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  • 2018_Neva_Van_Raalte_William_Charles_Westbury.pdf
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  • Guide_to_Reading_a_WW2_Service_Record.pdf
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  • The colour patches which identified units in the AIF were designed to show what division or service they belonged to, and also, in the case of infantry units, their brigade and the sequence of the Battalion in that Brigade. The shape of a colour patch indicated the division or service - 1st Division - horizontal rectangle split horizontally 2nd Division - diamond shape split horizontally 3rd Division - horizontal ellipse 4th Division - circle split horizontally 5th Division - vertical rectangle split vertically. The lower colour denoted the brigade's sequence in the Division. Usually (but not always!) these colours were: Green - first brigade in the division Red - second Light Blue - third The 4th Brigade, originally in the 1st Division , had a dark Blue lower half. Its reallocation to the 4th Division after Gallipoli threw both the brigade / battalion numbering sequence (the most logical at any time in the history of the ADF) and the colour patch structure into disarray! In the first AIF there were four infantry battalions to each brigade, and the upper section (or LHS in the case of the 5th Division) of the colour patch identified each one. Usually (but not always!) these colours were: Black - first Purple - second Brown - third White - fourth Thus every battalion had a unique colour patch. Other Arms and Service Corps had variations but those attached to the five divisions generally incorporated the shape of their parent Ddvision. Source: Text taken from The 27th Battalion Centenary: The Historical Record of the 27th Battalions 13th August 1877-1977 and Programme of Centenary Celebrations, Unley SA, 1977 Notes: 1. Strictly speaking there was no such thing as the 'First AIF'. The term is often used unofficially to distinguish the Australian Imperial Force of the First World War from the Second AIF raised to fight in World War 2. 2. The colour patch scheme was first introduced into the AIF in March 1915, just in time for the initial Gallipoli landings. The 2nd Division received its patches in August 1915, and gradually the scheme was expanded to include the whole AIF.
  • Contemporary media reports upon his death indicate that Philip Robin was “universally admired” as “…one of Australia’s best sons.” and”an exceptional character”. He was “idolized” by football supporters for his “clean, manly game.” He has been referred to as a “robust character” who was “transparently honest” and that his “sterling qualities of character far outshone the transient fame he had won as an all-round athlete.” Tragically, Philip de Quetteville Robin's widow Nellie and their baby were overtaken by tragedy themselves when they both died in London in childbirth in November 1915. The cost for the Robin family during the Great War was indeed high, for on 29 June 1916 one of Phillip's cousins, 2180 Corporal Arthur Mervyn Robin of the 7th Battalion, was killed at Messines. In July 1916, another cousin, 329 Sergeant Geoffrey de Quetteville Robin of the 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion, was killed in action at Fromelles. In February of 1917 yet another of Phillip's cousins, Lieutenant James Keeling Robin MC, was killed in action while serving with the 4th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery. This narrative is a compilation of work by Bill Denny, AM and Bob Kearney (extract from his book "Silent Voices")
  • By the late LtCol Peter Morrissey . Used with Permission Introduction The five Leane brothers (Edwin, Ernest, Allan, Raymond and Benjamin) all served in the AIF in World War I, along Edwin’s four sons (Allan, Geoffrey, Reuben and Maxwell) and Ernest’s two sons (Arnold and William). Four of the family were killed in action or died of wounds. Edwin Thomas Leane Edwin was born on 25 August 1867 at Prospect SA. He was described as ‘a big man, both physically and mentally’. On 14 September 1914 he joined the AIF as a Captain in the 12th Battalion. Because of illness in Egypt, and possibly his age, he was transferred to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps. His administrative ability carried him to the top levels of the AIF Ordnance Service. Promoted Major in April 1915, he served on Gallipoli as Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services, 2nd Division from late July until the evacuation, and held the same appointment in Egypt in January-March 1916, and until July in France and Belgium. In August he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to AIF Headquarters, London. In July 1917 he was posted to France, and in November became the Head of Ordnance Services, I Anzac Corps. From February 1918 this responsibility was widened to include the whole AIF in France. Edwin was promoted Colonel in November, and became a deputy director in the AIF Repatriation and Demobilization Department, London. He had been mentioned in dispatches five times, appointed CBE, and awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. He died at Camberwell, Victoria on 27 August 1928. Three of Edwin’s sons, Captain Allan Edwin Leane (died of wounds, 2 May 1917, Bullecourt), Lieutenant Geoffrey Paul Leane, MC and Corporal Reuben Ernest Leane, served with the 48th Battalion, and a fourth son, Lieutenant Maxwell Leane, with the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve. Ernest Albert Leane Ernest was born in 1869, enlisted at the age of 45, and served with the 27th Battalion as a Warrant Officer. His two sons also served in the Battalion. One of them, Corporal Arnold Harry Leane, was killed in action on 5 November 1916. The other, Corporal William Ernest Raymond Leane, survived. Allan William Leane Allan was born on 11 May 1872 at Mount Gambier SA. He enlisted in the AIF as a Major in the 28th Battalion on 28 April 1915, and reached Gallipoli in September. He was Second-in-Command of the Battalion from January 1916, and commanded it in France from 29 July as a temporary Lieutenant Colonel, providing inspiring leadership during the Battle of Pozières. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 29 November, but died of shrapnel wounds received at Delville Wood on 4 January 1917, and was buried in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery, in a grave especially constructed by the men of the Battalion, adjacent to the CWG cemetery. Raymond Lionel Leane Raymond Leane was born on 12 July 1878 at Prospect SA. On 25 August 1914 he enlisted in the 11th Battalion as a Captain and Company Commander. The Battalion went ashore with the Covering Force during the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and Ray’s C Company moved into the Plugge’s Plateau sector. On 4 May he led an attempt to capture Gaba Tepe fort, a Turkish position close to the beach which enfiladed the Australian trenches. Charles Bean considered him the ideal choice for this hazardous enterprise. After landing at dawn, Ray’s small force was pinned close to the beach by heavy fire, so that no advance could be attempted. Having been given full discretion to depart from his orders as he thought fit, he organized a withdrawal and successfully brought off his men and their wounded with the aid of the Royal Navy. For this he was awarded the Military Cross. Ray was slightly wounded on 28 June in an assault on Pine Ridge, and again on 31 July when he led a successful attack against Turkish defences, and held the position thereafter against heavy counter-attacks. This position became known as Leane’s Trench. Promoted temporary Major on 5 August, he commanded the 11th Battalion from 11 September, and was promoted temporary Lieutenant Colonel on 8 October. He remained at Gallipoli until evacuation on 16 November. He was twice mentioned in dispatches for service at Anzac. While there, he had been nicknamed ‘Bull’; his “tall square-shouldered frame, immense jaw, tightly compressed lips, and keen, steady, humorous eyes made him the very figure of a soldier”. In Egypt on 26 February 1916, Ray was confirmed as Major and appointed Commanding Officer of the 48th Battalion (the ‘pup’ Battalion of the 16th Battalion). Promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 12 March, he took his Battalion to France in June. After a week at Fleurbaix, the Battalion moved into the Pozières sector, and on 7 August repulsed a heavy German counter-attack. The 48th served at Mouquet Farm and Gueudecourt in 1916, and at Bullecourt, Messines, Wytschaete and Passchendaele in 1917. At Bullecourt Ray’s younger brother and Battalion Second-in-Command, Major Benjamin Bennett Leane was killed on 10 April, and his nephew Captain Allan Edwin Leane died of wounds on 2 May. Severely wounded at Passchendaele on 12 October, Ray did not resume duty until late January 1918. He commanded the 48th Battalion at Albert and Dernancourt in March-April. Under his command, the 48th Battalion was prominent in halting the German advance on Amiens on 5 April. He was appointed temporary Colonel commanding the 12th Brigade on 19 April, and was confirmed in rank and promoted temporary Brigadier General on 1 June. He commanded the 12th Brigade at Villers-Bretonneux in April-May, in the attack on Proyart on 8 August, and in the battles of the Hindenburg outpost line in September. Ray had been mentioned in dispatches eight times, and his decorations included the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, the Military Cross, and the French Croix de Guerre. