Officer in Waiting
4 May - 12 June
The Somme Again
13 June - 24 August
Dompiere & Mont St. Quentin
25 August - 6 September
7 September - 10 November
11 November - 28 Feb 1919
The WWI diary of Percy Smythe was transcribed by his daughter Betty Smythe.
Podcast of Percy Smythe's WWI Diary
Early in 2016 we were approached by Phil Mannell from WWI Digger Stories asking if he could use Percy's diary for his podcast series. He had recently completed the diary of Len Jones also from the 3rd Battalion and we were delighted that he had chosen Percy's story for his second series - it adds a whole different dimension to the prose when read aloud.
I think Phil has done a sterling job without professional equipment or monetary incentive so please leave a review on his iTunes page. Enjoy.
The other very impressive element to these podcasts is that Phil researches any other diggers mentioned in the yarns and gives a brief overview of their lives and service history. The following information is courtesy of Phil.
Episode 2.1, “Build up that chest.”
Major RC Dawson is Major Ross Campbell Dawson of the 1st Battalion, AIF. He suffered a bullet wound to the back of his head during the Gallipoli landing and was evacuated four days later. He was returned to Australia in January 1916., also suffering from neurasthenia (shell shock). Dawson was married and lived at Roseville, NSW. He was born 14 November, 1884 and died 22 August, 1947.
Les Poyitt is probably Leslie Poyitt a postal assistant from Balmain, NSW who was born at Fitzroy in Victoria. Poyitt was in the 56th Battalion when he was wounded at Fromelles on 20 July 1916 and died five days later in hospital at Boulogne. Why I say “probably” is that the time frame does not fit, the Poyitt that died at Fromelle had already embarked for overseas, but the occupation fits. Perhaps Percy had the date or the man mixed up, or there are two Les Poyitts!
“Dubbo” Sharpe is Private 2374 later Gunner Edmund Sharpe of the 3rd Artillery Brigade, a single farmer from Pine View via Dubbo. Dubbo was not born at Dubbo, he was born at Gulgong about September 1892. He is later in the 55th and 5th Pioneer Battalions.
Bob Avant is Private later Sergeant Robert Avant was a single clerk from Sydney and supposedly born at Cootamundra, NSW. His real name is Ulysses Grant Kibby and I suspect he was born in the United States in 1882.
2nd Lieutenant Smythe is Leo Clarke Smythe born at Lismore, NSW on 28 April 1895 and was a single bank clerk from Marrickville. A reservist officer when the boys met him, he enlisted formally on 9 February, 1916 and served in the 45th Battalion. He was wounded by an accidental explosion of a grenade during a training exercise in March 1917 and again at Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917 by a machine gun bullet to the wrist. Toward the end of the war he was accepted by the AFC for pilot training. He is not related to the boys. He died in 1947.
Alf Chapman is Corporal Alfred Alexander Boxall-Chapman of the 3rd Battalion and later of the 2nd Australian Flying Squadron. He was born at Jerilderie, NSW in October, 1889. He was a single engineer on enlistment. Alf was returned to Australia in March 1916 with a cataract in his eye before re-enlisting. It doesn’t look like he ever flew planes!
Wickham is 2464 Private Alexander Wickham, later of the 45th Battalion who is a single miner from Wallsend NSW and born at Mt Kembla in 1894. He was in St Patricks Hospital Malta with influenza, wounded twice during the war and returns to Australia.
Sergeant Hocking is Private later Corporal Albert Charles Hockings, a married painter from Canterbury, NSW. He was born in Devonshire, England in 1880 and was a Boer War veteran. He was returned to Australia with shell shock and rheumatism in early 1916. He had been buried during a bombardment on Gallipoli.
Corporal Webb is Private, later Corporal Henry William Webb, a single blacksmith from Mosman, NSW born about March, 189. He was previously in the AN & MEF, the force that took New Guinea from the Germans in 1914.
