Wednesday, 17 February 2016

History of the 48th Battalion AIF WW1

Books About the 48th Battalion World War One


Brief History of the 48th Battalion AIF
After the landing on Gallipoli, Australian newspapers reported daily on the sacrifice and achievements of the 1st AIF at Anzac. A storm of patriotism had developed in Australia to extent that men were enlisting for overseas service in extraordinary numbers.
Gallipoli was evacuated in December 1915 and these experienced battle hardened troops returned to Egypt. Reinforcements from Australia had already swelled the Australian lines in Egypt. It was decided that there were ample available troops to expand the overall size of the AIF. The four battalions (13th, 14th, 15th and 16th) of the 4th Brigade were to be split to form the new 12th Brigade. The 48th Battalion was raised from the 16th Battalion which consisted of men mainly from Western Australia and South Australia.
On 2 March 1916 the Officer commanding the 16th Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel H Pope paraded 354 men and informed them that they were now the nucleus of the 48th Battalion. The men were then marched to separate tent lines.
The Commander of the newly formed 48th Battalion was Raymond Leane who was from Prospect in South Australia. In August 1914 he enlisted in the 11th Battalion as a Captain and Company Commander. He served with the 11th Battalion during the landing at Gallipoli and on 4 May 1915 he led a raid on Turkish outpost at Gaba Tepe. For his gallantry during the raid he was awarded the Military Cross medal. During an assault on Pine Ridge in late June he was wounded but remained at Gallipoli. He again led an assault on the same trench in July which was successful. The captured Turkish trench then became known as Leane's Trench. He gained promotion and commanded the 11th Battalion from early September and was promoted temporary Lieutenant Colonel on October 8, 1915.
He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel on March 12 and led the 48th Battalion to France in June 1916.
Several of  Raymond Leane's relatives, including his brother, Benjamin and three of his nephews also served in the 48th. As a result, the Battalion became known as the "Joan of Arc Battalion". This being a play of words on the Joan of Arc town of Orleans.
Book about the story of the Australian 48th Battalion During WW1
Story of a Battalion

The 48th Battalion fought its first major battle at Pozieres and suffered near 600 casualties. The following year 1917, the Battalion once again went into an offensive attack at Bullecourt and once again suffered horrific casualties. In late 1917, the Battalion advanced during the Battle of Passchendaele. The 48th Battalion fought a successful defensive role during the German spring offensive at Dernancourt.

The Battalion then joined in the victory battles of 1918 where upon at Saint Quentin its member Private James Woods was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Books about 48th Battalion AIF
The first book to be written about the 48th Battalion was 'The Story of A Battalion Being A Record Of The 48th Battalion ' By W. Devine. Devine was the Padre of the 48th Battalion during World War I. This book was compiled in France in early 1919 - before the men returned to Australia. Includes a Roll of Honour and Honours and Awards List.
Currently the only edition in print and available (as a new book) is the one shown above right.
Click here to see more details about this book Story of the 48th Battalion


They Simply Fade Away – with the 48th in France ' by John Williamson, 1886–1971.  The author was a member of the Battalion being taken on strength with the 48th in France during 1917. After the war, Williamson wrote small newspaper articles and recollections about his days while a member of the 48th Battalion. He gathered these reminisces into this book, although he could not find a publisher.
book about the 48 Battalion AIF
The 48th Battalion History Book
They Simply Fade Away
In 1939, he received acclaim when it was serialised in the Western Mail newspaper under the same title in the column 'Diggers Diary'. In the advertising for the serial, the newspaper stated, "John Williamson was a front line soldier, he fought with the 48th Battalion, knew the men, experienced the battles. His story will stir many memories grown dim with the years, moreover the author's skillful description of the places and events both in and out of the line makes his story intensely interesting and entertaining for everyone."
Click here to see more details about this book
They Simply Fade Away – with the 48th in France

Leane's Battalion 48th Battalion AIF
Leane's Battalion 48th Battalion AIF

 Leane's Battalion 48th Battalion AIF
During 2009, the Australian military author, Neville Browning published a greatly expanded history of the Australian 48th Battalion AIF 1916 to 1919.
The book is suitably titled, " Leane's Battalion 48th Battalion AIF".
It is by far the largest and most comprehensive history ever written about the 48th Battalion during World War I. This history includes Nominal Rolls, Honor Roll, Award and Citations, Nominal Indexed, and a list of the Battalion's men who became POWs and their fate.
This history book features 285 photographs (the majority of them coming from private sources and never before published) - Neville Browning visited an extraordinary amount of families to find new and highly interesting stories about this famous Battalion.
Backs To The Wall
Click here to see more details about this book 48 Battalion History Book


