Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Maurice Harrison 14 Battalion A.l.F.

This post is dedicated to Maurice Harrison.

It comes courtesy of his great grand nephew, Gary Patton and fellow Harrison family researchers.

Thanks Gary for allowing me to share this information. Maurice’s relationship to me is first cousin 3 x removed.
He was born at Euroa, Victoria on the 5th of August 1882 the third son of George Harrison and Ann Ansell, the fifth of their 12 children.


Lance Corporal Maurice Richard “Mod” HARRISON – No. 1952 14th Battalion A.I.F. Awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery & devotion to duty.

Birth 5 Aug 1882 in Euroa, Victoria, Australia
Death 22 Oct 1918 in Le Havre, Manche, Basse-Normandie, France

Hopefully, the following will give you an insight into what Maurice and his mates went through.  Remember he received the Military Medal for his actions throughout all this.

The following notation is courtesy of the Australians on the Western Front 1914–1918 An Australian journey across the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium

During the night of 25–26 September the men of the assaulting battalions reached taped lines laid across the southwestern third of the blasted tree stumps of Polygon Wood. At this point it was vital not to alert the watching Germans by unusual noise or the lighting of cigarettes which would bring down an enemy artillery barrage. At 5.50 am on 26 September the guns opened up in front of the Australian infantry who immediately moved forward behind its protecting wall of shells. If one had been on the Butte, where the Fifth Division Memorial now stands, the sound of battle would have been overpowering. Captain Alexander Ellis, wrote a vivid description of the scene:

Our artillery opened in a single magnificent crash and thousands of shells screamed through the air and burst in a long, straight line of flame and destruction about 200 yards [180 metres] ahead of the waiting infantry … the 4,000 men of the six attacking battalions dashed forward at a run. Somewhere behind the line of destruction lay their victims, shuddering in their pill–boxes, staggered by the sudden commotion, dazed by the concussion of the shells … then, slowly, very slowly it [the barrage] crept forward. A long line of skirmishers disengaged itself from the dense mass of men and followed the advancing screen of shells … Above their heads thousands of machine gun bullets cut the air as they whistled shrilly past on their destined way, and the strident din of many Vickers guns throbbed through the troubled morning air. But these were but the tinkling wood–wind notes in the hell’s orchestra that played about them. For the deafening crash of the rapid firing 18–pounders, the hoarser roar of the scores of heavy guns behind them and the stupefying concussion of shrapnel and high explosive shells in the barrage in front were by now all mingled in the hideous rhythmical clamour of the perfect drum–fire barrage. Thus, at 5.50 a.m. on the 26 September 1917, was the Division launched into the Battle of Polygon Wood.

Captain Alexander Ellis, The Story of the Fifth Australian Division, London, 1919, pp.244–5

Gunner Edward FORSYTH

Edward Forsyth was born in 1894 at Tyrie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

He was one of nine children and the eldest son of Edward Gerrard Forsyth and Helen Yule Forsyth nee Jamieson.

Edward was a Gunner with the 15th Divisional Ammunition Column of the Royal Field Artillery.

The 15th Divisional Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery served with 15th (Scottish) Division.

15th (Scottish) Division was formed in September 1914, as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army. They proceeded to France in the second week of July 1915. They were in action in The Battle of Loos in 1915. In spring 1916, they were involved in the German gas attacks near Hulluch and the defence of the Kink position. They were in action during the Battles of the Somme, including The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the capture of Martinpuich, The Battle of Le Transloy and the attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt. In 1917 they were in action in The First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Guemappe during the Arras Offensive. They then moved north to Flanders and were in action during The Battle of Pilckem and The Battle of Langemark. In 1918 they fought in The First Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Soissonnais and the Ourcq taking part in the attack on Buzancy, and The Final Advance in Artois. – See more HERE 

Nicol Thomas Findlater

Nicol Thomas Findlater, a labourer,  enlisted on the 21st  of September 1914.
He was 32 years and 4 months of age, 5 foot 6 inches tall with dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.
He was born on the 27th of May 1882 at 3 Falconer’s Lane, Nairn, Nairnshire, Scotland to parents James Nicol Findlater and Margaret nee Bowers.
Next of kin on his attestation paper was his brother, James Findlater of 22 Huon Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Nicol Findlater was my third cousin three times removed.  His great grandmother, Helen (Forsyth) Nicol was a sister of my 4 x great grandfather Alexander Forsyth
I’m fairly sure from looking at the Infantry records that Nicol was killed at Ypres.
nicol findlater
 Veterans Affairs Canada has a Canadian Virtual War Memorial for their soldiers.
From this website, you can order a copy of the page from the Book of Remembrance on which your soldier is listed.
I ordered a copy for Nicol Findlater and it arrived in the mail the other day.
What a wonderful service.
Nicol Findlater
Nicol Findlater3
Nicol Findlater2
We Will Remember Them.

