Monthly Archives: July 2018

173. Enlistments in the first half of 1918: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history

This post continues the analysis of the essential characteristics of all those associated with the Shire of Alberton who enlisted in WW1. The preceding posts are:

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

Post 146. Enlistments in the second half of 1917: background characteristics Part 2 – religion, units and service history


There were 12 who gave their religion as Church of England, 9 who gave it as Presbyterian and there was 1 Roman Catholic. There were no Methodists in this particular cohort. The numbers are too small for meaningful comparisons with earlier cohorts, other than to note that the predominance of Church of England and Presbyterian recruits had been a feature since August 1914 and this feature itself reflected the relative breakdown in the 1911 census.


From early 1918, enlistments were assigned to general groups of reinforcements, rather than specific AIF battalions. Even when they embarked they were still listed in these general groups. For example when Private Harold Proctor – he had enlisted on 4/4/18 in 5 General (Victorian) Reinforcements  – embarked from Melbourne on 23/7/18, he was referred to as belonging to 1 to 17 (VIC) Reinforcements (March-November 1918). There were some in the cohort who enlisted in more specialist units, eg artillery, medical corps and even the flying corps (McGalliard).

Service History

As noted, none of this cohort reached the fighting, either in the Middle East or on the Western Front, before the hostilities finished. Two of the group – Cottrell and Cummings – did not even embark. Another 4 men – Callister, Davis, English and Summerfield – were on troop ships that were recalled. Of the rest, it appears that while most reached the UK they did not proceed to France. Two of the group –  Chambers and Clarke – did reach France, well after the fighting, and worked with the Graves registration Unit.

Even though they were spared the fighting, there was still high level of hospitalisation for the group, and 4 of them – Cummings, McGalliard, Neilson and Summerfield – were discharged on medical grounds. Many of the instances of hospitalisation related to influenza and at least 2 of those discharged for medical reasons – McGalliard and Neilson – had experienced complications from the influenza. The prevalence of influenza, and the complications from it, are evident in the case of Norman Spokes who enlisted in Yarram in June 1918 as an 18 yo. In August 1918 he came down with influenza on the troopship to the UK. He was hospitalised again in September with colic and again in October with mumps. In April 1919, there was further hospitalisation – Pleurodynia (Bornholm disease) with attendant injury to the ribs – and then in May he  again came down with influenza. He returned to Australia on 27/11/19 and was discharged – termination of period of enlistment (TPE) – on 20/12/19.

The dates of discharge for this group are generally very late.  Many were not discharged until well into 1919 and 3 of the group – Chambers, Hill and Lay – were not discharged until 1920, with Hill not even returning to Australia until August 1920 before being discharged the following month. At the other end of the scale, those on the troopships that were recalled to Australia after hostilities ceased were generally discharged much earlier, at the start of 1919.


None of the men who enlisted from the Shire of Alberton in the first half of 1918 saw active service abroad. At the same time, when they enlisted there was certainly the expectation that they would see active service and they were recruited at a time of ‘national crisis’ when the military situation in Europe was dire. There were desperate appeals for recruits made at the time and this particular cohort demonstrates that those who answered the call tended to be the very young – 18 -21 yo – and those both older – in their 30s – and/or married. What is also worth noting, yet again, is the high number of those who came forward to enlist only to fail the medical test. For this group of 22 men who did meet the medical standard, there were at least 10 who did not.

172. Enlistments in the first half of 1918: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

This post continues the analysis, in six-monthly intervals, of several key characteristics of all those with a link to the Shire of Alberton who enlisted in WW1. The relevant previous posts in the sequence are:

Post 22: Enlistments to the end of 1914: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 56: Enlistments in the first half of 1915: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 62: Enlistments in the second half of 1915: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 82: Enlistments in the first half of 1916: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 102: Enlistments in the second half of 1916: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 127: Enlistments in the first half of 1917: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

Post 145: Enlistments in the second half of 1917: background characteristics Part 1 – movement, occupation, age and marital status

The specific characteristics covered in the attached table are: the place of birth, the place of enlistment, the address of the next-of-kin at the time of enlistment, the address of the individual volunteer at the time of enlistment, the occupation at the time of enlistment, and age and marital status at the time of enlistment. For a more detailed account of the methodology and sources refer to the earlier posts.


