This post continues the analysis of
Post 23: Enlistments to the end of 1914: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
Post 57: Enlistments in the first half of 1915: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
Post 63: Enlistments in the second half of 1915: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
Post 83: Enlistments in the first half of 1916: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
Post 103: Enlistments in the second half of 1916: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
Post 128. Enlistments in the first half of 1917: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history
It continues the ongoing work to describe and interpret the essential character of all those associated with the Shire of Alberton who enlisted in WW1.
The numbers are too small to continue the previous statistical analysis. Of the 10 enlistments, 8 gave their religion as Church of England and of the other 2 one was Methodist, and the second Roman Catholic.
Of the 9 men who made it overseas, 2 went as reinforcements, to the Middle East, for the 4th Light Horse Regiment. The other 7 joined several infantry battalions, with the single largest number (3) joining 39 Battalion, which had been formed in Ballarat in February 1916.
While the numbers are too small for meaningful statistical analysis, it is clear that even those who enlisted in the final year of the War did not have it easy.
For this group of men there was no sense that the fighting was tapering off, notwithstanding the constant reassurances in the press that the Allies were forever gaining the upper hand. They knew – either directly from siblings and other friends already serving, or indirectly from the extensive casualty lists in the papers – what the risks were. Indeed, one of the 9 who served overseas – Robert Cross – would be killed. He survived the fighting to late August 1918 when he was killed in action. He was only 19 yo when he was killed. In addition, 4 would be wounded, with the most common wound being ‘gassed’.
Six of the 10 who enlisted were to be discharged on medical grounds, as a result of being wounded or from some disease. In fact, only 3 of the group of 10 made it through ‘untouched’ right to the end; and the ‘end’ was nearly one full year after the fighting ceased, with all 3 discharged as TPEs (Termination of Period of Enlistment) in either August or September 1919.
As pointed out several times already, the cohort was very small. However, the figures certainly at least suggest that so far into the War- the fighting by then had been raging for 3 full years – the burden was still falling, disproportionately, on young – often very young – single men. The War itself had become a rite of passage.