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1918, Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1919, and Knight Bachelor in 1944. His brother Ben, three nephews, and several other relatives had served under him in the 48th Battalion, which led to its being known throughout the AIF as the ‘Joan of Arc Battalion’ (Made of All Leanes). As a commander, Ray won the affection of his men by his constant concern for their well-being. He gained their respect by his strength of character, firm discipline and high sense of duty. In action he was cool and alert, directing and encouraging, heedless of danger. Raymond Leane was appointed Commissioner of Police in SA, a role he held from 1920 until his retirement in 1944. In World War II Ray commanded a group in the Volunteer Defence Corps. After his retirement he lived quietly at Plympton SA until his death on 25 June 1962. Charles Bean described Sir Raymond Leane as “the head of the most famous family of soldiers in Australian history”. His portrait by George Bell is in the Australian War Memorial. Benjamin Bennett Leane Ben was born in 1889, and was killed on 10 April 1917 at Bullecourt while serving as a Major and Ray Leane’s Battalion Second-in-Command in the 48th Battalion. He was buried in Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy. Conclusion The Leane brothers and their sons provide a remarkable example of family enlistment. Every male member of military age offered himself for active service, and was accepted. The family was known during the war and for long afterwards as ‘The Fighting Leanes of Prospect’. Principal Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography. From work originally compiled by the late LtCol Peter Morrissey an esteemed comrade.
  • This officer has completed 68 sorties and has displayed great courage and determination. During a sortie in January, 1943, Flying Officer Cowper was compelled to make a forced landing behind the enemy’s lines but he displayed great resource in outwitting the enemy and regained our own lines on foot. One night in July, 1943, he engaged a Junkers 88 and caused it to explode. The enemy aircraft disintegrated and a large portion struck and so disabled Flying Officer Cowper’s aircraft that he – was forced to leave it by parachute. He was later rescued from the sea and rejoined his squadron to resume operational flying. Since then, Flying Officer Cowper has destroyed another Junkers 88.
  • This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw. With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of their training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944, the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. In July 1944, the crew joined 76 Squadron at Holme-on-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire. By now, the crew was flying the Halifax III Bomber. Although night flying afforded the aircraft the cover of darkness, it had its own risks. Instrumentation was inadequate, and the Halifaxes had to fly with no lights. Up to a thousand planes would be sent up at the same time and it was not until they were in the close vicinity of another plane that they were aware of its presence. Weather reports were unreliable, and even though they waited for clear nights to carry out a raid, there was no guarantee that they would find clear skies or a hole in the cloud when they were over the target. And with such large numbers of aircraft flying over enemy guns, the losses inccurred were very heavy for 76 Squadron (this squadron alone had 775 casualties, and over 280 crewmen taken as prisoners of war). During this tour of duty, my father's crew flew in 34 raids over France and Germany. (In the RAF, an airman was awarded 3 points for a trip over France, and 4 points for a trip over Germany. A tour was considered ended when 120 points had been accumulated). The Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern Mission On one of the operations over the Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern area in Germany, my father's crew was unable to disperse their load the first time round and had to go back over the target area a second time. By the time the Halifax bomber reached home base in England, it had seventeen holes in the wings and fuselage caused by German anti-aircraft fire. This mission won members of the crew the Distinguished Fly Cross. The following excerpt is from "To See the Dawn Breaking: 76 Squadron Operations" (p 158) and describes the lead-up to the raid over Gelsenkirchen: "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day'." Jimmy Burridge described his memories of the mission in a letter to me: "My recollections are - as we approached the target we could see that the lead A/C were bombing the railyard and many oil tankers were burning. A huge fire with much smoke and therefore very convincing that this was the target. Bud called to Les to turn 90 degrees starboard because that was where the oil refinery was just adjacent to the railway yard. Our first run over the bombs would not release because of ice. Les decided to go round again and this time Bud jettisoned all the bombs in one go to make sure of the release and it worked. However, we were now the last A/C over the target. Everyone else was heading for home. All the ACK ACK concentrated on us and we were hit. You could smell the cordite! Some panic was heard on the intercom (first time ever!) And Les told them to “Shut up and listen to Jimmy”. I told Les exactly where each shell burst came and he from his experience and training turned the A/C away from the expected next prediction. One shell came through the rear starboard side floor and went out through the portside roof taking a lump out of the point fin. The shell DID NOT GO OFF!! Les won the DFC for his determination to press on to the true target and for his airmanship in getting the A/C through the ACK ACK."
  • My father (John Tindale) is no longer alive, but fellow crew member and life long friend, Fred Renshaw has been able to provide me with some of the details of crews members and events that took place, as well as the photos shown below. My father was one of an original group of five who started flying Wellingtons at Enfield in February 1944. This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw . With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of the training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944 the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day".
  • Before going into battle in September 1918 Bernard wrote the following letter to his brother Gabriel’s wife, Lottie. Interestingly, it is dated 1 October 1918; apparently it was not uncommon for men to date letters this way as they went into battle. This is believed to be the last letter that Bernard wrote. October 1, 1918 France Dear Lottie, Just a few lines, Lottie, in answer to your welcome letter to hand dated 9 June, was pleased to get a long letter from you and Gabe. So your little girls don’t forget me by what Gabe told me. Well I am expecting to be going to England on leave soon. I have been over here a long time and have been existing well. All the girls getting married, well good luck to them and tell your sisters that I wish them the best of luck as besides fighting hard for years and wasting the best years of my life over here but you know I have a nice little girl over here first for the time being and will close this letter wishing you and the children the best of luck. I remain, Bernard xxx Submitted by Julianne T Ryan, courtesy of Jenny Kingsford (nee Coyte).
