Peter Webster MASON

A further confirmation of the details and death of my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Webster MASON, was found this week by his great-great-grandson Steve Wakely.
Thanks Steve.

(1892, April 4). The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 – 1918), p. 2. from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174510836

A nasty experience for young Elizabeth Mason of Myer’s Creek

Elizabeth MASON was born about 1845 in Cupar, Fife, Scotland.
She was the second eldest daughter of my 3rd great grandparents, Peter Webster MASON and Margaret Leslie nee CARSTAIRS.
Peter and Margaret Mason sailed from Plymouth, UK aboard  the “Cheapside”  on the 21st of May 1848. They reached Port Phillip on the 18th of August as assisted immigrants with children Andrew aged 2 and Susan aged 3 months.
Elizabeth did not come to Australia with her parents because she was sick in 1848.  She arrived on the “Ebba Brahe” on 8 Dec 1857 as a Governess.
Peter and Margaret’s next 8 children were born in Victoria.  One being my great great grandmother, Agnes MASON.
Not long after her arrival as a young teenager, poor Elizabeth had a rather nasty experience.

EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT. (1858, November 23).
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2.,
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87985087
Transcription:
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Tuesday 23 November 1858, page 2

EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT.

Monday, 22nd November, 1858.

(Before Messrs. L McLachlan, P.M., and

J. Ganley, J.P.)

THE EFFECTS OF THE BOTTLE-John Williams, who has been detained for some time on remand, having been suffering from delirium tremens, the result of his excesses, was cautioned and discharged.

CRIMINAL ASSAULT.- Duncan Robinson, alias McCullum, was brought up on remand charged with feloniously and criminally assaulting one Elizabeth Mason, at Myers’ Flat, on the 17th instant.

Mr. O’Loughlin appeared for the defence. The Court having been cleared,

Elizabeth Mason who is a rather good-looking-girl of about fourteen years of age, but with a peculiar look of slyness and cunning in her physiognomy-deposed that she was the daughter of Peter Mason, a dairyman at Myers’ Creek. Knows the prisoner; on Wednesday morning last, between nine and ten o’clock, prosecutrix was selling milk at Pegleg Gully; was at the tent of a man named Henry, who is living with, or is the husband of Christina Robinson (the sister of the prisoner). The prisoner and another man were sitting in the tent at the time. On leaving, the woman told her to call back at dinner-time for the money. On leaving and going to Sailor’s Gully, there was no one with her. On returning from Sailor’s Gully, between 11 and 12 o’clock, the prosecutrix again called at the tent of the prisoner’s sister to get payment for the milk, she had sold her in the morning. On looking into the tent, she saw the woman lying on the floor. Saw the prisoner come round the corner of the tent, told prosecutrix to go inside the tent, which she refused to do. There was another man with the prisoner.

[The husband of a female witness was found to be tampering with the witness, and endeavoring to drive her off by threats. He was immediately consigned to the logs.]

Prosecutrix then went away towards home. The prisoner came after her and said, ” Come here; I want to speak to you.” Prosecutrix then ran away. The prisoner followed, and caught her about half way between the tent and the schoolhouse. He seized hold of the prosecutrix, who pushed him, and he fell over a stone. The prisoner again got up and followed the prosecutrix, and laid hold of her again. Witness screamed and said to prisoner that she would tell Henry. Prisoner said, ” Will you tell lies upon me:” Prosecutrix was thrown down on her knees. She screamed “Murder,” and said, ” I’ll tell my father.” Prisoner threatened to kill her ” if she told any more lies on him to her father.” She then pushed him off and ran away. After running some distance, the prisoner caught her and stopped her, and prevented her from going into the school-house by saying that he would take her home. Prosecutrix again screamed “Murder!” she called out also, “Mrs. Enright,” and the woman came and drove the prisoner off. She said to him, “What are you doing to the girl ?” Prisoner said “I am driving her home to her father.” Mrs. Enright said to him. .’ Go away, or I’ll break your head ! ” Mr. Enright then took the witness to the tent of a woman named Marshall, and afterwards went to Mrs. Enright’s tent. The prosecutrix, after waiting a few minutes, left for home, and on her road, about half way home, on a bush road, met the prisoner, and another man (John Hunt). The prosecutrix endeavored to reach a tent belonging to Mrs. Richter; the prisoner ran after her, Hunt being left behind; the prosecutrix then picked up a large stone and ran away, the prisoner following; overtook her, and pulled her bonnet or hat off, breaking the ties in doing so; he then seized her, drew the shawl which she was wearing over her head, struck her, and kicked her; she then fell on the ground. [The remainder of the evidence, which is unfit for publication, fully substantiated the capital charge.] Immediately on arriving at home she informed her mother and father of what had occurred.

In answer to the questions of Mr. O’Loughlin she stated that she had on one occasion run away from home, and gone to Barker’s Creek ; that was about three months since ; her friends found her at a public-house. Nothing of any further consequence was elicited.

By the Bench : When she went to Barker’s Creek, she went alone ; she took with her 10s., which she took from a shelf; she went to the Barker’s Creek Hotel to nurse the baby at 10s. per week ; on the second night her mother came for her, and she returned with her; why she left her father’s house was because her father had threatened to beat her for “something.” [After a great deal of pressing and threatening with the pains of’ imprisonment for contumely, the witness admitted that the ” something” was telling lies.] She had been in the colony about a twelvemonth; she came from Cupar, in Fifeshire.

Mary Enright, a widow, residing in Dead Horse Flat, deposed that on the day referred to she saw the prisoner and the prosecutrix together near the road in Pegleg Gully; heard the prisoner say to the girl, ” go on;” heard the girl give the prisoner a stiff answer ; witness gave the prisoner a blowing up. After a long course of malingering, fencing, and prevarication, the threat from the Bench of twenty-four hours imprisonment, brought her to her senses, and she further deposed to a conversation with the prisoner, in which she asked what was he doing with the girl? He said that was nothing to the witness. She said that he should not use the girl so, and chucked a stone at the prisoner, because she saw him handling the girl; witness took the girl home and gave her a drink; she was not crying.

Maria Falcon Egan deposed that she knew the prisoner and the prosecutrix; on Wednesday she heard the cries of a girl in the bush, it was a cry of lamentation, not of murder, and afterwards saw a man pushing the prosecutrix about; she could not with certainty identify the prisoner as that man ; she eventually swore to the prisoner as being the man; the girl came down about five minutes afterwards with Mrs. Enright; the girl had been crying; told witness that a man had been pulling her through the bush, and had asked her to go home with him; a little girl, named Dolly Wright, came and told the prosecutrix that two men were watching for her; Mrs. Enright promised to see the girl safe home, and prosecutrix and she went together.

The case was at this stage remanded till Thursday, for the production of the witness Dolly Wright.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87987592
Transcription:
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 26 November 1858, page 3

EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT.

Thursday, 25th November, 1858.

(Before Mr. L. M’Lachlan, P.M.)

DRUNKENNESS.—Two persons were fined five shillings each on this charge ; and another, who pleaded that the heat of the weather on Monday last had made his head bad, was fined one shilling.

RAPE —Duncan Robertson, who had been remanded from Monday on a charge of criminally assaulting Elizabeth Mason, was again brought up. Mr. O’Loughlin defended the prisoner. The following additional evidence for the prosecution was taken,

Janet Ann Wright, a little girl ten years of age, deposed that on a day last week (witness could not recollect distinctly which day) she was near Mrs. Falcon Egan’s house, in Pegleg Gully, when she saw the prisoner chasing the prosecutrix amongst the bushes, and push her down. She saw Mrs. Enwright (another witness) take up a stone, and throwing it at him tell him to let the girl alone. He answered that she had nothing to do with the girl.