The cohort is obviously small but it does represent the most ‘local’ of all cohorts analysed to this point. Typically, this group of enlistments were either born in the Shire of Alberton and/or were long-term residents. There were no immigrant farm workers from the United Kingdom. There was not even anyone born interstate.

The only 2 of the group who did not appear to have established links to the Shire of Alberton – in the sense that their names are not recorded on any local memorial – were Sylvester M Callister and Wilfred J Chambers. At the same time, both men had their medicals and enlisted at Yarram. Additionally, Callister’s family had previously been residents in the district and he himself must have still been living there, as he was one of several who stepped forward at a patriotic concert/recruiting meeting in Yarram in mid May 1918. Not much is known of of Chambers but he definitely enlisted at Yarram on 9/3/18 and was given a railway warrant to travel to Melbourne on 13/3/18 to complete the process.


There were 2 of the group – Ernest B Matches and Matthew S Thomas who were farmers in their own right, in the sense that they both held land in their own right, as recorded in the 1915 rate book. Both these men were older. There was a large group of 7 younger men who were associated in some way with a family farm. Once again, the association possibly also involved them working on other farms, or in other labouring jobs, depending on the size of the family farm and the number of siblings. The bulk of the remaining men described themselves as labourers or farm labourers. James English who had been in the district for 17 years worked as an ‘engineer’ for the local council. His position was also described as ‘electrician’. Andrew McGalliard was a university student – he had been in the Melbourne University Rifles – and the son of Thomas James McGalliard who had substantial land holdings and who also served as Shire President from July 1918.


The following table gives a breakdown of the ages for this cohort.

Ages of volunteers – first half of 1918


18-20         12

21-25         4

26-30          2

31-35          2

36+              2

total          22

Once again, the concentration of those of the youngest possible enlistment age is striking. Throughout the War, the military authorities had been tightening the system to prevent under-age recruits from enlisting, and certainly from enlisting without their parents’ permission. In the cases of the underage recruits in this cohort , their individual service files contain the signed permissions, from both parents. Typically, there is also a copy of the birth certificate to confirm the age. However, the overall intention in this matter was not to reduce the number of those enlisting under the age of 21- these young men were generally the most enthusiastic patriots and the ‘easiest’ target for recruiters –  but to make sure that when such enlistments did occur they were valid enlistments.

The case of Wilfred J Chambers is typical. At the time he enlisted in Yarram (9/3/18) he was only 18 years and 3 months old. He stated that his father’s whereabouts was unknown and his enlistment form contained signed permission from his mother for him to enlist as someone under 21 yo. The mother lived in Heathcote.  On 20/3/18 the mother received a form notice – addressed to her in Heathcote – from the military authorities advising her that … your son has enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force for Active Service Abroad, and has produced a document which purports to be your written consent.  The notice then asked if she gave her … consent to his going on Active Service before he reaches the age of 19? Otherwise he cannot be sent to camp until he is 18 1/2 years of age. The mother signed, Yes I will consent to his going before he is 19. The process was designed to ensure that the enlistment of those only 18 yo for active service abroad in the AIF would stand a challenge.

Marital Status

Two of the men – Robert A Neilson and Matthew S Thomas – were married and there was also one widower, James English. The 2 married men were in their early 30s, and one of them – Thomas – had a child. However, the widower – English – was 39 yo and he left behind his 4 year-old daughter. She was left in the care of a Mrs Wallace of the Goodwood Sawmills. Even if Mrs Wallace was a relative, the fact that the authorities were enlisting a 39 yo widower, with a young child, is a clear indication of how keenly they pursued potential recruits.


The numbers from the Shire of Alberton are very small but there is a suggestion at least that the perceived crisis on the Western Front from the end of March 1918 did prompt a lift in recruitment. However those who stepped forward tended to be the very young and the, relatively, very old and even married.

171. Enlistments in the first half of 1918

This post presents the table of those with an association with the Shire of Alberton who enlisted in the first half of 1918. It builds on the work of 7 earlier posts that have analysed enlistments, in six-monthly intervals, from August 1914:

Post 21: Enlistments to the end of 1914: identifying the ‘locals’
Post 55: Enlistments in the first half of 1915
Post 61: Enlistments in the second half of 1915
Post 81. Enlistments in the first half of 1916
Post 101. Enlistments in the second half of 1916
Post 126. Enlistments in the first half of 1917
Post 144. Enlistments in the second half of 1917

The following summary shows enlistments from 1914. The total figure to the end of June 1918 was 756.