  • 'At BROODSEINDE RIDGE East of YPRES this stretcher Bearer was assisting in clearing wounded under the most difficult and trying conditions from 4th to 9th October, 1917. Owing to the severe weather the mud was in places over the knees of the bearers and the route was shelled severely during the greater part of the time. On 9th October he took a squad from the R.A.P. under heavy shell, rifle and machine gun fire for 600 yards to find a Regtl. Stretcher Bearer who had been previously sniped, and dressed and brought him safely to cover. He set a most inspiring example of cheerfulness and devotion to duty.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 95 Date: 27 June 1918 AWM
  • An extract from https://johnknifton.com/tag/103-squadron/ A Day I Never Forget by Marie Harris. I was posted to the Ack Ack Site at Goxhill Haven as a driver in 1943. My duties were to drive all vehicles and any vehicle wherever needed. There were 3 of us girl drivers, Moira Turnbull, Nan Caulfield and myself. Although I say it myself I think we did a darned good job (must have done for they never gave us the sack!). It was quite a good site really, ATS and soldiers all got on well together, taking the good with the bad, no luxuries as such and not many "Passes Out". Occasionally, when there had been a good night of shooting the enemy planes down, the Major and Officers would put on a dance and social night for us in the NAAFI. They would invite so many RAF and so many Yanks. It all helped to make a great night and lift our spirits and to mix or meet others who were doing what we were trying to do, keep old Hitler out. Most of the RAF were Air Crew and you would dance with one or two, get to know them a bit and have a great night, but knowing when you saw the Bombers taking off the following night they were up there doing the BIG BIT and come the next evening you would ask "where's Alec, Bob and Bill?" Just a shrug of the shoulders from their mates and you knew and felt sad, very sad. As I drove around the lanes to wherever my duties took me at a certain time of the day you would see the Bombers going off and up into the clouds and away, you got used to it, up into one circle, two circles and third circle away on their mission and you would say to yourself and often loudly "Good luck lads, come back for that Tango." It was one afternoon in December 1943 around 4.30 as I was driving a load of stores to another site in the Guy Truck, which had an open front and canvas covered back, going along this lane just wide enough for the truck and a ditch each side. Coming up to a farm on my right, it was very low cloud and the Lancasters were taking off into the circles, up and away, as I looked up and raised my right arm in a salute. They were so low and so near I felt I could nearly touch them. One went into this low cloud and I was thinking it's a wonder they don't crash they are so close together, when in a split second as it came out of the cloud, God, it was a head on crash with another Lancaster, one almighty explosion and all Hell was let loose. It was awful, I couldn't believe what had happened practically over my head, just over the farmer's field. I was so stunned, streaks of fire shooting all over the road and my truck. I pulled on the brakes and jumped in the ditch but only for a few seconds thinking some of the crew could be saved, so I ran up past the farmer's house, bits and pieces lying all over, just passing a barn and someone caught hold of me from behind and wouldn't let go, kept saying "NO LASS, NO LASS there'll be nothing". It was the old farmer. In no time at all the fire engines etc. were arriving. I pulled myself together and went back to my truck in a daze and drove onto the site, still couldn't believe what had happened. When I pulled up at the Guard House I was just rooted to my seat and couldn't stop crying, thinking of the Bobs, Alecs and Bills whoever just blown to bits. It was awful and still is. The guard called the Sergeant who took one look at my truck with all the bits and pieces, burns on the canvas and said "she must have been under it." They took me into the Mess and gave me a cup of hot strong tea and 20 minutes by the round stove (they were really kind.) I felt better and had to get on with it, so back to Goxhill. On arriving our MT Officer was concerned; did I need to go to the MO? No Sir, I'll be OK but when I went to bed I couldn't shut my eyes, this terrific explosion flashed before me every time. I was like this for quite a few nights. Another thing I can't bear even to this day to watch a film with planes crashing. I'd shut my eyes or go out of the cinema. Later in life I often used to think and wish I had gone back to see that farmer and I used to wonder if the families knew where their sons were lying. I was very pleased to hear that a Plaque is being dedicated in Remembrance to those poor souls. I can never forget them or what happened to them.. Driver Marie Harris W/44133 ATS.
  • Lloyd Maundrell, flew as a Captain for Ansett Flying Boats. Lloyd became very well known to Sydneysiders thanks to 2UE Radio Announcer Gary O’Callaghan who, with his “imaginary” friend Sammy Sparrow, used to announce the arrival of Ansett Flying Boats as they flew into Rose Bay, almost always it seemed with Captain Maundrell at the controls ! Ironically, Gary O’Callaghan’s son became a Seaplane Pilot himself, flying for the late Vic Walton. http://www.aviationwriter.org/221614437
  • 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack in front of VILLERS BRETONNEUX on 8th August 1918. Gunners [29015 H C] COURTNEY and TIDDY ran a line forward in face of heavy shell and machine gun fire and repeatedly patrolled same under heavy shell and machine gun fire in order to maintain communication. During the whole day's operation they acted in a most cool and daring manner, and under exceedingly trying circumstances showed a strong determination to succeed.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 75 Date: 17 June 1919
  • On this day, a Beaufort bomber (A9-38) from No 100 Squadron was attacked by three Zero fighters off the southern coast of New Britain. Instead of coming off worst in an unequal fight, the more cumbersome Beaufort actually bested its more nimble opponents. During an engagement lasting under eight minutes, the Beaufort crew –– firing from nose, turret and beam hatch –– managed to score hits on one Zero, which dropped away sharply, while a second suffered multiple hits in one wing and its fuselage before spinning out of control. The third Japanese pilot wisely chose to withdraw. The tally of Zeros claimed by the crew was one probable and one damaged; years later Japanese records confirmed both Zeros were lost in the action. The encounter became famous across the RAAF’s Beaufort force. All four crewmen were mentioned in dispatches, and in 1943 the pilot, Sgt Clarence Reginald 'Reg' Green (later Flying Officer), also received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. RAAF History Unit
  • She faced no battle flame, she heard no German gun, The ship without a name, the luckless AE-1. Yet were her sailor’s lives no less for Empire lost, And mothers, sweethearts, wives must pay the bitter cost. Australia’s warships sweep the broad Pacific main, But one from out the deep will never rise again. Yet we shall not forget, through all the years that run, The fate that she has met – Goodbye to AE-1. Pent in their iron cell, they sank beneath the wave, Untouched by shot or shell, they drifted to the grave. Until their painful breath at last began to fail; Upon their way to death let pity draw the veil. They could not strike one blow, but out of sound and sight Of comrade or of foe they passed to endless night; Deep down on Ocean’s floor, far from the wind and sun, They rest for evermore – Goodbye to AE-1. A harder fate was theirs than men’s who fight and die, But still Australia cares, and will not pass them by; When Honour’s lists are read, their names will surely be Among the gallant dead who fought to keep us free. Their winding-sheet is steel, their sepulchre is wide; Theirs is a Monument of History, begun When down to death they went – Goodbye to AE-1. Del McCay