Eleanor Marshall deposed that she was in her own tent with Mrs. Egan 0n Wednesday week last, when hearing an unusual noise outside the tent they went to the door, and saw the prisoner darting past through the bushes. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Enwright and the prosecutrix came into the tent. She appeared as if she had been crying.

Margaret Mason, the mother of the prosecutrix, deposed that she left the house on the morning of Wednesday week last, shortly after six o’clock, to go to Pegleg Gully with some milk, which she was in the habit of taking round to the customers. When she returned, about twelve o’clock, sha was greatly agitated and crying. From information which her daughter communicated to her, witness examined prosecutrix, and found indications of her having been violently abused. She did not take her to a medical man that day.

Dr. Sorley deposed that ho examined the prosecutrix on Thursday, tho 18th inst., but found no particular marks of violence. The prosecutrix had arrived at the age of womanhood six months since. He was of opinion that the chastity of the prosecutrix had been violated previously, There were no indications of recent violence.

Senior Constable A’Hern, stationed at Myer’s Flat, stated that when he took the prisoner into custody, at Fletcher’s Creek, he resisted in a violent manner, and it was only with the assistance of another constable that ha was secured and conveyed in a spring-cart to Myer’s Flat Police Station.

The prisoner, who reserved his defence, was committed for trial at the next Circuit Court.

CIRCUIT COURT. (1859, March 11).
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3.,
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87987592
Transcription:
RAPE.
Duncan Robinson was informed against for having criminally assaulted Elizabeth Mason, on the 17th November.

Mr. O’Loughlin appeared for the prisoner.

The counsel for the Crown, in opening the case, said that they had been unable to obtain the presence of one of the witnesses for the prosecution (Mrs. Enwrigbt.) They had subpoenaed her, but she could not be found. After stating the case, he called Elizabeth Mason, the prosecutrix, a girl about 14 years of age, who deposed that she lived with her father at Myers Creek, who was a dairyman.
On the day mentioned in her information she went to the tent of a Mrs. Henry, where the prisoner’s
sister stopped. When she returned to Mrs. Henry’s, about twelve o’clock, to get paid for the milk she had left in the morning, and was leaving, the prisoner came round from the back, and after
asking her to go inside the tent, and on her refusing he followed her. She walked away fast, and he overtook her and laid his hand on her shoulder.

She told him to let her alone, or she would tell his brother-in-law. He threatened to knock her head off if she did. He would not let her go, and she gave him a knock and pushed him away, when he fell. She ran away, and prisoner ran after her, and again overtook her. She called out to a Mrs. Enwright, whom she saw. and she coming up, took up a stone, and throwing it at prisoner, told him to let her (prosecutrix)
alone. She went to Mrs. Enwright’s tent, and after staying about ten minutes she left, and again saw the prisoner, who again ran after her, and overtaking her committed the criminal assault upon her. This was in a place between her father’s place and Dead Horse Flat.

By His Honor : No one had ever used her in a similar manner before this occurrence.

Cross-examined by Mr. O’Loughlin : A man named John Hunt was with prisoner when she met him the second time. [The prosecutrix was submitted to a searching cross-examination, in order to show compliance on her part, which she, however, denied.] She had once ran away from home, and gone to Barker’s Creek. She did so because her father threatened to beat her. It was not for telling lies.

The depositions of the prosecutrix were read, but did not show any very material discrepancy with her present testimony, except that on that occasion she stated to the Bench that her father had threatened to beat her for telling lies, which was the cause of her running away.

His Honor remarked that the depositions were taken in the most careless manner possible, as were all that came before him In that Court.

There was no telling by them what a witness did say.

By a Juror: She did not leave her father’s house four months ago, and take shelter in a farm house near Bullock Creek.

The Juror wished a witness sent for, who would prove that she was not telling the truth in this instance. The witness was accordingly sent for.

Mary Falcon Egan deposed that she saw the prisoner running after, the girl and knock her down amongst the bushes. She was standing at her tent door

By Mr. O’Louglilin: She had never seen the prisoner before that occasion. She was rather short-sighted, but she had a glass which she used on that occasion.

Janet Ann Wright, a girl ten years of age, who was with the prosecutrix when they first met the prisoner, stated she saw him chasing prosecutrix through tile bushes. She saw Mrs. Enwright throw a stone at prisoner for running after the prosecutrix.

Margaret Mason, the mother of the girl, deposed to having examined the prosecutrix, in consequence of a complaint she made on her return home, and finding indications of her having been treated with great violence.

Dr. Sorley, of Eaglehawk, who examined the girl on the 18th of November last, gave medical testimony to the effect that if the criminal assault had been committed, it was not accompanied with violence. With a girl of that age, the assault might have been committed without leaving any traces of violence.

James Shine (the witness spoken of by the juror), was called, and, on the prosecutrix appearing, he stated that he believed the girl, whom himself and wife had sheltered about four months ago at Bullock Creek, wa3 tho same. He could not, however, swear to it. She stated then that her name was Mason, and that her father kept cows, and lived at Myer’s Creek. They sheltered her for a week.

The prosecutrix, in answer to His Honor, denied ever having seen the witness.

This was the case for the prosecution.

Mr. O’Loughlin having addressed the jury for the defence, called John Hunt (at present under sentence for a robbery committed in company with the prisoner on the same day as that on which the present alleged offence was committed), deposed that when they met the prosecutrix, prisoner, after enquiring of her if she was going home, asked her to give him a kiss, but added, that he supposed she would be telling her father. She replied, that
there was no b-y fear; she was not that b-y flat. He was in company with prisoner all day, and saw nothing of the offence sworn to.

The Crown Prosecutor replied at considerable length; and His Honor having summed up, the jury, after an absence of about twenty minutes, returned a verdict of guilty.

Sentence of death was recorded; His Honor stating that, while his life would be spared, he would confer with the Executive Government, as to the amount of punishment his crime should receive.

Stay tuned for the rest of Elizabeth’s story to be told by her great-grandson, Steve Wakely who has done extensive research and shared many family stories.