Backs to the Wall (Sydney, 1937)
In addition to the above history books. There is an excellent digger experiences book written by George Mitchell. Mitchell was a highly decorated member of the 48th Battalion. He was awarded the DCM in the field for conspicuous gallantry at the first Battle of Bullecourt. Mitchell showed extraordinary courage while fighting with the 48th Battalion. On the 28 March 1918 Mitchell and his platoon were trying to stop a German advance at Dernancourt. It was here that he was awarded the Military Cross - he noticed Germans making a breakthrough on his right, he immediately ran towards the Germans waving his pistol and demanding their surrender. Surprisingly, the one man attack successfully captured 30 Germans.
He survived the war and later published this book about his time with the 48th on the Western Front and the 10th on Gallipoli. It has recently been reprinted as the paperback as seen in the photo to the right. After the Great War, he lived in several Australian states become involved with the RSL and enlisted for service in World War II. He at first commanded an independent guerrilla force in northern Australia known as the 3rd Kimberley Guerrilla Force (his time there has been well documented in a large book titled 'Fighting The Kimberley'). But then transferred to the 2nd AIF for overseas service and was once again a front line commander. After Gallipoli he made his 2nd amphibious landing during a war at Dove Bay Wewak New Guinea.
For family history researchers these digger diary storybooks of men in the same Battalion of family relations are highly interesting. One can visualise what your forebear would have been going through by reading of this man's experiences.

Click here to see more details about this book Backs to the Wall by George Mitchell







Monday, 30 March 2015

Pompey Ellott's Left Hand Man - Lt Colonel Denehy 58th 57th Battalion CO

click to buy
book about 58th and 57th Battalion AIF
Biography Of Lt Colonel Charles Denehy and his time with
the 7th, 58th and 57th Battalions as they fought at Gallipoli Anzac and the Western Front.

The author Dr. Kristin Schneider grew up with the nostalgia of an old wartime photograph of her Great Uncle Charlie kept in her Mother's desk draw. Later in life, she visited her Uncle Charlie in hospital not long before his death in 1968. These happenings ignited a quest to learn more about Denehy which has culminated over 40 years later in the publishing of this 360 page book.

On the 24 August 1914, Charles Aloysius Denehy who was a school teacher before the war, was appointed 2nd Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of H later D Company of the 7th Battalion AIF. He had previously served as an Officer in the Militia.

Denehy after being wounded at Gallipoli
on-board  the Hospital ship
On the 25th April 1915 he landed with the 7th Battalion at Gallipoli. Like his 7th Battalion Commander Pompey Elliott he was wounded on the first day. Suffering a severe gunshot wound to his right arm, he was forced to retire, later being evacuated by way of the crowded hospital ship "Clan McGilliveray".
He returned to Anzac and the Battalion in September 1915.

The author uses Denehy's personal wartime diary to introduce his reflections and related stories of other 7th Battalion men. The book also includes letters that Denehy wrote to his soldiers next of kin. Thus the narrative historically extends to these soldiers who were known to and/or commanded by Denehy.
After Gallipoli, Denehy transferred to the 15th Brigade with Pompey Elliott.
Pompey Elliott had a deep respect for Denehy. Due to his ability and war attrition, Denehy received rapid promotions which led to him being appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Temporary Commanding Officer of 58th Battalion just after the Battle Of Fromelles. In January 1917, Pompey wrote to his wife, Katie. " Tell Mrs Layh that Bert is just a picture of health, and is my right hand man, and Chas Denehy is my left hand man, and a mighty good one too'

Denehy's record of service is impressive, during May 1918 he became the Commanding Officer of the 57th Battalion and had postings to 15th Infantry Brigade HQ and 5th Division HQ.

Pompey Elliott had trained Denehy back in the old Ballarat days. When leadship was required Pompey would send Denehy to the Battalion. Denehy recalled Elliott's request,' He (Pompey) stated that he took his own old battalion, the 7th , as the standard. The 59th he considered approximated most nearly to his old battalion, but he had no hesitation in saying that the 58th (Denehy's battalion) had excelled it. He then asked me if I could, without breaking my heart, take over the 57th and make it as good as the 58th.'