To the end of 1914: 138 enlistments
First half of 1915: 102
Second half of 1915: 200
First half of 1916: 183
Second half of 1916: 70
First half of 1917: 31
Second half of 1917: 10
First half of 1918: 22

The table shows that there was a pick up in enlistments in the first half of 1918 – from 10 in the last 6 months of 1917 to 22 in the first 6 months of 1918. At the time, the call for recruits was desperate. The Allies were under great pressure on the Western Front. From the end of March to the end of April, major German attacks – and successes – on the Western Front posed the greatest threat since the fighting of 1914. In Australia, with conscription having been again rejected, the need for recruits was pressed in every conceivable way. The dire situation facing the Allies and the desperate news reports of the depleted state of the AIF did lead to a short-term boost in recruitment.

The number of enlistments also needs to be seen against the number of men who tried to enlist but failed. Roughly one-third of the potential recruits failed to meet the standard.  Typically, they stepped forward at a recruiting meeting but then failed the medical. There were at least 8 such cases: John Campbell (Yarram), Hugh Douglas (Won Wron), Frank Hutchinson (Yarram), Jack Masters (Yarram), Arthur William Murphy (Yarram), George Cameron (Won Wron) and William Hopkins (Tarra Valley). Arthur Cuffic Thomas of Jack River was 36 yo and he also failed the medical but was, at least, offered the option of joining the Home Service. There was also the case of John Henry Lewis. He must have passed the medical at Yarram because he was issued with a railway warrant but it does not appear that the enlistment was completed. Presumably, he failed the next (final) medical when he got to Melbourne.

There were also several instances where age was the issue. Alfred Joseph Baldwin of Gelliondale was too old at 47 yo. Frank Brown of Yarram was too young at 18 yo. There was also the strange case of William Henry Clemson of Tarra Valley. He claimed to be 19 yo and it appears that he even made it in to camp. Certainly he was farewelled on the basis that he had enlisted and was in camp. However, there is no service file for him and, in fact, it appears he was only 15 or 16yo. Presumably, when the military authorities found out his true age he was quietly discharged. To add to the confusion, there is a W Clemson on the Shire of Alberton Roll of Honor. Presumably, his name was included because he had been given a formal farewell and, subsequently, no one realised that he had not served or served for only a very short time.

One striking case involved Tony D’Astoli. The story, from the local paper of the time, was that Antonio D’Astoli had been born in Australia of Italian parents. In 1917 he came to Yarram and took over the confectionary-fruit shop previously run by a family called Liuxxi. It also appears that he married the same year. Then in early 1918 he was called up by the Italian authorities and he then joined the Italian army. His wife stayed behind in Yarram to run the business. He was farewelled from Yarram in May 1918 (7/5/18) and then in January 1920 (7/1/20) he was formally welcomed back to Yarram, as a returned soldier.

As before, there were men in this cohort of 22 enlistments who had previously been rejected because they had failed the medical: Thomas A Clark (1917) and William H Pattinson (1915). Similarly there were others who had enlisted previously but who had subsequently been discharged on medical grounds: Lawrence H W Beagley and Albert J Cummings. In fact, Cummings had been discharged after just 2 weeks service in March 1917, and on this second enlistment, he lasted about 3 months before he was discharged as medically unfit (22/8/18). After this his second enlistment, Beagley, the other volunteer who had previosuly been discharged, managed to serve through to November 1919. There was also the case of Benjamin R Davis. It appears that he first enlisted in June 1916 when he was 18 yo. But he then deserted and was struck off the list. Presumably because of his age – and possibly his parents had not given permission – the military authorities were not interested in pursuing him. Then in May 1918 he re-enlisted. He was formally farewelled from Yarram in October 1918.

When the War commenced in August 1914 there was a common belief that the fighting in Europe would be intense but short and that the newly formed AIF might not even reach Europe before the War was over. When this particular group enlisted in the first half of 1918 – and this was particularly the case for those enlisting from April – the assumption was that they would most definitely be joining the fighting on the Western Front, fighting that had by then raged for nearly 4 years and which showed no sign of ending. Indeed the military situation appeared to be worsening. The irony was that not one of these recruits ever saw fighting. Some were on troopships that were turned back to Australia and while most did embark they did not reach the UK until after the Armistice. Subsequently, one or two did make it to France but they worked with the War Graves Unit.