My first foray into DNA for genealogy

I have recently had an autosomal DNA test done by FTDNA.
I was so excited when my results came back the other day.
What a huge learning curve!
I uploaded the raw DNA data to GEDmatch and waited for those results to come through.
Once they had, the third highest match shown in my results was a known third cousin with whom I have done a lot of family research.
The top two and the fifth highest DNA matches to me in my GEDmatch results indicated fairly close relationships.
The fifth match was Karen who contacted me saying she believed she would be a third cousin once removed and the other two would be third cousins.
It turned out they are descendants of a John KNIGHT as am I.
My maternal great-great-grandmother, Anne Jane KNIGHT was born about 1832. She married William Finlay FLEMING in Melbourne in 1852.
They went on to have thirteen children, the fifth being my great grandfather, Donald FLEMING.
Ann Jane died aged 88 years on the 10th of November 1920 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Matilda WORRALL.
One of the newspaper obituaries for our Ann Jane FLEMING states she was born in Gloucestershire and arrived in Australia with her parents in 1847.
Another stated she arrived in 1847 with her parents and 2 sisters, since deceased.
The birthplace on her death certificate is only recorded as England, the informant was her son John Knight Fleming.
It looks like she may have actually come from Trowbridge in Wiltshire which is roughly only 30 to 50 miles south of Gloucestershire.
The 1841 census has a Knight family, John, a weaver, age 40, his wife Ann age 40 and their daughters, Ruth age 13 (b 1828), Sarah age 11 (b 1830), Jane age 8 (b 1833) and Martha age 6 (b1835) living at Timbrell Street, Trowbridge in Wiltshire.
Karen is a descendant of Martha KNIGHT.
In her email, Karen says “If Martha is indeed the sister of Ann Jane, which the DNA suggests, there’s still some mystery. I’ve never found when Martha arrived in Australia, the earliest record of her here that I have found is her marriage to a James White in Geelong in 1852. 
A William Pinchen (one of the witnesses) married a Ruth Knight … which fits with records I currently have as Ruth being one of Martha’s sisters.
Other cousins visited Trowbridge in Wiltshire a few years ago and tracked down details of Martha, her parents, and siblings.
HOWEVER … Martha is a bit of a mystery … on various birth certificates for her children she gives her name as Martha Lane / Lain / Knight … and usually from Trowbridge, Wiltshire. I’ve never found any record of her marrying her partner / my ancestor Henry Philip Marett.
Our Ann Jane named daughters Ruth and Sarah.
I have repeatedly searched passenger lists etc for the Knight family with no luck.
There is a marriage in Trowbridge 8 April 1824 for a John KNIGHT and an Ann LUCAS.

Private William John BEATON

William John BEATON was a first cousin of my maternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann PIKE (1847-1933).

He was born in Euroa, Victoria in 1877, first son, the third of ten children of Peter and Catherine BEATON.

William enlisted as a Private, service number 1912, on the 15th of January 1915.   He was 35 years of age, 5 foot 7 and a half inches tall, weighed 144 pounds, with a fair complexion, brown hair, and eyes.
His battalion embarked at Melbourne on the AT20 Hororata on the 17th of April 1915.

Troops boarding HMAT Hororata (A20) on gangway at far left.
Photo from Australian War Memorial
Item copyright: Copyright expired – public domain
Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain
William was reported missing in action at the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 27th of August 1915.

A court of inquiry was later held at Serapeum in April 1916.
As a result, he was recorded as killed in action on the 27th of August 1915 following a report from a fellow soldier, Corporal HYLAND of Benalla.
Corporal HYLAND stated “on August 27th at Chocolate Hill we charged and as soon as we got out of the trench I saw BEATON fall short.  He did not move and I believe he was killed”.

Sadly, Peter and Catherine BEATON received a letter from the War Office stating “I regret very much that, notwithstanding the efforts of our Graves Services Unit, we have so far been unable to obtain any trace of the last resting place of your son the late No. 1912, Private W.J. BEATON, 14th Battalion…..”

William John BEATON is commemorated at the Lone Pine memorial.  Lest We Forget.

Private William Finlay FLEMING 1561

On his enlistment into the A.I.F on the 4th of August 1915, at Seymour, William Finlay FLEMING was aged 22 years and 1 month.

*above photos used with permission from then owner.

He was 5 foot 5 and a half inches tall and weighed 150 lbs.
His complexion was ruddy and eyes and hair brown.
William’s surname was spelt FLEMMING in some records.
Like his younger brother David Claude FLEMING, his religious denomination was Presbyterian.
William was the eldest son of Finlay FLEMING and Jessie nee SPLATT of King Valley.
Only 4 years before his enlistment he narrowly escaped severe injury in an accident that was reported in the local newspaper.
The North Eastern Despatch.  
Wednesday, March 22, 1911 – page 2
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A narrow escape – Wm Fleming aged 20, a son of Mrs. Finlay Fleming, King Valley, had a remarkably narrow escape from serious accident on Monday.  He was driving a draught horse attached by chains to a log, 8 feet long by about 2 feet in diameter, when the animal became fractious, and in an endeavour to regain control, Mr. Fleming fell.  The horse trod on his chest, but fortunately did not rest it’s full weight on him.  As the animal moved away, the leg grazed the side of Mr. Fleming’s body, making numerous bruises.  There was a good deal of internal bleeding and the sufferer was brought into D. Henderson, who found that his injuries were fortunately not serious.
further information at
William’s unit the 8th Light Horse Regiment, 12th Reinforcement embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 10 November 1915.

 

Troops on board HMAT Ascanius (A11), as it departs.  A small boat is seen in the left foreground.
Troops on board HMAT Ascanius (A11), as it departs. A small boat is seen in the left foreground.Item copyright: Copyright expired – public domain
Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

In December 1915 William reported for duty at Heliopolis.  In February 1916 they marched out to Serapeum and some other places they were recorded at were Port Said, Abasan, Tripoli and later Moascar which was a hospital camp.
I can’t find any mention of why he was there.
At one stage at Port Said William was reported for being “Out of Bounds” and deprived of 28 days pay.
In August 1917 he trained as a Gunner and passed in the Hotchkiss gun course.
William returned to Australia per PT Sydney on the 5th of March 1919 and was discharged on the 21st of March 1919.
He died at the age of 80 years on the 24th of April 1974 at Wangaratta.  It seems he didn’t marry.

Trooper David Alexander KING (AHKING)

David Alexander AHKING (surname later changed to KING) was born in 1895 at Wirrimbirchip (now known as Birchip) Victoria, Australia.
David was a first cousin of my great great grandmother, Margaret HART.

He was the tenth child and sixth son of Euphemia Margaret MASON (1859-1942) and Thomas AHKING.  Thomas was born in Canton, China in 1843.  He died at Maryborough in 1900. Euphemia is recorded as marrying Richard POPE in 1900. At the time of her mother’s remarriage, the youngest child Rachel AHKING was a ward of the state.  It is said that Richard Pope didn’t want a Chinese child in his house.

The older surviving children may have already left home and sadly David and his brother Edmund James were both killed in the war.

On his attestation paper of December 4, 1914, David named his older brother Arthur as next of kin.
Arthur’s address was recorded as Kellerberin, Doodlakine, Western Australia.
David enlisted at Culcairn, New South Wales on the 28th of November 1914 and was recorded as 22 years old, 5 foot 11 inches tall in one record and 5 foot 9 inches in another.  He weighed 160 lbs with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair.

A timeline of David’s war service from the National Archives.
20 Feb 1915 embarked at Sydney per HMAT A21 Marere
18 July 1915 Sick with influenza
23 July 1915 Admitted to 1st A.C.C.S
27 July 1915 Admitted to NZ Hospital Port Said.
3 August 1915 Admitted to 1st A. StynHpl Mudros
13 August 1915 Admitted to 24th CCS Mudros
20 August 1915 Insubordination at Mudros.  72 hours detention
24 August 1915 Rejoined regiment ex-hospital.
3 October 1915 Pyrexia – adm 1st Aust Cas clearing stn to hosp
5 October 1915 admitted to 21st G Hpl Alexandria. Enteric.
12 October 1915. Reported sick to HPL
10 November 1915 Adm to enteric conv camp Port Said.
13 December 1915 Invalided to Aust for 3 months. change ex Suez.
13 December 1915 Sailed from Suez on Wandilla Arr Melb 1/4/1/16 (sic) enteric fever

