Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Francis Patrick Anderson

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Serial Number 9

Francis was the son of Gregory Grattam Anderson and Julia Frances McManus. He was born in Kilmore in 1893, and worked as a labourer.

At age 22 years, Francis enlisted at Ballarat on 29 January 1917 and was assigned as a private in the 39th Battalion. After training, Francis embarked from Melbourne on the “Ascanius” on 27 May 1916 for England.

On 6 November 1916 he was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital in Wiltshire with pneumonia then transferred to nearby Bulford Manor Hospital on 16 November. He was mentioned in the Argus of 28 November 1916 as being seriously ill.

On 29 December 1916 he was discharged to duty and rejoined his Battalion on 28 January 1917 sailing from England on the “Princess Clementine” from Folkestone to Etaples in France to the 10th Training Battalion.

Francis was killed in action in the fields of Passchendaele, Belgium on 8 June 1917.  He received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded at Ypres (Menin Gate Memorial), the Kilmore War Memorial, Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll and the Shire of Pyalong Honour Roll.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 19 May 2015, p10

Ypres Menin Gate Memorial. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

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Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: James Burston

James Burston who was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to retirement in 1920
Colonel James Burston was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to his retirement in 1920

Colonel

James Burston was the first born son (1856) of Samuel Burston and Sophy Keath, who married in Kilmore in 1855. There were 2 other children; George and Agnes. They lived on 5 blocks on the corner of Parade and Lamb Streets. They also had a business in Somerset House on the north east corner of Bourke and Sydney Streets which they sold after a short time and purchased “Oak Park” at Prospect Hill between Kilmore and Broadford.

The family were by this time in the malting business and moved to Flinders Street Melbourne where they bought up several other malting businesses including Victoria Breweries. James and George managed this business after the death of their father in 1886. James married Marianne McBean in Kilmore in 1883, and had 3 sons and 3 daughters.

James had joined the Victorian Volunteers and by 1885 was promoted to Captain of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. In 1897 as a Lieutenant Colonel he represented Victoria for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London. He served in the Boer War.

In 1900 James was elected to the Melbourne City Council and was Mayor in 1908 and retired by 1912 but continued in public office as Chairman of the Officers Selection Board and on the board of the Bank of Victoria and others.

In 1915 James at the age of 58 was the Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade AIF, which saw service in Gallipoli. Deteriorating health saw him repatriated to Mudros on the Greek Island of Lemnos where he became Officer Commanding of Reinforcements. He was repatriated to Melbourne in 1916 and retired in 1920.

James died at his residence at Hawthorn on the 4 March 1920 and is buried in St. Kilda Cemetery. There is an ornate brass plaque in St. Paul’s Cathedral to his memory mentioning his Boer War service.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 19 May 2015, p10

See also James Burston, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Herbert Thomas Skehan

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Private 2142

Herbert Thomas Skehan was born in Melbourne St, Kilmore on January 30, 1889, the eldest son of Patrick and Amy (nee Grose) Skehan. He was educated at Assumption College, Kilmore and graduated Dux of the school in 1909. Up until the time of his enlistment Herbert was a clerk in the tobacco trade in Melbourne and was engaged to be married.

Herbert enlisted at Broadmeadows on July 28, 1915 in the 3/29th Battalion, AIF. During training he was acting Corporal from 26 August to December 16, 1915. He embarked at Melbourne on the HMT Ballarat on February 18, 1916, and disembarked at Suez on March 22, 1916, and was taken on strength with the 29th Battalion on April 1, 1916.

The Battalion then transferred to the Western Front via Marseilles in June, where they took part in an attack against the German positions at Delange Farm in July, then held their positions for 11 days including a heavy counter attack.

During front line action Herbert was hospitalised with Influenza in November 1916 at Etaples, then again in hospital with frost bite in February 1917.  He was transferred to the 5th Army School from May 21 to 27, 1917. After returning to his Battalion Herbert took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood near Ypres in Belgium which commenced on September 26, 1917. He was killed in action on that day.

The following is an eyewitness account by Corporal W J Marshall, – He was killed by a shell at Polygon Wood, I saw his body soon after. He was buried in a shell hole near where he fell by a party from the company.  No cross was erected at the time, he was a machine gunner, and was in No: 5 Platoon, B. Company.

After the War Herbert’s remains were exhumed and re-buried at Ypres, Belgium, in the Duhallow ADS Cemetery. His father Patrick, as next of kin, received in 1921 a Memorial Scroll, Herbert’s British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star, and a photograph of his headstone. .

Herbert’s name is recorded on the Kilmore War Memorial, the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll at the Memorial Hall, and on the Assumption College Honour Roll.

