Trove Tuesday – One Stop Shop

Trove really is a one stop shop for researching those that served during WW1.  Aside from a visit to the National Archives of Australia (NAA) website for service records, Trove is the place to go to find photos, books and newspaper articles.  This is even more so the case thanks to a project to digitise newspapers of the 1914-1918 period  for the lead up the 100th anniversary of WW1.

For Western Victorian researchers, newspapers that have appeared over the last 12 months, all from 1914-1918, include:

Kerang New Times

Ouyen Mail

Port Fairy Gazette

Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser

Swan Hill Guardian and Lake Boga Advocate

St Arnaud Mercury

The Ararat Advertiser

The Ballarat Courier

The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record

Warrnambool Standard

During WW1, these papers were full of war news, locals enlisting, send offs, letters homes, the work of locals to do their bit for the war effort and of course, the casualties.

Trove is a great for finding WW1 books and photos.  You can search for an individual, a battalion or a battlefield and you are bound to find something to give you a little more information about your family member’s wartime experience .  Photos held by repositories such as the Australian War Memorial are all cataloged at Trove.  One search can find so much from many places.

As it’s Trove Tuesday, I have some WW1 treasures from one of my favourite papers The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record.

The first article, reported on the first Anzac Day on April 25, 1917 and how Casterton marked the occasion.

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"Anzac Day.". (1917, April 26). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489110

“Anzac Day.”. (1917, April 26). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489110

 

Following is a letter home by Norman Seymour to his mother in Casterton.  He wrote of his brother James, and the pride he felt that James was at “the great landing at Gallipoli”.  This is a great example of how useful these letters are.  Norman wrote of many men from the local district including Hector Patterson and his wounds.

It is a lovely letter, as many of them were, and it makes you wonder if a 21-year-old man today could write home to his mother in the same way.  I also love his closing sentence.  If you know Casterton, you will know exactly what he means.

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Our Soldiers. (1915, September 16). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74766366

Our Soldiers. (1915, September 16). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74766366

I checked the NAA and brother James Seymour did come home, but only two months after the publishing of Norman’s letter.   He developed enteritis in September 1915, was hospitalised and sent home in November.

Norman Edward Seymour served with the 3rd Light Horse and did make it to Gallipoli on October 8, 1915.  In October 1917 he developed septic sores and that  led to his return home in December that year.

When I finally get my post finished for the ANZAC Day Blog Challenge,(Anzac Day 2014 the way I’m going) you will see more examples of how Trove can enhance the story of your WW1 hero.

In The News – 28 August 1916

The news of 28 August 1916 was typical of the time.  It was two years into WW1, with the Battle of Fromelles in July and then Pozieres. By the end of August, Australians were fighting at Mouquet Farm, France.  Newspapers were full of war news, departures and casualties and the Portland Guardian of 28 August 1916 was no different.

Mrs Thomson of Lower Cape Bridgewater had heard the news her son Private G.E. Thomson was wounded in France.  Families of the 37th, 38th and 40th Battalions were able to send their parcels for the front to 380 Bourke Street, Melbourne.  The parcels were then forwarded to the various Battalions at a cost of one penny per pound.

The Portland Guardian. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015692

I would like to think the next article was about my 1st cousins 3 x removed, Frederick James and Arthur Leonard Holmes (aka Lennie) of Casterton.  However, while Arthur was still in Australia, not embarking until 21 October 1916, Fred was in France and wounded by this time.

I searched the WW1 Embarkation Roll and Mapping our Anzacs trying to identify the two Holmes boys, presumably brothers. The venue of the social was not mentioned in the Editorial, so I assumed it was in Portland.  The closest I found was Frederick Noah Holmes of Wallacedale and Leslie Holmes of Homerton via Heywood, however, Leslie embarked on August 1.

The Haines family from idyllic Sandy Waterhole on the Glenelg River received news of their son’s passing as a result of wounds.