4 April 1916 return to duty 2nd M.D
10 July 1916 Trans to Camel Corps ex 2nd L.H.T. Rgt
15 July 1916 Taken on strength No 11 Coy 1 Camel Corps.
25 July 1916 App T/Lance Cpl.
11 November 1916 Trans from 6th L.H. & T.O.S of 3rd Anzac Bn 1CB de (states T/L.Cpl)
13 December 1916 sick to Hpl. ex 1. C.C No 12 Coy
15 December 1916 Adm to 24th Styn Hpl. Disorders of Accommodation.
15 December 1916 Adm to 24th Stat Hpl.
17 December 1916 disc to duty
18 December 1916 reported for duty X Hpl

28 January 1917 Insolence to an NCO “In the Field”
4 Feb 1917 Deprived of 5 days pay (states 12th Coy I.C.C)
28 Feb 1917 Delay in obeying an order in the field
1 Mar 1917 Awarded 3 days F.R. No.2 (Pte)
19 April 1917 Reptd. “wounded in action” Near Gaza & to Hpl same date.
19 April 1917 Shell wd Lt shldr 4th fld Coy Amb
29 April 1917 Died of wounds GSW Chest at 2nd Aust Sty Hpl
29 April 1917 GSW Back & through lung.  Died at 2nd Aust Sty Hpl El Arish
Buried by W.A. Moore C.F. Chaplain

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Witnesses state that about 8 am on the 19th of April 1917 during the second Gaza Stunt (2nd Battle of Gaza) David King suffered dangerous gunshot wounds to the chest while at the front of enemy lines.  “He was well liked by all, jolly and cheery always”.

Several letters in 1920 and 1921 record the War office searching for Arthur King’s address regarding who is next of kin of David. Correspondence had been sent to the recorded address of Arthur being c/o Hedge’s Store, Koolberrin, via Bruce Rock, W.A.

1921-next-of-kin-query

clipboard01

The Bruce Rock postmaster informed that his address was unknown, believed to have returned to Victoria.
The manager of Hedge’s Store later informed Base Records that Arthur King’s address was now Birchip, Victoria.
Nearest next of kin was to be established for the disbursement of David’s medals.

Eventually, David’s mother, Mrs. E Pope of Stawell made contact with the War Office and was granted his war gratuity and medals.

Private Ernest John (Ah KING) KING

The KING (AH KING) family are a challenge to research, even more so in recording the war service of the three youngest boys of Thomas AH KING and his wife; my great great grand aunt, Euphemia nee MASON.
Thomas AH KING who was born about 1843 in China had died in 1900 when Ernest was aged thirteen, Edmund eleven and David only five.  All eleven of the children’s births were registered with Thomas KING/AH KING as father.

I have previously written about the war service of the two youngest, Edward (Edmund) James  and David Alexander.
None of the boys listed their mother as next of kin on their attestation papers.

When their mother married Richard POPE (pretty quick) in 1900  it is said he didn’t want a chinese child in the house so their youngest sister, three year old Rachael, was “put on the State” (made a ward of the state).
She never got to know her family……. another story to come.

Richard POPE died in 1915 and Euphemia married Frederick ELLIS in 1920.

I haven’t yet found where the boys were living at the time but it seems likely they were with their eldest sister Margaret who had married William CLOVER in 1894.  Margaret died in 1914.

When researching Edmund and David I didn’t know that Ernest had also enlisted in the First A.I.F. until I found their mother’s death notice in the newspaper archives at Trove .

In the war service records there was only one Ernest KING born at Birchip.  He enlisted into the 14th Battalion on the 4th of November 1916.  He was later in the 29th Battalion.
His address was given as Holbrook, New South Wales, next of kin was first listed as a friend, Henry COLLYER also of Holbrook.  Later the next of kin was changed to cousin, Miss F HOWARD of Upper Edmonton, London.
It looks as though Ernest may have cut all ties with his mother and siblings.
He declared “I Ernest John KING have no occasion to make a will” and to me it looks like the words “Parents forgotten” crossed out.
On the 17th of November 1916 Ernest embarked from Sydney on the SS Port Napier.  By March 1917 he was in France.  In October that year he sustained severe gunshot wounds to the thigh and face and in November was sent to hospital in England where he spent some months recuperating.
April 1918 saw Ernest at the No 1 Command depot at Sutton Veny.
On the 10th of December 1918 after some further medical issues Ernest returned to Australia on the “Somali” and was discharged from the A.I.F in March 1919.
On looking for further records of Ernest I came across a Will in New South Wales which named his wife as Lydia Violet Thorburn. His occupation was farmer and grazier.
Ernest died on the 8th of January 1940.
Ernest and Lydia had married at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales in 1919.  They had 5 children.
In the electoral rolls Ernest’s address after the war was Coppabella near Holbrook, New South Wales.
 Interestingly Lydia had been married previously but her first husband turned out to be a bigamist.
From the 1919 New South Wales police gazettes I learned that a warrant was issued in Albury for the arrest of Private William LANE reg # 6887 of the same battalion as Ernest.  William was on active service abroad and was also from Holbrook.
He was being charged with bigamy as when he married Lydia at Holbrook in 1916 he had already been married in England, and was still, to an Ann GRIFFITHS of High Ercall in Shropshire.

The Saxon boys from Euroa WW1

Kylie says

“There are over 150 soldiers from the Euroa District cited in this book.

A list is available below or simply click on the pdf book link on Kylie’s blog and search the document.
There is also an index at the rear of the book.
Search by Surname as soldiers often are referred to either by nicknames or initials.🙂

A

Ernest Anderson (Euroa) SRN: 1111, 10494 -1st BAC/Brigade Headquarters/5thAus.Transport

Arthur Armstrong (Strathbogie) SRN: 1657 -21st Battalion/Trench Mortar Battery

B

Harry Barrett (Euroa) SRN: 2785 -8th Battalion/5th Pioneer Battalion

John Barry (Euroa/Carlton) SRN: 381 -7th Battalion/1st Pioneer Battalion

William Bateman (Donald/Maryborough) SRN: Lieutenant Colonel -21st Battalion/58th Battalion

Bert Beaton (Euroa) SRN: 1742 -8th Battalion

Francis Peter Beaton or Frank Beaton (Euroa) SRN: 3015, 4063, 1776 -22nd Battalion/51stBattalion

William Beaton (Euroa) SRN: 1912 -14th Battalion

William Belcher or Bill Belcher or Will Belcher (Miepoll South/Euroa) SRN: 223 -4th Light Horse Regiment/13th Light Horse

Charles Bell (Euroa) SRN: 755 -6th Machine Gun Company

Lindsay Bell or Lin Bell (Euroa) SRN: 2275 -3rd Pioneer Battalion

Sid Bell (Euroa) (Euroa) SRN: 5654 -8th Battalion

Herbert Bradford or Bert Bradford (Euroa) SRN: 7 -21st Battalion

Esmond Bunting or Es Bunting (Euroa) SRN: 297 -22nd Battalion

Alexander Burton or Alex Burton (Kyneton/Euroa) SRN: 384 -7th Battalion

C

Spencer Carne (Donald/Euroa) SRN: 1503 -24th Battalion

Esmond Carrick or Es Carrick (Euroa/Northcote) SRN: 72 -6th Battalion

Francis Charlton or Frank Charlton (Euroa) SRN: 800 -7th Battalion

Robert Charlton (Euroa) SRN: 4685 -Depot Battalion/21st Battalion

Arthur Clery (Violet Town) SRN: 2845 -2nd Pioneer Battalion

Alf Collins (Stanley/Beechworth/Euroa) SRN: 368 -7th Battalion

Maurice Corbett (Euroa/Melbourne) SRN: 2133 – 21st Battalion

James Cornish (Tungamah/Euroa) SRN: 2133 or 2133A -6th Battalion

Phil Cornish or “Nish” (Tungamah/Euroa) SRN: 76 -22nd Battalion Stretcher Bearer

George Cowell (Euroa) SRN: 183 -14th Battalion/4th Pioneer Battalion

Alex Crisfield (Great Western/Fairfield) SRN: 2531 -3rd Pioneer Battalion

Walter Crisfield (Great Western/Fairfield) SRN: 2350 -2nd Pioneer Battalion

D

Louis Dargatz (Locksley/Euroa) SRN: 530 -6th Battalion

Norman Dargatz (Locksley/Euroa) SRN: 1904 -57th Battalion

William De Boos (Euroa) SRN: 363 -22nd Battalion

Arthur Draper (Euroa) SRN: 4225 -Heavy Battery 4th Division/4th Division Artillary

