I have spent the last few months trying to finalise the complete list of all those men who had a recognised association with the Shire of Alberton and who enlisted and served in W W 1. At this point the list numbers 826 men. Additionally, there is another list of 182 men who tried to enlist but were rejected, most commonly on health grounds.
The list included in this post is of the 100 men I have not been able to trace. The suggestion – or direct claim – is that they did enlist but I have not been able to tie them definitively to a specific AIF service record.
The names of the men on the list have appeared on honor rolls for state schools or against railway warrants issued to them as part of the enlistment process. In other instances there has been a reference in the local paper – Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative – which indicated that they had just enlisted – the name appeared in a report of a farewell or presentation for them – or they were serving overseas. There are even cases where the name appears on the Shire of Alberton Roll of Honor. As well, some names appeared on the list of enlistees which was published by another local paper, the South Gippsland Chronicle. In all such instances, after examining a wide range of sources, I have not been able to identify the individual himself or, if I have been able to identify him, I have not been able to tie him to a specific AIF service record.
When you browse through the list you will see some of the challenges. In many cases, the name is too common, even when one or two initials are included. There is also the possibility that the spelling of the name or the initials provided – and often the record has been transcribed – are incorrect. However, even where the name of the person is known – and correct – you can face the situation where there is no corresponding service record or, more commonly, it is not possible to identify the relevant service record because there are too many possibilities. Without a great deal of supporting evidence – where the individual was born, date of birth, parents’ names etc – the task of identifying someone is extremely difficult.
It is also possible that some of these men did not enlist. For example, they may have been given a railway warrant in Yarram to travel to Melbourne to complete the enlistment process, but they changed their mind or, alternatively, they failed the second medical in Melbourne. However, in relation to the latter possibility there should still have been a basic service record indicating that the enlistment had been terminated. It is also possible that some of those on the list are already included, in the sense that they are on the list of the 826 who did enlist but with a slight variation in name.
It is worth noting the sheer size of the list. The whole exercise is a classic illustration of just how difficult it can be to uncover history at the level of the individual person. Yet, in this instance, the individual does count, precisely because, at the time, the community felt the need to identify and celebrate each and every one of them.
I am hoping that by making this list available there is some chance that current locals might be able to shed some light on the names.
If anyone can provide information in relation to any of those on the list I would appreciate if they contacted me directly:
Abraham Unwin CARTMEL has got be Aberham Unwin CARTMEL, I think. This notice has his death occurring at age 43 in 1937, which looks about right. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article156157003
It looks like the name “Aberham” was given to a son each generation: see the death notice for his father http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206365561
I can’t see any enlistment record. I’ve tried obvious misspellings like CARTWEL. And no RSL notices.
Ken, I agree that it is the Abraham Unwin Cartmel born Pakenham 1894. The family was known in the Wonyip district and there were reports in both the Alberton and Toora papers about farewells for him (July 1915). He was referred to as Abe Cartmell. But, like you, I haven’t been able to find any evidence that he did enlist.
Thanks for your articles and blog. Love reading them.
As for your list of missing records. In my family records. I have a James Stanley Goodwin b1895, from Tarraville that enlisted in WW1 19JAN15. Service number 382.
I think you may have already mentioned him. I’ll have to check some of your earlier post.
54 West Sentinel Drive, Greenbank
Marc, I’m pretty confident that this person is James Stanley Goodwin and you’re right I have included him in the main list. The second initial of L must have been a mistake at the time. Certainly the link to the Tarraville State School was there. Incidentally, I’ve noticed on the birth registration that his name was recorded as Jas Hanly Goodwin. Stanley/Hanly/L it’s a bit confusing! But I’m sure it’s the same person. Thanks very much.
Leonard J Pawley was my grandfather and an Englishman who arrived aged 17 in abt 1911. We know that he FOD NOT serve so I had never checked to see if he had attempted to enlist. He had suffered in ENG with TB so his medical results probably would have barred him. He did receive a white feather in the post!
Annie, thanks very much for this information. Your grandfather would have cleared the first medical hurdle in Yarram and been given a railway warrant to go to Melbourne to complete the enlistment process; but it would have been there that the TB history would have ruled him out. The medical authorities in Melbourne often complained that the doctors in regional areas were too slack in their medical checks. The white feather routine, even to those who had tried to enlist, was not uncommon.
Thank you Phil. I have linked to the list on Gippsland History, if you want to keep an eye there in case they do not come across here to report. There are a lot more members there than last time I posted your blog there (now over 10,000), so somewhere in the new ones there may be a clue.
Linda, thanks very much. The more people involved in tracking these men down the better.