William Arthur Edmonds

Private William Edmonds, my second cousin once removed,  was born in 1898 at Barwo (Kotupna/Nathalia), Victoria and was 18 years and 1 month old when he enlisted in the 38th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces on the 1st of March 1916.
commemorative plaque Bendigo
Plaque in remembrance of all who served and those who paid the supreme sacrifice between 1916 -1968.
Photo taken by Nancy Alford for http://monumentaustralia.org.au/australian_monument/display/100982
The 38th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was raised in 1916 as part of the First Australian Imperial Force for service during World War I and formed part of the 10th Brigade, attached to the 3rd Division. It fought during the Western Front before being disbanded in 1919.[1] The 38th Battalion was reraised in 1921 as the 38th Battalion (The Bendigo Regiment) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_Battalion_(Australia)
William enlisted at Bendigo and his occupation was given as Mill Hand.  His application was submitted on the 23rd of February 1916.  He was given regimental no. 4803.
application to enlist.
He was 5 foot 5 and a half inches tall, weighed 120 pounds and hard a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.  Religion was Church of England.
Consent of parents was needed for anyone under 21 years to enlist.
consent wa edmonds
It is interesting that in his records it said he was not to be embarked until 19 years of age.
wa edmonds
His date of embarkation from Australia was the 21st of June 1917 on HMAT Suevic A29.  Disembarkation was at Liverpool England on the 26th of August 1917.
On the 2nd of September 1917, he marched into the 8th Training Battalion based at Hurdcott Camp near Fovant in Wiltshire.  From the 28th of August until the 18th of September 1917 he was in hospital with mumps and later for Laryngitis.
In December 1917 he proceeded to France with the 38th Battalion where he saw action at the front at Rouelles.
Private William Arthur Edmonds was killed in action on the 29th of September 1918 at Bony, France.
killed in action
Some differing reports from mates were given to the Red Cross.
red cross mia
red cross mia 2
red cross mia 7red cross mia 3red cross mia 4red cross mia 5red cross mia 6
It seems his parents had separated as William’s father, William Henry Edmonds, was living at Picola West, Victoria and his mother’s address was 4 Vale Street, North Melbourne.   A letter was sent to his father c/-  Mrs E. C Edmonds (aunt?) at Picola Post Office regarding William’s medals but this letter was never answered and not returned unclaimed.  As Williams mother, Blanche Edmonds was sole beneficiary of his Will the medals were then sent to her.  Later a letter was written to the Base Records by Blanche that “the father” had deserted his family more than once.
William’s mother, received contradictory information as to where her son was buried.  In 1922 the Returned Soldiers League wrote a letter to Victoria Barracks on her behalf.
burial query
Eventually it was sorted.  He was buried in France.
wa edmonds awm honour roll

We will remember them

John Michael Crooke

John Michael Crooke enlisted in the A.I.F at Victoria Barracks, New South Wales on the 11th of September 1916.   He joined the 36th Battalion.
John had served for 6 months in the Citizen Forces.  His postal address given was 56 Taylor Street, Annandale, Sydney, NSW.
John was 21 years and 1 month old and 5 foot 6 inches tall.  He weighed 121 pounds his complexion was sallow and he had blue eyes and brown hair. His occupation was listed as labourer.  Next of Kin was his father, John Crooke of  481 City Road, South Melbourne, Victoria.
His mother was listed first as Mrs M Crooke and later as claimant of his pension widowed mother Mary Jane Reynolds.  Her address was 116 Napier Street, South Melbourne and later 116 Pearce Street, South Melbourne.  John’s foster brother, Henry Maxwell Reynolds, was rejected as a claimant as he was “not a dependant”.
On the 15th of September after a medical examination, he was appointed to Dubbo Depot Battalion and embarked at Sydney on the 10th of February 1917 per R.M.S “Osterley”.  Disembarkation was on the 11th of April 1917 at Plymouth, England.  On the 29th of April John was transferred to the 63rd Battalion.
On the 23rd of August 1917 he was sent overseas to France to reinforce the 36th Battalion.  As part of the 9th Infantry Brigade in Belgium, John was killed in action on the 18th of October.
Witness accounts were given to the Red Cross:
red cross 1
red cross 2
red cross 3
red cross 4
Personal effects belonging to John returned to his father were a razor, a razor strop, badges, buttons and 2 handkerchiefs. Two Discs, a wallet, a bible, photo, unit colours.

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