William Dunlop or Bill Dunlop (Bendigo/Euroa) SRN: 1826 -8th Training Battalion/ 37th Battalion

Ernie Dunn (Shepparton) SRN: 1165 -24th Battalion

William Dunstan (Ballarat) SRN: 2130 -7th Battalion

E

Harold Elliott or “Pompey” (Charlton/Northcote) SRN: Lieutenant Colonel -7th Battalion/15th Brigade

F

Tom Fitzgerald (Euroa) SRN: 22 -7th Headquarters Driver

Jack Footter or John Footter (Boho/Violet Town) SRN: 2174 -21st Battalion

Leslie Ford or Les Ford (Ceres/Euroa) SRN: 5331 -21st Battalion Headquarters Pay Corps

Jack Fothergill (Broadford/Collingwood/Euroa) SRN: 195 -6th Battalion

G

Keith Gardiner (Euroa) SRN: 1683 -5th Battalion

Archie Gascoyne (Euroa) SRN: 155 -22nd Battalion

George Gascoyne or “Bunny” Gascoyne (Euroa) SRN: 1942 -8th Battalion

George Frederick Glover or Ensign Glover (Euroa) SRN: 4112 -5th Pioneer Battalion

Les Grant (Narracan) SRN: 11 -7th Battalion

H

Charlie Hamilton (Albury/Euroa) SRN: 1149 -6th Battery/5th Division Artillery

Max Hanley or “Mac” Hanley (Euroa) SRN: 1008 -22nd Battalion

Maurice Harrison (Euroa) SRN: 1952 -14th Battalion

Tom Hastie (Clifton Hill) SRN: 2nd Lieutenant -Headquarters 2nd Infantry Brigade

Sam Hatty (Beveridge/Timboon) SRN: 279 -4th Light Horse

Harry Hayes (Longwood) SRN: 273 -1st Anzac Regiment/ 13th Light Horse Regiment

Henry Alfred Hayes (Euroa/Strathbogie) SRN: 834 -22nd Battalion

Charlie Hill (Winchelsea) SRN: 4729 -21st Battalion/2nd Division Salvage

Bert Hinton or “Judge” Hinton (Euroa) SRN: 516 -3rd Battalion/55th Battalion

Frank Hinton (Euroa) SRN: 907 -17th Battalion

I

Adolphus Ison or Dolf Ison(Perth) SRN: 2162 -14th Battalion

J

William Jamieson (Kyneton) SRN: 690 -7th Battalion

Arthur Johnston (Euroa/Balwyn) SRN: 600 -14th Battalion

Fred Johnston (Euroa) SRN: 598 -14th Battalion – Bugler

Robert Johnston or Bob Johnston (Euroa/Perth) SRN: 313 -28th Battalion -CQMS

William Johnston (Euroa) SRN: 10871 -Headquarters 3rd Division

Thomas Jones (Warrandyte/Longwood) SRN: 13 -7th Battalion Headquarters

K

Harold Kennedy (Euroa) SRN: 810 -7th Battalion

Ernie Kerslake (Euroa) SRN: 2026A -26th Battalion

Fred Kiellerup (Narrandera) SRN: 1047 -6th Battalion

Herbert Kong Meng (Melbourne/Longwood) SRN: 21 – Headquarters Light Horse

L

Joe Lavery (Euroa) SRN: 1742 -2nd Pioneer Battalion

James Leonard or Jim Leonard (Euroa) SRN: 393 -7th Battalion

Leo Leonard (Euroa) SRN: 900 -21st Battalion

Michael Leonard (Euroa/Fitzroy) SRN: 3083 -6th Battalion/58th Battalion

Tom Leonard (Richmond/Euroa) SRN: 172 -23rd Battalion/62nd Battalion

Edward Lewis or Eddie Lewis (Euroa) SRN: 1535 -24thBattalion

John Lewis or “Doc” Lewis (Sydney/Euroa) SRN: 5705 -7th Battalion

Tom Liddell (Euroa) SRN: 769 -23rd Battalion

Harold Locke (Euroa/Violet Town) SRN: 2nd Lieutenant -Cyclist

George Lydiard (Balmattum/Euroa) SRN: Lieutenant -13th Light Horse/ 5th Division Cavalry

M

Tom Mackrell (Nanaweeu) SRN: 662 -24th Battalion

Thomas Maher or Tom Maher (Euroa) SRN: 2921 -7th Battalion

William Maher (Avenel/Euroa) SRN: 2917 -7th Battalion

Gordon Maxfield (Longwood) SRN: 2nd Lieutenant -21st Battalion

Leslie Maygar (England/Longwood) SRN: Captain -4th or 8th Light Horse

Charles McCombe (Euroa) SRN: 189 -23rdBattalion/65th Battalion

Russell McCombe (Euroa) SRN: 190 -22ndBattalion or 23rd Battalion

George McCoombe (Euroa/Violet Town) SRN: 5058 -24th Battalion

Joseph McEntee (Beechworth/Euroa) SRN: 2103 -37th Battalion

Francis McFarlane (Violet Town) SRN: 1988 -7th Battalion C Co

William McGregor or Bill McGregor (Wangaratta) SRN: 1535 or 1535a -24th Battalion

Jack McIvor or John McIvor (Macorna) SRN: 1150 & 1568 -22nd Battalion/65th Battalion

George McLeod (Euroa) SRN: 2861 -PioneerBattalion

William McNay (Unknown) SRN: 1076 -6th Battalion Driver

Archie Morgan (Euroa) SRN: 370 -7th Battalion

Arthur Morgan (Euroa) SRN: 225 -21st Battalion

Bert Morgan (Euroa) SRN: 2037 -22nd Battalion

William J.P. Morgan (Euroa) SRN: 893 -14th Battalion -Bugler

Stanley Muir (Elsternwick) SRN: 152 -4th Light Horse/68th Flying Squad

N

William Nowotna or Bill Nowotna (Dunkeld/Euroa) SRN: 567 – 13th Light Horse

O

John O’Connor (Melbourne) SRN:875 -22nd Battalion

David Owen (Benalla) SRN: 320 -4th Light Horse

P

Arthur Parker (Ballarat/Euroa) SRN: 294 & 9748 -Hospital Transport Corps/ 13th Field Ambulance

William Pezet or Will Pezet or Bill Pezet (Euroa/Bacchus Marsh) SRN: 403 -7th Battalion -Driver