The Mulholland family of Portland also received bad news from France.

I hope Mrs Carnie got her letters from the front.

Mrs Newman of “Ulymah” Gawler Street Portland, was doing her part for the war effort.  She was the Portland contact for Mr Herbert Daly, an Australian in Paris.  Herbert was collecting socks for those displaced by war, particularly old men.

Newly re-elected Portland Mayor Mr Wyatt received a letter from local boy W.H.J.Baker, serving in France.  Corporal Baker mentions “France is such a beautiful place” and “No wonder Germany wants this beautiful country”.  Read the letter in full here.

On Active Service. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015700

Corporal Baker enclosed some of his poetry with the letter.  Read the full poem here.

Australian Sons in Egypt. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015713

Back in Portland, which must have felt a million miles away from the war, unsettled weather prevailed.

The Portland Guardian. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015692

Wattle Day, on 1 September was fast approaching.  The first Wattle Day was in 1910 and the outbreak of war saw the day celebrated with extra vigour.

The Portland Guardian. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015692


Canadian born silent screen star Mary Pickford was appearing in “The Dawn of Tomorrow” at the Portland Pictures.

QUEENS OF THE FILM. (1916, April 29). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889, 1914 – 1918), p. 5. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74834158

As mentioned,  Cr James Lewis Wyatt was unanimously re-elected Mayor of Portland.  He was Mayor from August 1914 to August 1917.

[No heading]. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6068639

Victorians, along with the other states, were preparing for their first dose of Daylight Savings. The timing was not exactly how the Act had set out. Clocks went forward on 1 January 1917 and back on 25 March 1917. Daylight Savings did not occur again until WW2 with the years of 1942/3 and 1943/4 each having an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.

The Portland Guardian. (1916, August 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64015692

In 1914, the Duke of Portland of England announced that the skeleton of racehorse Carbine would return to Australia for the National Museum.  The following article, two years later, announced the skeleton was ready for shipping to Australia.  Finally, in December 1919, the skeleton was ready to leave England, arriving in February the following year.

I have seen the skeleton of Carbine at the former Racing Museum at Caulfield Racecourse and its current home at the National Sports Museum at the MCG.   While standing beside Carbine’s skeleton is not as moving as visiting Phar Lap at Melbourne Museum, it is still an imposing sight.

A video of Carbine’s skeleton being reconstructed when it moved to the National Sports Museum can be seen at the link  – http://tinyurl.com/8w4w5pv

Western Victoria Remembers

A little while ago I came across a great video on You Tube that I have been saving for a suitable time to share.  This week I found another with a similar theme.  As this is ANZAC Day, I thought it was the perfect time to share the videos.  Each are about small Western Victorian towns remembering those who served in World War 1. One is the story of the restoration and revitalisation of the old and the other, the unveiling of the new.

Beau Nieuwveld’s video was impressive, not only because of the story it told but it was great to see a teenage boy with an interest in his town’s history.  Not only that, his video was the overall winner of  the 2009 10MMM Youth Film Festival held in Hamilton.

Beau’s town is Dartmoor in the south-west of Victoria.  Faced with the dilemma of many other towns, the trees in the Avenue of Honour were deteriorating.  How could the integrity of the Avenue be maintained while ensuring the safety of the residents?

The result is fantastic.  Family members of the soldiers with memorial trees were happy and the town now has a great tourist attraction!  For more information about the Dartmoor Avenue of Honour, check out the Glenelg & Wannon Settlers website  http://www.swvic.org/dartmoor/avenue.htm

On October 31, 2009, the people of Rupanyup in the Wimmera, celebrated the unveiling of a new memorial to remember local men who served with the 4th Light Horse at Bersheeba on October 31, 1917.  One of those, Colonel James Lawson is given special recognition on the memorial.