170. E L Garland & C H Rendell

Both Corporal Garland and Private Rendell were from 21 Battalion and both died on July 6, 1918, immediately after the Battle of Hamel (July 4). Corporal Garland died of wounds received on the same day and Private Rendell was killed in action.

The war diary of 21 Battalion records how the advance at Hamel commenced shortly after 3.00 a.m. on the morning of 4 July and that by 7.00 a.m. that morning the objectives had been taken and the new position consolidated. The battle took 93 minutes, 3 minutes more than Monash had planned.

21 Battalion was spared the heaviest fighting and its casualties over the 2 days (4-5 July 1918) were relatively light: 6 killed, 3 died of wounds, 1 missing and 46 wounded.

The casualty figures given in the war diary of 21 Battalion for 6 July were 3 killed, 4 wounded and 2 died of wounds.  There was a German counter-attack which was launched late on July 5 and lasted to very early morning on 6 July. It appears that Corporal Garland was wounded in this action. There were also patrols sent out on the day. However, the circumstances of Private Rendell’s death that day are not clear.  21 Battalion was relieved by 20 Battalion on the same day (6/7/18).

Overall, the action at Hamel was hailed a major success. The war diary of 21 Battalion includes a copy of the letter (dated 5/7/18) sent by General Sir. W. R. Birdwood to 6 Brigade (21 -24 Battalion):

Just a line of heartiest congratulations on the good work carried out yesterday [4/7/18] by your Brigade in the completely successful operation yesterday morning. Evidently things could not possibly have gone better, and the greatest credit is due to you and every man concerned in it. I shall be grateful if you will pass on my very hearty congratulations both to Battalion Commanders and all their men.

In the war diary, there are also copies of similar congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Hughes, other Allied leaders. In time of course, Hamel came to be regarded as the definitive example of how WW1 battles should have been waged. Even at the time, Monash was keen to identify the success as a model for future planning. He wrote, in part:

The operation is a striking example of the success which invariably results from careful preparation and co-ordinated action, and will serve as a model and standard of the fighting efficiency of the Australian Corps.


GARLAND Eugene Loftus MM 1545
21 B DoW 6/7/18

Eugene Garland was born in Port Albert (1890) and grew up in the local area. He attended the state school at Port Albert and when he enlisted he indicated that he was in the Port Albert Rifle Club. His family had been living in the Port Albert area since the 1860s. His father – Eugene Garland – had had small land holdings in the area and had worked as a local carrier. By the time his son enlisted the father was dead (1904) and the mother – Mary Ellen Garland – appeared as next-of-kin. On his enlistment form Eugene gave his occupation as ‘laborer’. However when his mother completed the information for the (National) Roll of Honour, she gave his occupation as ‘farmer’. The mother did appear in the 1915 rate book with 6 acres at Palmerston so perhaps the family was involved with dairying in some small way. Most likely, even if there were a family farm, the brothers – there were 3 other brothers – would have been working on other farms in the area. Two of the brothers enlisted: John, born 1892, enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and Arthur, born 1895, enlisted in the AIF. Both survived the War.

When Eugene enlisted he was single and 23 yo. His religion was Roman Catholic.

He enlisted in April 1915 (14/4/15) in Melbourne and joined as reinforcements for 21 Battalion. He left Melbourne in late June (28/6/15) just 2 months after enlistment and proceeded to Egypt and then Gallipoli.

He was taken off the Gallipoli Peninsula and transferred via hospital ship to Malta. His condition was described as ‘Inguinal Abscess’. This period of hospitalisation lasted from mid September to mid October and he returned to duty on Anzac in early November. But he was again hospitalised (26/11/15) and this time taken to Heliopolis and not discharged until early February 1916. The condition on this occasion was given as asthma, trenchfeet and frost bite.

There is a letter in the file, dated 12/11/15, from a Miss C Hepburn [Cecilia Hepburn, born 1898 Port Albert] of Port Albert. She was obviously close to Private Garland. Her letter and the response to it from Base Records give some insight on the limitations of the postal service at the time.

I have a very dear friend at the Dardenelles (sic) but at present he is sick in Malta.
He has been away a good few months now and by the letter I received from him tonight he has not received one letter that I have written to him, and I have his full address. I receive all his letters alright. Could you find out whether the letters are going astray or not.
I have watched the papers to see when the mail goes, and have written regularly. If you could inform me how to get the letters through to him I would be much obliged. He said he is longing for a letter. I have also sent papers which have not been received.

