery. Casualties quickly mounted. However, it was one their own 18-pounders that was to prove the greatest problem. ‘…This battery throughout the whole operation caused as many casualties as the whole Enemy fire…’

Horace had only gone a short distance when he was struck by a piece of shell and killed instantly. He was buried where he fell – some 800-yards east of Clapham Junction, 2¼ miles south-south-west of Zonnebeke.

When news of his death reached Australia, there was an understandably instant outpouring of grief. Although, he had only just attained his 26th birthday, Horace had had a substantial impact on a large number of people – from Warragul to Melbourne, but particularly in Ballarat.

On the evening of Monday 15 October 1917, a memorial service was held in the chapel of the Ballarat Church of England Grammar School. The Bishop of Ballarat, Dr Maxwell Gumbleton, conducted the service. Henri Rintel travelled to Ballarat for the event, and an invitation was issued to all the school’s Old Boys and Horace’s other friends who wished to attend the service.

The Venerable Archdeacon Tucker delivered a touching eulogy to the fallen soldier.

‘…It has been our ambition that the Ballarat Grammar School might render a full service to Australia in this noblest of all ways. That this ambition is already being fulfilled we owe in very large measure to the teachers who set the tone in the infancy of the school.

Among those teachers, they who knew him will not forget the bright face, the pleasant manner, the high character, the devotion to duty, of Horace Rintel. We valued him as a master, and we recognise that he helped greatly to give to our boys the courteous and manly bearing which we are pleased to, observe among them. He made himself part of the school's life, was very proud of the school, believed in it, felt that his mission was here. Therefore, he had good success, winning as we well remember, the perfect confidence and affection of the boys.

It was inevitable that a man of that fine temper should spring to his feet when the call came, Who's for the Front? It became him to do that. He could do no other. He heard the bugles of England, and how could he stay? And in going to fight the battles of his Empire and his King, he was but continuing the lessons he had taught his boys, and the example he had set them. It was part of his course as a master here that he offered his service and his life to the King. He set the seal to his teaching, and made his mastership an enduring power. He, being dead, yet teaches; and the silent lips leach a lesson no boy can fail to learn.

The death in action of Lieutenant Rintel is part of that unmeasured sacrifice of youth and hope which
marks out this war from all others known to history. It is unique, this vast offering of young men.
Putting away their plans and hopes, and dreams, that made life so full of interest, the friendships and relationships that made the world so bright, the professional and business man left home and work, the
Rhodes scholar left Oxford, the lad just married bade his girl-wife goodbye, the young father kissed his baby child. and marched away to fight and die for Britain.

This was the faith of Lieutenant Rintel. in the strength of which he left his work, his hope, his family
and friends, his young wife, and died that Australia and the Empire might still live and be free. In the faith that there are things of greater worth than any the world can give or take away, and which manifest themselves, not in material success, but in noble character. The example of Lieutenant Rintel
is part of the tradition of the school, ever to be had in honoured memory, and to enter, we trust, into the lives of those who shall be trained in this place, to which he gave the strength, and fervour of his young manhood. and which he left that he might defend with his life. Australia. the Empire and the

It certainly was a fitting way for Horace to be remembered by those he had loved so well.

At the conclusion of the war, the then Imperial War Graves Commission began the arduous task of combing the battlefields for isolated graves and bodies of the fallen. On 31 October 1919, Henri Rintel was informed that '…In all cases where members of the AIF have been buried in isolated graves their remains will be exhumed and re-interred in the nearest Military Cemetery. This work is carried out with every measure of care and reverence in the presence of a Chaplain…'

Horace’s remains were located, exhumed and re-interred in the Tyne Cot British Cemetery.

Initially, the relationship between Horace’s young widow and his parents had appeared to be an amicable one. Sadly, things began to sour with personal allegations and insinuations being made by both parties.