Joe Sheen is Joseph Reginald Skeen a single shunter from Blackheath. He was born in September, 1891 and would serve in the Imperial Camel Corps. His only major injury in the war is from a camel bite on his private parts!
Charlie Bruce is Private, later Lieutenant 1390 Charles John Bruce, a single plumber from Blakehurst, NSW. With reinforcements for the 19th Battalion, he embarked on the Ceramic on 25 June, 1915, a couple weeks before Percy leaves on the Orova. He was born at Glasgow, Scotland about 1880. He was later transferred to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion.
Episode 2.2 “Crimed for what?”
“Winnie Shearston’s brother” is either Arthur William or Horace Shearston of Manly, NSW. Arthur was killed at Lone Pine and Horace was killed at Moquet Farm. There were only the three siblings in the family. Horace had also served in New Guinea in 1914.
Tyson is Lieutenant later Captain James Gordon Tyson. He was born in Chatswood, NSW on 6 February 1885. His brother was a soldier in the 19th Battalion. Both men were killed at Bullecourt on the same day.
Dorrington is Private, later Lieutenant Frank Roy Dorrington, a single bank clerk from Broke, NSW. He was born at Redfern, NSW in 1893. Later transferred to AIF Headquarters, he wins a Meritorious Service Medal.
Arthur Hopper at Taree is probably Private later Driver Arthur Leslie Hopper of the 1st Aust Motor Transport Company AAMC. He was born at Kempsey, NSW in 1893. Arthur stayed in England for a short time after the war to study music.
Hill is Private, later Lance Corporal, Esmond Fenwick Du Rien Hill, a single bank clerk from Grafton, NSW. Poor bloke, his mother must have had it in for him, “du rien” means it’s nothing. He was born in 1893 at North Sydney. Later in 7th Field Company Engineers. He was wounded in 1916.
Boyd is Private 2330 Jack Crawford Boyd, later of the 5th Pioneer Battalion, a single engineer from Sydney, NSW. He was born at Belfast in June 1895. He nearly died from enteritis at Gallipoli and pneumonia afterwards.
Arthur Ide is Private 2488 Arthur Ide, a single cook from Paddington NSW. He was born at Bega NSW about 1885 and died on 22 August 1960. He returned to Australia in February 1916 and developed epilepsy after his head wound.
Meale is Private 1402 William Alexander Meale, a single dairy hand from Croydon, NSW. He went into the 19th Battalion with Charlie Bruce and was wounded once during the war. He was born at Erskineville, NSW in 1895 and died in March 1957.
Thornthwaite is Private 2462 Ernest Hubert Thornthwaite, a married farmer from Marrickville, NSW. He was born about 1886. He later moves to the 55th Battalion. He suffered a bad gunshot wound to the foot at Fromelles and was sent home in late 1916.
Howard is Private, later Sergeant 2445 Henry George Howard, a married labourer from Lidcombe, NSW. He was born at Wakefield in England about 1884 and his wife was still living in London when he enlisted. Another 55th Battalion man.
Ralph Dixon is Lance Sergeant 886 Ralph Taylor Dixon, a single carpenter from Narrandera, NSW. He was born at Waradgery, NSW about 1894. Ralph was killed in action on 24 May, 1915 during a minor Turkish attack.
Rixon was Private 513 William Keith Rixon, a single telegraphist from Bulli, NSW. He was born at Murrurundi, NSW about 1891. He was killed in action on 13 June 1915 and has no known grave. Vern Smythe confirms that he was shot while trying to shoot an enemy sniper.
Du Prat is Private 2346 Jean-Francois Duprat, a single builder from Sydney City. He was born at Limoges, France about 1878. He was a French army veteran before emigration. He ends up in the 1st Australian Corps Salvage Section.
O’Connor is Lance Corporal 2456 John Levy O’Connor, a single tram driver from Edgecliff, NSW. He was born at Richmond, Victoria in 1884. He was wounded at Gallipoli and was later transferred to 1st Australian Field Butchery and then to the 20th Battalion with whom he was wounded twice more.
