Monday, December 24, 2007

Larus novaehollandiae

Larus novaehollandiae
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The Story of Frederick Edwards

Frederick Edward Edwards was labourer in Quorn where his father George and mother Caroline lived. Fred enlisted when he was almost 22 years old on 31 may 1915 and was allotted to the 4th reinforcements for 27 battalion.

Fred, like a number of other soldiers from Quorn, must have been a handful for his unit leaders. Twice while at Mitcham, before leaving for overseas, Fred was in trouble for being absent without leave. Once for a day and once for two days, both occasions in August. He forfeited 5 days pay for each occurrence. However by November Fred was in Heliopolis where he was absent from parade one evening. He hadn’t scarpered as he was found on the base 6 hours after the parade. He was confined to camp for 3 days this time.

In December of 1915 Fred was taken on strength by 27 Battalion at Mudros. The Battalion had just come out of Gallipoli in the evacuation. In January Fred disembarked in Alexandria and his path echoes that of other 27 Battalion members from Quorn such as Alfred Easther.

On the 27 March Fred disembarked in Marseilles and a fortnight later he took the evening off while in Morbecque. For this and making a false statement to the Piquet Officer he was ordered to forfeit 1 days pay and had to perform 7 days field punishment number 2.

Like many other soldiers there are few records of his actual action in France until on 4 August in the same action as Alfred Easther was wounded Fred was also wounded. However in Fred’s case it was in the abdomen.

Fred was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station/No 13 Field Ambulance and about 5 days after receiving his wound he was admitted to Special Hospital Warlay. By the 21st of the month he was admitted to No 1 Canadian General Hospital and a week later was aboard the “HS Brighton” and bound for England. His condition was deteriorating and he was admitted to the Norfolk War Hospital and noted as seriously ill. On the 8th September 1916 Fred died of peritonitis caused by his wound.

Fred was buried in the Norwich Cemetery but was reinterred during 1920 to another site in the same cemetery.

The following is an extract from the 27 Battalion War Diary describing the action in which Fred and Alfred Easther were both fatally wounded.
Abbreviations and formatting have been copied as closely as practical to the original.

Night Aug 4/5
Attacked position on left BAPAUME at 9pm
Attacked and captured two lines of trenches and strong point at windmill. Narrative attached.

Operations, Aug 4-6 1916
In accordance with instructions the 27 Bn moved off from LA BOISELLE for the position of assembly on the afternoon of Aug 4.
The first platoon moved at about 5.30 pm.
The arrangements were for A & B Coys to occupy the jumping off trenches on front of Tramline and to form the first and second waves of the assault with OG1 as objective.
D & C Coys were to form third and fourth waves in Tramline trench, with special carrying parties following as a fifth wave.
Companies moved so that they would be composed of right and left companies respectively: of these formed the first wave & the second wave. The third & fourth waves were composed of as third wave, and as 4th wave
The fifth wave of 16 men per company carrying tools and material.
A & B companies advanced & assaulted OG1. Both waves easily reaching this objective.
D coy followed as far as OG1 but C Coy appears to have lost direction; 7 eventually mixed with 25 & 26 bns on the left and 18th on the right.
A, B & D Coys worked hard on consolidation of OG1 throughout the night.
Capt Devonshire reports that about 4.30am on the 5th the enemy launched a counter attack against OG1 but were repulsed by vickers mg, Lewis gun & rifle fire.
The casualties to the enemy in this attack are estimated to be 100 including 2 officers. The remainder surrendered.
Patrols were then sent out to the windmill and OG2. OG2 was then occupied. A company of 28 Bn was sent to assist the garrison.
Lewis gun positions were selected in advance of OG2.
During the day the position was heavily shelled, and enfilade fire was bought to bear from the direction of THIEPVAL.

During afternoon of Aug 5, instructions were recieved to hand over OG1 & OG2 to 48 Bn

J S Malpas Capt
for/CO 27 Bn AIF
Casualties, summarised from the diary
Officers - 1 killed, 2 missing, 7 wounded
Other Ranks - 40 killed, 67 missing, 89 wounded

Major Cunningham was one of the two officers listed as missing. He was the CO and Captain Malpas was the senior officer remaining after the attack.

James Stanley Malpas enlisted as a Lieutenant in March 1915, later being promoted to Captain on the Gallipoli peninsular. In November of 1916 he would suffer gunshot wounds to the left and right arms and be repatriated back to Australia to be discharged in the first half of 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross for his service.

Trevor Russell Cunningham enlisted during May 1915 as a captain, also being promoted in the field at Gallipoli. He was reported as missing on the same day as Fred was wounded. “Missing” was revised to KIA at the end of September. Major Cunningham’s remains were recovered by the War Graves Commission in 1936 from a previously unidentified soldiers grave. He was reinterred at London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval. His identification was by his identity disc and a personalised cuff link which were both returned to his family.

