DIGGER 59

CONTENTS

Articles

The 20th Battalion and the Evacuation from Gallipoli, Neville Browning 3-7

Pte Frederic John Baird, 17th Bn, Maurice Campbell 8-10

L/Cpl Noho Toki, 1st Maori Contingent, Judith Green 11-12

Lieut Thomas Acherson Armstrong, 33rd Bn, Stephen Brooks 12

Pte Garnet Dart, 9th Australian Field Ambulance, Emeritus Prof. John Ramsland 13-20

Gallipoli diary of Bdr Arthur Henson Smith, 3rd FAB, contrib. by Rowan Smith 21-28

Bob Bage: forgotten comrade of Antarctica and Gallipoli (3rd FCE), Ross McMullin 29-32

How we recovered waste: Pte Leslie St Clair Roberts, ex-10th Bn, contrib. by Bill Durrant 33-34

WO1 Alexander Rose Falconer, 5th FAB, Part 3 of his diary, contrib. by Neil Falconer 35-40

Centenary of Anzac Obelisk, Moore Park, Sydney, Jim Munro 40

For Valour: Anzac VC recipients, 1917, Part 2 (Bullecourt & Messines), Geoff Lewis 41-49

Flanders Memorial Garden (AWM grounds, Canberra), Sue Tongue 50

Lieut Frederick Carl Stolz, 32nd Bn, contrib. by John Haddow 51-57

Major John Higgon, Pembroke Yeomanry/32nd Bn AIF, Graeme Hosken 57-60

Swift father and son killed in the war, Stephen Brooks 60

Diaries of L/Cpl William Lycett, 4th Field Ambulance, Part 10, contrib. by Tim Lycett 61-65

The three brothers McGree, Stephen Brooks 66

L/Cpl Charles Frederick Lee, 14th & 46th Bns, 12th MGC, Greg O’Reilly 67-70

Letters from the Front: Pte Reginald Milton Smith, 33rd Bn, Bill Durrant 71-73

Letters from the Front, 1917 (Messines): Pte Bert Von Einem, 38th Bn, found on Trove 73

Return of the Menin Gate lions to Ieper, Johan Durnez, Anny de Decker & Geoff Lewis 74

Regular features

Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2

Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Note: There is no DIGGER Quiz in this issue

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1918 Christmas and New Year Greetings

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Major milestone for The Headstone Project

The last of the 316 previously unmarked graves of returned Diggers buried in the Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart will have their headstones dedicated in a graveside service on Saturday 15 December. After 6 years of researching, finding families, planning, fundraising, organising and co-ordinating, The Headstones Project Sub-Committee of FFFAIF, established in 2012, has completed its initial task.

Around 2010, Tasmanian FFFAIF member John Trethewey, while researching a number of World War One veterans, discovered that a number were resting in unmarked graves in Cornelian Bay Cemetery. To rectify this situation, a group of people including John with historian Andrea Gerrard and Peter Pickering came together as the Commemorations Coalition to see if they could change this situation. In September 2012 FFFAIF formally established the Headstone Projects Sub-committee with Terms of Reference and delegated authority to enable the Commemorations Coalition to establish bank accounts, receive funds and be covered by Public Liability insurance.

On 8th March 2012, the unveiling of first 4 headstones and plaques occurred with further dedications in each of the following 6 years. Dignitaries attending have included Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania, Senator, the Honourable Eric Abetz, Brian Mitchell MP, Mr Jim Wilkinson, President of the Legislative Council. Lieutenant Colonel (Retd.) Andrew Wilkie MHR, the Lord Mayor of Hobart, and the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans’ Affairs in Tasmania and then Chief of Army, Lt-General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM, and, FFFAIF Members Lambis Englezos, Dr Ross McMullin, and Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial.

The Headstones Project, Chaired by Andrea Gerrard OAM, has become a model of how the service and sacrifice of soldiers who returned from the Great War can be recognised through passionate people working in partnership with local community leaders, community groups and businesses, government agencies and ex-service organisations. The project has inspired similar projects in other parts of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

13 headstones with plaques have been unveiled at the Ulverstone General Cemetery on the north west coast of Tasmania where the local RSL worked with The Headstone Project and at Launceston where 141 unmarked graves have so far been found in Carr Villa Memorial Park, the main cemetery in Launceston.

In May 2016, the FFFAIF Committee established a South Australian Headstone Project Sub-committee on the same basis as the Tasmanian Headstone Project with FFFAIF member John Brownlie as Chair, and mentored by Andrea and Ron Gerrard.  Considerable support for the project has been building and their first headstone was unveiled on Remembrance Day 2017.

In NSW at Sandgate Cemetery in Newcastle, more than 850 soldiers of the Great War are thought to have their final resting place and about 400 soldiers are memorialised on their web-site at http://sandgate.northerncemeteries.com.au/index.php/war-heroes. Based on the research undertaken by Gary Mitchell over the past decade, more than 100 wooden crosses made by the Morpeth Men’s Shed have been installed on previously unmarked graves of returned soldiers. A particular example of how this has helped bring families together is the commemorative service for Pte Cressy KIA Fromelles 19 July 1916 on the centenary of his death at the previously unmarked grave of his parents- see http://fffaif.org.au/?p=814 for the story of searching for any relatives in 2008 with the results in 2016 at https://www.theherald.com.au/story/4040009/finding-private-harry-fromelles-remembered-photos-video/?cs=305#slide=21.

