197. Update

I am conscious that it has been so long since I have posted anything. Consequently, I want to give some indication where I am with the ongoing background research.

For the past five months I have been trying to finalise the full count of all those men with an association to the Shire of Alberton who enlisted in WW1. As always, the task has turned out to be more challenging than anticipated. However, the end is now in sight and I anticipate to have this major part of the overall project finalised with another 2-3 months. The final number of enlisted men will be round the 800 mark. Generally speaking, it will match the previous lists that I published at six-monthly intervals over the past 5 years. However, there are some significant differences.

In the first place, I have been able to add, approximately, another 50 men.

Second, I have expanded the range of data items covered for the complete list. I have included additional information relating to the men’s health. I have also included information relating to their experiences with military discipline. This should enable a more comprehensive picture of the cohort’s experience in the AIF.

The third line of enquiry has been to identify all the local men who tried, unsuccessfully, to enlist. This group takes in those who failed the medical – or several medicals – and also those whose enlistment did not proceed for some other reason. I have established that this particular group was large, approximately 200 men. There were, of course, men who failed their initial medical who then did pass a later medical; but these men are included in the group of 800. The group of 200 to whom I am referring covered those who failed their medical(s) and were never accepted in the AIF.

The fourth, and last, line of enquiry has been to focus on all those local men who, in theory at least, did enlist but whose identity I have not been able to trace. In other words, I have not been able to make a match between their name – often this is just a surname and initial – and an enlistment in the AIF. There are many reasons for this situation and while I continue to research these men, it is important to accept that there will likely be some 80 locals who were said to have enlisted but for whom I can find no matching AIF record. At some point I plan to publish the list of these 80 names in the hope that current ‘locals’ might be able to identify past family members. However, in most cases there is so little information from which to work that most of this last group will inevitably remain a mystery.

At least when this research is finally finished there will be a comprehensive and substantive data set covering all enlistments – and rejections – associated with the Shire of Alberton.

6 thoughts on “197. Update

  1. kayepea

    I too, thank you Phil, the work you have done on these men is a remarkable salute to their memories and a considerable feather in your cap. I look forward to your next release with anticipation.

  2. Ken

    When my grandfather died in 1937, the local branch of the R.S. & S.I.L.A. published a death notice in the SMH. I assume that that had been the practice since the end of the war and that the notices generally used similar words. Here’s my grandfather’s:

    POLLARD.—The Members of the GLADESVILLE SUB-BRANCH of R.S. and S.I.L.A., are invited to attend the Funeral of their late Comrade, PERCY A. POLLARD. For particulars see Family Notice.

    Would a search of TROVE for notices published by the local branches help to track down some of those who died after the war. Of course, it mightn’t pick up those who moved away or stayed overseas. And it will include some like my grandfather who was in the British forces but moved to Australia after the war.

  3. marc.goodwin66@bigpond.com

    Thanks for the update.

    I really do appreciate all the work you’ve put in to this research, and enjoy reading them when the blogs are released.

    Kind regards,

    Marc Goodwin

    54 West Sentinel Drive, Greenbank


  4. Jan

    This research has been remarkable and the body of information you have published is a great resource.
    I have very much enjoyed your posts I applaud your research.
    Thank you

  5. Linda Barraclough

    Thank you for updating us – I look forward to the challenge of the unidentifieds – and someone may yet identify my Stribbling on there.

    I was wondering, since you posted according to date of death, if you would be continuing with those who died of war wounds after their return. Apparently there is a cut off date accepted by the War Memorial, and those who died before that date are added to the Wall of Rememberance. I know that one has been added who we identified in the Stratford Cemetery, and one of the Whitelaws from Briagolong. There must be many more out there in the same situation.

    1. pcashen Post author

      I agree. Anecdotally, there were those who died within a few years of returning. But you tend to come across these cases randomly- eg. a brief report in the local paper. I think there is also another issue about the general life expectancy of those who returned. I’m keen to explore both in relation to this group. But there are significant obstacles.


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