  • 'Night 27th/28th August, 1916 at MOUQUET FARM. For leading bombing squads which successfully entered enemy strong point 54, and pushed forward into strongly held communication trenches, holding same, and inflicting heavy casualties on a large body of the enemy troops, and thus covering our consolidating party. These two N.C.O.s [RULE and 619 John James MYERS] threw bombs untiringly, and it is due to their personal heroism that the enemy were held back for some time, thus giving us time to prepare for their counter attack. They stood to their posts under heavy shell fire with undaunted courage.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62 Date: 19 April 1917
  • Military Cross 'For fine courage and dash near Ascension Wood, on 18th September 1918. He displayed good leadership in manoeuvring his platoon across absolutely open ground under heavy fire, and was the first man into the enemy line, when he with a small party established a block until the remainder of the company got in. Assuming command, he attacked along the trench capturing fifteen machine guns and killing a large number of the enemy, and winning some 800 yards of enemy line.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 30 Date: 25 March 1920
  • "like men who had been in Hell.........drawn and haggard and so dazed they appeared to be walking in a dream, and their eyes looked glassy and starey" (Ed...the proverbial 'thousand yard stare') 'Raid on Celtic Wood', Robert Kearney ISBN 978 1921 207 103 2017 Digital Print Australia pp28
  • OPEN LETTER TO NX 200630 Pte N B Morton 2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion K.I.A. 25.3.45 Dear Doc, We survivors were thrilled to read in The First Post (Oct 1995) that the ‘Neville Morton Drive” off Crescent Head Road has been named after you. Do you remember, the first bad news that day was that the muddy water we had been drinking revealed a dead Jap in it, as the level was lowered. The second bad news was that after you made contact, heavy fire came from the ridge and you wouldn’t answer our many calls to you. “Hec” Bowan came up the track to find you, but was shot next to me, in the arm and leg. Merv Sheen worked his bren well, but Cisco lying behind a tree had the top of his slouch hat shot off. On the order “withdraw”, we all got out without further wounds. Then the coy commander started to order 100 rounds gunfire from the 25 pounders and told us to retreat further. Sgt Frank Upham jumped to his feet and said to the C.C. – “No man moves past this tree until we find Doc Morton”. In true spirit of the AIF the CC apologized to Frank and ordered us “Go back and find Morton”. So four of us crawled back and we did find you Doc. We tied a rope around your leg and dragged you out of the line of fire. Your denture fell out and I put it in my pocket, hoping you would need it, but you were gone, so two of us put you on a stretcher and carried you to the rear, where we dug a grave and buried you and you became a map reference high in those jungle hills. We slept near you that night. Next day, after the artillery fired their 100 round or more we went back up the slope. You never had a chance Doc. The Japs were lined along the ridge, each covering the slope and the track. We even saw some Japs running down the other side. We think one had your hat. You weren’t the last killed in that needless campaign Doc. Willoughby­ Jackson and 4 others died from Mortars at Karawop, where Snowy Searle had a terrible death from a land mine. Don Carmichael, Eric Bowen and D’arcy McPhillps were also to die. Harry Hughes, Dick Mulholland, Cec Bevan and James each lost his right arm. The 6th Aust Div lost over 600 dead – 443 from battle wounds Even after the war problems continued with at least 4 suicides. The soldier who accidentally killed Bob Morris laid his head on the railway line at Chatswood. Doubt you’ll ever get this letter Doc, but we survivors remember: we’ve had fifty more years than you. Cheerio Doc, may meet you soon, your old comrade in arms arms, Bren No 5535 (2/1 Inf Bn) What colours we had – Black over Green! What a leader – P.A. Cullen! From 1RAR Website
  • 'For conspicuous skill and courage during a daylight operation, when he advanced with his platoon and captured an enemy post. To cover consolidation he pushed his Lewis gun forward under heavy fire. In spite of losing the whole crew, he kept his gun in action, silencing one enemy machine gun and keeping down the fire of two others, thus enabling his platoon to consolidate in time to resist a heavy counter attack.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 4 March 1919
  • 'During the operations at POLYGON WOOD, east of YPRES on 20th September, 1917, Pte. BATES showed great bravery and devotion to duty when, as an observer, he moved out in front of the Battalion and there, by his determination to hang on and his personal disregard of personal safety, he gained and sent back much useful information as to the enemy's movements on his positions of assembly.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918 Although the citation cites Polygon Wood, this was the limit of exploitation of the Battle of Menin Road. A subsequent battle commencing 26 Sep is known as the Battle of Polygon Wood.
  • For gallantry and devotion to duty on 29th September 1918, at Bony, when he was in charge of a party of tunnellers clearing and maintaining a forward road under heavy enemy shell and machine gun fire. Although, owing to infantry being held up heavy casualties were occurring, he carried through the work, and set a fine example of coolness and resourcefulness to those under him.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10 Date: 29 January 1920
  • Extract https://dambustersblog.com/2011/11/ Article in the New Statesman in which Guy Walters argues that Holland completely counters the “revisionist” view that the Dams Raid actually achieved very little. According to Walters: The raid was in fact a triumph, and did an enormous amount of damage. After studying the German archives, Holland shows that: “…not only were two major dams completely destroyed, so too were seven railway bridges, eighteen road bridges, four water turbine power stations and three steam turbine power stations, while in the Ruhr Valley alone, eleven factories were completely destroyed and a further 114 damaged, many severely. Vast tracts of land had also been devastated by the tidal waves that had thundered up to eighty miles from the dams.” Such damage can hardly be considered “little of substance”. Furthermore, Holland completely skewers the argument that as the dams were quickly rebuilt, the damage was therefore not that great. The whole point of their swift reconstruction “underlines just how important they were to Germany”, and the men and material required had to be diverted from elsewhere. Holland also argues that the destruction of the dams struck a huge psychological blow against the Germans, as these were structures that were venerated as triumphs of the country’s might and technical knowhow. In short, the raid was indeed a catastrophe for Nazi Germany, and a triumph for the British. Holland’s analysis will no doubt draw its detractors, perhaps inspired by a politically fashionable thinking that seeks to denigrate just about every British success during the Second World War. Of course, there was much that we got wrong, but we also got many things spectacularly right. In my view, Holland’s programme was a well researched and presented documentary. There were interviews with three of the four surviving Dambusters – Les Munro, Grant McDonald and George “Johnny” Johnson – and a good use of far flung written source material, such as Charlie Williams’ letters, which are in archives in Queensland, Australia. Perhaps the point that came across most strongly was the airmanship involved. Flying a 30 ton aircraft a thousand miles through hostile territory just 100 feet above the ground required enormous concentration, exceptional skill and tremendous luck. When you consider the odds it is no real surprise that eight of the 19 aircraft failed to return. And no surprise, either, that this tactic was only used sparingly in the rest of the war. With so much already written and broadcast about the Dams Raid it is not surprising that little new information emerged. But that shouldn’t detract from what was a thorough film, mercifully lacking most of the frills and tricks which many documentary directors nowadays feel it necessary to add.