Peter Pinder (Ireland/Gooram) SRN: 16 -7th Battalion Headquarters

Joe Power (Euroa) SRN: 609 -8th Light Horse

Hugh Prowd or Hughie Prowd (Bonnie Doon/Euroa) SRN 5808 -7th Battalion

R

Alexander Ramage (Violet Town) SRN: 5075 -24th Battalion

Edward Ramage (Violet Town) SRN: 701 -24th Battalion – Driver

Reg Ramage (Violet Town) SRN: 5076 -24th Battalion

Bill Rea (Boho/Queenscliff) SRN: 341 -7th Battalion – Signaller

Lindsay Cyril Reid (Deniliquin/Fitzroy) SRN: 989 -7th Battalion

Albert Riddle (Girgaree East/Euroa) SRN: 1637 -Naval & Military Expeditionary Force

S

Charlie Sanderson (Violet Town) SRN: 742 -4th Light Horse/4th Machine Gun Squadron

William Sargood or Bill Sargood (Euroa/Goorem) SRN: 4769 -24th Battalion

Bertie Saxon or Bert Saxon (Euroa/Violet Town) SRN: 2708 -2nd Pioneer Battalion

Francis Saxon (Brunswick/Euroa) SRN: 2384 -22nd Battalion

Joseph Saxon or Joe Saxon (Euroa) SRN: 1564 -22nd Battalion

William Saxon or Bill Saxon or “Shinner” Saxon (Euroa) SRN: 694 -7th Battalion – Stretcher Bearer

Thomas Saxon or Tom Saxon or “Sack” (Euroa/Violet Town) SRN: 485 -21st Battalion

Herb Sephton (Carlton) SRN: 1188 -7th Battalion

Ernie Sheppard (Euroa) SRN: 2273 & 1556 -24th Battalion

George Slow (England/Rutherglen) SRN: 960 -7th Battalion – Stretcher Bearer

Jack Stevenson or John Stevenson (Violet Town) SRN: 2260 -21st Battalion

James Stevenson (Violet Town) SRN: 341 -4th Light Horse/2nd ANZAC Light Horse

Joe Stevenson (Violet Town/Boho) SRN: 2258 -21st Battalion

Ralph Stevenson (Violet Town) SRN: 907 -22nd Battalion

William Stevenson (Violet Town) SRN: 342 -4th Light Horse

T

Eric Thewlis or Rick Thewlis (Locksley/Euroa) SRN: 69-13th Light Horse/1st ANZAC Army Corp

Frank Tubb (Longwood) SRN: 8 -7th Battalion -Transport – Special Forces

Frederick Tubb or Fred Tubb (Longwood) SRN: Lieutenant -7th Battalion Headquarters

Brian Turner or “Buster” Turner (Euroa) SRN: 3283 -24th Battalion

Theophilus Twomey or Ted Twomey (Euroa) SRN: 2701 -26th Battalion

U

Jack Underwood or John Underwood (Violet Town) SRN: 356 -4th Light Horse

W

Dave Wakenshaw (Balmattum/Euroa) SRN: 1041 & 2030B -8th Light Horse/4th Division Artillery

Phil Wale (Benalla) SRN: 1040 -7th Battalion

Albert Wall or Bert Wall (Gowangardie/Violet Town/Molka) SRN: 269 -22nd Battalion

John Wall (Violet Town/Molka) SRN: 270 -22nd Battalion

Roger Wall (Gowangardie/Violet Town/Molka) SRN: 271 -22nd Battalion

Harold Weatherhead or “Long-un” (Camperdown/Euroa) SRN: 303 -7th Battalion – Stretcher Bearer/Anzac Provisional Corp

Jack Weatherhead (Allansford) SRN: 298 -8th Light Horse

Jim Webb or James Webb (Dunnolly/Euroa) SRN: 359 -4th Light Horse

Louis Webb (Mooroopna/Rheola) SRN: 1610 -6th Battalion

George Whitechurch (Avenel) SRN: 645 -4th Light Horse

William Whitechurch (Avenel/Seymour) SRN: 2254 -8th Battalion

Clarence Wignell (Euroa) SRN: 20 -7th Battalion

Everard Wignell (Euroa) SRN: 19 -7th Battalion

Jack Wiltshire or John Wiltshire (Longwood/Caldermeade) SRN: 866 -23rd Battalion

Roy Wiltshire or Aubery Wiltshire (Longwood/Armadale) SRN: 2nd Lieutenan -22ndBattalion

Jack Wynn or John Wynn (Scotland/Euroa) SRN: 1501 & 1630 -22nd Battalion”

 

Herbert John OXLEY (1919 – 1943)

Herbert John OXLEY and his twin brother William Reid OXLEY were born in New Zealand on the 5th of April 1919 to Australian-born father Hubert OXLEY and New Zealand-born mother Amelia Beatrice nee BENJAMIN.
In the New Zealand Ballot list for 1940, Herbert’s occupation was  listed as process engraving and he lived in Richardson Road, Mount Roskill.
photo courtesy of the Mount Roskill People 1840 to 1940 Facebook page

 

Today is the anniversary eve of the death of Herbert who was killed in action in Europe on air operations on the 4th of April 1943. His last rank was Sergeant in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 485 (NZ) Squadron, RAF, service number 412725.
Along with other Mount Roskill residents who gave their lives, Herbert is commemorated on the town’s War Memorial.
‘Mt Roskill War Memorial Park’, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/mt-roskill-war-memorial-park, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 1-Dec-2015licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.
Memorials for Herbert are at Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom, Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories and Mt Roskill War Memorial, War Memorial Park, 13 May Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland.
http://www.cwgc.org/
Huge thanks to cousins and fellow family history researchers Shelley Chambers and Denise McCracken.
Herbert’s grandmother was Emma MORGAN (1840-1903).
Maternal great-great-grand aunt of Shelley and myself and great-grand-aunt of Denise.
Shelley’s sleuthing for this branch of our family paid off big time.
It is wonderful being part of such a team and to share the thrill of family history research with like-minded cousins.

Hubert OXLEY (1882-1969)

Hubert OXLEY was born in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia on the 4th of December 1882, the youngest son of John OXLEY and Emma nee MORGAN.  Emma, my great-great-grand-aunt, born in Abergavenny, Wales was the eldest daughter of my maternal 3rd great-parents, John MORGAN and Sarah nee BLOUNT.

By 1914, Hubert was living in New Zealand as in that year he married New Zealand girl Amelia Beatrice BENJAMIN.  She was born in New Plymouth in 1883 and died in Auckland in 1961.

At the outbreak of World War One, Hubert was a Head Waiter working for the Royal Hotel in Auckland.  His address was first written in as 71 Burnley Terrace, Auckland and at some later stage that was crossed out and recorded as Richardson road, Mt Roskill.

He enlisted into the 1st battalion E Company of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on the 19th of October 1915 and in March 1916 was transferred to the 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment.

On enlistment Hubert was nearly 33 years old.  He was 5 feet 8 inches tall with brown eyes, fair hair and fair complexion.

Hubert’s total period of war service was 3 years and 214 days.  Of these, 1 year and 85 days were served in New Zealand and 2 years and 129 days overseas.  Part of 1916 he spent in the Egyptian and 1916, 17 and 18 in the Western European theatres of war.

April 1916 saw Hubert embark for France on what looks like the ship ASCANIUS.

In May 1916, he went AWOL and had to forfeit 3 days pay.

On the 21st of February 1917, according to the court of enquiry at St. Clotilde, Douai Hubert was officially reported missing believed wounded .  He was captured at Armentieres.