Drain is Private 2343 Edward Drain, a single grazier from Burraga, NSW. He was born about 1889. Drain is fatally wounded at Gallipoli and dies on a hospital ship Gascon on 11 September, 1915. He was buried at sea.
Creech is Private later Lance Corporal 2338 James Joseph Creech, a single blacksmith from Young NSW, where he was born about 1893. He was wounded twice, once on Christmas eve, 1916. Creech will return home with an English nurse, Norah Ellender, as a wife. He died on 17 September 1939 at the Randwick Military Hospital.
Kirkland is Colonel George Kerry Kirkland, the Commandant of the Liverpool Camp until he was relieved of this duty amidst scandal and numerous complaints by the trainees in January 1916. He was born at Derby, England on 5 May 1863 and was a married electrical engineer from Longueville, NSW. After Liverpool, he was transport officer on troop ships. He died in 1937.
Episode 2.3 “Bert at ANZAC”
Sergeant Cavill is Sergeant 1483 Walter William Cavill who was born at Delegate, NSW in 1878. He was a married engineer from Portland, NSW on enlistment. He was a Boer War veteran who served 12 months in the NSW Lancers. He has no known grave.
Company Sergeant Major McGregor is (1481) “A” Company Quarter Master Sergeant Donald Neil MacGregor, a single school teacher from Mildura, Victoria. He was born at Walkerston, Queensland in 1887. He was killed at Quinn’s Post. His letters are kept at The Australian War Memorial.
Colonel Owen is Lieutenant Colonel Robert Haylock Owen, the first commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion. He was married on enlistment and was born on 7 January, 1862 at Wollongong, NSW. He had served in the Sudan Campaign in 1885 and The New Zealand contingent in the Boer War. His son also served in the 3rd Battalion and was killed in 1917. The Colonel was wounded on 22 June, 1915 and was returned to Australia in 1916. Later, he moved to Barnstaple, England where he died 5 April, 1927.
The Brigadier is Colonel Henry Normand MacLaurin, a single Barrister from Sydney, NSW. He was born in Sydney on 31 October, 1878 and was educated in Scotland and the University of Sydney. He had been an officer in a reserve regiment, the NSW Scottish Rifles since 1900. He was killed at 3.10PM on 25 April, 1915 and was posthumously promoted to Brigadier General. His brother Charles was a Lieutenant Colonel and medical officer in the AIF.
The Brigade Major is Major Francis Duncan Irvine, a British regular officer previously with the Royal Engineers. He was killed near the 3rd Battalion headquarters at Steele’s Post, about 200 metres from Brigade HQ 10 minutes before the Brigadier. It has been suggested that the same sniper got both men. Irvine was born 20 January, 1875 at Waltair, India and was married to Emily who was possibly living at Bondi, NSW while her husband was overseas.
Major Brown is Ernest Samuel Brown, a Captain on enlistment, later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion. He was born about 1876 and later killed during the battle of Lone Pine on 6 August, 1915. His letters and a few other items are held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Elbel is Private 1135 Henry Edward Elbel, a single labourer, born at Carlton, Victoria in March, 1892. A model soldier, he was not. He was hospitalised for alcohol poisoning in September 1915, also contracted Syphilis and was absent without leave at least once. Discharged medically unfit in 1916, he later settled in Rockhampton, Queensland where he died on 9 April, 1938.
Episode 2.4 “Through the heads”
Kinsella is Private 2355 Grattan Kinsella, a single labourer on enlistment. He was born on 26 September, 1891. He had an interesting military career, being sent home with influenza in January, 1916, he was returned in the 22nd reinforcement, disembarking in France 11 months later. Kinsella was one of only 19 men in the 3rd battalion to be taken prisoner when he and 10 others were surprised while cooking dinner in an isolated outpost. He gets home and lives at Coogee, NSW, dying in 1948.