By the end of the war,  Denehy had been conspicuously awarded the following;
Mentioned in Dispatches 3 times.
Awarded Distinguished Service Order and Bar
1st occasion;"For conspicuous gallantry and ability. When in command of a defence which was ceaselessly bombarded he was able, by his courage and fine example, to maintain the spirit of his men in spite of heavy losses, and later he organized and successfully carried through an attack, capturing 187 prisoners, and securing many machine guns and trench mortars."
2nd occasion;"For conspicuous gallantry during the attack on the Hinderberg line, near Bellicourt, from 29th September, to 2nd October, 1918. On 29th September the task of the Brigade was to pass through other troops who had carried out the initial attack. The latter proved unable to consolidate on their objective, and pushed his battalion forward, and under very heavy fire re-organized other troops as part of his battalion, eventually clearing up the situation. Later in the day he pushed his battalion forward, and subsequently consolidated in the Le Catelet system. Throughout the operations his able leadership was most marked."
Order of the Crown of Italy
Croix de Guerre (Belgian)

Denehy's photo taken in 1962 when he was
the highest ranking surviving WW1 veteran in Victoria
Battles covered in the book include, Gallipoli (7th Battalion), Fromelles (58th Battalion), Bullecourt, Messines, Polygon Wood, Broodsiende (Denehy was gassed), Villers-Bretonneux, Ameins (57th Battalion), Mount St Quentin, Hindenburg Line.
The book would be of valuable assistance to all family historians (especially the Battalions served), medal researchers and to those interested in the life and times of an Australian WW1 Battalion Commander. 

Click here to buy this book, Pompey Elliotts' Left Hand Man











Friday, 2 January 2015

27th Battalion History Books Stories and Diaries


There and Back with a Dinkum By W.R.G. Colman, Edited by Claire Woods and Paul Skrebels

Coleman is 1st from left, taken at the
time of his facial wound
The author William Russell G. Colman was a student at Adelaide University before joining the AIF on the 2 August 1915. Colman was only 18 years of age, so he gained his Father’s consent. Graham Leaver a student friend of Colman also joined at the same time. Colman became a Private (enlistment number 2552) with the 27th Battalion AIF and remained with the 27th Battalion throughout the war.
He was wounded three times in the field, 2nd December 1917, 20th April 1918 and 21st April 1918.  The wound that he received in 1917 was a severe gunshot wound to the face, while the other two wounds received on consecutive days were minor - he remained on the battlefield.
He was commissioned, being promoted to Lieutenant on the 12th April 1918.
On the 31st July 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field.
In board daylight he led his men across the open, entered enemy line, and captured some 800 meters of trench, together with 20 prisoners, inflicting considerable losses on the enemy.
 

Click to see
27th Battalion History Digger Book
In 1933, Colman wrote of his experiences during the war providing a deeply intimate account of his own experiences, revealing common ordeals as a member of the 27th Battalion. Later in 1933, Colman entered his book in a War Novel Competition that was established by the Victorian RSL. He did not win; the book ‘Crucible’ by J.P. McKinney won the competition.
Subsequently, Colman never published and he donated the original handwritten manuscript to the Australian War Memorial where it remains to this day.
 
The Editors, Claire Woods and Paul Skrebels have undertaken considerable further research and have included much additional material. This addition information has been included  in this book. This includes the original diary entries of Coleman, Biographic information about Coleman and other soldiers during and after the war, explanation of the real names of people mentioned in the book,
chapter by chapter commentary research, wartime photos of Coleman and 27th Battalion mates.
 

Although described as a novel, Colman’s work (book) is real autobiographical and accurate; it can be tested against the records. Peter Burness Senior Historian, Australian War Memorial
 
The Blue and Brown Diamond
A History of the 27th Battalion Australian Imperial Force, 1915 - 1919.   
by W Dollman and H.Skinner.

 

 The Official History of the 27th Battalion AIF was published in 1921. The book was never released in considerable quantity and remains rare. It has only ever been reprinted once in the 1990's and this reprint was limited to 200 books.
Walter Dollman co authored the 27th Battalion History, "The Brown and Blue Diamond. He was a South Australian Militia Officer before WW1. He had outstanding service with the  "Adelaide Rifles", 10th Australian Infantry Regiment and later becoming the CO, of the the 74th Infantry Regiment.
He was appointed CO of 27th Battalion AIF, during its raising in March 1915 and embarked for overseas service 31 May 1915. He commanded the Battalion through the Gallipoli campaign and then on to the Western Front.  After Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, he was wounded as a result of a gas attack, and thus unfit for further frontline service.  He returned to Australia in September 1916.
He remained a stalwart of the 27 Battalion becoming State President of the South Australian RSL in 1929.
He died on 23 August 1945 at Malvern, South Australia. 72 years of age.