Photo from NZ Heritage Images

“Wounded at Fleurbaix by bullet, during a raid on enemy line.  Hit in German front line trench, and taken unconcious as a prisoner of war to Douai hospital, arm operated on by German M.O at Douai 23 Feb 1917, head of right humerus removed and also fragments of upper end of shaft of humerus.  Wounds discharged freely for six months.  Sent to England as “Exchange Prisoner” 6 January 1918, admitted Walton 10 January 1918.”– from War service record

Hubert was repatriated to Rotterdam, England by the central prisoners of war committee at St Clotilde Douai Germany.  He was admitted to the military hospital at Tooting and later the Number 2 New Zealand hospital at Walton on Thames.

He embarked for New Zealand on the Athenic.
Amelia had to write to ask where to send mail to her husband.
from War service record
from War service record
Below are news articles found in New Zealand papers
 AUCKLANDER’S EXPERIENCE.
TREATMENT IN HOSPITAL.
Interesting experiences of the life of a prisoner of war in Germany are related in letters received by Mrs. H. Oxley, of Norman Street, Rocky Nook, from her husband, Private Hubert Oxley, who, when his last letter was written, on January 19, was a patient in the Walton on Thames Hospital.
“Our battalion,” writes Private Oxley, raided their trenches, near Armentieres on February 21, 1917. It was a successful raid. About 50 prisoners were taken, and I saw many dead behind their lines later in the day. Our company had to go to their support. The German artillery plastered their front line as soon as our guns opened on to their trenches, so they must have known a raid was on. Just over their front trench I was badly hit. I got it in both arms, legs, back, and shoulder. When I came to my senses it was daylight. Half-a-dozen ‘Jerries’ were firing over the top of me, and then they took cover. Our artillery opened again, and I laid there, expecting to go up. and wondered how long 1 would have to wait.
“When tilings quietened I was taken away to a dressing-station behind their lines, and I remembered being put into a motor-ambulance. I think it must have been the following morning I found myself in a hospital bed. They gave me something to drink, then carried me to the operating room, and two officers plied me with questions, a third looked on and listened, whilst a fourth, a doctor, worked at my back. I heard something ring on the marble slab; it was a splinter, and of no small size. They gave me brandy, and dressed my wounds, and I was put in a ward near the operating theatre. They got no information from me other than my regiment and number. Two days later I was operated on, and a tube put through me to avoid the discharge going to the lung. I was well treated here. There were about 20 other New Zealanders wounded with me, but mine, being the worse case, I was watched and given special food to enable me to recover.
Thankful to Escape Alive.
I remained there eight weeks, then when the ridge push started they cleared the hospital, thinking no doubt Douai would be captured. We expected to see our troops come. Many shells fell around the place. Norman Faithful and I were sent into Germany to Julich. The rest of the fellows were sent to other places; some, who were well enough, to working camps. They carried us in stretchers to the ambulance cars, and the French people loaded us with cigarettes, bread, eggs, and underclothing. Some of the Germans were brutal keeping the crowd back, but they never interfered with anything that was given to me. We had a two days train journev to Julich. That was a hell. We were there five months, insufficient and bad food and dirt. I was thankful to escape alive from there. We were fed on two slices of black bread, some artificial coffee, and something they called soup each day. We went boxing on for three months like this; then I got my first parcel.
The wounds would not heal owing to the inferior food, and I developed a serious illness that pinned me down tighter to the bed. I lost power in my limbs; I could not see, could not speak. An Englishman used to feed me, and my wounds started discharging worse than ever. The two doctors there said I would live four weeks or five, but no longer. Then, as a last resource, they carried me out in the sun, and I lay in it nearly all day, my wounds being dressed in the evening. Old Sol closed the wounds up in just four weeks, and then I got more parcels, and began to improve, but I still couldn’t move my arms or legs, or see very well, so they sent me to a doctor in Aachen, for nerves, they said, was my trouble.
Very Few Parcels Received.
“Arrived at Aachen, I began to improve. The nurses were kind and attentive. and the doctors good, but there was a lack of food, and very few parcels found me, except one lot. However, I got electric massage and baths there, and by the time I was able to walk I was informed that I would be exchanged.”
In a letter written at sea, and dated January 4, 1918, Private Oxley relates further experiences.
“I am in perfect health now,” he says, “with the exception of my right arm, and that annoys me but I think I should be thankful because there are some terrible cases on the ship, and I have no pain to suffer. The doctor says it will get all right again, probably in 12 months, and I think I will have an operation in England.
“The Dutch people are all right; they have treated our party very kindly. It feels good to look around now and see kindly faces and hear of our mother tongue. The absence of the spiked helmet and the fixed bayonet is greatly appreciated.
Fare on Christmas Day.
“I have been six weeks on the go since first the Germans told me I was for exchange. I had just been two months at Aachen, where I had arrived from Julich Lazarette, after spending five months in the latter place-five months that are likely to live in my memory, for it was an awful place for lice, dirt, starvation, and death. I wrote to the High Commissioner from there, and so did Faithful. I think our letters must have got through to England, and he claimed us, because it was a great surprise to us when we were bundled off. The Germans had often told us we wouldn’t get exchanged. You know, I lived like a hot-house plant, indoors for months. I began getting my parcels in July, and in two weeks I was fat by just allowing myself a little of something good and refreshing each day.
I received only two of your parcels, but they were much appreciated.  Great excitement reigned in my ward on November 25. “Oxley for exchange.”  So started off from Aachen to Cologne, then a train ride to Coblenz, then to Mannheim internment camp, where I spent three months and two days, and I believe I’d have starved had I not dropped across one of the old prisoners who had been in Germany since Mons. He was getting his parcels, but he fed half a dozen of us there, so there was not much. Our parcels, of course, never followed us, and we were in hopes of getting away before Christmas, so we soon ran out of food, and began selling our shirts and socks to the French for biscuits. These also were not to be procured after a day or two, so there was nothing for it but to dine on some horse bean soup. On Christmas I Day it was flavoured with fishes’ roes.
“A big batch of Italians are in this camp, and it would make your heart ache to see them, they are just kept from starvation. The searching operations commenced, and lasted a day in this camp. The Germans went through all one possessed; searched the lining of our coats, etc.. and then we started on an all-night journey to Cologne, and my, didn’t it freeze in that train. Arrived at Cologne, we changed trains, and then were dumped once more in Aachen remained there three days, underwent another search we got good food and plenty of it here – and then put on a comfortable hospital train, and finally alighted in Rotterdam.

One of the first New Zealand soldiers to be released from captivity in Germany was Private Hubert Oxley, of the 2nd Auckland Battalion, who recently returned to the Dominion. He was severely wounded during a raid at Fleuxbaix in February, 1917, and was taken prisoner. Under the arrangements for the repatriation of disabled soldiers. Private Oxley was released at the end of last year, his right arm having been rendered virtually useless by the wounds he had received. His experience during the 11 months he spent as a prisoner of war have been related by the returned soldier.
Describing the raid, Private Oxley stated that he had just reached the German front line, or what remained of it after the preliminary bombardment when he was struck by a piece of shell and “knocked out.” Although he did not immediately lose consciousness, he was unable to move. “When the firing from our guns had quietened down,” Private Oxley continued, “about a dozen Germans emerged from their retirement and came straight towards me. Two of them came over, and, after relieving me of my bombs, half-dragged me to an advanced dressing station in their subsidiary line. There I was left lying outside for a good two hours, until the last of their own wounded had received attention.

WOUNDED OFFERED FOOD.