Rookwood Necropolis, the largest cemetery in Australia, has over the past 4 years identified 1,756 unofficial war memorials on graves and cleaned and restored many of these. Where the grave-site has previously been unmarked by any monumental work or commemorative plaque, non-permanent markers have been installed to display the name of soldier. This work has been undertaken by Rookwood staff who have expressed an interest in being involved in this project as explained by CEO George Simpson in the video at http://www.rookwoodcemetery.com.au/assets/video/Rookwood%20Remembrance.mp4.

To mark the milestone of the dedication of the headstones on the last of the 316 previously unmarked graves in the Cornelian Bay Cemetery, FFFAIF is hosting a “Headstone Projects Roundtable” on Saturday in Hobart to bring together some of those FFFAIF Members and other people working on similar projects. Their objective is to share experiences and learning, improve consistency of memorialisations, better co-ordinate their activities and provide support to each other, and perhaps obtain some economies of scale.

If you are aware of local efforts to recognise the service of sacrifice of soldiers of The Great War on their graves or to list or photograph local graves of soldiers, and you think that would benefit by FFFAIF support, or you would like to join the Headstone Project efforts, please send details to headstone.projects@fffaif.org.au.

With the cost of each headstone and commemorative plaque costing about $400 each, the bulk of funding has come from community fundraising and business and government grants as well as the significant discounts and contributions in kind by project-partners. In addition, FFFAIF has contributed funds from the sale of Rembrella poppy umbrellas to the Headstone Project.  If you would like to support the Headstone Project by purchasing a Rembrella poppy umbrella, contact rembrella@fffaif.org.au

 

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Seeking Fromelles DNA matches

19 July 2018 The Catafalque Party enters the Cemetery passing covered Headstones to be rededicated.
All photographs by Carole Laignel, unless otherwise acknowledged
[Click on images to enlarge]

The names of 231 of the 250 soldiers buried by the German Reserve Bavarian Infantry Regiment soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles are known. The graves of 159 of the 250 soldiers whose remains were recovered from the communal pits near Pheasant Wood, Fromelles in French Flanders and were reburied with full military honours in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery in 2010 are now identified with their names.

Photo: DNA procedures
[2009 Oxford Archaeology. CWGC]

The names of a further 71 soldiers are known to be buried in the Cemetery along with 20 whose identity is not known.  Identifying which of these soldiers is in which grave remains the challenge that can only be solved now by matching the soldier’s DNA with that of a descendant. These are some of the 1,102 Australian soldiers killed in the Battle of Fromelles on the night of 19th July, 1916 and continuing into the 20th with no known grave.  (1,333 Australian soldiers were listed as having no known grave less 231 now known to have been buried near Pheasant Wood).

    Identified with named head-stones Identified from Original Working List Identified from
Munich research
Identified but not on Working List
Soldiers identified 231 159 120 4 35
Soldiers recovered 250 64% 75% 3% 22%

 

The President of the Fromelles Association of Australia, Royce Atkinson, has issued the following call to anyone who has a relative who could have been buried by the Germans following the Battle of Fromelles.

100 SUBMISSIONS OF POSSIBLE IDENTIFICATIONS TO THE JOINT IDENTIFICATION BOARD!!!!
AND LETS MAKE SURE 100% OF THE DNA KITS ARE RETURNED!!!!!!

That’s right, there are going to be at least 100 submissions made to the Joint Identifications Board for consideration in March, 2019. But there are a number of people who have been contacted, and are yet to have their DNA kits completed and returned.

This is the message we have received from those in charge of making submissions to the Joint Identification Board:

“Despite the great efforts going to identify donors we still have a significant number of donors who have done nothing about their kits when they received them from LGC, or return them very late.
The ID board will be sitting early March so we need the kits back by first week of February 2019 to ensure the samples can be processed in time.
It is zero cost to the donor. If the donors filled out the paper work and returned their kits within a week of receiving them then we would have the possibility of more identifications.
This has been a problem from the beginning.”

If you have a DNA kit or you know a relative who has received a DNA kit, now is the time to get the kits finished and returned to the laboratory. For your family, and for all those lost at Fromelles.

19 July 2018 Wreath-laying by Martial Delebarre, Jean Marie Bailleul & Pierre Sellier & Geoffrey Benn

Please contact: Royce Atkinson at royceatkinson@hotmail.com

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Vale – Major General Gordon Lindsay Maitland AO, OBE, RFD, ED

Gordon Maitland MAJGENGordon Maitland Centenary of AnzacGordon Maitland funeral

On behalf of the Committee and Members of Families and Friends of the First AIF, I extend condolences to the family and friends of FFFAIF Foundation Member Gordon Maitland on his passing on 17 October 2018, aged 92 years.

Major General Gordon Lindsay Maitland AO OBE RFD ED (1926 – 2018) was born in Rockdale on 25 August 1926. He was aged 17 when he enlisted in the 2nd AIF during the Second World War. He learnt Japanese and on the cessation of hostilities was sent overseas and took some of the surrenders. He also did some of the war crimes investigations and interpreted at some of the war trials.