  • Extract from Dambusters Blog https://dambustersblog.com/category/david-shannon/ At the end of February 1943, David Shannon finished his tour of operations in 106 Squadron with a trip to St Nazaire. This was the 36th sortie in a run which stretched back to June 1942, shortly after his 20th birthday. During his tour, he had generally flown with a core crew made up of Danny Walker, navigator, Wallace Herbert, bomb aimer, Arnold Pemberton, wireless operator, Douglas McCulloch, mid upper gunner and Bernard Holmes, rear gunner. Over the course of the tour Shannon flew with a number of different flight engineers and/or second pilots, but in the last few months Sgt Cyril Chamberlain became the regular flight engineer. An enforced change happened in November 1942, when Danny Walker came to the end of his own tour. He was posted to No 22 OTU as an instructor and thereafter a number of different navigators filled in for him. These included the experienced Norman Scrivener and Winston Burnside, both of whom also navigated for Guy Gibson in this period. Shannon’s last operation in 106 Squadron on 28 February appears to have coincided with the end of the tours of Herbert, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes. Under normal circumstances, the crew would have broken up and all would have been sent on instructional duties for a period of six months. Shannon, however, wanted to carry on flying and somehow arranged a transfer to 83 Squadron at RAF Wyton, a Pathfinder outfit. It was there that he got a telephone call from Gibson, asking him to join him at Scampton where he was forming a new squadron. Chamberlain, Herbert, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes were apparently all still at Syerston, waiting for new postings. Consideration was obviously given to reconstituting Shannon’s 106 Squadron crew, since Chamberlain, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes were all transferred to the new 617 Squadron at Scampton on or about 25 March 1943. Herbert appears either not to have been asked or to have declined the offer. Also, Shannon’s old crew member Danny Walker was specifically sought out to fill the post of navigator, and was brought over to Scampton from No 22 OTU at Wellesbourne Mountford. It is not clear exactly what happened next. Shannon undertook two testing flights on 28 and 31 March, but he only recorded the names of the other pilots with whom he flew (Flt Lt Dierkes on 28 March, Flt Lt John Hopgood on 31 March). His next flight wasn’t until 6 April, when he did a 5 hour cross country and bombing trip. This was repeated, over a different route, two days later on 8 April. On both of these flights, a five man crew is recorded. This consisted of Walker and McCulloch, both from his 106 Squadron days, two new names – bomb aimer Len Sumpter and flight engineer Robert Henderson, plus Larry Nichols, a wireless operator borrowed from Melvin Young’s crew. After the war, Len Sumpter described how he and Henderson were recruited to the squadron. At that stage, he had completed 13 operations in 57 Squadron, based at Scampton. Then his pilot was grounded with ear trouble and the crew were broken up. He and his erstwhile crewmate Henderson knew that a new squadron was being formed in the next two hangars, and heard that Shannon was looking for a bomb aimer and a flight engineer, so they sought him out. “We looked him over and he looked us over – and that’s the way I got on to 617 Squadron.” (Max Arthur, Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History, Virgin 2008, p18.) No date is given for this “interview”, but it must have occurred sometime between 31 March and 6 April. Sumpter goes on to say that the crew didn’t get their own wireless operator until the end of April. He didn’t know – or didn’t mention – that there were three members of Shannon’s old crew, including wireless operator Arnold Pemberton, kicking their heels on the ground. On 11 April, Shannon’s logbook records the first flight of a new crew member, rear gunner Jack Buckley. He had been transferred from No 10 OTU, where he was working as an instructor. He was an experienced gunner and had been commissioned, having completed a full tour of operations with 75 (New Zealand) Squadron. Albert Garshowitz (misspelt as Gowshowitz) from Bill Astell’s crew was the borrowed wireless operator on this occasion. Two days later, on 13 April, a complete squadron crew list was compiled, under the title “Order of Battle”. This is preserved in a file in the National Archives (AIR14/842). It shows Shannon’s crew as: Henderson, flight engineer, Walker, navigator, Sumpter, bomb aimer, McCulloch, mid upper gunner and Buckley, rear gunner. The position of wireless operator is left blank. Flg Off McCulloch is also listed as A Flight Gunnery Leader. Four names are listed as ‘spares’, amongst whom are the other three members of Shannon’s 106 Squadron crew: Pemberton, Holmes and Chamberlain. Another two days later, on 15 April, Douglas McCulloch attended an Aircrew Selection Board. He must therefore have previously applied for remustering. However, he returned to the squadron and flew on more training flights with Shannon on 19 and 21 April. He was eventually posted to No 13 Initial Training Wing on 1 May. On 17 April, Bernard Holmes and Arnold Pemberton’s time at 617 Squadron ended, with them both being recorded as being posted to No 19 OTU at Kinloss. There is no record of the destiny of Cyril Chamberlain. Holmes’s son Robert recalls that his father apparently told his wife at the time that he and Pemberton were bored and frustrated through not being kept busy, and asked for a transfer. Eleven days later, on 24 April, another squadron crew list was published. The Shannon crew now shows two changes. The wireless operator position has been filled by Flg Off Goodale DFC and the mid upper gunner has the handwritten name of Sgt Jagger in a space which had been left blank by the typist. The A Flight gunnery leader is now shown as Flg Off Glinz (from Norman Barlow’s crew). There are no longer any names listed as spares (National Archives: AIR14/842). This date coincides with Goodale’s first appearance in Shannon’s logbook. It is notable that Brian Jagger’s name may appear here, but in fact he did not fly with Shannon until 4 May. Both men came with a deal of experience. Brian Goodale had a completed full tour and was recruited from No 10 OTU, where Jack Buckley had also been an instructor. Brian Jagger came from 50 Squadron. He had previously flown with John Fraser and Ken Earnshaw, two Canadians in John Hopgood’s crew, and they may have been instrumental in getting him on board. On this date, David Shannon’s Dams Raid crew was finally established, and they would fly together for the next few months. Quite why three members of his crew from 106 Squadron were earlier brought over to Scampton but never used remains a mystery. Later in the war, after a spell as an instructor, Bernard Holmes returned to operations with 77 Squadron, and joined a crew skippered by Wg Cdr J D R Forbes, the squadron CO. He remained there until the end of hostilities. He had married his wife Margaret in 1940, and they had two sons, born after the war. The family emigrated to South Africa in 1952, and he died there in 1979. Thanks to Robert Holmes, Clive Smith, Robert Owen and Nigel Favill for their help with this article.
  • Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner (Panel No 11), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2011) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France. Note on Form B103: 'Identification Disc received from Germany. No particulars were afforded except that the soldier is dead. to be reported KILLED IN ACTION FRANCE 19-20th July 16.' Note on file: 'austr. Sold. Russell, A. 54. A.K. Nr. 4299. am 19.7.16. in Gegend Fromelles gefallen.' Note on Red Cross File 2380411: 'Identity disc recd. From Germany and despatched to Next of Kin ... 1.9.1919.' Statement, 3123 Sergeant F. POLDING, 54th Bn (patient, 9th General Hospital, Rouen), 9 November 1916: 'During the attack on Fleurbaix on the 19th July, we had very heavy losses. Many dead bodies were collected after the action and buried. I was informed by several men of the burying party that Russell's body was recovered and buried. I do not, however, remember the name of any particular man of the burying party who told me this.' 'The above name appeared on German death list dated 4-11-16.' Second statement, 4375 Pte E. SCOBLE, 54th Bn (patient, 2nd Birmingham War Hospital, Hollymoor, England), 18 February 1917: 'Arthur Russell's brother William Russell, 2300 54. A.I.F. told him Arthur Russell was killed and buried by Sgt. Allen.'
  • Statement, 2878 Corporal E.E. POULTER, B Company, 60th Bn, 29 January 1917: 'The last time I saw him was in No Man's Land about 150 yds. from our line. He was shot through the side and the bullet evidently lodged in his stomach as he doubled up and fell. We could not hold the ground. We went over with 1100 men and 63 men answered the roll call.'
  • Red Cross File No 2940705 has statements 4226 Pte L. HANNA, B Company, 54th Bn (former prisoner of war), 30 December 1918: 'On morning of 20th July 1916 at Fleurbaix I was alongside him when he was shot dead by sniper. Hit in Head (eye). We were then in Enemy's second line trench. They got in behind us into their 1st line and we were cut off. I was hit through helmet by same man immediately after but not hurt. We were taken Prisoners of War about 1 hour later. His body would be left in trench. I did not know his Christian name.' 3511A W.D. CARR, 54th Bn, 24 December 1918: 'In the morning between 8 and 9 o'clock I saw him assisting [1909 H.W.] Bilbow with a machine gun - when he was shot through the right eye either by sniper or machine gun bullet - not shrapnel, as he was killed instantly. It was in a quickly dug trench. We were captured shortly afterwards, so I know nothing as to his burial.' 1909 Lance Corporal W.H. BILLOW (sic), 13 January 1919: 'He was not killed going over the trenches but after he got over in the Germans' second line on the morning of the 20th. I was standing shoulder to shoulder with him up to the moment he was killed. He was hot by a sniper from behind, the bullet passing through his head. He had been working all night with me, trying to build up the trenches. It happened at Fleurbaix ... I took his paybook and his identification disc and was forced to give them up to the Germans with my own paybook.' 1841 S. TONKINS, 54th Bn, 28 August 1917: 'Pte Wildman was killed by shrapnel, I saw him lying dead on the ground in the German trenches, on July 20th at Armentieres.'
  • Red Cross File No 1420704 Statements from witnesses: 2818 J. ELLIOTT, 56th Bn, 6 November 1916: 'He came from Bathurst, N.S. Wales, and was buried in a cemetery between Sailly and Estairs, Bac-St.-Maur Road. I saw his grave there.' (this seems incongruous given his remains were recovered from the Pheasant Wood site) 3330 Pte P.G. HUGHES (patient, 23rd General Hospital, Etaples), 6 November 1916: 'James was killed by shell: I did not see it happen but I saw him lying afterwards. I think he was buried at the top of Pinney's Avenue in the cemetery.' 2780 Lance Corporal B.H. PHILLIPS, 56th Bn, '[2705 C.W.] Johnston was a L.M. Gunner and James was in A. Company. We made an attack on the 19th and were driven back to our own lines, and these two and three others were killed by the same shell in our trench. James' head was practically blown off. I - a stretcher bearer - was on the next bay and was called in. James and Johnston were both taken out and buried in a Cemetery behind the lines. I think the cemetery at the mouth of "V.C. Avenue" near Fleurbaix. I knew Johnston very well indeed, but James not so well.' 1704 Pte G.W. MURRAY, 56th Bn (patient, 9th General Hospital, Rouen), 16 November 1916: 'I saw this man killed by a piece of shell hitting him on the head on the 20th July near Fromelles. I heard afterwards that he was buried.' Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2010) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
  • An impressive ceremony marked the un- veiling on Sunday by Brigadier-General Leane of a fallen soldiers' memorial at Magill. Thirty-three of the men who en- listed from the district made the supreme sacrifice. The monument stands in a portion of the Magill School grounds. It is an anistically designed marble stone, and bears the names of the dead. The money for tbe work was raised by public subscription at the suggestion of the Magill Progressive Association, the sec- retary of which (Mr. I. Simcock) did most of the organising work. A large crowd witnessed the service. A cordon was formed around the memorial by a party of returned soldiers from Magill, under W. O.Walker. D.C.M., M.M. and bar, and a company of senior cadets, in charge of Lieutenant Rowe. The chairman of tbe Burnside District Council (Mr. J. A. Harper) said a flagpole and a Union Jack had been presented to the school by three local rejected volun- teers, Messrs. J. Dalby, W. Cooke. and F. Warner. The pole had been placed in the scbool yard immediately to the rear of tbe memorial. In handing them over to the school Mr. Harper referred to the great things for which the Union Jack, stood. The schoolmaster (Mr. Scott) accepted the gift. Brigadier-General Leane, in unveiling the monument, said in the war the Australian had proved himself both a fine soldier and a man. (Applause.) France had paid her mark of respect to the gallant men from the Commonwealth at Amiens, and had proved that she placed the Australian soldiers on an equality with her own (Applause.) In Whitehall, London, there was a Cenotaph in memory of the glorious dead of England and the Dominions, and whenever a man passed it he raised his hat. It had struck him that afternoon in connection with the Magill memorial that it would be a good thing if the chil- dren of the school in passing in and out paid similar tribute to the departed men who fought for them. (Applause.) As the covering from the memorial was removed the "Last Post" was sounded. Mr. W. A. Hamilton, M.P., on behalf of the Minister of Edncabon, accepted the gift. The Speaker of the Assembly (Hon. F. W. Coneybeer) said the memorial would be a record for all time of the heroic sacrifices made by some of the towns- people of Magill, and it would stand as a perpetual reminder of the devotion of Aus- tralia's sons. During the afternoon selections were played by the Magill Band, and floral tri- butes to the departed men were placed upon the monument, wich was prepared by Messrs. Maddaford & Polkinghorne, of Adelaide.