The Story of the Easther Brothers

There were four brothers from one family who all enlisted in the First World War. They were Leonard, Alfred, Charles and Edmund. They enlisted in that order and were at their time of enlistment; 25, 20, 29 and 19 years old respectively. Only Charles and Edmund were to survive the war.

Leonard Ridgeway Easther
was the first of the brothers to enlist. In August 1914 he presented at Morphetville where he joined the Third Light Horse, one of the first recruits with a military number of 134. By May of 1915 Leonard was in the Dardanelles. On the 29th of that month, in an area of Gallipoli known as “Monash Valley” he was wounded in the thigh by gunfire. Just over a week later he was admitted to the 15th General Hospital in Alexandria.

On the day that Leonard was being admitted to hospital, Alfred Bryant, the second youngest of the brothers was enlisting in Adelaide. Alfred’s parents had given their written consent, coincidentally on the 29th of May, the day Leonard was wounded. Alfred joined the third reinforcements for the 27th Battalion.

In July Leonard was discharged from hospital and sailed on the “Seeang Bee” back to Gallipoli, where he rejoined the Light Horse on the 28th . He was back there for just over a month until he was readmitted to Number One General Hospital, Heliopolis. This time Leonard was suffering from a septic knee and would be in hospital for further month until early October.

In late August Alfred embarked on HMAT “Morea” for the Middle East and by October, just after Leonard was discharged from hospital in Cairo, Alfred was taken on strength by 27 Battalion on the Gallipoli Peninsular.

At the very end of 1915 Leonard rejoined the 3rd Light Horse Regiment who had just left Gallipoli for Cairo (Heliopolis). Alfred also left Gallipoli with the rest of the ANZAC contingent. On the first day of 1916 Leonard was temporarily promoted to Sergeant. Nine days later Alfred disembarked in Alexandria and at the end of January Leonard was confirmed in his promotion.

Both brothers spent January in Egypt within about 200km of each other until in March Alfred embarked for the European theatre and disembarked in Marseilles.

Once again the records are sparse for the next few months. We know that Alfred took part in a trench raid on the night of 28/29 of June and was promoted to corporal a month later.

[Extract from 27 Battalion Diary 28/29 June 1916:
During night our raiding party entered enemy trenches at Ontario Farm under Artillery Barrage & did some damage. Killing 17 enemy & taking 4 prisoners. Retaliation by Bosche Artillery severe. Our casualties Wounded Lts Sommerville JR & Gooden SR. Other Ranks Killed 4, Wounded 26]

Then on the 4 August 1916, both Alfred and Leonard were shot, one in Egypt and one in France.

Leonard in Romani was killed outright. Alfred, though seriously wounded by a bullet in the head was transferred to a casualty clearing station, and ultimately reached the No 1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples where he died of his wounds in the early hours of the morning on the 16 September.

Leonard was initially buried on the battlefield at Romani a day or so after the battle. Chaplain HK Gordon officiated. As was the practice after the war Leonard was “bought in” and now lies at the Kantara Military Cemetery, 160km north east of Cairo.
Alfred was buried in the cemetery associated with the enormous allied presence around the French town of Etaples. The Etaples Military Cemetery now contains over 10700 Commonwealth dead of the first world war, including Alfred.

--------Extract of 3rd Light Horse War diary--------
At 12.20 AM the enemies infantry lines appeared and they made a bayonet charge onto the Cossack (?) post line at the base of MT MERIDITH and came under heavy fire from our piquet line which held them up for a very considerable period.
We were reinforced by 1 Squad of the 1st LH which was displaced to the S of Mt. Meridith and two Squad reinforced at HOD ABU ADI which we had to evacuate. We held the ground just about the HOD at 4AM but the Turks were now swarming up MT MERIDITH from the SW and dominated our position. They poured heavy Rifle Machine Gun & Shrapnel fire onto us at daylight and we were compelled to fall back at 5.30 as our R flank was enfiladed owing to the 1st & 2nd Regt. Being compelled to withdraw. We fell back onto WELLINGTON RIDGE where we were reinforced by the 2nd Bde and a company of KOSB. Here the Regt. Reformed less B Squad who had been compelled to fall back behind the wire of the Inf posts and were afterwards used as Divisional Troops by General Chauvel.
On reforming we joined up with the 2nd Regt but missed the 1st Bde, so we moved to the Right Flank which was all the time being turned. We moved toward HOD EL DIYUK and were joined by the 6th LH Regt & Col Royston who won command. We then extended to the Right and held all the high ground covering the Railway and ultimately stopped the turning movement.
The NZMR the 3rd LH Bde and the 5th Mounted Bde came from the direction of DUIEDAR and attacked from the SW. squeezing the enemy on their sides and capturing 500 prisoners. The whole line then swang round to our left & advanced towards Mt MEREDITH & HOD EL ENNA for two miles & then halted and bivouacked in the position for the night.