The prompt reply from Base Records (19/11/15) informed Miss Hepburn that Private Garland had been sent to Malta, ‘sick’, on 23/9/15. The letter also offered some kind of apology for what was very obviously a poor mail service.

I beg to inform you that everything possible has been done by the Postmaster General’s Department and this Office to improve the service, but the difficulty of distributing mails to troops on active service is very great, and is almost regulated by the exigencies of the Military situation, which is the prime factor in the war.
An Australian Postal Unit will shortly arrive in Egypt, and it is hoped that the Mail Service will thereby greatly improve.

Private Garland’s battalion left Alexandria in mid March 1916 (19/3/16) and disembarked at Marseilles, one week later, on 26/3/16. In France he was first promoted to lance corporal (28/2/17) and then corporal (4/10/17). There is very little on his service in France over 1916-1917 in his file. Over this two year period, 21 Battalion saw action at Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt and Broodseinde Ridge.

There was some leave for Corporal Garland in Paris in January 1918 and then 2 weeks in England in March 1918. He was wounded in action on 6/7/18 and died of wounds – shrapnel wound which perforated the abdomen – on the same day. He was buried by Rev. A Fogarty in the Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme.

The cable informing his mother of the death was dated 13/7/18. News of his death was published in the Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative on 24/7/18:

Word reached Mrs. Garland, Port Albert, on Thursday [18/7/18], that her son Corporal Hugh Garland had died of wounds on 6th inst. The sad news cast quite a gloom over the Port, for he was born and schooled there, and was thought very highly of.

Just a few days after his death, Corporal Garland was recommended for the Military Medal. The recommendation was dated 10/7/18 and the award was confirmed at the end of the same month. The recommendation was based on his actions at Hamel, 4 – 5 July.

The battalion war diary also features an extended account of the action leading to Corporal Garland’s Military Medal. The actual recommendation written for the Military Medal is shorter than this account; although, specifically in respect of Corporal Garland, it is substantially the same. As is evident, in relation to the same episode, Lance Corporal Donald James Creighton (5317) was recommended for, but not subsequently awarded, the Croix de Guerre. He survived the War and returned to Australia in 1919.

1545 Corporal Eugene Loftus Garland
5317 Private (Lance Corporal) Donald James Creighton
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
On the morning of 4th July 1918 during the attack North East of Villers-Bretonneux [Hamel] after the final objective had been reached, portion of the line was harassed excessively by sniping from a Communication Trench in which we had established a block.
These two Non-Commissioned Officers moved out with a Lewis Gun along the Communication Trench and engaged the enemy under heavy sniping fire. The Germans, after suffering casualties at their hands were compelled to withdraw. These N.C.O.s pursued the enemy for a distance of five hundred yards past the block and inflicted further losses on the enemy, although they themselves were exposed to more severe fire the further they advanced.
Again on the night of 5th July 1918, during a minor operation these N.C.O.s were included in a party which was covering the left flank of the action. About daybreak the enemy became very active with sniping and machine-gun fire. Cpl Garland & L/Cpl Creighton again pushed forward together armed with a machine gun with which they took it in turns to ‘hose’ the enemy, firing from the hip. Their action was so successful that the enemy was again demoralised and had to withdraw in haste from their front.
Both these actions were performed under heavy machine-gun and sniping fire from the enemy, and on their return from their second adventure they were both wounded, Garland being severely injured. Later a party of their comrades went out into No Man’s Land and brought these N.C.O.s back to our lines. The men speak in glowing terms of their deed and without doubt this timely act at a critical juncture was of great service to all concerned and contributed largely to the success which attended the operations.

On 2/10/18 the Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative published the letter that Mrs Garland had received from the Commanding Officer of 21 Battalion, dated 17/7/18 . The letter also included the relevant official recommendation for the Military Medal:

In handing you the attached copy of the recommendation for gallantry for which your son was awarded the Military Medal, I desire, as Commanding Officer of the Battalion, to express my appreciation of the deed which rebounds to your son’s credit and adds lustre to the already fine record of this unit. The sympathy of all ranks under my command goes out to you in your sorrow, for Cpl. Garland was held in high esteem by us all. In dying he lived up to the high standard that has always characterised his work, and leaves behind him an unexcelled soldierly record of duty well done.

