Jul 30, 2014

Alexander Duncan Cameron 1882 - 1947

the HMAT A11 ASCANIUS on 10th November 1915, bound for the Middle East.

Alexander Duncan Cameron - who was born in Horsham in 1882 - is the half brother to Matthew Matthews that is in my previous post.

At some stage during 1915, Alex married Elizabeth McTavish. Am suggesting it would be between the time he enlisted (July 1915) and when he departed (November 1915) as his enlistment papers have that he is single.

Both Matthew and Alex enlisted in the AIF on 12th July 1915. Alex with the service number 1092 and Mat with the service number of 1190. Both were placed in the 29th Battalion.

They both embarked on board the HMAT A11 ASCANIUS on 10th November 1915, bound for the Middle East.
It would have been sad for them to be leaving their family home - Highlands - at Brimpaen in the Western District. But exciting in a sense as well, they were young men off on what they would have considered "an adventure".  Many young farmers took up the invite to fight for their country and leave the land for the women to manage.


Highlands at Brimpaen

There really is not much to document on Alex as most of his time in the AIF is recorded in the previous post, so if it seems I am repeating myself - I apologise - for that is what I am doing!

By July 1916 the 29th Battalion was moving through Erquingham to Strazeele near Hazebrouck. They had marched from Erquingham (at 1930 on 10th July ) to Bois Grenier and occupied the front line of trenches. There were no casualties and the men were in good spirits according to the 29th Bn diary. The Bois Grenier Line is a support trench that was about 70 yards to the rear of the front line.

A week later, they marched (at 0130 on 15th July)  to Fleurbeaux billets. (Fleurbaix, Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France) at 2330 Gas Alarm was given from the front front line but not felt here (Fleurbeaux) According to the diary, everyone was prepared. On 19th July the Battle of Fleurbaix commenced near Fromelles. The Australian 5th Division is committed in a poorly planned and executed attempt to take German trench lines.

This Battle was part of the Battle of Fromelles.

Overnight of July 19/20,
Alex was wounded, but discharged from hospital 4 days later. There is no documentation of his wounds.

At this same time Mat received a GSW (Gun Shot Wound) to the head and right arm and was transferred to England within days. One of 'the large number of wounded' brought in both by date & night. The 29th Bn were still holding the front line alone - at the Battle of Fleurbaix.

Mat (Matthew Matthews) ended up being under medical care for over three months and did not rejoin his unit until late 1916 when they were at Etaples in France. On 29th July 1918 he was KIA at Morlancourt.

Alex returned to his unit and three months later was admitted to hospital with Pyrexia.

(
Fever (also known as pyrexia or febrile response) is one of the most common medical signs and is characterized by an elevation of body temperature above the normal range of 36.5–37.5 °C (97.7–99.5 °F) due to an increase in the temperature regulatory set-point. This increase in set-point triggers increased muscle tone and chills)
By May 1917 he was stationed at Wareham in Dorset when he joined the Australian Provost Corps. 


A.P.S served in Egypt, Palestine, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom during 1916 - 1918.




The primary tasks for the Australian military police (or the APC) were the same as for rest of the British Army:

  • The detection of crime and the arrest of offenders
  • The maintenance of order and military law
  • Traffic control and assisting the maintenance of march discipline
  • The surveillance and control of all civilians within the area occupied by their formations
  • Custody of prisoners of war
  • Protection of the civilian population from acts of violence by soldiers, and
  • The prevention of contact between soldiers and such ‘undesirable characters’ such as prostitutes, hawkers, and sellers of liquor.

one of the diaries - in part reads -:

Returns – Crimes and Offences. Nov – Dec 1918.
- On the evening of the 14th inst., about 9.30 pm two of the MP here were violently assaulted whilst in the execution of their duty, by a gang of about 20-30 Australians. One of them L/Cpl Harding, was badly knocked about the head and is under medical treatment. I proceeded to the spot, and found that the men had fled, but that they appeared to belong to the transport Section of No 6 Aust. Field Ambulance. I called on the CO, and it was arranged to have the whole lot inspected at 7.am the following morning.
This was done, and two of the culprits identified by the marks on their faces, and the presence of a police cap badge in the possession of one of them. These [men] are to be sent to Court Martial.

Not much is recorded in the service records for Alex over this period, but it seems he was admitted to hospital quite frequently and the last time was in June 1919 when he was at Tidworth Military Hospital in Wiltshire, England with bronchitis.