Le Clerc is Private 2361 Harry Oswald Le Clerc, a married plasterer. “Cheery” as he was known, was born in Sydney in 1891. Cheery had four children and not much luck. Sick at Gallipoli and wounded ay Pozieres, he lost his life on 9 August, 1918 and his wife lost hers on 25 September 1918. Poor kids.
Bassett is Private, later Driver, 2465 Otha Eveleigh Bassett, a single farmer from Condobolin. He was known as “tiny” Bassett and was killed at Fromelles before the battle on 3 July, 1916. He was one of the first men killed in France in the 3rd Battalion. Tiny was a driver in the transport section, but was out in no mans land helping B Company when they were killed during a “friendly” artillery barrage that the Battalion officers were not properly notified about. Tiny has no known grave.
Episode 2.5 “Baksheesh”
Allthorpe is Private 2423 Frederick William Allthorpe. He was born at Stawell, Victoria on 22 November 1893 and was a single labourer. He spent one month at Gallipoli, being evacuated with influenza in October 1915. Does he “go MAD over a girl”? He escaped from confinement in England for 3 days in May 1916 and he was sent home on 24 June 1916 due to “dysentery and mental”. He then tried to re-enlist in 1917, stating his next of kin to be Mrs Dorothy Elizabeth Allthorpe from London. He then did some home service in 1918 when he also went AWL and in September 1919, he applied for passage for his wife to travel to Australia. He was living in Carlton, Victoria in 1944 and died on 1 August 1959.
Carroll is one of two men. Either, Private 2389 Gerald Carroll goes on to become the Regimental Quarter-Master Sergeant. He was born in New Zealand in 1883 and dies at Port Macquarie, NSW on 3 August 1953. The other is Private 2471 Rupert Gregory Carroll who was born on 31 March 1893 at Paddington, NSW.
Campbell is also one of two men. Most likely, he is Private, later Sergeant 2388 Harold Campbell is the subject of a book “Four Australians at War” by grandson, Maurice Campbell, and Graeme Hosken. He was born at Wellington, NSW in 1893 and was a single farmer on enlistment. Less likely, he is Private 2334 James Campbell who was born at Newcastle, NSW in 1891.
Dudley Blanche is Private 2384 John Dudley Blanch, (no 'e'). He was a Kiwi, born at the other Wellington about 1894. On enlistment, he was a married tally clerk from Coffs Harbour, NSW. He died on 2 December, 1915 and is buried at Shell Green Cemetery.
George Schroder is Private, later Warrant Officer 2438 Charles George Schroder, a single bookkeeper from Mayfield, NSW. He was born at Bellingen, NSW about 1893. Schroder will go home with a Meritorious Service Medal and a French Croix de Guerre. He also broke his leg playing cricket in France!
Charet is Private later Corporal 2450 Bruce Frederick Charet, a single book merchant from Mosman, NSW and born in 1895. He later moved to the 13th Field Artillery Brigade. He was wounded twice during the war.
Episode 2.6 “To Gallipoli”
Episode 2.7 “Dead Man’s Gully and other charming places”
The Brigadier General is Sir Neville Maskelyne Smyth VC. nicknamed “The Sphynx” is the Commanding officer of the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade. He won the VC in the Sudan War in 1897. His cousin was Robert Baden-Powell of scouting fame. The Sphynx was born on 14 August 1868. His high regard for his men was matched by their high regard for him.
Eric Conolly is Private 2337 Eric Richard Conolly, a single assistant shire clerk from Darlington Point, NSW. He was born at Rockdale NSW in 1894 and was a lewis gunner. He was hospitalised for mumps at Gallipoli and killed at Pozieres. He has no known grave.