  • The long awaited news of the re-lease, as a P.O.W, of their younger son, Warrant Officer Rhys Roberts, R.A.A.F., has been received by Mr and Mrs K. R. Roberts., of Kadina. On Monday, a cabled message received stated that he had arrived in Liverpool, England, on 15th and was "fit, well and cheerful." This message must be most assuring to his parents after his varied experiences, for more than once his life has been in jeopardy. He was taken a prisoner of war in October, 1942, and previous to that, was shot down in Tobruk. When captured at El Alemein, he was the only survivor of his plane, and had received injuries when bailing out of the burning machine. After being a patient in a front line hospital, he was conveyed to Austria via Greece and Italy, and was a prisoner in three different camps in Germany. His final place of custody was Stalag No 3 in East Prussia, and during transit there, had three days in Berlin. During the time spent in this camp he lectured on sheep and wool, his education proving beneficial to him. He commenced his early studies at St. Peters College, Adelaide, and, on returning to the Kadina High School, won a scholarship for Roseworthy College where he studied for three years. When he will arrive home is not yet known. Kadina and Wallaroo Tines Fri 22 Sep 1940
  • 'For conspicuous gallantry in action near Le Catelet, on 30th September 1918. He led a patrol of five men in face of heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and succeeded in locating the enemy position. By skilful handling of his patrol, he obtained information of the greatest value, which enabled his company to advance more than 1,000 yards, and to clear up an obscure and difficult situation on the left flank of the brigade.' Recommendation date: 7 October 1918 Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10 Date: 29 January 1920
  • 'On 25th April, 1915, during operations near Gaba Tepe, for conspicuous courage and initiative in returning from the firing line under heavy fire, collecting reinforcements, and assisting in leading a successful bayonet charge to the top of a hill, which was eventually held against great odds.' Source: 'London Gazette' No. 6544 Date: 3 July 1915
  • 'At FLEURBAIX, FRANCE, during the successful raid carried out by 9th Battalion on the night 1st/2nd July, 1916 in company with his Officer was first into enemy trenches where they tackled 21 Germans in a large dug-out. In spite of the fact that rifle and revolver fire was directed at them from the dug-out these two went in returning the enemy fire eventually killing seven and disarming and capturing the remainder. Throughout the raid this N.C.O. proved absolutely fearless and set a splendid example of gallantry. He has already been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry on GALLIPOLI.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 184 Date: 14 December 1916
  • ‘For conspicuous gallantry in action near BULLECOURT on 3rd. May 1917. In the face of severe shell and M.G fire from the enemy they kept their guns in action supporting our bomb attacks most successfully in co-operation with the Trench Mortars’. Rec by M. Smyth, Major-General, 2nd. Australian Div.
  • Military Medal Recommendation:- 'On the 31st July, 1917, near MESSINES, this N.C.O. was in charge of the bearers working between a Relay Post and a car loading point, a distance of about 4,000 yards. The area between was continually under hostile artillery fire and evacuation was partly by means of hand carriage and partly by trench trampoline. From before dawn until relieved at night, this N.C.O. was continually in the open, directing and encouraging the men under him. On three occasions he acted as a stretcher bearer, when men ran short and completed the whole journey. He showed throughout a total disregard for personal danger and a high devotion to duty. He showed all through a steady and invincible determination and displayed a capacity for leadership in extreme danger. His example was a splendid one for his men.'
  • Writing to his mother from the Ninth Training Battalion, Fovant, Wiltshire, early in February, Corporal Carl Klaus says : — I have had a pretty rough time of did not get a crack. I have been it the last 15 months in France, but turned over a lew times with concussion, but got over it alright. I've seen some rotten sights. Poor old Jack Morgan was Killed at Messines. I suppose you have heard all about that. Our Battalion was right in the thick of it. The first time I ever handled a dead man was at Messines -— I had to help a couple of other chaps to dig George Weatherstone and Jack Morgan out. The dugout was blown in on top of them. And again at Ypres poor old Harry Mallam was killed right alongside of me. I had to lift him out of the line and bury him in a shell hole, as it was too far to take him back to a cemetery. Just took his pay book and private belongings and gave them in to our platoon officer. I suppose you read about the battle of Passchendaele. We were the ring-leaders of that turnout. With the assistance of the Canadians we took the hill about a kilometre from Passchendaele, and the Canadians hopped in and took the town, so now we have nearly all the high ground in Belgium in our hands, and have Fritz in the hollow and chopping hell out of him. Have more artillery behind us now than ever they had before on the western front. In this stunt Bill Eliem was killed and Percy Fisher was wounded. I have met Paddy Lulham, Bert Daley, Stan Tyler from Wardell, and all the old lads of 1st-41st that went away to the Ninth Battalion. They were all doing well until the Ypres stunt, when Jim McDonald from Broadwater was killed, Paddy wounded, Tyler wounded, while Fitzpatrick lost his eye and is going home, and of course Don Livingstone is home long ago. Bert Daley, is still going strong, and looks splendid. I saw him a couple of days before I left France. I am likely to be in England for a six months spell from shell fire anyway, but I suppose there will be plenty work attached to it just the same. Still it will do me. They told me when I left France that they were giving me six months in this Training Battalion at Fovant. I have met Clarrie Fredericks, he is in the 8th of the 41st, and soon will be going over to France. He is training to be a signaller. I also had tho pleasure of meeting another old mate that I went to school with under Mr. Bath, that was Tom Grant from Woodburn. He is a corporal in the 25th Battalion, has been wounded twice, and now they have sent him over to the training battalion for a few months. He is in the 10th, but he is not far away from us. Writing to his brother Rupert, Corporal Klaus says : — I see where the girls are getting married. I don t know how I am going to get on when I go back, there will be none left for me, and I don't like the idea of picking one up here in England to take back like some of them are doing. Well, old Fritz could not get me with his old scrap iron, so instead of giving me fourteen days furlough in London they have sent me here to the 9th Training Battalion for six months. I have seen some rough work over there, not only in the fighting, but rotten weather conditions. Last winter was bitterly cold. All the rivers were frozen up; boats could not work at all, and in some places in Belgium I have seen a foot of snow, and had to carry on through it all backwards and forwards to the trenches, but of course we were only holding the line at that time at Armentieres. We were there about four months, and then we shifted down lower to a place called La Pisset, and from there to Messines. I suppose you have read about the battle of Messines. We were holding the line at Messines right up till the morning of the hop-over. Our brigade was not really in the hop-over, but to my idea we had worse, because we had to do all the carrying parties (after the 9th and 10th Brigades took their objectives) under heavy shell fire all the time — day and night. From there we went down to Ypres in October, and the 11th Brigade was in the battle of Passchendaele. I was right in the thick of it. That is where poor old Bill Eilem (brother of Tom of the Bee-Hive) was killed, and Harry Mallam from Bungawalbin. We had a good possy made, well sand-bagged, and were waiting for the Tommies to relieve us the night after the push, but old Fiitz must have taken a tumble that there was a relief on, and barraged hell out of us for about two hours — Harry Mallam, Ben Hall and another chap I don't know were killed outright by a shell which lobbed right on the parados of the trench. I don't know how I escaped, for I was not above two yards from them, but I was round a bend of the trench. I think what saved me was the ground being soft and the shell, did not scatter much. The three chaps that were killed were huddled up together taking shelter. When Jack Morgan and George Weatherstone were buried at Messines we had to dig them out, for the dugout was blown in on top of them. Jack did not have a mark on the outside of his body, but the concussion killed him. Weatherstone hailed from the Clarence, but we were mates from the time we left Brisbane. He was smashed to pieces.