There is a Red Cross report for Corporal Garland. Essentially, it confirms the account of his actions with the Lewis Gun on 6 July; although there are the usual inconsistencies about time and the nature of the wound: hit by a sniper in the thigh as opposed to hit by a bomb & badly wounded in the chest. It is also worth noting that while the official record has the funeral service being conducted by Rev A Fogarty who was the Roman Catholic Chaplain attached to the Casualty Clearing Station where Corporal Garland died from his wounds, there is in fact a witness statement from the same Rev A Fogarty which states clearly that, The funeral service was performed by Rev. F. O’Neill C. F.

Corporal Garland left a will (September 1915) leaving all his property and effects to his mother. As with so many other locals, BP Johnson, Barrister and Solicitor of Yarram, acted on behalf of the mother. He also followed up the life policy for the deceased soldier with The National Mutual Life and secured the formal death certificate from the AIF.

Several lots of personal effects, in 3 separate packages, were returned in early 1919:

(1)  1 Religious book, 1 metal watch (damaged) & strap
(2)  1 Religious book, 2 Notebooks, 1 Mirror (broken), 2 German books, 1 Map, 1 French Book, Photos, Cards, Letters, 1 Tie, 1 Wallet, 1 Wrist watch (glass broken) & strap, 7 Coins, 1 Cloth Wallet, 1 Cap Band, Various papers.
(3)  1 Wrist disc, 1 Belt buckle, 1 Tassel, Buttons, 1 Badge, 1 Metal ring, 1 Metal watch (damaged).

In March 1919, Corporal Garland’s mother was advised that the Military Medal for her son was available. The letter from Base Records (4/3/19) in Melbourne is interesting in terms of the attention to limiting expenses associated with any formal award ceremony:

I am in receipt of a Military Medal which has been awarded to your son, the late No. 1545 Corporal E.L. Garland, M.M., 21st Battalion, and shall be glad to learn at your earliest convenience whether you desire this decoration to be handed to you publicly on the first suitable occasion, or whether you would prefer it to be transmitted to you direct from this office.

The public presentation could possibly be arranged to fit in with some local function in your district, as the Department cannot be responsible for any expenses in connection with travelling to Melbourne or other large centre.

The mother took the simplest option and replied (14/3/19),

I desire this decoration to be transmitted to me direct from your office, thanking you for same.

The medal was immediately despatched from Melbourne with a very fulsome form letter (17/3/19),

It is with feelings of admiration at the gallantry of a brave Australian soldier who nobly laid down his life in the service of our King and Country, that I am directed by the Honourable the Minister to forward to you, as the next-of-kin of the late No. 1545 Corporal E. L. Garland, M.M., 21st Battalion, the Military Medal which His Majesty The King has been graciously pleased to award to that gallant soldier for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty while serving with the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force.
I am also to ask you to accept his deep personal sympathy in the loss which, not only you, but the Australian Army has sustained by the death of Corporal Garland whose magnificent conduct on the field of battle has helped to earn for our Australian soldiers a fate which will endure as long as memory lasts.

On the first anniversary of his death, the following In Memoriam was printed in the Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative (4/7/19):

GARLAND – In loving memory of our dear friend, Corp.
E. L. Garland, killed on active service on 6th July, 1918.
As true a heart as ever beat
Has passed away from earth,
But memory dwells within the hearts
Of those who knew his worth.
In dawn of his splendid manhood,
When the tide of life was high,
He lived to make others happy.
Oh, why did he have to die?
-Inserted by Mr. and Mrs. W. B. McKenize [sic] and family

[Most likely this was from Mr and Mrs William Hodgson McKenzie. William McKenzie was a farmer from Tarra Valley but he had also been a publican at Port Albert and was involved in district sports.]

Corporal Garland’s name is commemorated on the roll of honor of the state school at Port Albert, as well as appearing on both the Shire of Alberton Roll of Honor and Alberton Shire Soldiers’ Memorial.


Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative

O’Callaghan G (Comp) 2006, Clonmel to Federation: Guide to people in the Port Albert area 1841-1901, Vol 1, The Alberton Project

National Archives file for GARLAND Eugene Loftus
Roll of Honour: Eugene Loftus Garland
First World War Embarkation Roll: Eugene Loftus Garland
Red Cross Wounded and Missing file: Eugene Loftus Garland
Honour and Awards: Eugene Loftus Garland



RENDELL Clyde Henry 5074
21 B KIA 6/7/1918

Clyde Rendell was born in North Devon in 1895 and grew up in the area, attending the North Devon State School. The Rendell family had been in the district from the 1860s. The father – Henry Prescott Rendell – farmed about 100 acres at Devon and had previously run a blacksmith business in Yarram.