Leonard’s name appears first on the diary page listing casualties of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment for August.
A summary for the 4th from the diary indicates:
Killed 11, died of wounds 3, wounded 40 (including 4 officers)


A extract of the unit diary describing the night Alfred was wounded is included in the Story of Frederick Edwards.

Saturday, December 22, 2007




160 g Butter
80 g Sugar (ordinary or caster)
80 g Almond Meal
200g Plain flour
Vanilla essence
1 Knifepoint Bi-Carb Soda (an old German measure, a pinch or so)


100 g Butter with some sugar for texture.
1 Egg yolk
1 Spoon of black coffee (to be omitted!)
20g Cocoa



Work all the ingredients into a dough then roll it out thickly. Cut out biscuit shapes and cook in a middle heat oven.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gingerbread for shapes and houses.



100 g Butter
115 g Sugar (ordinary or caster)
230 g Golden syrup (approx 175ml)
1 Tablespoon Ground ginger (more is OK)
1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Bi-Carb Soda (less is OK)
500g Plain flour
2 Eggs

Royal Icing

1 Egg white
200g Icing sugar (approximately)



Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a double boiler over low heat. Stir Carefully until thoroughly incorporated.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Add the spices and bi-carb into the mix and stir well (make sure it is cool or the bi-carb will fizz up).
With the (sifted) flour in a mixing bowl, form a cavity in the middle of the flour, add the beaten eggs and then the sugar mix. Mix it all together to form a doughy consistency. [I haven't used an electric mixer, but it would probably work using the dough hook attachments and a medium setting]
Add extra flour if the dough is still too sticky inside the bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and put aside for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, pre-heat the oven, 180C.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to about 5-8mm thick, use biscuit cutters for shaped biscuits. Gently place on trays and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on the size.

Royal Icing

Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl, slowly whisk in the icing sugar to make a firm peaking icing. (It will look white and glossy).
Cover the surface of the icing with plastic wrap to prevent a crust forming.
Add food colouring as required for icing or can be used as a cement for houses etc.

Banana Cake


1/2 cup milk
250g bananas (about 2 bananas)
1 cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 eggs
60g butter


Put all the ingredients into the bowl of electric mixer. Sugar, sifted flour, lightly beaten eggs, softened butter and milk. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed till smooth (about 2 minutes).
Turn mixture into greased 23 cm x 12 cm loaf tin or round 25cm spring form cake tin.
Bake in low to moderate oven (170-180C) approx 1 ¾ hours or until cooked when tested.
Cool in tin 10 minutes before turning out on wire rack to complete cooling.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Porifera (Sponges)

kingdom Animalia - animals
Porifera - sponges

Porifera translates to "Pore-bearer". They are the simplest multi cellular animals. They are sessile, mostly marine, water dwelling, filter feeders that pump water through their bodies to filter out particles of food matter. With no true tissues (parazoa), they lack muscles, nerves, and internal organs.

There are three (4?) classes of porifera.

1. Calcarea (calcareous or boney sponges) are the only sponges that possess spicules composed of calcium carbonate. Typically, the Calcarea are very small, measuring about 3-4 inches in height. Of the 15,000 or so species of Porifera that exist, only 400 of those are Calcareans

2. Hexactinellid (glass sponges) are sponges with a skeleton made of four and/or six-pointed silaceous spicules.
Hexactinellids are relatively uncommon and are mostly found at substantial depths.

3. Demosponge:
The Demospongiae are the largest class in the phylum Porifera. Their "skeletons" are made of spicules consisting of fibers of the protein spongin, the mineral silica, or both. They contain 90% of all species of sponges and are predominantly leuconid structural grade.