His military career included service in Vietnam and later command of the 2nd Division. At the time of his retirement from the Army, Gordon was Chief of Reserves at Army Headquarters and a member of the Chief of Army’s Advisory Council. Post military, Gordon served as CEO of The Royal Agricultural Society, on various NSW Government Committees and as Chief Manager of the Commonwealth Bank.

 For the past 3 decades, Gordon has devoted his life to commemorative and community activities, particularly assisting veterans and their organisations, a number of which he has led. He has also had a lifelong dedication to military history.

2009 07 23 Pozieres Service Gordon Maitland P1040083Gordon at the Commemorative Service for the Battle of Pozieres at Saint Columba Church, Woollahra on Sunday 26 July 2009.
Photo: Major General Craig D. Williams AM, Commander 2nd Division takes the salute accompanied by Rev. Dr. Alan Russell, Major-General Sandy Pearson AO, DSO, OBE, MC (Retd) and Major-General Gordon Maitland AO OBE RFD ED (Retd) [Jim Munro]

 Gordon Maitland at Pozieres Service 2008

Gordon at Pozieres Commemoration Service at Saint Columba Uniting Church, Woollahra, Sunday 27 July 2008.
Photo: Theodore Arfaras, President, Association Des Anciens Combatants Francais, George Brouet, President, Foundation France Libre, Major General Gordon Maitland AO OBE RFD ED Rtd, Russell Curley, President Families and Friends of the First AIF. [Alan Kitchen]

Gordon was a Foundation Member of FFFAIF (Member 20) and our most senior retired military officer. Gordon has been an authoritative historian and author with the assistance of his late wife Dorothy has had 6 books published. Click here to read an interview Gordon did with NSW RSL Reveille on his interest in military history.

Gordon Maitland passed away on the evening of 17 October 2018 and his military funeral was held at St James, King St., Sydney on Monday, 29 October 2018 at 10:30. This was followed by a by Military Procession along Phillip St with a Tribute Ceremony at the Cenotaph, Martin Place, concluding with a reception at The Westin Hotel, Sydney.

Those participating in the service included:

Officiant’s:
The Rev Andrew Sempell, Rector of St James
The Rev Robert Sutherland, CSC, Chaplain, Australian Army
T
he Rev the Honourable Fred Nile, ED, MLC

The eulogy was delivered by Major General The Honourable Paul Brereton, AM RFD, Judge of the NSW Court of Appeal, honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal NSW Regiment and the University of NSW Regiment, and Assistant Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force.

Pipers of Sydney’s Thistle Highland Pipe Band played a Scottish Tribute

Reflections were given by Gordon’s daughters, Barbara Hodges and Elizabeth Charman and the grandchildren.

Readings were led by:
H
is Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley, AC, DSC, (Rtd), Governor of New South Wales
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, AC, DSC, CSM

The poem “Kokoda Pilgrimage” written by Gordon was read by 97 years-old Dick Payten OAM, President of the 7th Division Association and a Kokoda veteran. 

The 4th Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment Colours were marched into the service.

The Choir of St James, Director of Music, Organist and Altar Servers assisted in the service.

Piper Graham Wood played the recessional piece as the Maitland family and dignitaries left the church.

The following photos show the military procession and Tribute Ceremony.

IMG_8943 web

Military Procession in Phillip Street, Sydney

IMG_8952 webIMG_8954 web

Gordon’s casket arrives at the Cenotaph Ceremony of Remembrance  Graeme Wood of the Sydney’s Thistle Highland Pipe Band, for first time in public, played the Fromelles lament, commissioned by Gordon.  

 FFFAIF member Darren Mitchell significantly supported the Maitland family in the organisation and conduct of the funeral service and Cenotaph Ceremony of Remembrance.

Other FFFAIF members present were Jim Munro, President, Russell Curley past President, Margaret Snodgrass, Jim Braid.

IMG_8957 webIMG_8955 web

 FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass OAM and Past President Russell Curley with Member Jim Braid in the background. Senior military officers, Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales, and Gordon’s daughters Barbara Hodges and Elizabeth Charman and members of the Maitland family.

Read Gordon Maitland Obituary SMH Will Davies in the Sydney Morning Herald of 10 November 2018 by Will Davies

Jim Munro

President

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The Story of Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas in Australia

The images of poppies on the old Flanders battlefields and umbrellas lining the route of The Armistice Day Poppy Parade to the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper (Ypres) inspired Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE, instigator of the Parade and a respected historian and Vice President of the Western Front Association, to develop the Poppy Umbrella.

Photo: Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE
Remembrance Day Ieper 2009
[Rembrella]

The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella by Fultons, the largest supplier of quality umbrellas in the UK, and the holder of a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen. The Rembrella products are premium gifts available in three different styles: Telescopic, Standard and Golf Umbrellas. They are only available for sale through registered charities of ex-Service and welfare organizations, or military and heritage museums, or educational associations and not-for-profit organizations.

The Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas design is registered in Australia and in 2009 Rembrella appointed Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFAIF) as its Australian importer.

