Tag Archives: General Birdwood

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Claus Valdemar Gronn

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Private 4788

Claus Valdemar Gronn was born in Kilmore in 1897 the son of Valdemar Joseph Lorenz and Helena Priscilla Gronn (nee Poynter). The Gronn family had arrived in Kilmore in 1892, purchasing the tannery in Victoria Parade. After finishing school at the Kilmore State School, Claus (known as Clarence or more so Clarrie) joined his father as a tanner and currier. He also was a sergeant in the local cadets and served 3 months in the Citizens Militia.

With his parents’ permission Clarrie enlisted in Melbourne on September 20, 1915. He undertook training in Bendigo and on December 2, 1916 he joined the 15th Reinforcements, 7th Battalion as a private 4788, and was promoted to Lance Corporal in January 1916.

The Kilmore Free Press reported that “Sergeant Clarence Gronn, who left for the front last week”, was presented with a bible by members of the Kilmore Presbyterian Church. On March 7, 1916 Clarrie embarked in Melbourne on the Wiltshire bound for the Western Front via Egypt and Marseilles where he reverted to private on being taken on strength on July 7, 1916.

Clarrie received a gun shot wound to his thigh in late July 1916 and was transferred to England where he received treatment in Birmingham. Clarrie remained in England on light duties until late June 1917 when he joined the 2nd and then 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers, on the Western Front. On January 16, 1918 Clarrie received a gun shot wound to his left groin and was transferred to England for treatment. Then in October 1918 he rejoined his battalion in France and following the end of the war remained there until April 1919.

Back in England Clarrie, by now aged 21 years, married his girlfriend Marguerite Iris Neale, aged 19 years, at the Registry Office, Warminster, Wiltshire, on May 26, 1919. They embarked on the Konigin Luise on December 18, 1919 for Melbourne. Clarrie was discharged on June 13 1920.

Clarrie was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall, on the Kilmore State School Honour Roll and the Kilmore Presbyterian Church Honour Roll. He was welcomed home on February 5, 1920 and attended the presentation of medals by General Birdwood in Kilmore in March 1920.

The Gronn family left Kilmore in 1925 and lived in Melbourne, Clarrie was a member of the Kilmore Historical Society and attended meetings. He died on 23 February 1976 and was cremated at Springvale Cemetery.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 17 November 2015, p17

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Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: John Clifford Bowers

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Serial Number 11806

John was born in Kilmore in 1895, the son of Sylvester Bowers and Martha McKinley. He was in the senior cadets for one year, and was a labourer.

John, aged 21 years, enlisted at Melbourne on 18 September 1915. He embarked from Melbourne on Troop transport “Themistocles” on 28 January 1916 as a gunner, having trained at Castlemaine and Maribynong in December 1915. He was at Zeitoun in Egypt with the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC) on 4 March 1916 and was posted to Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force. He disembarked at Marseilles on 19 March and joined the 2nd DAC.

On 1 April John was admitted to the 5th Field Ambulance with slight concussion and by the 8 April was back with the 2nd DAC at Moulin Fontaine. He was again discharged from hospital on 1 May and joined 22nd Field Artillery at the end of April and was posted to 21st Battery in July 1916.

John was killed in action by shrapnel to the head and neck on 3 August 1916 in the Battle of the Somme, France. He received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects were forwarded to his father Sylvester in Kilmore – wallet, steel mirror, diary and a letter.

John is buried at the Serre Road Cemetery, near Beaumont Hamel, France, and his name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll which was unveiled by General Birdwood in April 1920, the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Honour Roll and the Kilmore War Memorial.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 26 August 2014, p6

Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 (Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)