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.