Subclass Homoscleromorpha
order Homosclerophorida

Subclass Tetractinomorpha
o Astrophorida
o Chondrosida
o Hadromerida
o Lithistida
o Spirophorida

Subclass Ceractinomorpha
o Agelasida
o Dendroceratida
o Dictyoceratida
o Halichondrida
o Halisarcida
o Haplosclerida
o Poecilosclerida
o Verongida
o Verticillitida

4(?). Sclerospongiae (coralline or tropical reef sponges)


Glossary of Terms:
Archaeocytes (amoebocytes) - Cells with pseudopods, located in the mesohyl. They are used in processing food, distributing it to other cells, and for other functions.
Choanocyte - also called collar cells, choanocytes line the inner cavity of the sponge. They have a sticky, funnel-shaped collar (that collects food particles) and a flagellum (which whips around, moving water). The sponge obtains its nutrients and oxygen by processing flowing water using choanocytes. Choanocytes are also involved in sponge reproduction; they catch floating sperm.
Mesohyl (mesenchyme) - the gelatinous layer between the outer body of the sponge and the spongocoel (the inner cavity).
Oscula (pl. osculum) - a large opening in a sponge through which water flows out of the sponge. Sponges may have more than one oscula.
Ostium (pl. ostia) - a pore on the body of a sponge that lets water into the sponge.
Pinacocyte - pinacocytes are the thin, flattened cells of the epidermis, the sponge's outer layer of cells.
Porocyte - cells with pores that allow water into the sponge; they are located all over the sponge's body.
Spicule - spicules are sharp spikes located in the mesohyl. Spicules form the "skeleton" of many sponges.
Spongin - the flexible, fibrous fibers that form the skeleton of horny sponges; spongin is located within the mesohyl.
Spongocoel - the central, open cavity in a sponge through which water flows.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Chain at Port Noarlunga

Across the reef at Noarlunga, to the north of the jetty is a chain. Each link is about a metre long. It passes from the sandy bottom, up and over the reef itself. This view is looking along the sandy floor, toward the reef.
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More Snorkeling at Port Noarlunga

A Ringed Toadfish (Omegophora armilla). The "ring" can be seen around the pectoral fin.

A pink sponge.

Razor Fish (Family Pinnidae)
Two more sponges?
As far as sponges go, Australia is a relatively poorly studied area. Queensland Museum "Sponguide" notes that there are about 1400 described species, but estimates that there are 5000 or so species existing.
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Sparrow, photographed while having breakfast outside.
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An idea on a Sunday Morning

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Story of Edward George Deinhoff

At enlistment in February 1916, Edward was 25 years old with hazel eyes and brown hair. He noted his next of kin as his mother Johanna and his own occupation at the time was laborer.

Edward was initially attached to “C” Company of the 1st Depot Battalion then in early March he was transferred to 43 Battalion. In Early June he embarked aboard the HMAT Afric, bound for Europe.

While at sea Edward was fined 10 shillings for drunkenness, which was the beginning of a number of comparatively minor offences that would follow him for the next few years. While he carried out his military duties, Edward seems to have been less than disciplined at times.

The “Afric” disembarked 43 Battalion at Marseilles on 20 July, from where they proceeded to England for training. While in the Larkhill training camp Edward again was in trouble. After being absent without leave for 24 hours in October he was given 7 days confined to barracks and forfeited a day’s pay. After this, on 25th November, Edward embarked from South Hampton for active duty in France.

43 Battalion was in France from December 1916 till the end of the war. Their first major actions happening in the second half of 1917.

Unsurprisingly Edward’s record of activity is quiet for the early part of 1917, except for spending 8 days sick in hospital during January. In February, Edward was attached to the 171st company of the Royal Engineers in the field. However, at the end of April, Edward was in trouble again. This time he was absent without leave for a day again, but when he had been placed under open arrest he had broken out of his billet. This time the punishment was more severe. It was 14 days of “Field Punishment, Number 2”. FP No2 essentially consisted of being kept in manacles or tied up. Edward never completed this punishment as he was admitted to hospital after 6 days and discharged back to 43 Battalion. Still having difficulties with the discipline on the 21st May Edward forfeits another three days pay for the crime of “disobeying a lawful order” by coming to parade unshaven!

Now the war for Edward seems to have an impact and he is wounded in the hand in early July. By the 10th he is in York House Hospital in Folkestone where his treatment takes more than a month. On the 28th of August he is discharged from the hospital and given leave. He has to report back to Weymouth after his leave, which he does on 11th September. Edward seems to go through more training (r perhaps become an instructor) as he is marched into the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill in Wiltshire in November and stays there for many months.

True to form Edward does a bunk in March. This time it was for more than a fortnight, for which he was sentenced again to Field Punishment Number 2, 28 days worth. He is also held in custody for 2 days and forfeits 44 days of pay showing how serious this length of absence was.

After spending just over 8 months in the UK, Edward is sent back overseas to the Australian Base depot in le Havre on 21st March 1918 and 3 days later sent back to 43 Battalion.

Now in the middle of April Edward is admitted to the 3rd Australian General Hospital in Abbeville. Initially he was noted as simply “sick” but later records show that he was being treated for VD and he gets sent back to le Havre where he is admitted to the 39th General Hospital (British) and he stays there until early July. But his discharge is to be short lived. Edward is back in hospital again on 13th August for the same reasons, staying till the 12th October and rejoining his unit on 23 of that month.