I love this video because of the community spirit it depicts.  Rupanyup is a town of under 800 people and I think they were all there on the day.  I am assuming, but can’t be sure,  that those depicting the Light Horse soldiers were members of the Creswick Light Horse Troop,  a fantastic group of people keeping the memory of the Light Horse alive.

To see the horses at the ceremony is moving as one remembers the heroics of not only the soldiers, but also the horses.  The bond between man and horse was deep.

LEST WE FORGET

The McClintock Brothers

This is the second year I have participated in the ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.  It is a privilege to share the stories of my family members who went to war.  The stories of the men and women who served their country in each of the wars should never be forgotten.

Reading the World War 1 service records of my 1st cousins 3x removed,  brothers, John, James and Albert McClintock one thing was obvious.  The great adventure of war soon became a nightmare for the McClintock family of Grassdale near Digby.

Head of the family, John McClintock was born in Ireland in 1842. He arrived in Victoria in 1865 aboard the Vanguard. Somehow he ended up in the Digby area and in 1878 he married Sarah Ann Diwell, my ggg aunt and daughter of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.  The following year, daughter Margaret Ann was born and in 1880, son David was born.  Life seemed good for the McClintock family.

In 1882, the first tragedy befell them.  Sarah passed away at just thirty-one.  John was left with two children aged just three and four. Help was close at hand.  In 1883, John married Sarah’s younger sister, Margaret Ann Diwell.  At twenty-six and fifteen years John’s junior, Margaret went from aunt to mother to Margaret and David. In 1885, the first of eleven children were born to John and Margaret McClintock.  A son, William Diwell McClintock died as an infant in 1887 but by 1902, when the last child Flora was born, Margaret and John had a family of six girls and six boys.

In 1913, a seemingly harmless activity of chasing a fox ended in another tragedy for the McClintocks.  Eighteen-year-old Robert died from heart strain and tetanus as a result of his fox chasing.

Next was the outbreak of war in 1914 which paved the way for the greatest tragedy faced by the family.  Three of the five McClintock boys, John, James and Albert, enlisted.  Of the remaining two boys, David was too old and Thomas was too young.

JAMES RICHARD McCLINTOCK

James was the first of the McClintock boys to enlist.  In Melbourne on 7 October 1915, the twenty-four-year-old signed his attestation papers and effectively signed his life away.

At the time,  those of eligible age were bombarded with propaganda designed to drive recruitment.   The horrors of war had already been felt at home with the Gallipoli landing earlier in the year. The recruitment campaign went to a new level.  War was no longer the big adventure it was made out to be.  Rather men were urged to fight in honour of their fallen countrymen who had died for them. Recruitment posters were everywhere and articles such as this from The Argus of 16 September 1915, must have gone a long way to persuading James to enlist the following month.

A CALL TO THE FRONT. (1915, September 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1560597

On 27 January 1916, James was given a send off by the Digby community.

A Digby Recruit. (1916, January 27). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74484539

24th Battalion 10 Reinforcements. Australian War Memorial http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/DAX1243

James sailed on 7 March 1916 aboard the HMAT Wiltshire with the 24th Battalion 10th Reinforcement.  He arrived in England on 26 July 1916, and later France at Sausage Valley south of Pozieres on 5 August 1916.  The 24th Battalion had been in France since March after arriving from Egypt.  Previous to that the battalion had been at the Gallipoli landing in 1915.

On the day of his arrival, the 24th had seen action with casualties.  They moved on from their position, making their way around the Somme before reaching Mouquet Farm on 23 August.  The battalion settled in, digging trenches while they could.  The noise of shelling was all around them.

THE FIGHT AT MOQUET FARM. (1916, August 31). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58914119

The following day, the battle intensified. The 24th Battalion received an estimated fifty casualties.  James McClintock was one of those

CASUALTIES IN FRANCE. (1916, October 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1626549

Details surrounding his death were sketchy, so much so, his father employed the services of Hamilton solicitors, Westacott and Lord.  On his behalf, they requested details of the death from the defence department to finalise necessary paperwork.  As of November 1916, the final report on James’ death had not been received.  It was clear his remains had not been found.  He now lies below the former battlefields of the Somme with no known grave.