“It was while at this place that I learned that I was not the only New Zealander who had been unlucky enough to be taken prisoner. Eventually our turn came, and in the course of a hurried patching up I found I was badly hit in legs, arms, shoulder, and body.
After this I was wheeled in a truck for about two miles to a clearing station, where I lay for the remainder of the day. At this place ample evidence of the deadly effects of our morning’s work was to be seen in the crowds of wounded Germans. It was very cold, and I lay on my plank waiting and shivering. Several times Red Cross men offered me coffee and bread, but I refused, being too ill to eat. They covered me with blankets, and in due course my turn came to be dressed.
From then on I only seem to have a hazy recollection of occurrences. I remember a motor ambulance, and some of our fellows saying something to me—a great deal of bustle and excitement, and strange faces at another stage of the journey. Also, I remember calling for water, and a kind nurse’s face watching over me as she put the drink to my lips! Next I awoke in a comfortable bed, and a very tall man in white was looking intently at me. Again I was offered food and refused.

EXPERIENCE IN HOSPITAL.

“Later I was removed to the operating table, where two orderlies held me in a sitting posture while the surgeon proceeded to operate on my shoulder, and probe for pieces of shell. While this was in progress, three military officers appeared on the scene. Two of them plied me with questions, and the third—a good listener—said nothing, but kept his eyes full on mine. Upon receiving no satisfaction from their inquiries, one of them adopted a fierce expression and tried to bounce me into answering. His threats did not worry me, for I was thinking more about the pain the doctor was inflicting on my shoulder. Presently I heard something fall with a ring on the marble slab, and I knew I had been relieved of a piece of shell. I nearly fainted, and the doctor, after giving me some brandy, finished dressing my wounds, and I was carried into a ward near the operating room.  Here I recognised Norman Faithfull, of my own company; Fred Kemp, whose leg had just been amputated; Frank Doyle, of the Haurakis; and Matthew Rasmussen, of the 101 Waikatos.
“A few days after, I underwent an operation. As I was the worst case among our boys I was given cocoa and one piece of white French bread and jam for breakfast, a good basin of minced meat and mashed potatoes for the midday meal, at 3 p.m., another slice of white bread and jam, and a cup of coffee (artificial), and at night a piece of bread, a basin of barley, macaroni, or vegetable soup, or perhaps gruel. The others received the same rations, but black bread, no cocoa, and at mid-day instead of meat and potatoes, they received a mug of soup.
“This was at Douai, France, where we remained for some weeks. I had eight wounds, and sometimes lay for seven days without having them dressed.  We were visited by a German pastor, and occasionally by a Roman Catholic priest. Russian orderlies brought us water for washing, but there was no soap, and I had mud on my hands and face for many weeks. Every Sunday the French people of Douai sent us three cigarettes and somthing which tasted like plum pudding. It was just the length of one’s finger and coated with chocolate. We used to call it our Sunday tit-bit, and certainly it was very nice. There were funerals every day. The courtyard was just under our windows, we could hear the service being read in German, then the departure of the horses. The French populace always attended the funerals in large numbers.

ECHO OF BRITISH OFFENSIVE.

“At the end of the fifth week most of the New Zealanders had recovered, and were sent to different camps. About the end of the seventh week I noticed a change in the Germans about the place. They were very excited, and argumentive with one another, and from what I could gather the cause of this was fresh news from the battlefront. Also I noticed some British prisoners being brought in. An orderly told us that the British were near, and, taking them by surprise, had captured much ground. The Germans began to pack up and remove the prisoners into Germany. By the end of the eighth week we were awakened one morning by a terrific bombardment which shook every window in the place. This was the Vimy Ridge
affair. Our aeroplanes, too, had been busy, having destroyed part of the railway station and other points of importance.  All the New Zealanders had now been removed, with the exception of Faithfull and myself.
“On April 18 we were carried to the railway station, the hospital by this time having been practically cleared. During our journey to the station we must have presented a curious sight to the French inhabitants, as our hair and whiskers had grown very long during our confinement. The French rushed us with gifts, giving to each one a bag containing shirts, socks, towel, soap, and cigarettes, and some of the Frenchmen in their enthusiasm tore off their hats and coats and gave them to us, as we were very poorly clad. They also gave us some bread, biscuits, and raw eggs, and one lady, seeing me in my helpless condition, removed her coat and wrapped it round me. The Germans did not interfere with these acts of kindness, but in some instances they showed great brutality in keeping the crowds back. Alas, these were the last good things we were to receive for some time.

TRANSFERRED TO GERMANY.

“After a journey of two days through France and Belgium, we arrived at Julich, 40 miles beyond Aix-la-Chappelle on April 20. On the journey our food consisted of grain, black bread and coffee. We were removed on stretchers from the train to the hospital, a distance of about a mile. The lateness of the hour—midnight—did not prevent a large crowd of German civilians from gathering around. There was no hostile demonstration—they merely looked on in silence. I was still shivering with the severe cold, and I indicated this to a German, who was helping to carry my stretcher, and he made it his business to procure a coat and wrap it round me. We arrived at last at the hospital, which, like the one at Douai, was for prisoners only. Here were congregated about 50 French and British and from 250 to 300 Russians, and I could not fail to be impressed with the way in which the Russians were utilised to do practically all the hospital work. There were no nurses. The British were distributed all over the place, and I found my bed situated between two Russians.
“And now for a few words about the food. I cannot speak of every hospital and camp where the Germans house their prisoners but I know of five hospitals and one camp, and they are all on a par.
When we opened our eyes in Julich, the first morning we were handed one slice of black bread. I would not like to guess its composition, but it constituted one’s breakfast, together with some vile, black coffee. What did we have for dinner? One day it would be a weak solution of macaroni, another day sauerkraut, or turnip tops. Preserved vegetables were also served out, and they were most objectionable. In the drying process they seemed to have been smothered with charcoal, or some such stuff, and these pieces were thickly scattered all through the food, and it was impossible to remove them.”

IMPRESSIONS OF GERMANS.

Towards the end of the summer Private Oxley had sufficiently recovered to be able to walk, and was then able to take more interest in his surroundings “Business seemed to be dead, traffic almost at a standstill, and the few motor cars I did see bore the Government crest. Old and young men alike were in uniform. Not once did I see a limbless soldier, for the Germans kept their maimed well out of sight. The men, women, and children looked pale and hollow-cheeked, although this part of the town was of the better class. It was no uncommon sight to see children begging from door to door. Before our capture we had often heard stories of the efficiency of German organisation. All I can say is that, so far as my observation went, this state of efficiency did not exist in the hospitals I have seen. At this place in particular the sanitation was disgraceful. There was vermin everywhere—in our beds, clothing, and even in the bandages covering my wounds. They were one Iong nightmare,’ and I shall never forget my feelings of relief when I was moved away. Geese and ducks were allowed to roam about the enclosure, which greatly added to the unhealthy state of the place. The Germans even used the dinner bowls from our wards to feed the poultry.”
Private Oxley again succumbed to illness, and until his recovery was attended with the most kindly care by a Scotch soldier. There was much sickness at the hospital, especially among the Russians, and many deaths occurred.  ”In connection with any burials of our men, I would like to say that those of our fellows who were able were allowed to follow the remains, and were given any available khaki. To give the Germans their due, every cortege included a guard of honour and a military band, and they themselves always acted as pall-bearers.”

Hubert’s final discharge as permanently unfit was dated 20th of May 1919.  He was awarded a war pension.
From 1928, he and Amelia were living in Richardson Road, Roskill, Auckland.  Hubert was a gardener until 1954 he was listed as retired in the electoral roll.

OXLEY ashes tablet Waikumete Cemetery courtesy of