Gardiner is Private later Corporal 2452 William Sheridan Gardiner, a single farrier from Narrandera, NSW. He was born in Cootamundra NSW on 10 February1889. He goes home and serves in the 11th Garrison Battalion during WW2, dying on 21 October 1943 of illness.
Lieutenant Marshall is Lieutenant John James Marshall, later a Captain in the 55th Battalion. He was born at Bexley, NSW in 1891 and was killed on 27 April 1918. Before the war, he served in the reserve 38th Brigade at Kogarah, NSW. He was also wounded at Polygon Woods in October, 1917.
Dent is Private 2498 William Thomas Dent, single jeweller from Vaucluse, NSW. He was born at Balgownie near Wollongong, NSW on 29 November 1892. He later serves in the 14th Field Company Engineers and the 5th Pioneer Battalion.
Sergeant McGregor is Sergeant later Lieutenant 1156 Roy McGregor, alias John Keith Williams, he was a single commercial traveller on enlistment. He won a DCM two days after the Gallipoli landing for bringing forward much needed ammunition under heavy shellfire. He was later transferred to the Camel Corps.
Parker is Private, later Corporal, 1414 Charles Samuel Parker, a single farmer from Jervis Bay, NSW. He was born at Birchup, Victoria about 1890. He does not come home, getting killed at Ypres in October, 1917 after three previous woundings, two at Gallipoli and again at Pozieres.
Episode 2.8 “Chats, Beachy Bill and other nuisances on Gallipoli”
Daly is Private 2501 Augustine Daly, a married school teacher from Goulburn, NSW. He was born at Mudgee, NSW in 1863 and put his age down to enlist. He died of pneumonia on board the Orsova on 2 August 1915 and was buried at sea. Six of his sons also served in the Great War, one of which, Private Hubert Aloysius Daly of the 18th Battalion was killed in action.
Eric Wade is Private, later Lieutenant 1200 Eric Eratt de mestre Wade, a single mercer from Kendall, NSW. He was born at Walcha NSW on April 1895. He served in the 1st Light Horse Regiment and the 8th Training Squadron Australian Flying Corps and re-enlisted in WW2.
Ryan is Private 2373 Patrick Ryan, a single labourer from Berrigan NSW. He was born at Strathmerton, Victoria about 1891. He was later in the 1st Trench Mortar Battery and will return home to Australia after the war.
Episode 2.9 “Comin’ thro’ the rye … at Malta”
Lord Methuen is Governor of Malta, Field Marshal Paul Sanford Methuen who was born at Wiltshire, England in September 1845 and fought in several wars, mostly with distinction. He died in 1932. Lady Methuen is Lady Mary Ethel Methuen.
Fitton is Sapper later Lieutenant Albert Henry Fitton of the 1st Signal Troop a single telegraphist from Banksia NSW. He was born at Surry Hills NSW in late 1889. He was admitted to St Johns with jaundice on 27 October 1915. He was a pilot with the AFC at the end of the war. He died 12 May 1957.
Tom Martin is Private later Sergeant 2245 Harold Thomas Martin, a single carpenter from Gladesville, NSW. Tom was born about January 1892 at Hunters Hill, NSW and did return home, dying 13 November 1972. He was in the 2nd and 1st Pioneer Battalion.
Episode 2.10 “The Maltese Tourist”
Jim Coleman is Private 2798 James Gordon Coleman, a single butcher from Jerilderie, NSW, where he was born. He and Bill Mallon enlisted on 23 July 1915, embarked together on the Argyllshire on 30 September 1915 and served together in 10th Field Artillery Brigade. Jim returns to Australia and died on 28 May 1963.
Ernie Sadler is Private 2386 Ernest Roderick Sadler, a single rail worker from Taree, NSW. He was born in Sydney in 1890. Ernie dies of disease on 18 October, 1918 and is buried at the Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery in Syria.