There were 7 children in the family. The 2 oldest sons – Percy, born 1893, and Clyde – enlisted. Percy Holden Rendell (469) enlisted 8 months after his younger brother. He was badly wounded on 4/10/17 with gunshot wound to ‘shoulder and head’. He was hospitalised in England, operated on and then returned to Australia where he was discharged as ‘medically unfit’ on 29/5/18.

Clyde Rendell’s mother was Eliza M Gay and when the father provided the information for the (National) Roll of Honour he noted that Edward Thomas Gay, who died of TB in the United Kingdom in early 1917 [see Post 100], was a cousin of his son. There was also another connection: Frank Harrison, an English immigrant farm worker, [Post 165] who died of wounds on 19/5/18 had worked on the Rendell farm.

On the enlistment papers, Clyde Rendell’s occupation was given as farmer and he obviously worked on the family farm.

At the time of enlistment (29/1/16) Clyde Rendell was 20 yo. He had his medical in Yarram with Dr Cook and was then re-examined in Melbourne where he formally enlisted. On the enlistment papers he indicated that he had attended four drills for the Senior Cadets but had had ‘no kit issued’. His religion was given as Church of England on the enlistment forms but, at the same time, both his and his brother’s name are commemorated on the honour roll for the local Methodist Church.

Clyde Rendell enlisted in 21 Battalion (13 Reinforcements) and left for the UK in early July (3/7/16). He was hospitalised, on the troop ship, for about one week on the voyage from Australia. His unit reached Plymouth 2 months later (2/9/16) at which point there was further training with 6 Training Battalion. He finally joined 21 Battalion in France in November 1916 (22/11/16).

In the middle of January 1917 he was taken out of the lines with ‘Trench Feet severe’ and was transferred back to hospital in England (Northampton War Hospital). He did not return to his battalion in France until September (22/9/17). Almost immediately (6/10/17), he was again hospitalised with ‘Trench Feet’. He received treatment for several months and in February 1918 the condition was described as ‘Trench Fever’. He did not rejoin the battalion until April (18/4/18). In this period of treatment from early October 1917 to mid April 1918 there was an incident in January (22/1/18) when he broke out of camp and was absent from duty for several hours. He received the severe sentence of 14 days of Field Punishment No.1, and he also lost 14 days pay.

One month after he rejoined the battalion he was again sick and hospitalised (17/5/18). This was his third period of hospitalisation on the Western Front. This time it was a combination of ‘Influenza’ and ‘Trench Feet’. He rejoined the battalion on 6 July and was killed in action exactly one month later, at Hamel, on 6/7/18.

It appears the family was notified by cable dated 16 July 1918. The following death notice appeared in Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative on 19/7/18:

Rendell – Killed in action, July 6th, 1918. Clyde H., the dearly loved second son of H.P. and E.M. Rendell, and brother of Percy (returned), Belle, Linda and Clem. Age 22 yrs 9 months.
A soldier and a man.
[Two children – Henry and Leslie – had died as infants]

In the same edition there was a more detailed account of the way the news was received.

Word was received at Devon North on Wednesday [17/7/18] that Lance Corporal C. H. Rendell, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Rendell, has been killed in action. Sympathy for the bereaved family is expressed on all sides. Blessed with a sunny disposition, and an open-hearted generous nature, the young soldier was very popular, and a gloom was cast over the district when the news of his death came through. He will be remembered by all South Gippsland sportsmen as a fine stamp of Australian manhood, a promising axeman, and a clean footballer. It is worthy of note that the four soldiers who received their send off from the North Devon Our Boys’ Association on the night that the late Corporal Rendell was farewelled, two have been killed, viz., Private A. (Bill) Barlow [Post 160] and Lance Corporal C. Rendell; Private G. McKenzie has been returned wounded. The fourth, Private H. McKenzie, is still abroad. The deceased soldier had been two years in active service, and till the fatal wound had never received a scratch. He was three times in hospital suffering from trench feet. Private P. H. Rendell, invalided home through wounds, met his brother two days before leaving England.

It appears that very early in his service he held the rank of lance corporal but then reverted to private when he reached the UK. It is interesting that the debilitating ‘trench feet’ (‘severe’) that had seen Rendell hospitalised for months on end was downplayed in this report.