His co author was Sergeant Henry Skinner who was a NCO in the Battalion. At Morlancourt on the night of 10-11/6/1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry.
Links regarding 27 Battalion:
Australian War Memorial 27th Battalion History
Australian Unit War Diaries
Wikipedia History 27th Battalion
RSL 27th Battalion History
South Australian Regiments Association

RSL provides a download sample of the 27th Battalion History
Dollman and the 27 Battalion embarking 1915



Saturday, 27 December 2014

Australian Navy HMAS Australia WW1



Click to see more details of the book.
In 1914, William Warner joined the Australian Navy with the rank of Boy 2nd Class. Back then a boy of 14 years old could join the navy but they would at first be sent to the training ship HMAS Tingara. After completion of training, he was promoted to Boy 1st Class and was transferred to HMAS Australia. This book is the extraordinary story of his life on the Australia. Mostly employed on the lower decks. He has recorded rare in-depth details of conditions prevailing on a capital warship in WW1. This book is valuable reading for anyone researching the life and times of a sailor serving during WW1 on an Australian warship.

HMAS Australia

The Australia Government ordered HMAS Australia from the British in 1909. Being launched in 1911, she became the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy. A Indefatigable Class Battlecruiser she was the pride of the Navy and honoured by a Nation.
Prior to WW1 she visited many Australian ports, a large imposing ship of 22000 tons with eight 12 inch guns. The likes of which had never been seen before in the Australian Navy. At the start of World War I, HMAS Australia sailed with the Australian and New Zealand  Forces to attack German interests in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. The Australia was especially required to find and destroy the German East Asia Naval Squadron. After the successful completion of her Pacific duties the Australia journeyed to Great Britain to help block German ships from entering the North Sea and undertake convoy duties. In 1924, as a requirement of the disarmament Washington Naval Treaty the Australia was scuttled off of Sydney Heads.
William Warner c 1924

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Australian 24th Battalion History Book

24th Battalion
 Australian 24th Battalion History Book  

RED AND WHITE DIAMOND Authorised History of the Twenty-fourth Battalion AIF' by Sgt. W J Harvey MM. 

Prior to WW1, Sgt Walter Harvey was a journalist with the Echuca based Riverine Herald. No doubt, a profession which enabled him to write such precise and detailed narrative for this history. He continued to write articles back to the Riverine Herald while he was on the frontline - some are shown in margins.
 

24th Battalion HistoryHarvey joined the AIF on the 15/4/1915, he was allotted the 24 Battalion enlistment number 2465. Soon after enlisting he come down with meningitis. Thus he did not embark for overseas service with the Battalion until the 5th reinforcements. He was with the Battalion at Pozieres where on the 15th August 1916 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He was a Stretcher Bearer who continually entered no man's land under heavy fire to recover wounded - it was said that he was the last 24th Stretcher Bearer to leave the Pozieres Battlefield.
 

Harvey has written a full History of the 24th Battalion which received its 'baptism of fire' upon reaching Gallipoli on the 5th September 1915. On the 10th September 1915, the Battalion entered the Lone Pine Trenches. It remained at Lone Pine for 16 weeks, due to the dangerous position Battalions were rotated every day. After the Gallipoli evacuation, the 24th Battalion transferred to the Western Front where the main battles fought were at Pozières in July 1916 and Mouquet Farm in August 1916, the costly 2nd Battle of Bullecourt and the offensive at Broodseinde Ridge during 1917.
 

During the latter 1918 Offensive, the Battalion suffered casualties which were not being replaced, it has become a distinction of the Battalion that it fought in the last Australian Battle of WW1 at Montbrehain on the 5th October 1918.
 

They did not know it at the time, but this would be the last WW1 Battle that any Australian would take part. This was the final stage of the war, the Battalions had been fighting for the past two days and the troops were expecting to be relieved.
This attack order came as some surprise, it was said, that the troops regarded it as the “bombshell, which did not come from the enemy”.

On the eve of the Battle, nine Officers of the 24th Battalion joined an impromptu parody singsong in the trenches.
’D’ Company, Captain John Fletcher and ‘A’ Company, Captain John Mahony MC sang I’m Courting Bonnie Lizzie Lindsay Noo and Fletcher alone sang The Bells Of St Mary’s. Fletcher and Mahoney were life long friends from Bendigo where Fletcher was a School Teacher. They had both fought at Gallipoli and endured the worst battles on the Western Front. At Mouquet Farm in 1916, Mahoney was distinguished with the awarding of the Military Cross.