James is remembered at the Villers-Brettoneaux Military Cemetery.   The cemetery has the remains of soldiers brought from various burial grounds and battlefields when it was created after Armistice. It also has memorials for those missing and with no known grave.  James is one of 10,885 listed with such a fate.

Anxiety at home must have increased after news of the death of James.  It was too late to talk John and Albert out of going to war. They had already arrived in England preparing to also travel to the battlefields of the Somme.  At least John and Margaret would have been comforted that twenty-six-year-old John would be there to look after his younger brother.

ALBERT EDWARD McCLINTOCK & JOHN McCLINTOCK

John and Albert McClintock shared their World War 1 journey.  They would have been spurred on by the enlistment of James and maybe envy that he was setting sail on 7 March 1916.  The recruitment drive was in full swing and what man would not have felt that he was less of a man if he did not enlist?

No title. (1916, March 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2092485

Albert enlisted six days before his brother John.  At nineteen, he filled in his enlistment papers at Hamilton on 25 February 1916.

STREET APPEAL AT HAMILTON. (1916, February 26). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74502118

On 2 March, John enlisted at Ararat.

The Ararat Advertiser. (1916, March 4). The Ararat Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75028814

John was married and living at Wickliffe with his wife Selina Miller Ford.  They had married a year earlier.  At the time of John’s enlistment, it is unlikely that the couple knew they were expecting their first child, due in December.  Maybe John knew by 4 July, when he and Albert boarded the HMAT Berrima and sailed for war with the 29th Battalion 7th Reinforcements.

John and Albert disembarked in England on 23 August 1916.  During December, back home, John’s wife Selina gave birth to their son, John James, his second name a tribute to his fallen uncle.

After time in England,  Albert and John arrived in Etaples, France on 4 February 1917.  On 9 February, they marched out into the field.  The 29th Battalion unit diary notes their location on February 9 as Trones Wood near Guillemont and only ten kilometres from Mouquet Farm.

The battalion was not involved in any major battles at the time. It was at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 and later in 1917 would be a part of the Battle of Polygon Wood. John and Albert had arrived between campaigns.  During February 1917, members of the battalion were laying cable in the area around Trones Wood.

What exactly happened, three days later on the 12th, is not clear, however, the outcome saw both McClintock boys fighting for their lives with gunshot wounds to their faces.  John’s service record notes the injury was accidental.  He also had shoulder injuries and a fractured left arm.  Albert lost his right eye and had an injured left arm and a fractured right leg.   They were relocated over the next twenty-four hours to the 1st New Zealand Stationary Hospital at Amiens.

On 17 February,  John and Albert’s war-time “adventure” together would end.  Albert was transferred from Amiens to the 13th General Hospital at Boulogne, leaving John fighting for his life at Amiens.

On 1 March 1917, John McClintock passed away from his wounds.  He was buried at the St Pierre Cemetery at Amiens.  Both boys said goodbye to France on the same day, as it was that day that Albert sailed for England.  After only twenty days in the country, and no active fighting, one had lost his life and the other had suffered life changing wounds.

AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES. (1917, March 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 10. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1604104

On 28 February 1918, over twelve months after the incident,  Albert was discharged from Harefield House Hospital, north of London,  the No.1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital.  He remained in England until May when he returned to Australia.

Digby. (1918, July 25). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly.. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74221588

So Albert was home and the war had ended.  Life was expected to go on.  On the outside that is what it did.  There would have been some brave faces at the welcome at Digby.

Albert married Doris Hancock around 1920 and they raised a family of seven.  He died in Digby in 1970 aged seventy-four.

John’s wife Selina never remarried and remained in Wickliffe most of her life, finally passing away in Adelaide in 1960.  John jr enlisted in WW2 but was discharged early.