Rembrella products are sold through organisations that commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australians in The Great War including the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the National ANZAC Centre in Albany, the Anzac Memorial Sydney, the Queensland ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee and The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. More than 4,000 Rembrella products have been sold in Australia with sales benefiting these organisations and also enabling FFFAIF to contribute funding to Commemorations in Sydney for Fromelles Day and the Battles of 3rd Ypres as well towards the costs of headstones on unmarked graves of returned Diggers.

Lt Col Graham Parker & Joanna at Pte Andrew Gibson's grave Baverstock

Photo: Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE
and his daughter Joanna Legg
at the grave of Private Andrew Gibson AIF of Mackay Queensland, at St Edith’s Baverstock, Wiltshire UK [Rembrella]

Andrew Gibson was a 39-year-old farmer from Mackay, Queensland when he enlisted in the AIF on 6th March 1916. He was the son of Andrew and Margaret Gibson and had been born in Stranraer, Wigtonshire in Scotland.

Private Gibson embarked with the 31st Infantry Battalion on 19th September aboard the HMAT Seang Choon from Brisbane. After a sea voyage of nearly three months Pte Gibson disembarked at Plymouth England on 9th December 1916 and was posted to the 8th Training Battalion located at Hurdcott Camp, on the Salisbury Plain. Three weeks later he was admitted to Fovant Military Hospital on 31st December 1916 where he died of broncho pneumonia on 7th January 1917.

Private Gibson was a widower and was survived by a son James and daughter Margaret both of Mackay. Andrew’s next of kin was his brother Robert Gibson of Fairleigh Estate, Mackay, Queensland.

Private Gibson was buried on 10th January 1917 and is one of 28 Australian and 3 British soldiers buried at St Edith’s, Baverstock, Wiltshire where an ANZAC Day commemoration service is held annually.

 

 

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2018 John Laffin Memorial Lecture

Report by Paul Simadas, FFFAIF Vice President

 john-laffin_-portrait_website

The 2018 John Laffin Memorial Lecture Day, held at 99 York St in Sydney’s CBD on 15 September was a rewarding day for those who attended. In a full day of talks our four speakers delivered informative lectures that were entertaining and reflective of the effort and sacrifice of Australians during and after the Great War.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Sweeney, former infantry officer and now battlefield historian and guide, delivered an enthralling talk on the Australian battle of Le Hamel fought on the 4th of July 1918. He presented the battle within its historical context, and explained the superb role of Australian staff work in preparing for the battle and the key elements to tactical success in its actual conduct. The battle set the standard for future Australian operations. The all-arms battle combining tanks, artillery, machine guns and aircraft with the infantry was explained in detail using maps and vignettes from the battle.

JLML 2018 1 Peter Sweeney IMG-0728 cropped

Figure 1 Peter Sweeney outlines the Battle of Hamel

 Our second talk was delivered by one of the four 2017 John Laffin Memorial History Prize recipients, Nathaniel Sgambellone of Monash University. His talk, “Good Bye to All That” was based on his original research of the Repatriation files in the National Archives of Australia. Taking case studies of several individual returned servicemen, he presented a sensitive review of the plight confronting service men and their families in the post-war year. The end of the war brought a long shadow of difficulties to the incapacitated and “down on their luck” former diggers. The difficulties experienced by returned servicemen and their dependents in applying for pensions, seeking welfare and repatriation support, and in receiving suitable hospital care were revealed. The failure of the land grants scheme to make farmers of the men, and the mental anguish endured by many Australian families as a result of the war was described. The Memorial History prize is one of the several endeavours of the FFFAIF to remember “Digger” heritage.

JLML 2018 2 Nathaniel Sgambone IMG-0729 cropped

Figure 2 Nathaniel Sgambellone asking was it really “Good Bye to All That”?
– Repatriation arrangements and its impact on Australians after the war

Following a catered lunch of sandwiches and refreshments for the 35 attendees, the lecture day then looked at the role of the nurses of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). Clare Ashton, senior nurse and expert historian in the role of nursing and the medical services in the Great War, presented a survey of the AANS. Around 2,500 nurses served overseas during the war as far afield as Lemnos, France and England. These nurses faced the stress of providing care to seriously wounded soldiers near the front lines and further back. The structure of the casualty clearing stations, and of the Stationary and General hospitals was explained. A case study of the 3rd Australian General Hospital was given that included period photographs of the nurses on duty in the wards and elsewhere. Clare wore one of the uniforms commissioned by the ABC for their drama series ANZAC Girls about Australian nurses in the Great War. She looked the part!

JLML 2018 3 Clare Ashton IMG-0732 cropped

Figure 3 Clare Ashton with Nurses of the AIF in the Great War

To close the day, FFFAIF Committee member Sue Tongue spoke about her Grandmother, Sister Nellie Pike, the mother of our late patron John Laffin and his younger sisters Patricia (Williams) and Daphne (Tongue). Nellie served in the 3rd Australian General Hospital. Sue displayed original documents and photos of Sister Pike’s War service. It was touching and sad to hear, yet Sue’s pride in her Grandmother’s service was evident to all listening.