Ziegenbein is Private, later Sapper 3973 Frederick Julius Bernard Ziegenbein. He was a single telegraphist from Cundleton, NSW, born at Newlands, Cape Colony, South Africa about 1885. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion but ended up in 1st Division Signal Company before returning home early in August 1916. This man served in a Boer War volunteer detachment, Driscoll’s Scouts for seven months (Service Number 30075) and also the Cape Town Highlanders for six months. There is doubt this man was officially a Boer War Veteran as he was only 17 when that war ended. In this war he was noted to be an excellent signaller, however, he was sent home after the AIF received a report from Taree Post Office outlining his open hostility to the war effort. His CO, Major Gordon, had kept him under surveillance while in the Signal Company and thought he was proficient but he did wander off alone a lot and had no friends in the unit. Unfair? Maybe, who knows? Major Gordon and his superiors obviously did not want to risk the kind of damage this guy could have caused if he did decide to pass on information. Still, was a negative telegram from Taree sufficient evidence?
Kibble is Private David Joseph Kibble, a single farmer from South Australia. He was born at Harrow, Middlesex, England, where his Mum still lived, about 1897. He was taken on strength to the 10th Battalion on Gallipoli but sent home in March 1916. He went back to France in December 1916 and after further debility he was once again sent home to Australia in March 1918. Kibble died on 14 August 1931 and is buried at Adelaide, SA.
Frank is Private 238 Clarence Edward Frank, a single labourer from Newcastle, NSW. He was born at Warwick, Qld about 1893. He was at Malta with dysentery. He was killed at Pozieres on 23 July 1916 and has no known grave.
Penny is Private later Corporal 2415 Alec Gordon Penny, a single grocer from Erskineville, NSW. He was born at Margate, England about 1892. Penny is later in the 55th Battalion and he comes home with a Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1919. Here is what he did to win his DCM, quoting the citation, “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid. He successfully rushed an enemy machine gun post with his section, himself bayoneting three of the garrison. Inspired by his skill and courage, his party worked along either flank and accounted for all the enemy in that part of the trench. On the signal being given to withdraw, he got all his men back to the lines, having contributed greatly to the success of the raid.” This was at Sailly-le-Sec on 4 July 1918. He hoisted the German machine gun onto his shoulder and brought it back to his lines as a souvenir.
Episode 2.11 “News of Gallipoli”
Bishop is Private 2492 William Robert Bishop, a married contractor from Arncliffe, NSW. He was born at Stawell, Victoria about 1875. He was wounded on 15 November, 1915 and died the next day. Bishop had at least one daughter, Dorothy.
Gimbert is Private, later Corporal 1123 Robert William Robert Gimbert, a single labourer from Newcastle, NSW. He was born at Murrurrundi, NSW about 1889. He was later in the Army Provost Corps. He was at Malta with Pleurisy. He married an English girl and stayed in England for some time before returning home to Australia, passing away on Christmas Day, 1959.
Episode 2.12 “A walk in the desert”
“Old” Davis is probably 35 year old, Private 2341 Robert Davis, a single seaman from Newtown NSW. He was born at Essex in England in 1880. He would become a Prisoner of War at Fromelles while serving in the 55th Battalion and was repatriated home after the war and a short stay in England.
Butcher is Private, later Lieutenant 2333 William Eneras Butcher, a single labourer from Manly, NSW. He was born in Launceston, Tasmania about 1885. Later in the 1st Trench Mortar battery he was mentioned in dispatches in 1916. He returned to Australia after the war.
Glenday is Private later Company Sergent Major 2656 James Glenday, a single commercial traveller from Carlton, NSW. He was born at Coupar Angus in Scotland about 1887. He was in the 17th Battalion, wounded twice in action and returned home.
Drewe is Private later Sergeant 2480 Francis Clifford Drewe, a single draftsman on enlistment. He was born in Liverpool, England about 1892. He was wounded twice during the war, including at Fromelles and returned to Newcastle afterwards, dying 25 February, 1942.