S.S. KANOWNA

Alex was "invalided back home" on board the S.S. KANOWNA arriving in Melbourne on Thursday 23rd October 1919.  The soldiers were transported to the 11th Australian General Hospital (Caulfield Military Hospital)



The following images are of the Caulfield Military Hospital at the end of WW1.







I have no idea how long Alex was here at the hospital, but am sure he would have been back home at Laharum as soon as was possible!

Alex & Elizabeth had a daughter - Nancy - that was born in May 1926.

Alex Cameron died at Horsham on 14th June 1947 and is buried at the Brimpaen Cemetery alongside his wife Elizabeth who died in 1963.


His

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal



LEST WE FORGET



Alexander Duncan Cameron
enlisted 12 July 1915 ~ 29th Bn

his two half brothers:

Arthur Robert MATTHEWS
enlisted 17 October 1916 ~ 37th Bn
RTA

Matthew MATTHEWS
enlisted 12 July 1915 ~ 29th Bn
KIA


With grateful thanks to the following for information 

and the use of images & data off their sites.:

State Library of Victoria
National Library of Australia - Trove
The Australian War Memorial
The Australian National Archives
Australians on the Western Front





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Jul 28, 2014

Matthew Matthews 1893 - 1918


This posting is a little about Matthew Matthews and his life after he joined the AIF in July 1915.  Mat - as he was known - was born in 1893 in Horsham, Victoria, Australia and lived with his family at Highlands at Brimpaen, south of Horsham. A beautiful part of Victoria between the Black Range State Park and The Grampians National Park.
image of HIGHLANDS cir early 1900's courtesy of SLV

Mat traveled to Melbourne to enlist in the 29th Battalion on 12th July 1915 and was allocated service number 1190 - the same day as his step brother - Alexander Duncan Cameron. Alexanders service number was 1092 and he also joined the 29th Battalion. They embarked Melbourne on board the HMAT ASCANIUS on 10th November 1915 and arrived in Suez, Egypt a month later.

image of Matthew Matthews at time of enlistment

HMAT Ascanius departing Melbourne 10th Nov 1915

By July 1916 the 29th Battalion was moving through Erquingham to Strazeele near Hazebrouck. They had marched from Erquingham (at 1930 on 10th July ) to Bois Grenier and occupied the front line of trenches. There were no casualties and the men were in good spirits according to the 29th Bn diary. The Bois Grenier Line is a support trench that was about 70 yards to the rear of the front line.


A week later, they marched (at 0130 on 15th July)  to Fleurbeaux billets. (Fleurbaix, Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France) at 2330 Gas Alarm was given from the front front line but not felt here (Fleurbeaux) According to the diary, everyone was prepared. On 19th July the Battle of Fleurbaix commenced near Fromelles. The Australian 5th Division is committed in a poorly planned and executed attempt to take German trench lines. This Battle formed part of the Battle of Fromelles.


The following day - 20th July 1916 - Mat received a GSW (Gun Shot Wound) to the head and right arm and was transferred to England within days. One of 'the large number of wounded' brought in both by date & night. The 29th Bn were still holding the front line alone - at the Battle of Fleurbaix.

His brother - Alex Cameron - was also wounded at this time but discharged from hospital 4 days later.


Mat ended up being under medical care for over three months and did not rejoin his unit until 1st November 1916 when they were at Etaples in France.

By the end of December of that same year, Mat was admitted to hospital once again, this time with a 'septic finger'. Within two weeks he was being sent back to England as his hand had now become 'septic'. He was admitted to the 5th General Hospital in London. From his records it seems he was here for six weeks then given 'furlo' (leave of absence) and discharged to Perham Downs Camp.   According to Mat's service records he was admitted to Perham Downs on 2nd March 1917.  Perham Down is a village located near Ludgershall and Tidworth, located on the edge of Salisbury Plain about 10 miles outside Andover and  a large military training camp.


Perham Down Camp in winter

Perham Down Camp in winter
Perham Down Camp - inside the mess area?

Six months later Mat was transferred to 29th Bn on march out to overseas Training Brigade at Perham Downs.  By October he had proceeded overseas to Havre, Belgium - still with the Training Brigade - via Southhampton and two weeks later he was at Ouderdom. Mat was now in the Australian Corps Gas School and seemed to be with them until March of 1918 when he was transferred back to the 29th Battalion after completing the overall training for the Battalion.  He was then promoted to Corporal.

