Tag Archives: Belgium

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Francis Patrick Anderson

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

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: Herbert Thomas Skehan

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

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

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Ralph Simon Johnston Knight

Private 4455

Ralph Simon Johnston Knight (pictured sitting with his bride) was born in January 1898 at Tantaraboo west of Kilmore, the sixth child of Nehemiah Knights and Alicia Jane Ann Johnston. Sometimes their surname is recorded as Knights but in his army records Ralph’s name is recorded as Knight.

Ralph probably worked on his father’s farm and others at Tantaraboo as a labourer before enlisting on 8 November 1915 at Melbourne. After training at Royal Park, Melbourne, Ralph joined the 21st Battalion in March 1917. His brothers Alby (4453) and Fred (4454) also enlisted about the same time and joined the 21st Battalion.

The 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, including Ralph and his brothers, left Melbourne, on the RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 for Egypt where he first served with the Anzac Police before joining the British Expeditionary Force to leave for the Western Front. He joined his Battalion in Belgium on 3 October 16 in the Posieres area.

Ralph became sick on 17 November with trench fever and was transferred on 3 December to England where he remained for eleven months attached to the 66th Battalion. He returned to his Battalion in France on 2 November 1917 in the Broodseinde area of the Western Front. On 30 November 17 Ralph’s knee became swollen with dermatitis; he rejoined his Battalion on 2 February 1918.

His Battalion was held in reserve for a rest in early 1918 but when taking part in defending against the German Spring Offensive, Ralph became sick with influenza in June 1918. He rejoined in August taking part in the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin, then transferred to the 24th Battalion in October and proceeded on leave to England. On return to France Ralph was accidentally injured on 6 December 1918 in the left leg at Rouen. After treatment he transferred to England on 31 December 1918 and was on leave in February and March. Ralph left for Australia on 1 April on the Shropshire arriving Melbourne on 16 May and was discharged on 30 June 1919.

He received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, the Kilmore Church of England Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.

Later in 1919 Ralph married Dorothy (Dot) Valentine Weaver and enlisted in the Victorian Police Force. He died at Rye in January 1978.

Photo of Ralph Simon Johnston Knight sitting with his bride Dot on right in 1919
Photo of Ralph Simon Johnston Knight sitting with his bride Dot on right in 1919

 

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 10 February 2015, p10

 

Ralph Simon Johnston Knight AWM DAOD1612
Ralph Simon Johnston Knight c. April 1916 (Photo: Australian War Memorial)

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Albert Edward Knight

Private 4453

Albert (Alby) Edward Knight (pictured) was born in June 1892 at Tantaraboo west of Kilmore, the fourth child of Nehemiah Knights and Alicia Jane Ann Johnston. Sometimes their surname is recorded as Knights but in his army records Alby’s name is recorded as Knight.

Alby probably worked on his father’s farm and others at Tantaraboo as a labourer before enlisting on 8 December 1915 at Melbourne. After training at Royal Park, Melbourne, Alby joined the 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements in March 1917. His brothers Fred (4454) and Ralph (4455) also enlisted about the same time and joined the 21st Battalion.

The 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, including Alby and his brothers, left Melbourne, on the RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 for Egypt where he first served with the Anzac Police before joining the British Expeditionary Force to leave for the Western Front. He joined his Battalion in Belgium and after being in action in the Pozieres area in October and November 1916 Alby received treatment for trench feet at Rouen.

He rejoined his Battalion at the front on 9 January 1917 and was seriously wounded in his right thigh and leg on 13 January. Alby died in hospital at Rouen on 19 February. He was buried in the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

In recognition of his service a memorial scroll, memorial plaque, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star were handed to his father, together with Alby’s effects; an identity disc, mirror, match box, testament, note book, and a cigarette holder. His name is recorded on the Kilmore War Memorial, Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, Kilmore Church of England Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.

Albert Edward Knight c. April 1916 (Photo: Australian War Memorial)
Albert Edward Knight c. April 1916 (Photo: Australian War Memorial)

 

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 10 February 2015, p10

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Frederick Knight

Private 4454

Frederick (Fred) Knight (pictured below standing) was born in June 1894 probably at Tantaraboo west of Kilmore, the fifth child of Nehemiah Knights and Alicia Jane Ann Johnston.  Sometimes their surname is recorded as Knights but in his army records Fred’s name is recorded as Knight. Fred served 3 years in B Company, 15th Light Horse before volunteering in the Great War.

Fred probably worked on his father’s farm and others at Tantaraboo as a labourer before enlisting on 19 November 1915 at Melbourne. After training at Royal Park, Melbourne, Fred joined the 21st Battalion in March 1917. His brothers Albert (4453) and Ralph (4455) also enlisted about the same time and joined the 21st Battalion. Fred’s cousin Arthur Harrington (pictured below seated) enlisted later.

The 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, including Fred and his brothers, left Melbourne, on the RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 for Egypt where he first served with the Anzac Police before joining his Battalion for France.  During the Second Battle of Bullecourt Fred suffered trench fever and was transferred to England.  His parents were advised on 10 July 1917. After recovering Fred rejoined his battalion in Belgium in November 1917.

In April 1918 Fred took part in defending the German Spring Offensive and later in the battles of Hamel, Amiens and Mont St Quentin.  The 21st Battalion took part in the final Australian operation of the war at Montbrehain in October 1918 and was the last Australian battalion to be withdrawn.

The 21st was then disbanded and Fred was transferred to the 5th and later took leave in England. After returning to Melbourne on the Soudan on 29 June 1919, Fred immediately travelled home the next day. He was discharged on 13 August 1919 after serving 1361 days.

Fred received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, Kilmore Church of England Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.

After the war Fred continued working as a labourer, married Frances Alice Jamieson in 1919 and later became a milkman.  He died at Rosebud in 1966.

Frederick Knight (standing) with his cousin, Arthur Herbert Harrington (seated)
Frederick Knight (standing) with his cousin, Arthur Herbert Harrington (seated)

 

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 27 January 2015, p9