Parents John and Margaret McClintock did not live long past the war.  The loss of one son would have been enough for any parents to bear, but two would be heart-wrenching.  Another tragedy bestowed them with daughter Flora passing away in 1921 aged just nineteen. John passed away in 1923 aged eighty and Margaret in 1932 aged seventy-four.

On the inside, those people could never have been the same as they were before the war.  In Albert’s case, the loss of an eye and memories of his short time as a soldier would have lived with him forever.  For the others, the deep loss each suffered must have been immense.

This story interested me in a number of ways.  In particular the timing and the locations of the McClintock brothers while in France.  They were each there for such a short time and in similar towns and villages.

Maybe, in those last days before the departure of James, the brothers talked about meeting up somewhere, sometime during their war adventure. They were very close. James was killed only six months before John and Albert arrived in the same area of France he had fallen.  They marched the same roads.  Maybe at some time they did in some way pass each other by.  As John and Albert marched to Trones Wood they could well have passed the final resting place of their brother James.

Today, John and James lay around forty kilometres away from each other in France. Albert is buried at Digby, thousands of kilometres away from his brothers, but I am sure he left a part of his heart in France the day in left in 1917.

LEST WE FORGET

REFERENCES:

24th Battalion Unit Diary

29th Battalion Unit Diary

Australian War Memorial

Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The AIF Project

The National Archives of Australia

The War Graves Photographic Project

The 2012 ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

My third post for Western District Families was in April last year for the 2011 ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.  My contribution was the story of Arthur Leonard Holmes of Casterton, gassed in France in 1918.

Recently, while researching the Holmes family at  Trove  for another reason, I found a couple more items about “Lennie” and his sad death .  I have since updated his post.

Well, it is April again and with ANZAC Day drawing closer it is time to start thinking about  the 2012 ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.

Created by the  Auckland City Libraries, the Anzac Day Blog Challenge gives us a chance to share stories of our family members who served during wartime and remember their contribution to our life in both Australia and New Zealand today.

The criteria, from the Auckland City Libraries website, is as follows:

Do you have a story to share about an ANZAC? We’d like to hear about not only their sacrifice, but the way it shaped their family history. Maybe you want to blog from the perspective of those that were left behind?

To participate:

  • Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman’s family, and the impact war had on their family history
  • Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of this page. Or if you don’t have a blog then email us your story at kintalk@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
  • Publish your post by 25 April 2012.

After ANZAC Day, all submissions will be listed in a summary posting on Auckland Libraries’ Kintalk blog.

Time to get started, but who am I going to write about??

_____________________________________________

Well, I made my decision and I wrote about the McClintock brothers.  Read their story here – “The McClintock Brothers

 

 

Arthur Leonard Holmes 1889-1918 – Lest We Forget

Most of my family members made it home from World War 1.  While they were far from unaffected,  they were able to return to their loved ones.  Not so for Arthur Holmes.  Newly married he sacrificed his life for his country following both his older brother and cousin into war.

Arthur Leonard Holmes was born in 1889 in Sandford, Victoria.  His parents were George Holmes, the local miller and Julia Harman, a Byaduk girl.  They married in 1882 in Byaduk and had seven children, with Arthur being the fifth born.  Julia died suddenly in 1896 of a cerebral haemorrhage while George was away gold prospecting on the other side of the state at Tallangatta.   The children ranged in age from fourteen to one.  George remarried in 1900 to Betsy Swain and they had a daughter, Bessie, in 1903.

Arthur, better known as Lennie, enlisted at Melbourne on 4 July 1916 aged twenty-seven.  At the time, he was working in Casterton as a coachbuilder. His brother Frederick had enlisted ten months earlier and his cousin Edgar Holmes, a year before.  At the time of enlistment, Arthur noted he was single and gave his next of kin details as his father.  At some point afterwards, this information was edited with “single” being changed to “married” and the contact details changed from father George to his new wife Alice Edith Osborne.  Marriage records show they married in 1916. Alice was from Millicent, South Australia and was twenty-four years old.  After their marriage, Arthur headed overseas and Alice moved to live in Windsor in Melbourne.