The war ends just one month after Edward rejoined the unit but 43 battalion are not demobilized immediately and Edward doesn’t even leave France till April of 1919. As a last fling while in England, Edward again does his disappearing trick for two days, from 3rd to 5th of May and forfeits 2 more days of pay. This time he is only “admonished” for his behavior.

By the 20th he is embarked on the “Nestor” and is on his way back to Australia where he reaches Adelaideat the end of June. By this time his health must be questionable as he has a medical in September at Keswick in Adelaide, to determine the status of his health. The report notes a broken right finger, presumably from the wound he received in 1917 but indicates no other things wrong and Edward is discharged in the middle of October after serving 1353 days.

What happens next is a mystery, as the records do not show very much about Edward after his discharge. However, there is an unusual reply letter dated November 1922 to the Repatriation Department listing his service record and we know his father collected his service medals at about this time too, so it would seem that Edward had passed on by this time.


The search for the soldiers named on the Quorn memorial is somewhat complicated by the spelling ability of many of the clerks and others in the Army. The name inscribed as E S Dienoff as it appears is wrong in three respects. It should be E G Deinhoff. Records for Edward Deinhoff were difficult to track down until I discovered the correct spelling of his name. Three others of the named soldiers have not been properly identified yet.
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Friday, November 30, 2007

Quorn Mercury March 16, 1916 (extract)

Last week Mr. R Thompson received two letters from Egypt, one from Mr. Roy Bennett and another from Mr. C. R. Trathern. Mr. Bennett writes from Tourah Camp as follows:-

Tourah Camp, Cairo 15/1/1916.

Dear Mr. Thompson – We arrived here safely five weeks tomorrow. We disembarked at Port Suez then trained to Heliopolis Camp, where we camped for a week. Then we transferred to the above camp. Cairo is just as we heard of it from our first boys – nothing but a disgusting and immoral city – but you will see some of their buildings are very fine. We have had one or two days off to visit different parts. We went to the Pyramids, the ancient mosques around Cairo, and a trip on the Nile. We expect to move forward shortly. Kindest wishes to Mrs. Thompson and self, also our old town and the boys of sport, and trust it will not be long before we can join you again in the north of S.A. – Yours Sincerely R. A. Bennett.

Zietown 23/1/1916.

Dear Mr Thompson – Just a line to let you know all is well. Up to now we have not done anything to speak of, but expect to be doing a bit very soon. I saw Jim Cattle the other day. He looks well. Have had some very good pleasure trips round Cairo, and they are very interesting. Kindest regards to family and self – Sincerely yours C. R. Trathern.


Zeitoun was a training camp near Cairo. C R Trathern does not seem to have been a Quorn resident, he may have been enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces as Zeitoun was chiefly a New Zealand training camp. Roy Bennett was a native of Quorn who survived the war.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quorn Mercury November 2, 1916 (extract)

Dear Mother and Father – I am in high glee on the receipt of your letter today of July 9, and they came as an extra surprise to me as we are again on our way to the firing line, and did not expect to receive any mail until after we returned from the firing line. I am going up for a second cut at the Germans and had a great experience the last time, but came through all right, although I had some pretty close calls, and I hardly know how to explain to you what it is like, but you can pretty well imagine what the feeling would be when you see others getting knocked over right near you and all the writing and talking would not give you any idea of the sensation of a big shell bursting around you: the only one I can give is that your inside all goes up into a knot and when you hear the whistle of them coming through the air you flop down and after the bang the place is all torn up terribly. We were on the ammunition fatigue carrying up material to the firing line, and had to go through a lot of this, but we sort of got used to it and if a shell burst anywhere near you, then you get covered all over with dust, and then you just get up and shake yourself and run like mad until the next one comes along.
I often have a good laugh now at our experiences, for there were certainly some very funny things happened which at the time I did not feel much like laughing, anyhow we all make up for it now. I believe we have to go to the front line this time, but I don’t think it will be much worse than the ammunition column. Anyhow, I hope and wish to be able to stand it as well as last time, and also that if I do happen to get knocked that you will not worry over me, for there are hundreds of other better fellows than me going out, and I will not write anymore about this sort of thing that we are going through. I would not mind some more of the old camp days back again that we had in Australia, for I can say they were the time of my life. I met Jim Turner as we were coming out last time. He was on his way up to the front, but I hadn’t a chance to speak to him, but he looked real well, and as fat as could be. I should have liked to have had a talk to him but still I may be able to do so some other time if I drop across him.
I would dearly like to get some nice souvenir to send home, but up to now we have not had the opportunity, being billeted in very poor places to get anything nice, but if I can get my eyes on to something you can be sure that I will get it for you. So I will now close with best love and wishes to all. – From your loving son, Roy J G Burr
(Since this letter has been received news has been received that Private Burr has been wounded).