JLML 2018 4 Sue Tongue IMG-0731 cropped

Figure 4 Sue Tongue sharing the story of Will Rose (KIA at Fromelles) and
Sister Nellie Pike

JLML 2018 5 Attendees IMG-0725 cropped

Figure 5 John Laffin Memorial Lecture 2018 attendees

 

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Commemoration of the Battles of Third Ypres, Sydney

The Families and Friends of the First AIF
invite you to attend or view
the Commemoration of the Battles of Third Ypres

Wednesday 26 September 2018, 10.45 am for 11:00 am to 12.00 noon

at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney.

tyncot_5_sml2Menin Gate

The road to Passchendaele                                     The Gate on Menin Road

The Commemoration honours the 43 Divisions of British and Dominion troops involved in all of the Battles of Third Ypres. I ANZAC Corps, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Australian Divisions and II ANZAC Corps consisting of the 3rd Australian Division, the New Zealand Division with 2 British Divisions on rotation, fought alongside each other for the first time. The battles lasted for 102 days with more than 300,000 casualties. Australian Divisions participated in the following battles:

Menin Road, 20-25 September
Polygon Wood, 26 September to 3 October
Broodseinde Ridge, 4 October
Poelcapelle, 9 October
Passchendaele (First Battle), 12 October

cross-of-sacrifice-hooge-crater-cemetery_sml Tyne Cot Cemetery

Hooge Crater Cemetery                                              Tyne Cot Cemetery

To be streamed live and available for later viewing on The Anzac Memorial Facebook page. 

RSVP by 15 September to rsvp@fffaif.org.au.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_254 Lament - Piper Jim Braid with Bugler Ross GriffithsANZ_YPRES_2017_393 Australian Army Band Sydney playing New Zealand National Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri ANZ_YPRES_2017_267c Wreath laying - Capt Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr David MasonANZ_YPRES_2017_413 Greg and Debbie Rogers and great neice

 

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2018 John Laffin Memorial Lecture

John Laffin 1922-2000

Members and their guests are invited to attend

 The John Laffin Memorial Lecture

 Saturday 15th September 2018   10:00 am to 3:30 pm

   Level 2, 99 York Street, Sydney CBD – One block from Town Hall Station

Several nearby car-parks offer an all-day rate of $20.

      Entry: $20 per head cash on the day
(and another $15 for catered sandwiches and refreshments if sufficient numbers).

 Three lectures with Q&A as follows:

‘The Battle of Le Hamel, 1918’, Lt. Col. Peter Sweeney, RFD.)

‘Repatriation arrangements and its impact on Australians after the war’, Nathaniel Sgambellone, recipient of the Monash University 2017 John Laffin Memorial Prize for Australian History.

‘Australian nurses in the Great War’, by Clare Ashton. FFFAIF Committee member Sue Tongue will join Clare to profile her grandmother, Sister Nell Pike, mother of John Laffin. 

RSVP by5 September 2018, to rsvp@fffaif.org.au.

John Laffin Le Hamel 4 July 1998

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Fromelles Day Sydney 2018: Commemorative Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial and Commemorative Service

The Families and Friends of the First AIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, hosted the Commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles at The Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Thursday 19 July 2018.

The Battle of Fromelles in northern France on 19-20 July 2016 was the first battle involving Australian troops on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24-hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. In 2008, the graves of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans after the battle were located and in 2010 reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and 159 of these soldiers have now been identified by name.

The Commemoration was preceded by a Commemorative Procession of about 90 people on a mild winter morning from the Archibald Fountain that commemorates the association of Australia and France in The Great War to the Anzac Memorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_003 The Archibald Fountain celebrates the association between France and Australia

All images by Rob Tuckwell Photography – Click to enlarge

The Commemorative Procession re-enacts the veterans of the Australian 5th Division marching to the ANZAC Memorial on the 50th anniversary of the Battle to pass to the Trustees the responsibility for remembering their service and sacrifice and that of their fallen comrades in perpetuity.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_014 Procession from Archibald Fountain

The Commemorative Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain.

The Commemorative Procession was led by civic leaders and senior officers from military and civilian services. Following the Australian National Flag Party from the Australian Army were:

The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council and Jim Munro, President, Families and Friends of the First AIF

Michael Ward, Consul-General and Director-General of Trade & Investment for the United Kingdom and M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France

The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs & Sport representing the Leader of the NSW Opposition, an Anzac Memorial Trustee and Dr Patricia Jenkings, President United Nations Association of Australia (NSW)

Dr John Vallance, State Librarian and Chief Executive, State Library of NSW, an Anzac Memorial Trustee and Jill Hayes, FFFAIF Committee Member.

Meg Green, National President, War Widows’ Guild of Australia, and Dianne Vogt representing the President, NSW War Widows’ Guild of Australia.

Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and Hadyn White representing the Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT, Department of Veteran Affairs

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division, representing Commander, Forces Command, The Australian Army and
Captain Amanda Garlick, Representative of Fleet Commander, RAN and
Group Captain ‘Chaplain’ Peter Friend representing Air Commander Australia, RAAF

Inspector Rob Winkler, Sydney City Police Area Command representing NSW Police and Superintendent Michael Bray, representing the NSW Ambulance Service and Deputy Commissioner Jim Hamilton, representing NSW Fire and Rescue.

