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.
|Photo from Australian War Memorial
Item copyright: Copyright expired – public domain
This item is in the Public Domain
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.
*above photos used with permission from then owner.
further information at
|Troops on board HMAT Ascanius (A11), as it departs. A small boat is seen in the left foreground.Item copyright: Copyright expired – public domain
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
“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. 🙂
Ernest Anderson (Euroa) SRN: 1111, 10494 -1st BAC/Brigade Headquarters/5thAus.Transport
Arthur Armstrong (Strathbogie) SRN: 1657 -21st Battalion/Trench Mortar Battery
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
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
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
Harold Elliott or “Pompey” (Charlton/Northcote) SRN: Lieutenant Colonel -7th Battalion/15th Brigade
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
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
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
Adolphus Ison or Dolf Ison(Perth) SRN: 2162 -14th Battalion
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
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
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
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
William Nowotna or Bill Nowotna (Dunkeld/Euroa) SRN: 567 – 13th Light Horse
John O’Connor (Melbourne) SRN:875 -22nd Battalion
David Owen (Benalla) SRN: 320 -4th Light Horse
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
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
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
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
Jack Underwood or John Underwood (Violet Town) SRN: 356 -4th Light Horse
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”
|photo courtesy of the Mount Roskill People 1840 to 1940 Facebook page|
|‘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.|
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.
|from War service record|
|from War service record|
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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|
Mary HULME, nee WOOD, is my maternal 4th great grandmother.
She married Daniel HULME at St Pancras Old Church on the 1st of January 1810.
Mary died at Fulham on the 13th of March 1875, age 87 years which puts her birth year around 1788.
In all the census from 1841 to 1871 Mary HULME was a Grocer at 65 High Street, Fulham.
The 1841 census for Fulham stated she was not born in the county.
The 1851 census stated she was born in Fulham
The 1861 census stated she was born in Hertfordshire.
The 1871 census stated she was born in Puckeridge, Hertfordshire.
In the 1861 census living in the same household is her sister, a widow age 65 by the name of Matha (sic) Mary MEAD. She was born at Leatherhead, Surrey. As yet I haven’t found a WOOD/MEAD marriage but the Leatherhead, St. Mary and St. Nicholas Surrey births and baptisms has a record for Martha WOOD born March 18 and baptised April 5, 1795.
Her parents were William WOOD and Mary RADLEY.
Even though Leatherhead is about 20 miles South-West of London and Puckeridge about 30 miles North, I searched around Puckeridge, Hertfordshire for a baptism for Mary WOOD about 1788 and found her listed with parents William and Mary at Standon which is a village adjoining Puckeridge. No mother’s maiden name though.
I then looked for a marriage for William WOOD and Mary RADLEY and found it registered also at Standon in 1788.
I am quietly confident that I have finally found my 5th great grandparents are William WOOD and Mary RADLEY, the parents of Mary HULME nee WOOD!
Also in the Leatherhead, St. Mary and St. Nicholas Surrey births and baptisms with parents William WOOD and Mary RADLEY were Ann born 13th Feb 1798, baptised 4th March 1798 and Charlotte born 3rd March 1801, baptised 29 March 1801.
Thanks for sharing this Su.
The Auckland Museum has just digitized and released a whole bunch of photographs taken during WWII by a local photographer, Tudor Collins. They all show American servicemen posted to the small town of Warkworth, New Zealand, prior to their deployment in the Pacific.
These are wonderful portraits of young men enjoying a few weeks of rest and Kiwi hospitality before being hurled into prolonged and ferocious fighting from which many did not return.
None of the photos were captioned, so the identity of the soldiers is unknown. The Museum has loaded them onto its website and is asking anyone whose relatives served in the Pacific, and who spent (or might have spent) time in New…
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