Information provided by Phil Skehan, Kilmore

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10

Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

Seminar, 25 Oct 2015 – Researching your World War One Soldier

Sunday, 25 October 2015, 1.30 to 3.30 pm

At the John Taylor Room, Kilmore Library, Sydney Street, Kilmore

Cost – members free, non-members $5, 00

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of World War One, over the past fifteen months, the Society, together with others, has been publishing profiles of soldiers and nurses in the North Central Review. This has created a lot of interest and we will be holding a seminar to show how we carry out the research in preparing these profiles. There will be a presentation, followed by a question and answer session and an opportunity to chat over afternoon tea with the researchers of the profiles.

Representatives of the Kilmore RSL will be present to answer questions on issues such as medals and diaries, etc.

Preserving Wallan’s History

As part of History Week (18-25 October) the Society is holding a meeting in Wallan on Sunday 18th October at 1.30 pm at the old Wallan hall on High Street.

The purpose of the meeting is to encourage interested local residents – old and new – to come along and where possible to bring old photographs and other documents and memorabilia of Wallan. The town has changed so much over recent years that it is important that such items are copied and documented as part of Wallan’s history – before it is too late.

It is anticipated that a representative of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) will attend and explain and promote the possibility of forming a historical group in Wallan.

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: George John Hale Still

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Service Number:1911

George Still was 25 years and 9 months when he enlisted for service on April 18, 1916, in the 41st Battalion 2nd Reinforcements.

He was born in Kilmore to Annie Maria Lamb and James Still, a Boer War veteran. George was a cousin of Sydney George Still.

He was the eighth of 10 children over a 24-year period. The first eight were to James while they lived at Goldie and the last two children were to unknown fathers while Annie lived in Melbourne.

George was listed as a butcher and married to Elsie Matilda in South Casino, NSW. He embarked on “Boorara” from Brisbane on August 16, 1916, with the 41st Infantry Battalion and disembarked two months later at Plymouth harbour in the UK.

He was marched in to No. 3 Com. Depot and was detailed for home service. Mid-November he was marched to 11th Signal Battalion. By June of 1917 he was at No. 2 Com. Depot at Whymouth.

In September 1917 he returned to Australia and was discharge medically unfit with asthma and haemorrhoids in November. Meanwhile his brother, James Oliver Still of Church Street, Kilmore, was writing to Base Records requesting information about Pte. Still’s return to Melbourne.

In October 1919 he was applying for assistance under the War Service Homes Act while living in Casino. He married Elise Matilda and had one son named Cyril.

He wrote to the Officer in Charge of Base Records in November 1923 to ask if he was entitled to the Victory Medal and was informed that as he did not serve in a theatre of war prior to November 1918 he was not entitled.

He was awarded 1914/15 Star and the British War Medal and is listed on the Kilmore Presbyterian Church Honour Roll.

George enlisted in WWII on January 10, 1942: Serial No. N393423. He was demobbed from the 11th Australian Garrison Battalion on March 3, 1943.

George died on October 23, 1962, and probate was granted on February 21, 1963, and is registered at the Western Sydney Records Centre, Kingswood.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 17 March 2015, p12

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Catherine O’Connor

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Catherine (Katie) was born in 1870 in Kilmore, the daughter of Patrick O’Connor and Elizabeth Seymour. At birth she was registered as Kate Margaret but later was known as Catherine. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate . She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at Melbourne Hospital.

Katie enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on November 3, 1914 as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on November 28, 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cario, via Alexandria.  Nurses with at least three years service at a recognised hospital and aged between 21 and 45 years could apply to serve overseas.  For some reason Katie lowered her age from 44 years to 37 years on enlistment.

Katie first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Katie was promoted to Sister on December 1, 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGM at Rouen, via Marseilles in France in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front.  It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period.  Katie’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) from April 1917 until November 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”.  During this time Katie was also temporarily transferred for short periods to the 32nd CCS, 46th CCS,  and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville.  It is likely Katie held a senior position with the 1st AGH from November 1917.

Katie was mentioned in despatches on April 7, 1918, as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of October 24, 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on January 1, 1919, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of May 23, 1919.

Katie left Rouen in November 1918 for England and returned to Melbourne on the Somali, arriving on February 8, 1919. She was welcomed home in Kilmore in early March. Her appointment was terminated on April 16, 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star.

Katie died on July 30, 1949 in Melbourne and was buried in the Kilmore Catholic Cemetery where her headstone can be seen today. Her name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall.

Nurse Katie O'Connor
Nurse Katie O’Connor

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10