They were supported by members of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards, French North African Veterans’ Association (the Association des Anciens Combattants Francais (NSW)) led by M Jean Louis Worobec and a Wreath Carrying Party from St Clare’s College, Waverley, including Kate O’Sullivan, Immi Barham, Lily Garrett, Kiara Odishu and Natalia Rey, with HSIE Coordinator, Kirstie Mason. Members of FFFAIF and Descendants’ organisations including The Fromelles Association, Australian World War One Descendants NAJEX (NSW Association of Jewish Service & Ex-Service Men & Women) and Legacy as well as descendants of soldiers who participated in the Battle.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_032 Procession crossing Park St ANZ_Fromelles__2018_037 Procession crossing Park St Jim Munro, Scott Farlow, Lynda Voltz, Pierre Bianconi, Michael Ward, John Vallance ANZ_Fromelles__2018_047 Procession approaching Anzac Memorial Army Brig Sweeney RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend ANZ_Fromelles__2018_061 Procession approaching Anzac Memorial Lynda Voltz, Pierre Bianconi, Jim Munro, Michael Ward

The Commemorative Procession approaching the Anzac Memorial with the Australian National Flag Party, Association des Anciens Combattants Francais (NSW) & NSW RSL Corps of Guards.  All images by Rob Tuckwell Photography – [Click on image to enlarge]

The procession symbolically represents the “400 yards”, the widest part of “No-man’s land” on the Fromelles battlefield, and paid homage to the 5th Division veterans marching to the Anzac Memorial for the 50th anniversary commemoration in 1966.

Special thanks go to the Procession Marshall, Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Vice President Families and Friends of the First AIF and Chairman, Australian Branch, Western Front Association who co-ordinated many of the arrangements for the Procession including liaising with the NSW Police and City of Sydney Events Team to ensure the security for the Procession and safe passage across Park Street and establishing the Order of Procession.

 

Commemoration of the 102nd Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles

At the Anzac Memorial, a further gathering of about the same size as the Procession, including descendants, Anzac Centenary Ambassadors and the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial listened to music played by the NSW Police Band led by Director of Music John Saunders and Nearer My God to Thee and Requiem for a Soldier sung by The Holy Family Choir Menai. Click here to see the Order of Service.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_071 Holy Family Choir ANZ_Fromelles__2018_074 Holy Family Choir

The participants in the Commemorative Procession were greeted by FFFAIF Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass supported by members of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and after they were seated The Holy Family Choir Menai led more than 200 attendees in singing O Valiant Hearts. 

Master of Ceremonies, and FFFAIF Member Darren Mitchell welcomed guests and read a Vice Regal Message from His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief. Click here to read the Vice Regal Message.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_077 GuestsANZ_Fromelles__2018_075 MC Welcome

Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and a member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council was invited to deliver an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of Aboriginal elders.  You can hear Harry’s Acknowledgement of Country on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_088 Harry Allie Acknowledgement to Country

The Prologue was delivered by The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council representing the Premier of New South Wales and the Hon. David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. You can hear Scott’s Prologue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_098 Scott Farlow Prologue

Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain with RSL LifeCafe led a prayer, followed by the Holy Family Choir Menai leading the singing of Abide with Me.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_106 Bob Durbin Prayer ANZ_Fromelles__2018_108 Holy Family Choir

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_114 Paul Simadas, Bob Durbin, Police, Fire & Ambulance

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division, The Australian Army delivered the Commemorative Address giving some insights into the Battle of Fromelles and why it was a disaster and acknowledged how it had impacted upon many families. He also its reflected on its legacy, particularly for modern military leaders in areas such as assessing intelligence, identification and management of risks, the importance of communications, and welfare of serving military personnel and supporting them and their families both during and after their military service. You can hear Brigadier Sweeney’s Commemorative Address on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_139 Brig Neil Sweeney Address ANZ_Fromelles__2018_143 john Clingan Family Reflection

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division of The Australian Armydelivering the Commemorative Address The Clingan and Grogan Family ReflectionJohn Clingan

John Clingan delivered a unique Family Reflection for the Clingan and Grogan Families. John’s great uncle, Private Alexander Stanley Clingan 53rd Bn was Killed in Action at Fromelles, buried by the Germans after the battle and has been identified through DNA matching. John told of when, after he and his wife Dorothy had attended Alexander’s headstone dedication in 2010, they then went to VC Corner Cemetery and were separately looking through the list of names on the walls and Dorothy saw the name of her great uncle Sgt Vince Grogan, 60th Bn, also Killed in Action. Possibly the two great uncles met, Alexander from Waterloo in Sydney and Vince from Bairnsdale, Victoria, possibly not, but their descendants did, fell in love and have raised their children and now have a unique Fromelles connection. Vincent is also on the list of those soldiers buried by the Germans near Pheasant Wood and so the family is now trying to find suitable DNA donors.
You can hear John’s Family reflection on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

In a small world co-incidence, the Master of Ceremonies for the Dedication of 9 newly named headstones and the Commemoration at Fromelles in France later that day was John’s cousin Colonel Scott Clingan, Australian Defence Attache – Commemorations, at the Australian Embassy in Paris.