On 13 June 1921, just six months before his wife’s own death, Henri Rintel wrote the following letter to the Base Records Office,

'…Five days prior to embarkation my son was secretly married - unknown to any member of his family. Since his decease both his mother and myself have been treated with callous indifference by his widow. Should the War Medal or any other memento be handed to her I feel convinced they will be appreciated for their monetary value only. Should they be given to me, they will be regarded with loving pride by his sister and her daughters in time to come. I would mention that by his Will, made while on active service in France, everything was left absolutely to his mother. Under these conditions I would respectfully ask the Minister to have the medals etc, handed to me…'

Following a letter from Base Records, which stated that it was intended the medals and memorials were to be handed over to Horace’s father as Next of Kin, or to his mother, who was sole beneficiary under the Will, Gwen Rintel was asked to submit any objections for consideration of the Minister. In attempting to protect her own rights as the legal widow, she took the step of having a Statutory Declaration made at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, on 27 July 1921.

'…I…declare that I am the widow of the late Lieutenant H. L. Rintel…we were married on the 17th November 1916. I desire that my late husband's medals may be handed over to me on the following grounds: 1) that I am legally entitled to them as his wife. 2) That for the last year or so I have not been treated fairly by my late husband's family, nor as a relative by marriage. My mother-in-law evidently believes that I have no rights as his wife. I have done everything in my power to placate her. I was appointed executrix of my late husband's Will, and his mother at my request was made legatee. As executrix I paid over to my mother-in-law everything due to my husband. Furthermore, I permitted her to draw his war leave pay. She also received his insurance money and draws a pension. The trouble appears to have originated owing to my insisting upon collecting his gratuity money, which his mother said I had no right to. She wrote me on the subject a letter, which I considered was most insulting in view of the fact that I had done so much for her. I am in receipt of a war pension. As she is his mother I am willing to concede that she should have half the medals, but I object to being altogether ignored in the matter…'

The military authorities were given the unenviable task of sorting through this particular minefield. On 4 August 1921, Gwen Rintel and Henri Rintel both received letters outlining the decision made by the Defence Department. The medals were distributed thus: British War Medal with clasps, Memorial Scroll and "Where the Australians Rest" to be given to Horace’s widow. The Victory Medal and Memorial Plaque was sent to his father. Horace’s identity disc was also sent to his mother. All of his personal effects had been sent to his parents.

Pensions had been granted to both women – Gwen received the widow’s pension of £3/10/ per fortnight, whilst his mother was granted 30-shillings.

The year ended on a far happier note for Gwen. On 15 October 1921, in the presence of large group of spectators, a modern racing four-oared boat, painted in the school colours of brown and gold, was presented by the Old Boys’ Association, During a ceremony held at the school boatshed before the Head of the Lake, Mr L. Vernon, the president of the Old Grammarians' Association, in handing over the boat, paid tribute to the late sports master

‘…During that time [his years at the school] he did his work in such a way that he gained the confidence of every boy who passed through the school. All who associated with him voted him a thorough gentleman, and no higher tribute could be paid to anyone. Rowing was one of his favourite sports, as it was one of the earliest, and his memory could not be perpetuated in a more fitting way than by the presentation of the boat. He felt sure the crews that rowed in it would do their best to uphold the best traditions of the school…’

In the absence of the Headmaster due to illness, Mr L. P. Chard accepted the boat on behalf of the school. He said that, ‘…the presentation was another instance of loyalty of old boys to the school. The choice of the name had been particularly happy. Mr Rintel was a man of high ideals, and he acted in accordance with them. He trusted that on the first appearance of the boat the brown and gold would be carried first past the winning post…’

Gwen was then called forward to formally christen the boat “The Horace Rintel.”

If the ghosts of the fallen do indeed have wings, the new boat certainly flew that day and the crew successfully took out the Head of the Lake.

This was not the only form of dedication perpetuated by the Old Boys’ Association in Horace’s memory – The Horace Rintel Memorial Prize for English Essay was presented to boys from the junior and senior school for many years.

Gwen Rintel returned to teaching. She held the post of headmistress at the Faireleight Girls’ Grammar School, a private school in Alma Road, East St Kilda for many years. In 1943 she gained her Diploma of Education. Returning to Ballarat, Gwen died there on 17 June 1966. She never remarried.