Tag Archives: Anzac Day

Launching Hamilton’s WW1

It was time I considered how Western District Families could commemorate the centenary of WW1. A project was selected and work began, however another idea presented itself. A list of names in two editions of the Hamilton Spectator from 1917 and 1918 and some potted histories of Hamilton soldiers I wrote for the I’ve Lived in Hamilton Facebook group saw “Hamilton’s WW1″ come to fruition.  The first installment of “Hamilton’s WW1″  is now available, the story of Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue and the men commemorated at a now all but forgotten landmark in Hamilton.

Each of the faces in the photo below have a story to tell. They are some of the early Hamilton enlistments and immediately I recognise twenty-two year-old Hamilton College and Geelong College educated John “Paddy” Fenton (back row, 3rd from right) and George McQueen (centre, 2nd row from front) a thirty-five year-old widower, both killed in France. Others among them were also killed, some wounded and others suffered psychologically but as they gathered at Broadmeadows in 1915, none could imagine the path ahead. What was in store for them or the man beside them. But they were “Hamilton Boys” and they would give it their all and they did.

LEST WE FORGET  

'HAMILTON BOYS' c 30 April 1915.  Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.  Image no.DAOD1060   https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/

‘HAMILTON BOYS’ c 30 April 1915. Photo Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Image no. DAOD1060 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DAOD1060/


Trove Tuesday – One Stop Shop

Trove really is a one stop shop for researching those that served during WW1.  Aside from a visit to the National Archives of Australia (NAA) website for service records, Trove is the place to go to find photos, books and newspaper articles.  This is even more so the case thanks to a project to digitise newspapers of the 1914-1918 period  for the lead up the 100th anniversary of WW1.

For Western Victorian researchers, newspapers that have appeared over the last 12 months, all from 1914-1918, include:

Kerang New Times

Ouyen Mail

Port Fairy Gazette

Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser

Swan Hill Guardian and Lake Boga Advocate

St Arnaud Mercury

The Ararat Advertiser

The Ballarat Courier

The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record

Warrnambool Standard

During WW1, these papers were full of war news, locals enlisting, send offs, letters homes, the work of locals to do their bit for the war effort and of course, the casualties.

Trove is a great for finding WW1 books and photos.  You can search for an individual, a battalion or a battlefield and you are bound to find something to give you a little more information about your family member’s wartime experience .  Photos held by repositories such as the Australian War Memorial are all cataloged at Trove.  One search can find so much from many places.

As it’s Trove Tuesday, I have some WW1 treasures from one of my favourite papers The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record.

The first article, reported on the first Anzac Day on April 25, 1917 and how Casterton marked the occasion.

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"Anzac Day.". (1917, April 26). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489110

“Anzac Day.”. (1917, April 26). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489110

 

Following is a letter home by Norman Seymour to his mother in Casterton.  He wrote of his brother James, and the pride he felt that James was at “the great landing at Gallipoli”.  This is a great example of how useful these letters are.  Norman wrote of many men from the local district including Hector Patterson and his wounds.

It is a lovely letter, as many of them were, and it makes you wonder if a 21-year-old man today could write home to his mother in the same way.  I also love his closing sentence.  If you know Casterton, you will know exactly what he means.

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Our Soldiers. (1915, September 16). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74766366

Our Soldiers. (1915, September 16). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74766366

I checked the NAA and brother James Seymour did come home, but only two months after the publishing of Norman’s letter.   He developed enteritis in September 1915, was hospitalised and sent home in November.

Norman Edward Seymour served with the 3rd Light Horse and did make it to Gallipoli on October 8, 1915.  In October 1917 he developed septic sores and that  led to his return home in December that year.

When I finally get my post finished for the ANZAC Day Blog Challenge,(Anzac Day 2014 the way I’m going) you will see more examples of how Trove can enhance the story of your WW1 hero.


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