  • 'During the enemy counter attack on our newly won positions near VILLE sur ANCRE on the evening of 4th July 1918, he fired on S.O.S. lines until his mortar was taken forward by the N.C.O. in charge of the detachment to a shell hole position on 'No Man's Land' without waiting for orders he followed his N.C.O. with ammunition, making in all four trips through an intense barrage, and assisted in firing the mortar, thus helping to put out of action a machine gun which was enfilading our position and causing us many casualties and much inconvenience. Throughout the action he showed great bravery and assisted his Officers in every possible way.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23 Date: 12 February 1919
  • Late on the night of 26 April 1944, 25 Lancasters from No 460 Squadron headed for Essen in the middle of the Ruhr. Almost over the target, Vic, our bomb aimer took over and began the familiar, "Left, left, steady, right, steady, bomb doors open, steady, right, steady, bombs gone, steady for photo". When the 14,000 lbs of bombs fell away the aircraft leapt upwards as it was relieved of the weight. A moment later, with the bomb doors still open and the aircraft steady on course, the plane rocked as a shower of bombs hit us from a Lancaster just over our heads. Fortunately, the 4,000 lb bomb missed us or we would have been blown to Kingdom Come. We were hit by a shower of incendiaries which immediately knocked out one engine and badly damaged another so that it was useless and the propeller could not be feathered, greatly increasing the drag on one side of the plane. A third motor was hit but kept going on reduced power. Another incendiary damaged the starboard fuel tank but did not set it alight. Yet another smashed the hydraulic system which operated the bomb doors, undercarriage and flaps. By a miracle no one was hit. The Lancaster had started to dive away to port and the pilot and engineer struggled and brought the plane under control. With limited control and lack of speed giving us a much reduced airspeed, the skipper opted for a direct flight to base, even though we would be on our own across Germany. Losing altitude as we approached the Dutch coast we decided on the long sea crossing hoping to maintain enough height to make England. As we crossed the sea in the early hours of the morning the aircraft gradually lost height. With the bomb doors wide open, the bomb inspection covers had blown off and an icy gale whistled through the cabin. On two motors and the third propeller uselessly windmilling adding to the drag, we could go no faster than 140mph. At 0345 we crossed the darkened coast of Lincolnshire at 1500 feet and turned for the short leg to Binbrook. In sight of the base beacon the third motor stopped. Bob, at once, feathered the engine and we began to lose what little altitude we had. We were now down to 600 feet above the Wolds. Bob called up flying control and asked for an emergency landing. To our incredulity and disgust, we were refused and told to go away to an emergency airfield in East Anglia. Because we were arriving at the same time as the rest of 460 squadron aircraft flying control didn't want the runway blocked by a crashed aircraft. Bob Wade, with an understandably temper outburst at this callous unconcern by flying control for a Lancaster in such dire straits, told flying control with a few Australian adjectives included ignored the instructions and continued the approach telling Harry to operate the emergency lever to lower the undercarriage. Just imagine coming in on a wing and a prayer. One motor, one wheel, and one ambition to get down in one try. ( a wartime song 'Comin' In On a Wing and a Prayer') The only difference in this picture is that 460 squadron Lancs had Rolls Royce in line motors. Only the right wheel came down and when an attempt was made to retract it, it remained down. With one engine working, one propeller windmilling, the bomb doors open, no flaps and one wheel up and one wheel down, and too low to bail out our only option was to ride the Lancaster to the ground. Not wanting to block the runway, after telling control he was coming in whether they liked it or not, Bob lined up some 300 yards to the right. Even though it was very dark off to the side of the runway, he began the short final approach with no flaps to maintain lift at our low speed and holding the right wing low to counter balance the dead engines. The Lancaster "B2" touched down on one wheel and ran along the grass at about 100 mph while Bob fought in the dark to keep the left wing up as long as possible. Gradually the wing sank lower and as the speed dropped shut off the last throttle. Suddenly the left wing tip touched the ground and immediately the aircraft ground–looped violently, spinning across the grass and finally coming to rest in the middle of the runway, right in the path of another Lancaster which was on the point of touching down. As our aircraft came to rest there was a wild scramble to get clear in case the damaged fuel tank caught fire. First man out got stuck in the escape hatch but was quickly shoved out by those following. Scrambling down the fuselage we ran for our lives. In the glow of the searchlight, the fire truck and ambulance raced across the grass, but we did not hear them because of the shattering roar of the engines of the Lancaster which had just touched down. Faced with a wrecked Lancaster in the middle of the runway, the pilot gunned his motors to emergency power and slowly struggled over our heads to safety. As the roar of the climbing aircraft died away, even though I was about 40 yards away, I knew Bob was still alive as I could hear him cursing and swearing as he turned off the switches. Arthur Hoyle, 460squadronraaf.com
  • 'ANZAC' insignia Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli will be entitled to wear over the Unit “Colour Patch” on both sleeves of the Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” an indication that the wearer had taken part in the operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. - Military Order 354 of 1917 Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli or the Islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos, or who have served on transports or hospital ships at or off Gallipoli or the Islands above-named, or in AIF lines of communication Units in Egypt will be entitled to wear over their Unit “Colour Patches” on both sleeves of their Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” as an indication that the wearer had taken part in the Gallipoli operations. - Military Order 20 of 1918
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3445699
  • https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/research/resource-library/letter-from-lone-pine
  • https://vwma.org.au/research/home-page-archives/ex-pow-leader-bill-schmitt-dies-at-97
  • https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/veteran?id=1040023&c=WW2#R
  • http://www.625squadron.org/associnfo/about.pdf
  • https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/awm-media/collection/RCDIG1067906/document/5484782.PDF
  • http://aircrewremembered.com/coleman-gerald.html
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8037128
  • 3___3-14_AUS_FD_Ambulance__The_Unit_Guide__1939-45__Graham_McKenzie-Smith.pdf

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