Wreaths were laid while Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with the NSW Police Band. Jim Braid is a relative of Sgt James Dodd 53rd Bn and Pte Downie Dodd 56th Bn KIA at Fromelles.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_260 Bugler Terry McCleary & Piper Jim BraidANZ_Fromelles__2018_308 NSW Police Band

Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with the NSW Police Band During the wreath-laying

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_151 French Dep C-G Pierre Bianconi, NSW Govt Scott Farlow, British C-G Michael Ward Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_156 French Dep C-G Pierre Bianconi, NSW Govt Scott Farlow, British C-G Michael Ward Wreath laying

M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of France, with The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council representing the Premier of New South Wales and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of NSW, andMichael Ward, British Consul General and Director General of Trade & Investment, on behalf of citizens of the United Kingdom.
 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_161 Wreath laying For the Fallen, For the Missing and Trustees
Margaret Snodgrass OAM Committee Member accompanied by Jim Munro, President, Families and Friends of the First AIF, in tribute to the Fallen, together with
Julie Werner and grand-daughter Freya Shadbolt descendants of Pte Francis Walter McKay, 14 AMGC KIA at Fromelles and Helen Carey a relative of brothers Jack and Tim Carey,53 Bn, both KIA at Fromelles laying a wreath in memory of the Missing, and Dr John Vallance, State Librarian on behalf of the Anzac Memorial Trustees laying a wreath for the Fifth Division of the AIF.
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_170 Wreath laying War Widows Meg Green & Dianne Vogt, Opposition Lynda VoltzANZ_Fromelles__2018_176 Wreath laying War Widows Meg Green & Dianne VogtANZ_Fromelles__2018_178 Wreath laying Opposition Lynda Voltz
On behalf of the War Widows’ Guild, National President, Meg Green accompanied by State President’s Representative, Dianne Vogt, along with
The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs & Sport, Representing the Leader of the NSW Opposition.
 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_183 Wreath laying French War Veterans Jean-Louis WorobecANZ_Fromelles__2018_186 Wreath laying French War Veterans Jean-Louis Worobec
M. Jean-Louis Worobec, Président Association des Anciens Combattants Francais de Nouvelle Galles du Sud laying a wreath on behalf of French War Veterans of NSW
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_190 Wreath laying RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend, Army Brig Neil Sweeney ANZ_Fromelles__2018_198 Wreath laying RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend, Army Brig Neil Sweeney
Captain Amanda Garlick representing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM, Commander, Australian Fleet, laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy;
Group Captain ‘Chaplain’ Peter Friend, Representing AVM Steven Roberton DSC AM, Air Commander Australia, laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force; and
BRIG Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division representing Major General F McLachlan AM, Commander Forces Command, laying a wreath on behalf of The Australian Army
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_200 Wreath laying UNAA Patricia Jenkings, Fromelles Assn Marjorie Manns, Royce AtkinsonANZ_Fromelles__2018_210 Wreath laying DVA Hadyn WhiteANZ_Fromelles__2018_208 Wreath laying DVA Hadyn White, UNAA Patricia Jenkings, Fromelles Assn Marjorie Manns, Royce Atkinson
Dr Patricia Jenkings, President, United Nations Association of Australia (NSW), together with
Marjorie Manns and Royce Atkinson, President, The Fromelles Association, and
Hadyn White, on behalf of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_215 Wreath laying NAJEX Roger Selby & Peter Allen, AWWOD Arlene RonsisvalleANZ_Fromelles__2018_217 Wreath laying NAJEX Roger Selby & Peter Allen, AWWOD Arlene Ronsisvalle
Roger Selby, President, NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (NAJEX), together with
Peter Allen, with a tribute from the Centenary of ANZAC Jewish Program for the Anzac Memorial, and
Arline Ronsisvalle with a floral tribute on behalf of Australian World War One Descendants (AWWOD)
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_219 Wreath laying Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael BrayANZ_Fromelles__2018_226 Wreath laying Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael Bray
Inspector Rob Winkler, Sydney City Police Area Command, representing the NSW Police Force, together with Deputy Commissioner Jim Hamilton representing NSW Fire and Rescue and
Superintendent Michael Bray representing the NSW Ambulance Service
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_228 John Clingan & Trevor McWhirter Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_231 John Clingan & Trevor McWhirter Wreath laying
John Clingan and Trevor McWhirter for Pte. Alexander Stanley Clingan 53rd Bn and Sgt Vincent Grogan, 60th Bn both KIA at Fromelles
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_234 Geoff Horsnell, Terry-Ann O'Neill, Annett Wright, Robert Bolt & Ann Asciak Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_237 Geoff Horsnell, Terry-Ann ONeill, Anett Wright, Robert Bolt & Ann Asciak Wreath laying
Geoff Horsnell for Pte Frederick Dyson 54 Bn KIA Fromelles;
Terry-Anne O’Neill for Pte Paddy Ravaillion and 53rd Bn;
Annette Wright and Robert Bolt for Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert Bolt, 55 Bn, KIA at Fromelles; and
Ann Asciak, for George Edward Bonney, 32nd Bn
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_239 St Clare's College & Sophia and Cameron Jeffries Wreath laying ANZ_Fromelles__2018_249 Michael Sharkey & St Clare's College & Sophia and Cameron Jeffries Wreath laying
Michael Sharkey for Pte Edward Sharkey 53rd Bn,
Year 9 students at St Clare’s College, Waverley, Kate O’Sullivan, Lily Garrett, Kiara Odishu and Natalia Rey; and
Sophia and Cameron Jeffries laying a tribute to Arthur and William Russell on behalf of the Russell Family