Arthur joined his unit on 2 August 1916 initially in Geelong and then he would have gone to Broadmeadows with the 29th Battalion.  Meanwhile, in France, events were unfolding that would not have filtered home at the time of Arthur’s enlistment.  His cousin Edgar was listed as missing at Fromelles on 28 July 1916.  A court of enquiry twelve months later found that Edgar was killed in action, with the date given as 16 July 1916 during the Battle of Fromelles.  Also, on 28 July 1916, Arthur’s brother Frederick James Holmes was shot in the shoulder in France.  He was later to return home due to his injuries.  As he donned his uniform for the first time, Arthur would have been oblivious that the horror of war had touched his own family.  By the time he sailed for Plymouth on 26 October 1916 the news would have reached him and one could imagine he left Australian shores with a heavy heart.

On the voyage to England, Arthur was promoted from Private to Acting Sergeant without extra pay, as he was bandmaster for the trip. The Holmes boys were musical.  Arthur’s older brother Goldie was an Australian Cornet Champion in the 1920s and led many large bands around Australia.  Arthur may have had the same abilities and aspirations.

On arrival in England, Arthur left the 29th and joined the newly formed 62nd Battalion.  The 29th moved on to France while Arthur stayed in England until the 62nd Battalion was disbanded in September 1917.  Arthur returned to the 29th Battalion in France arriving on 15 October 1917 almost a year since he left home.  The 29th Battalion were experiencing a relatively quiet period, following their involvement at Ypres, and as the allies prepared for the eventual Battle of Hamel.  This meant no less of a danger for the soldiers.  On 12 June 1918, Arthur Holmes was overcome by mustard gas, the feared silent killer.  It was never an instant death.  In Arthur’s case, he passed away the next day, 13 June 1918 at the 12th Casualty Clearing Station at Hazebrouck.  He was initially buried at the Longpré Cemetery before being exhumed, with forty-one other fallen soldiers and re-interred at the Crouy British Cemetery, his final resting place.

CORNET PLAYER KILLED. (1918, June 26). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75192499

 

Family Notices. (1918, June 24). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74221268

On 21 August 1918, a memorial service was held at the Scots Church, Casterton to remember three of Casterton’s men, William Zimmer, Leyton Loggins and Arthur Holmes.  Reverend Mears said of Arthur

The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 25 July 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). .

The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 25 July 1918: 3 (Bi-Weekly.). <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7193843&gt;.

What of Arthurs new bride Alice?  She spent some time in Melbourne after his death, before moving to Daylesford.  She lived at Belvedere House, lodging rooms in Vincent Street, with her widowed mother, Annie Osborne.  In January 1919, Alice received a parcel containing Arthur’s possessions.  Along with personal items such as photos, letters, and a diary, there were small hints about Arthur’s time overseas, a French dictionary, a knife and fork in a case, a razor and mirror.  Did she open the parcel?  Did she read Arthur’s diary?  We will never know, but this is all she had left of her time with Arthur along with her memories.  They did not have time to have a home together or raise a family.

In 1923, Alice’s mother passed away and she stayed on in Daylesford before her own death in 1930 at only thirty-eight.  She is buried at the Daylesford cemetery.

In Arthur’s hometown of Casterton, he is remembered on the Town Hall Honour Roll and the Casterton War Memorial

Reading of Arthur’s fate reminded me of a poem I studied at school by the great World War 1 poet Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est.  The haunting words give some insight into the experiences of the thousands of Australians who served their country in World War 1 and the discovery that the Great War was not the big adventure so many expected.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

*It is sweet and right to die for your country

Wilfred Owen – 1918