The "Quorn Mercury" Newspaper

I spent a while at the State Library this evening and was able to find records from the "Quorn Mercury" newspaper.

It was interesting reading through them and trying to tie up articles from the war years with the men on my list.

The Mercury seems to have improved in quality from 1915 to 1918 but during that time it appeared to follow a fixed format.

It was published on Fridays and consisted of 4 pages. The first page carried the newspaper banner and advertising (this wasn't unusual as other papers I have looked at from that period also followed that format). The last page was taken up substantially by a serialised story and forthcoming events. The inside two pages carried most of the "news" as we would understand it, but it was also liberally spattered with advertorials and other pseudo articles. Luckily, a good number of the letters that soldiers wrote home were printed. I assume the letter recipient made them available to the newspaper for public interest.

As I progress with my Quorn project I will put up some of the letters and other relevant articles I find as well. We will kick this off with a letter written to his parents by Roy Burr. The letter as published ends with a note from the Mercury editors that indicated Roy had been wounded.

Sadly we know now that he was dead and had been for more than two months when his letter was published.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Marino Sunset

Just after I left the water Friday.
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Steve and the Stingray

It has been warm here in Adelaide this week. I took my first visit of the nearly summer to Marino on Wednesday. On Friday I returned and took my camera.

I spent a lazy hour after work floating around and then just before sunset I decided to get out.
As I approached the shallows and was just about to stand up, I came face to face with this fellow. He appeared silently in front of me, virtually from the shore and came cruising just over the tops of the rocks in the 30-40cm of water in the gaps. I fumbled for my camera and did a quick U turn as he passed within a couple of metres of me. I kicked out hard to catch up with him but he just lazed away from me. As I was doing this I was thinking of another Steve, another stingray and keeping an eye on the barb of this one. But there was no real danger. I couldn't get close enough to be a problem to this fish, no matter how much I was trying.

I got off about three shots before the distance became so great that there was no point in trying.

This picture is not so good, the water is quite mucky still, and visibility is not many metres. Also the light was poor as it was late in the day. Still, I will post this picture as it is the largest creature I have yet encountered at Marino.

Eagle Ray, Myliobatis australis

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Marino Fish

This Little character is the Smooth Toadfish, Tetractenos glaber. There were a few of them near the sandy areas between the rocks and the sea grasses at Marino. When they were swimming they were very difficult to take pictures ofas they were so fast. This one (and another nearby) were half buried under the sand. The other toadfish was hiding deeper in the sand and left before I could take many pictures. This one was by a rock and was happy to stay there for a short time while I took some photos. In the end he didn't stay around for long and took off too.

The "Six spined" Leatherjacket. The spines are clearly visible just in front of the tail. Meuschenia freycineti.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Story of Francis James Dennis

Picture: "Balcony of troopers' ward, 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia"

A painting by George Lambert, held in the Australian War Museum.

Francis spent some time in this hospital with fever.

In January 1915 a 20 year old Francis Dennis signed his Attestation papers as the first step in joining the Australian Army. At the time he nominated his mother, Frances, as “next of kin”. A few days later he was taken on as a private in the Third Light Horse Regiment. From 26th January till he embarked on the 28th April he trained with his unit, possibly in Mitcham. On the 28th he embarked on the A41 “Bakara” from Port Adelaide.

At the beginning of June he was taken on strength by the 3rd Light Horse reserve at Tel el Kabir. At the time Tel el Kabir was a training camp and also a prisoner of war camp. It is in Egypt between Cairo and Port Said.

In early July Francis was attached to the Imperial Camel Corps and taken on strength in their 13th Company.
In November 1916 he was transferred to the 3rd ANZAC Battalion and then in March 1917 to the 4th ANZAC Battalion.

On the 28th June, Francis began a trying period of illness and transfers when he was admitted to hospital with “Pyrexia”. In the earlier part of the 20th century, medical science was not as formalized as currently. Pyrexia is simply a more formal way of indicating an unspecific fever and later in Francis’ records he is noted as POUO, or “Pyrexia of unknown origin”. In the first couple of days of his illness, Francis was passed through the hands of the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station in Palestine/Sinai, the Imperial Camel Corps Field Ambulance and the Second Australian Stationary Hospital at El Arish. A week later, on the 7th July he was still in the Stationary Hospital and noted as NYD (“not yet diagnosed”). On the 10th he was transferred to Cairo where he was admitted to the Citadel General Hospital and six days later transferred to the 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia. On the 20th of July he was on the mend and passed into the convalescent depot, finally being discharged on the 31st after more than a month in hospital and traveling almost 300km between hospitals.