1st May 1918 they were at Sailly-le-Sec, a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France, not far from Amiens. Much documented of this time in the War Diaries for the 29th Battalion including through till 6th June, by which time they had arrived at Rivery. Still in the Somme area of France.

According to the 29th Battalion diary on 17th June they had "heavily bombarded Mericourt, Principle target being Hamel & Malard Wood. Our artillery most active during this period, Malard Wood, Cerisy, Sailly-Laurette Lamotte and enemy lines receiving most attention. Our MG & LG were very active at night at Hostile aircraft." (LG Lewis Guns & MG Machine Guns)

28th June 1918 Mat was at Bonnay along with the rest of his battalion as it's recorded that between 8.00am - 2.30pm. the Battalion bathed at Divisional Baths near Bonnay and all were issued with a clean change of underclothing!

How clean they must have felt!

By the first week of July the Battalion had moved on to Dernancourt as seen in the following page from the diary...


8th July 1918


On the night of 17th July the 29th Battalion had relieved the 60th Battalion and the "relief was carried out quietly and in good order. No casualties being sustained". Then on the 19th "Our artillery was active during the period, roads leading into Morlancourt, enemy supports & reserves receiving most attention".





Mat was at Morlancourt - in the Somme area of France - by 26th July where heavy fighting continued for over a week according to the diaries .... " our artillery was active, Morlancourt supports, reserves & forward receiving most attention. From 10 - 11.am and at 3.00am enemy lines were heavily bombarded" .... etc.... then on the 28th: "Enemy shelling was fairly active. Local patrols sent out. Heavy rain fell at 5.00am, visibility was poor. Work on improving front line trenches was actively carried out".

Corporal Matthew Matthews
was Killed in Action at
Morlancourt on 29th July 1918.

Further particulars about this part of the main battle is in the following two pages:




Mat is buried at the Beacon British Cemetery

The Horsham Times27th August 1918

Such a stressful time for the family, there were letters back and forth requesting photos of the grave, letters requesting any information as to where or how he was killed. The pain of losing their beloved son and brother was horrendous.



The notation on this page shows they were desperate to know more


Information to the Red Cross from Pvt Rodgers, 29th Bn

Information to the Red Cross from Pvt Bickerton, 29th Bn

In Mat's Service Records is states that the only item returned to the family was Mat's Identity disc, this was returned to Australia ex "Sardinia" in March 1919 and it was not until 30th September 1921 before the family were sent photos of the grave of Mat.

Yet according to the Red Cross "missing in action" files, another soldier took Mat's diary from his pack so it could be "sent home", there is no record of this in his service records.

Mat's sister Ruby was writing to the AIF requesting further information and all that could be supplied was "Killed in Action 29.7.18" and if any further information was forthcoming she would be immediately advised.

Amongst Mat's service records is a document dated 31st July 1917 where he says "I am not desirous of making a will". No further notification of any will is amongst his documents.

Then on 27th April 1920 Robert Matthews receives a letter stating that "the late No. 1190 Corporal M. Matthews, 29th Battalion is buried at the Beacon British Cemetery one mile south west of Morlancourt."

The Horsham Times 29 July 1919

On 18th September 1923 there was a dedication ceremony for St John's Lynch Gate for "Honoring the Brave" as seen below .....



The location of Matthew Matthews name on the Roll of Honour is seen at the Australian War Memorial below ....





Roll of Honour name projection

Matthew Matthews' name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory at the AWM in Canberra on:

  • Thu 7 August, 2014 at 11:58 pm
  • Sun 21 September, 2014 at 2:32 am
  • Tue 11 November, 2014 at 8:22 pm
  • Mon 5 January, 2015 at 2:41 am
  • Fri 27 February, 2015 at 4:26 am
  • Thu 16 April, 2015 at 12:03 am
  • Wed 27 May, 2015 at 9:48 pm
  • Sat 4 July, 2015 at 9:10 pm
These dates and times are estimates. The actual time of projection could change as a result of weather and other factors, so it is advisable to check closer to the date. In the rare event of a temporary loss of electrical power, the names scheduled for display in that period will not appear until the next time listed.


With grateful thanks to the following for information and the use of images off their sites.:

State Library of Victoria
National Library of Australia - Trove
The Australian War Memorial
The Australian National Archives
Australians on the Western Front



LEST WE FORGET





Alexander Duncan Cameron
enlisted 12 July 1915 ~ 29th Bn

his two half brothers:

Arthur Robert MATTHEWS
enlisted 17 October 1916 ~ 37th Bn
RTA

Matthew MATTHEWS
enlisted 12 July 1915 ~ 29th Bn
KIA




.
.