Ewins is Private later Lieutenant 2390 Harold Egbert Ewins, a married electrician from Tamworth, NSW. He was born in Fiji about 1882. He finished the war in the 1st Machine Gun Battalion and was mentioned in dispatches. He returned home and passed away in 1960.
Groves is Sergeant 1502 Henry William Groves, a married seaman from Redfern, NSW. He was born about 1878 and had served 20 years in the Royal Navy. Later in the 55th Battalion, he would return home in October, 1917.
Siddins is Corporal 2227 Norman Macquarie Siddins. He is a single traveller and accountant from Leichhardt, NSW, where he was born in 1893. He would return home with a Meritorious Service Medal in 1919 and die on 13 February 1928 at Randwick Hospital.
Chantrill is Private, later Company Quartermaster Sergeant 2578 Benjamin Joseph Chantrill, a married ironmonger from Croydon, NSW and was born in 1875 at Sydney. He would be wounded three times during the war, return home and pass away in 1944.
Millard is Private, later Sergeant 3091 James William, actually John Samuel, Millard. He was born at South Melbourne, VIC about February 1893 and was a labourer from Erskineville NSW on enlistment. Millard is wounded in 1918 and returns home.
Captain Edwards is Captain, later Major Arthur Rowland Edwards. He was born in Western Australia (I think) on 29 October 1891. A transfer in from 4th Battalion, he was injured at Pozieres and return home in October 1916. Major Edwards passed away on 10 May 1944 when he fell down a stair case while lighting his pipe at a club in Newcastle, NSW.
Chaplain McNicol is Captain / Chaplain (4th Class) Donald McNicol a married Baptist Minister from Malvern, South Australia, who was born on 13 September, 1876 in Scotland. A Boer War veteran who also had served in Gibraltar, he would be the chaplain for the 18th Battalion later but sent home with an undiagnosed illness in late 1916. He died in April 1942 leaving a wife, married daughter and three sons serving in WWII.
Episode 2.13 “Percy gets a stripe”
Captain Simpson is Captain, later Lieutenant-Colonel Adam James Goldie Simpson, a single law clerk and Cambridge Graduate from Hunters Hill, NSW, born 9 March 1888. He had served in a cavalry unit prior to the war. Originally enlisting in the 4th Battalion with his brother, he was transferred to the 56th Battalion when it was formed in early 1916. His brother, George, had been killed at Lone Pine.
Jack Bubb is Corporal, later CSM 1507 Clarence Paul Bubb. A married plumber, born at Geelong, Victoria on 6 January 1892. He was wounded twice and returned home after the war with an MSM. He also re-enlisted in WWII.
Wallace Frazer is most likely Gunner 19068 Albert Wallace Frazer of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, a single student from Kensington, NSW. He was born near Wellington NSW about August, 1896. He was wounded in June 1917 and was returned to Australia a few months later. He appears to have been still alive in 1969.
Murray-Cowper is Private 1108 James Stewart Murray-Cowper. An engine cleaner from Nowra, NSW, he was born at Euston about 1894. He will be wounded at Pozieres and sent home with shell shock, but also enlists for home service in WWII.
Sergeant Gordon is Sergeant 1090 James Gordon. Jimmy Gordon was born at Wolumla NSW on 26 January 1895. A tough boy whose dad had died in a gold mining accident when he was 1 year old. He was wounded three times at Gallipoli.
Major Price is Major, later Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price. He was born 23 February, 1890 at Kiama NSW - one of six brothers. Owen won the Military Cross at Lone Pine and the DSO in France. Four of his brothers were also decorated during the war.
Chaplain McKenzie or “Fighting Mac” became one of the most colourful characters in the AIF. William McKenzie was born in Scotland on 20 December, 1869. He was a married Salvation Army officer on enlistment. Chaplains were not allowed to participate in the fighting but Mac never denied the rumours that he took part in attacks, including once when he led a charge armed only with a shovel. There is much written about Fighting Mac.