After his spell in hospital Francis was taken back on strength by the 4th ANZAC Battalion and spent a week in the Camel reserve depot. After leaving the reserve depot he was designated Trooper instead of Private and as of 20th August he was taken on strength by 4 Battalion again.

The next record we have of Francis is the notification of his death on 6 November 1917. At this time the ICC was conducting operations to destroy the Turkish defensive line between Gaza and Beersheba. Francis was killed by a bullet to the head near Tel-Khuweilfe, 18km north of Beersheba. This was less than a week after the famous Light Horse charge on the town.
Francis was buried near where he was killed in grave “F4”. The service was conducted by Chaplain C Scott-Little.

In January Francis’ mother began to receive a pension of 20 shillings per fortnight due to his death, but it was not till May that the family learned of the exact circumstances of his death.

At the end of 1919 the family was advised that Francis had been reinterred at the military cemetery in Beersheba. This was a fairly common practice after the war when soldiers buried in small groups due to the needs of battle were “bought in” to consolidated major cemeteries.

A word on the organization of the military:
A light horse brigade (eg First Light Horse Brigade) was made up of three regiments (eg First, Second and Third Regiments). The 3rd Light Horse Regiment which Francis joined was originally raised in Adelaide on 17 August 1914. The Imperial Camel Corps was not attached to any of the light horse brigades and it consisted of 4 battalions. The 3rd Battalion was wholy Australian and the 4th was a mix of Australians and New Zealanders.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

The Story of Alfred James Bell

Alfred was the older of two Quorn brothers. He enlisted in October 1916 about 14 months after his younger brother Richard.

Richard would serve out the war, even winning a Military Medal near Ypres for digging out men as they were buried by shell explosions during a barrage.

Alfred was subject to the normal medical and dental examinations during October and was attached to the 8th Reinforcements of 50 Battalion as a private. He then embarked from Adelaide in December on the HMAT “Berrima”. The records show he disembarked at Plymouth in mid February. About three weeks later Alfred marched into the 15th Training Battalion at Hurdcott on the Salisbury plains about 5.5km to the north east of Salisbury itself.

After nearly 4 months of training Alfred traveled from South Hampton to le Havre on board the “Private”. He arrived in France on 26 June 1917 and was officially taken on strength of 50 Battalion shortly afterwards. Alfred’s time in Europe was not to be long. Exactly two months to the day after arrival in France, Alfred suffered bad face wounds from a bomb. Alfred was transferred to the Second Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Alfred died later that same day at the casualty clearing station before he could be transferred to a rear hospital.

The Trois Arbres Steenwerck Cemetery near Armientiers was used by the casualty clearing station from July 1916 to April 1918 and it contains the remains of 1704 Commonwealth servicemen, including 435 who are unidentified. Alfred is one of the 1269 identified casualties buried there.

A small parcel of Alfred’s private possessions was returned via the HMAT “Barambah” in 1918 and returned to his father as indicated in Alfred’s will. During the period from 1921 to 1923 Alfred’s father William received Alfred’s British War Medal, Victory Medal and Memorial Plaque.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Story of Roy James Gladstone Burr

Some of the soldiers who appear on the Quorn memorial were not exactly natives of Quorn. Roy Burr was born in Glanville in Adelaide. He also enlisted there as well. At the time of his enlistment in August 1915 Roy was working as a labourer and was aged 23. The link with Quorn came later as his parents, who were living in Eudunda at the time of Roy’s enlistment, moved to Quorn before the end of the war. After initial training in Adelaide Roy embarked as a Private on the "Malwa" for the Middle East on 2nd of December.

No record exists of when Roy got to Egypt, but he was admitted in to the Abbassia Dermatological Hospital in Cairo. Now, most of the soldiers who left for overseas behaved quite well but a few got themselves into various forms of trouble. Roy might have been one of those, but far from the worst (as we shall see). “Dermatological” hospitals of the First World War were actually VD clinics! This was in mid January of 1917 and he stayed at the hospital for about 2 months, finally being released on 16 March to rejoin the 12th reinforcements for the 12th Battalion. In May he was promoted from Private to Driver.

In June Roy embarked on the Cunard liner the SS Ivernia to travel to France. He disembarked in Marseille a week later.

The SS Ivernia had been built in 1899 as a liner and spent the next 14 years plying passengers between the United Kingdom and United States. At the start of the war it was converted to a troop ship. A year after delivering Roy to France the Ivernia was torpedoed with the loss of 121 lives near Cape Matapan in the Mediterranean. By that time Roy was dead too.