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_259 St Clare's College Immi Barham Ode ANZ_Fromelles__2018_261 Bugler Terry McCleary Last PostANZ_Fromelles__2018_266 Army Flag orderlies

Miss Immi Barham, St Clare’s College, Waverley, reciting The Ode. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band. Flag Orderlies from The Australian Army

The Ode was recited by Miss Immi Barham, St Clare’s College, Waverley before the Last Post was played by Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by silence and The Rouse.  Terry’s wife Leonie is a relative of Capt Archibald Gunter MC 54th Bn, Wounded at Fromelles. You can hear The Ode and Last Post sounded on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_306 Navy Flag orderlies ANZ_Fromelles__2018_265 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_307 Navy Flag orderlies

Flag Orderlies from The Royal Australian Navy

The Choir and the Police Band led the singing of I Vow to Thee My Country before a closing prayer and blessing from Pastor Bob Durbin.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_273 Bob Durbin Prayer ANZ_Fromelles__2018_283 Jim Munro Epilogue

The Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro. Mr Munro recognised that:

“Today we honour the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Fromelles – they did what their country asked of them. They had little or no experience in trench warfare, they had not worn steel hats before. They were keen to gain experiences and reputations that would leave the disappointment of Gallipoli behind. They now had their own commanders, who were somewhat experience; they now had artillery, although it had little experience; and they had their own machine guns. It is these ordinary men, with their aspirations and enthusiasm that we honour today – 102 years after they went into battle– we owe it to them and their families to honour their service and sacrifice”.

It is also 86 years ago today that the Foundation Stones were laid for this Anzac Memorial in 1932. – one by a soldier (Sir Phillip Game, the Governor of NSW) and the other by a citizen (Bertram Stevens, the Premier of New South Wales) to highlight the loss to the community inflicted by the Great War.  Mr Munro invited all those who attended today to return on this day next year to show that this loss is not forgotten.

He said he was particularly pleased to see that another nine (9) of the soldiers reported as killed with no known grave have been identified and now have their own named headstone over their final resting place. There are still about 1,100 soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Fromelles and lie in un-named graves and Mr Munro called for all Australians who have a relative killed in the Battle of Fromelles to provide a DNA sample to the Unrecovered War Casualty Unit of the Army to help identify more of these men and help them get their identity back.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_303 Pierre Bianconi Message from France ANZ_Fromelles__2018_302 Pierre Bianconi Message from France

Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, delivering a Message from France

The Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, delivered a Message from France, expressing appreciation for Australian support since The Great War and continuing today and the National Anthems of France, the United Kingdom and Australia were sung to close the commemoration. You can hear The Message from France and the National Anthems  on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_310 National Anthems NSW Police Band ANZ_Fromelles__2018_314 National Anthems Jim Munro, Scott Farlow, Michael Ward, Royce AtkinsonANZ_Fromelles__2018_315 National Anthems Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael Bray

Special thanks go to the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, their staff, and contractors for providing the marquees and sound system. The presence of the Pastor Bob Durbin, Holy Family Choir of Menai, the NSW Police Band and the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and the Australian Army Flag Party and the Flag Orderlies from Army and Navy, who along with the French War Veterans contributed significantly to the formality and dignity of the commemoration. Special Guests Harry Allie BEM, The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, John Clingan, and Miss Immi Barham and Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi enriched the Commemoration. Procession Marshall Paul Simadas, Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell and FFFAIF Committee Members Margaret Snodgrass and Jill Hayes helped the Commemoration run smoothly. Photographer Rob Tuckwell created a good photographic record and Rosie Patrielli streamed parts of the service live to the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at facebook.com/AnzacMemorial, which are still available for viewing.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_325 Brig Neil Sweeney with WO1 One Rod Cornick, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint CeremonialANZ_Fromelles__2018_318 French Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi with French War Veterans of NSW

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM and                        Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi and
Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM                                   the French War Veterans

 

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_323 French Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi with Belinda Mitrovich, Anzac Memorial Operations ManagerANZ_Fromelles__2018_317 Bugler Terry McCleary with Piper Jim Braid

Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi and      Bugler Terry McCleary and Piper Jim Braid
Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Co-ordinator Belinda Mitrovich

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_008 Procession Marshall Paul SimadasANZ_Fromelles__2018_084 Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell

Procession Marshall Paul Simadas and Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell

Special thanks also to the Organising Committee of FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass OAM, Darren Mitchell, Jill Hayes, Paul Simadas, Geoff Lewis and Royce Atkinson, Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Coordinator Belinda Mitrovich and Property Manager, Michael Trenear, Iain Finlay Adjutant and Pam Richardson OAM, Assistant Adjutant of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards, Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army and Rosie Patrielli, Fundraising and Communications, Centenary of Anzac, Office for Veterans Affairs (NSW).

Jim Munro,
President of FFFAIF
July 2018

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