Tag Archives: German Spring Offensive

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Samuel Ernest Crane

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Private – 2140

Samuel Ernest Crane was born in Kilmore in 1882, the son of Thomas and Sarah Elizabeth Crane (nee Wortley). He attended the State School at Kilmore. He later enlisted in the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles as a Shoeing Smith and served in South Africa in 1901.

His occupation before World War One is recorded as an engineer in Kilmore. At age 32 years, Ernest enlisted on 4 March 1915 at Mildura as a private in the 6th Battalion AIF. His prior service was recognised as he was promoted to Corporal in June 1915 and in the same month to acting sergeant.

Samuel embarked on HMAT Wandilla in Melbourne on 17 June 1915. He reverted to private when he landed in Gallipoli in August 1915 and after being wounded he was first transferred to Mudros on Lemnos Island in September, then, via Egypt, to Hampstead Hospital in England in early October 1915. He remained in England for over a year in a training role and was promoted to sergeant.

But Samuel volunteered to return to the Western Front in France in October 1917, on the basis of reverting to private. He took a week’s leave in England in March 1918 and returned in time to take part in the defence of the German Spring Offensive.

Samuel was shot in both feet on 16 April 1918 and died of his wounds on 20 April at Hazebrouk, France. Private Crane was buried in the Arneke British Cemetery at Cassel, France. A memorial service for Samuel was held at the Kilmore Methodist Church on Sunday 19 May 1918.

Samuel’s family received a memorial scroll and his British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Kilmore War Memorial, Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, and the Kilmore State School Honour Roll. Samuel’s name is also recorded on the family headstone in the Methodist Section of the Kilmore Public Cemetery.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 3 March 2015, p10

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Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Charles Oscar Axen

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Corporal 5034

Charles Oscar Axen was born in Karlsborg, Sweden in December 1880 and arrived in Melbourne on the Orotana on 13 March 1902. He lived at High Camp for nine years, Western Australia for two years and Pyalong for two years, occupation labourer. Charles married Eleanor Maud Lawrence in 1905 and by 1916 they had four children.

At age 35 years Charles enlisted on 20 January 1916 at Melbourne and after training embarked for overseas on 16 July on the HMAT Suffolk. Before he left Charles became an Australian citizen in June 1916.

After a short period in England, Charles joined his Battalion, the 7th, in the Somme in November 1916 and within a month he was suffering trench fever. In January 1917 he was transferred to Horton Hospital, near London, and later to the 67th Battalion in a training role. Charles was promoted to Lance Corporal in April 1917.

Charles returned to France in October 1917 to take part in defending the German Spring Offensive. On 9 June 1918 he was promoted to Corporal. During the early days of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, the 7th fought a major action at Lihons and on the first day, 9 August, Charles received gun shot wounds in his left leg. Within four days he was admitted to the Cambridge Hospital in Aldershot, England. After recovering and taking leave, he embarked on the HT Karmala on 2 January 1919 for Melbourne where he was discharged on 1 April.

On Friday 7 March 1919 at the High Camp hall, a large attendance of local citizens gave Charles a warm reception and presented him with a sum of money in appreciation of his three years active service.

Charles received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Pyalong Shire Honour Roll and at the Glenaroua Public Hall. The Axen family later moved to Mildura where Charles died in 1955.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 3 March 2015, p10

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: 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