Another 24th Officer in the trenches that night was Lieut. John Gear MC who was also a Victorian Teacher from Ballarat. During the war, Gear had continued his teaching showing how to kill a man by sniping.

The next day, the 5th of October was a tragic day for the 24th Battalion Officers, Fletcher and Gear both of ‘D’ Company were killed in the same attack. Mahoney was mortally wounded and died several days later on the 9th of October 1918.


"Mates to the Last" joined together 1915, survived Gallipoli, Mouguet Farm,Western Front until 5th October 1918, knocked on the same day... Fletcher (center) and Mahoney (right).
Above details sourced from the The Red and White Diamond Official History available from Books On War Australia

Saturday, 26 July 2014

When Did Australia declare war in WW1 World War One ?

Australia declared war in WW1 on Germany and Belligerents (Central Powers ) on the 5th August 1914.

Historical Dates from an Australian Perspective.
28th June 1914 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife, heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire.
28th July 1914 - Is accepted as the Start of World War One when Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.
31st July 1914 Friday -Prior to this date a Federal Election had been called in Australia. Thus the Prime Minister Joseph Cook and the Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher were electioneering when WW1 commenced. Two historic speeches were given on consecutive nights by the then Federal Opposition leader, Andrew Fisher (in Colac on Friday night the 31st July 1914),and followed the next night by Prime Minister Joseph Cook (in Horsham on the 1st August 1914). The two speeches declared Australia`s commitment to follow Britain into World War One, with Opposition Leader Fisher declaring "Australia will stand by the mother country to our last man and our last shilling" and Cook`s opposing speech on the Saturday night in Horsham with "If the old country is at war, so are we."
3rd August 1914 Monday - Germany declares war on France
3rd August 1914 Monday - Following Canada and New Zealand, PM Cook announces that Australia offers a 20000 man force to the Motherland.  
4th August 1914 Tuesday - Germany enters Belgium, Britain responds by declaring war on Germany.
5th August 1914 Wednesday - The then Governor General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, received the cable that Britain had declared war on Germany at midday local time on 5 August. Prime Minister Cook then advised the people that Australia was at war with Germany. Australia did not have to 'declare war' as back then it had no constitutional right. Suffice to say, if 'Britain was at war', that meant Australia was at war.
The first hostile shot of the war (British and Dominions) occurred in Australia when the Victorian Fort Nepeanfire fired at the German merchant ship Pfalz trying to leave Port Phillip Bay.
10th August 1914 - AIF recruitment commences.
19th August 1914 - Australian Forces depart to capture German interests in New Guinea and Islands.
1st November 1914 - Convoy first AIF Leaves.

So It Begins, at the start of Great War Australia pledged 20000 men by the end of WW1, on the 11th November 1918, 330000 odd Australians had been sent to the front.
information sourced from Australian War Books

Monday, 14 July 2014

9th Battalion & 10th Battalion AIF WW1 Commander Honoured in new book


Australian 10th Battalion CO

A Magnificent Anzac The Untold Story Of Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan CMG, DSO and Bar, DCM, Croix De Guerre MID 5 times

In 1980, the author, Peter Holmes worked in the Research Section at the Australian War Memorial. While at the AWM he assisted Mr Clarrie Wrench in researching his 9th Battalion History book, ‘Campaigning With The Fighting 9th Battalion AIF’. Clarrie Wrench had been a Lieutenant in the Australian 9th Battalion during WW1. In the latter part of 1918, during the Allied Offensive, he was awarded the MC medal for gallantry while leading his 9th Battalion platoon against a German machine gun post. After the war, he became a leading advocate for the 9th Battalion Association. It was said that he, ‘lived for the Battalion’.

During the many hours of discussion between Peter Holmes and Clarrie Wrench it become obvious that Clarrie had a deep affection for the 9th Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan. Peter Holmes become fascinated with the stories, life and mystery of this highly decorated Australian WW1 Commander. He has just released a new Australian Military Book about Wilder Neligan.

Australia's Official Historian and WW1 Commanders bestowed many tributes on Wilder Neligan not least,
'a restless adventurous spirit’
'the most brilliant raid that Australians undertook’
'an impetuous dare devil officer'
'clever soldier and inevitably a leader'
'The best show ever done by a battalion in France'
'never a greater organiser'
'a dashing leader'
Click to read more of this Magnificent Anzac Book 10th Battalion commander