Jul 25, 2014

James John ROBERTS 1889 - 1968

Owen ROBERTS - my great great grandfather - married his second wife - Mary Jane LISTON - in Horsham in 1880 and they had six children.

Mary Jane ROBERTS       (1881 - 1975)
Annie Owena ROBERTS  (1883 - 1968)
Ellen Louisa ROBERTS    (1884 - 1968)
Agnes Maud ROBERTS   (1886 - 1961)

James John ROBERTS    (1889 - 1968)
Owen Thomas Gerald ROBERTS (1891 - 1984)

The children were all born around Wonwondah East and Burnt Creek area near Horsham in Victoria, Australia.

James - or Jim as he was known - was born on 8th August 1889 at Wonwondah East.



image of what the area looks like around Wonwondah East.

image of Jim ROBERTS and his brother Owen ROBERTS around 1904

By the 30 September 1916, Jim had enlisted in the AIF at Horsham and was joined to the 22nd Battalion. His service number being 6430.

Jim ROBERTS

image of Jim and his brother - Owen ROBERTS


He embarked Melbourne on the 23rd November 1916 on board the HMAT HORORATA arriving in England in January 1917.  The following week he was marched into the 6th Training Battalion at Larkhill.


HMAT Hororato at Port Melbourne

From July 31 1916 to November 1917 was the Battle of Passchendaele. It was also known as the Third Battle of Ypres or the The Battles of Ypres 1917. Each "phase" of the battles had it's own name. Where Jim was wounded was - I believe - "The Battle of Menin Road".

On the 18th September the Battalion was at Westhoek Ridge and the next day near by Ypres.


At 5.40am on 20 September, 1917, after 5 days of bombardment, 11 divisions of the 2nd and 5th BEF armies struck the Germans on a 13 kilometre front. The Australian 1st and 2nd Divisions, along with a Scottish Division, were the centre of the assault along Westhoek Ridge facing Glencorse Wood, with a combined front of 1,800 metres. It was the first occasion in the war in which two Australian Divisions attacked side by side. The Australians overcame enemy infantry opposition and advanced steadily for almost one kilometre to the first objective known as the "Red Line". It ran along a sunken road, the north edge of Glencorse Wood to Honnebeck swamp and bogs in the None Borsden Copse.Then on the 23rd the Battalion were at the support line moving to Dominion Area.  All part of the Battle of Ypres. On the 23rd there were 12 killed and 14 injured from the 22nd Bn.

According to Jim's Medical Report: "the casualty is classified (shell shock wounded) Blown up by shell since then he has had giddiness, short wind and shaky. Pulse increased on slight exertion
".




Many men suffered SHELL SHOCK, described as uncontrollable shaking, terrifying nightmares and severe convulsions were among the most devastating symptoms suffered by the many First World War soldiers.


By the end of the war, more than 80,000 men who had endured the horrors of battle were struggling  to return to normality.

Jim was returned to Australia on 12th May 1918 via the Troopship GAIKA departing from Plymouth.  He was discharged from the AIF in August 1918 with his disability being listed as "dilated action of the heart.".

Ten years later he married Olive Mary DUNN in Horsham and the following year they had a son they named Leo James ROBERTS. Leo was born on 16th June 1929 and was their only child.


24th May 1928 in Horsham

James John ROBERTS driving a cart at his farm in Brimpaen with his brother Owen ROBERTS, sister-in-law Mary-Ann GWYNN and son Leo ROBERTS at the back.

James John ROBERTS with his mother
Mary Jane LISTON and younger brother Owen ROBERTS


James John ROBERTS on the 28th July 1968, died of broncho pneumonia & fractured femur at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital at the age of 78 years.

Leo - the son of Jim Roberts - went on to marry and have four children of his own. Three sons and one daughter. Leo died on 23rd June 1991 at home - Raewood - at Brimpaen and was buried at the Brimpaen Cemetery on the 25th June 1991.




may they rest in peace



.







a very busy project!


Over the past year or so I have been researching and gathering photos and information on the members of my family that served in both World Wars.

My 'goal' has been to document what I can in memory of these men that fought in such horrendous conditions so that we may experience some form of peace today.


if anyone has any extra data on any of the above, do please let me know.
           
Leone Fabre