Shortly after arrival in France, Roy found himself back in hospital. This time from an apparent fight he had got into. On the 30 July he was released from hospital and joined the 52nd Battalion.

The next and last record we have of Roy is a note that he was wounded on 3-4 of September 1916. However as time goes past he can’t be found. On the 20 October he was posted as “wounded and missing” as there must be no records received from the Germans of prisoners with his name listed. A month after that his name is put on the “supernumary” list as he had been absent for three months.

Finally a military inquest on 24 April 1917 returned the verdict “killed in action” on the original date he went missing.

Roy was never found and his name is now on the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. The Australian memorial was built to commemorate the 10000 Australian first war soldiers who have no other known graves. While his own personal records are sparse it is possible to infer where Roy fell. 52nd Battalion was part of the 13th Brigade of the Fourth Division of the AIF. During 1916 the Fourth Division was involved in fighting on the Somme, chiefly at Pozieres, Mouquet Farm and Flers. The Australian army took 23,000 casualties (both killed and wounded) in the area around Pozieres between July and September of 1916. It is highly likely that Roy was one of these casualties.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A walk by sea

As the weather is getting warmer it was a nice night to go for a walk along the beach to Brighton. We found this sand sculpture of a boat and anchor.
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Monday, October 22, 2007

The story of James Stanley Harden.

James was born in Quorn but enlisted in Adelaide where his parents were living. James described himself as a driver although at discharge he claimed he was a baker. At enlistment he was 19 years old when he was one of the first enlistees enrolling in August 1914 and getting serial number 25. At enrollment James was 86kg (189lb) and 171cm (five feet, seven half inches) and his medical examination noted that he already had a scar on his chest. Within a month of enlisting James was promoted from private to lance corporal in the 10th Battalion and by November he was aboard HMAT Ascanius on his way from Adelaide.

In January of 1915 he was admitted to the 2nd General Hospital AIF suffering from flu which he overcame and was released a fortnight later.

James was one of the original Diggers at Gallipoli. He was promoted to Corporal in the field on 28th April, only three days after the landing. Exactly one month later on 28th May, James was wounded while near Gaba Tepe. A Turkish shell exploded nearby causing terrible wounds to his upper legs and pelvis with some damage to his face too. The wound was so bad his leg was amputated on the beach at ANZAC cove.
He was shipped out to the 1st General Base Hospital in Heliopolis (Cairo) which he reached ten days later on the 7th June.

He was examined in Heliopolis in July 1915 where his wounds were noted as almost healed. However he was assessed as totally incapable of earning a living and declared unfit for further active service.

At the end of July, on the 27th, James was released from the hospital at Heliopolis and the next day was aboard the HS Hororata, leaving the middle east. James passed through Western Australia on is return and was finally discharged on 20 march, 1916 from the 7th Australian General Hospital in Keswick.

On discharge James received a pension. Initially it was 3 pounds, 8 shillings per fortnight but this was reduced to 2 pounds, 11 shillings from September 1916.
James was eligible for all three service medals but by the time they became available he had already succumbed to his ill health. His mother, Emily, collected the medals in June and July 1921

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A new project.

When I was a young boy I spent several summers learning to swim in the small country town of Quorn. To the north of the central part of Quorn and next to the playground is the war memorial. Every small and large Australian town has one of these where the names are recorded of the sons (and daughters) of the early 20th century who died in that grim first war. Sometimes these monuments have additional wars added to them with additional casualties. It is rare for the later wars to list as many names as that first world war. On the Quorn monument are listed 40 men who never came back, indeed some came to disappear from the face of the earth totally.

About 10 years ago I was able to get paper copies of the records of my great uncle, one of the names on that monument. At the time I wondered about getting a record for each of those Quorn men to discover what became of them.

Due to great foresight by the historian of the first war (Charles Bean) there is a record held of every Australian soldier who served in that conflict. These records, almost 380 000 of them, are now kept in the National Archives in Canberra and are available electronically making research like this much more practical.

Over the next few months I hope to put a record of each individual on this blog. Their names as inscribed on the monument are:


The grave shown above is one I fortuitously took a photo of in the West Terrace Cemetery (Adelaide) and belongs to James Harden. He does not appear on the Quorn monument despite being born in that town. James served in the Dardanelles and was horrifically wounded before being sent home and discharged from the army. I have no further record of him but he died not long after this time. James will be the first I cover in greater detail.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunset and Wheat

Oh Dear, I'm stuck in a rut. Sunset over the airfield at Gawler.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Eclipse

Half way there. With a little cloud in the foreground.

Totality with a blood moon.
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