The parents placed a bereavement notice in the local paper on 2/8/18 thanking … their many kind friends and relations for visits, letters, telegrams and cards, expressive of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement in the loss of their son and brother, Clyde H. Rendell, killed in action on July 6th.

On the first anniversary of Private Rendell’s death (6/7/19), the following In Memoriam appeared:

RENDELL- In loving remembrance of our dearly loved
son and brother, Clyde H., Rendell, who was killed
in action in France on July 6th, 1918.
He lived not for himself alone,
But had a nobler, higher aim.
His work is o’er, life’s battle won –
Our loss is Heaven’s great gain.
Sad and oft our hearts do wander
To his grave far, far away,
Where they laid our darling brother
Just a year ago to-day.
-Inserted by his father, mother, brothers and sisters.

Private Rendell was buried in the ‘Austral Military Cemetery, 4 ½ mile East South East of Amiens’ and then the family was advised in April 1920 (1/4/20) that .. his [Private Rendell] remains have been exhumed and re-interred in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery (Australian Memorial Cemetery), 1 ½ miles north of Villers-Bretonneux.

The family received two packages of personal effects. The first was in February 1919 and the second in April of the same year:

Testament, Photo Wallet, Pencil, Metal Watch (Damaged), Letters, Cards, 2 Wallets, 1 German Note (value 1 Mark), 2 Coins, Metal Medallion, Stamps, 2 Discs & Chains. (D.1244) 2 Letters from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, London


Notebook, testament, letters

On 16/8/18, the local paper also published a letter which Private Rendell had written to his mother about a month before his death. Presumably, he was replying to a letter he had just received from her, one that had reminded him of fond memories of life at home.

Writing to his mother, North Devon, on May 30th, the late Clyde Rendell says:—How beautiful these lines seem to me out here! What memories they recall! We see it all now; the daily grind of cooking, washing and sewing, with the tired eyes at night and the big basket of darning still to be done long after we were sound asleep. And the few spankings we got in comparison with the many we so richly deserved, and all the self-denial, worry and anxiety which we caused you. We could not see it then — blind little beggars that we were — but we see it all now in all its sublime beauty and nobility, and needless to say we are longing for the time when we can return home to make amends by giving you some of the love and devotion which you so ungrudgingly gave to us. This is one of our greatest desires, and one which by God’s help, we shall be able to fulfil when the war is won, and we come home. We should be ashamed to show our faces before that is achieved, for after all, it is really you, our mothers, and our homes for for whom we are fighting. If you could see the suffering and hard ships endured by the brave women and children of this unhappy land, where so many homes have been ruined, you would not want us to return until victory has been won. When the gift of freedom is ours, then we will come home and lay it reverently at your feet, for it will be hallowed by the blood of many comrades. Then we shall devote our lives to the service of our country in the upbuilding of happy homes and noble citizenship. Pray for us, that this high and holy vision may never fade from our minds, and that we may be given courage and patience to finish our task. Then, what a glorious home-coming there will be! Till then, we remain where we are, fighting for our mothers and our homes, “somewhere in France.”—
Your affec. son, Clyde.

The letter is remarkable for the overt sentimentality. It serves as a reminder of how soldiers saw their role in the fighting as a form of heightened moral crusade, and it matches the messages of pro-conscription pamphlets and the content of sermons delivered by local Protestant clergymen such as Rev. George Cox (Post 26). The War was a time of moral awakening and deeper understanding. Within this perspective, the dreadful sacrifice made more sense.

Private Rendell is remembered on both the Shire of Alberton Roll of Honor and the Alberton Shire Soldiers’ Memorial. Additionally, his name appears on the honor roll for the local state school (North Devon) and the equivalent district roll. As noted, it also appears on the ‘Methodist Church Yarram Yarram Circuit’ under North Devon.

Studio portrait of 5074 Private Clyde Henry Rendell, 21st Battalion from Yarram, Gippsland, Victoria. Courtesy, Australian War Memorial

Courtesy, Yarram & District Historical Society


Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative

O’Callaghan G (Comp) 2006, Clonmel to Federation: Guide to people in the Port Albert area 1841-1901, Vol 3, The Alberton Project

National Archives file for RENDELL Clyde Henry
Roll of Honour: Clyde Henry Rendell
First World War Embarkation Roll: Clyde Henry Rendell
Red Cross Wounded and Missing file: Clyde Henry Rendell