Episode 2.14 “A pretty face like a girl”
Jim Voss is a very interesting character. Lance Corporal, later Lance Sergeant 1187 James Martin Voss was born in 1894 in German settled Burrumbuttock, NSW. Percy will mention him later but this man meets a controversial end. Jim’s dad was born in Schleswig Holstein in 1854 but his Mum was Australian. In late 1916 he was found shot in the head well behind the lines. His father was told by someone in the Battalion that Jim was shot by one of his mates. If so, there is nothing recorded in any notes that I can find. There is some evidence that he may have been taunted for his German heritage. I have spoken to a relative and the family never received a satisfactory answer.
Osborne brother's is Private 1158 Alick Thomas Osborne, who is a major character in Harry Hartnett’s book, “Over the Top”. “Bazzy”, as he was known, had been wounded at Lone Pine, was later in the 2nd Battalion with Hartnett, returning home in 1919 and dying in 1959.
Ced Wright is Private, later Lance Corporal 1489 Cedric Shipman Wright. He was born in Sydney about 1893 and was a single machinist on enlistment. He re-enlists in WWII (NX17640) after putting his age down 7 years. He was wounded at Passchendaele and returns home in 1919. He was still alive in 1962.
RSM Rudkin is Regimental Sergeant Major 1116 Thomas Sidney Rudkin. He was born in England in 1889. He was disfigured during the war when he was injured three times. An agricultural scientist after the war, he rarely went amongst crowds. In 1950 he was killed when changing a tyre on his car and the jack failed!
Rosser is Sergeant 1089 Richard Walters Rosser, a single postal assistant born on 5 March 1894 at Corowa or Holbrook, NSW. He was a Coronation Cadet attending King George’s coronation. He was later killed at Pozieres and has no known grave.
Episode 2.15 “Pity the 9th Battalion”
Geordie Crawford is Private 1331 Samuel Crawford. He is a single miner, born in England about 1888. He ends up in a psychiatric hospital at the end of the war, suffering from delusions and paranoia and was returned to Australia in late 1916.
Percy Morgan link
The Duckworths are brothers, 3042 & 3043 John and Horace Victor Duckworth, both born at Geelong, Victoria. John is the elder of the two, born in 1892, while Horrie was born on 2 July 1897. John was a single dental mechanic and Horrie a single carpenter on enlistment. Both boys were wounded and returned home after the war, Horrie as a Lance Corporal. Horrie served again in WWII and suffered a fatal head injury at Tuena near Orange, NSW on 30 December 1946 while diving into the Fish River. He was manager of the Orange Gasworks at the time and was married with one surviving child.
Nagle is Private 2185 Francis William Joseph Nagle a single saddler from Warren, NSW where he was born in 1894. He was wounded in May 1916 and then again suffers shell shock at Pozieres returns home in February 1917 and passes away in 1973.
Wells is probably Corporal 1137 Matthew Ezekiel Wells. He was born at Junee NSW on April 13, 1892. He was a single labourer. He would win a Belgian Croix DeGeure.
Farrell is most likely Corporal 586 Dan Farrell, a single labourer born at Tipperary in Ireland about 1890 and an original Anzac. He was wounded at Gallipoli by a grenade and a second time later at Pozieres by a bullet. He was returned home to Australia in late 1916.
Mick Curran is Private 1325 Michael Curran, a single coal miner born at Millers Point NSW about 1893. He was also wounded three times during the war and returned home in 1917. Mick was AWL a few times after his wound at Gallipoli.
Ogilvie is Lance Corporal 2664 Roderick Alexander Ogilvie, a single tram conductor born at Tumut, NSW about 1893. He marries an English girl Alice Rose Weatherley and returns to Australia and passed away in 1961.
Dooley is Private 3353 Herbert Dooley, a single shearer from Arncliffe, NSW and born about 1893. He is court marshalled twice and returns home after the war. He was living in Erskineville, NSW in 1933.