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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

F.J Ludbrook and H.C Ludbrook



A bit of a special one, a post concerning two cousins who came from Ballarat and went to the First World War.

3196 Francis John Ludbrook
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Francis at Tel-El-Kebir, 1916

Francis John Ludbrook was born on July 31st, 1895 in Ballarat, Victoria. He had been apart of the 70 Battalion [Cadets] and was a carpenter upon enlisting on March 24th, 1915 with his cousin Bert. He had to sign on with his parents consent. A month after enlisting, he was appointed Lance Corporal on May 11th. He embarked with Bert on June 4th, 1915 from Melbourne with the 6th Field Ambulance. They went from Colombo [June 24th] to Bombay [June 28th] to Aden [July 11th], disembarking at Suez on July 17th. The 6th Field Ambulance moved to Heliopolis on July 19th. On August 29th, the embarked from Alexandria to Gallipoli, arriving on September 5th. Headquarters was quickly established on Brighton Beach and the R.A.P set at Brown's Dip. The 6th Field Ambulance served just over 3 months on the peninsula before being evacuated on December 12th, arriving on Lemnos on the 13th. on January 21st, 1916 he was promoted to Corporal along side his cousin Bert. Francis was promoted again, this time to Sergeant on February 21st. He transferred to the 12th Field Ambulance with Bert on March 1st. He embarked from Alexandria on June 2nd and arrived in Marseilles on June 11th, 1916. His record goes blank for a year and a half with the next mention being 'To Paris on leave' on January 23rd, 1918, arriving back at the unit on the 30th. Just three weeks later, he would be on Blighty Leave from February 20th to March 7th. On May 16th, 1918 he was reprimanded. It reads..
"Whilst on Active Service neglect to the Prejudice of good order and Military Discipline in that, While on duty in the horse lines he allowed drivers to leave the lines without ascertaining whether the said Drivers were provided with Box Respirators."
For this, he was merely reprimanded. On June 28th, he transferred to the 13th Field Ambulance, taken onto strength the same day. On December 28th, 1918 he was sent to England for "Transport Duty to Australia". An entry on January 2nd, 1919 reads "Proceeded to England for return to Australia" and the following day he disembarked at Southampton. He was marched out to Weymouth on January 25th and began his voyage home on March 3rd and arrived at 3M.D on April 25th, 1919. He would be quickly discharged on June 24th, 1919 after 4 years in the service.

Francis would recount to his nephew Fred who later said "..he never spoke much about it, but he said the gas was terrible. The gas and things like that, and trench feet – they used to get trench feet by walking, by not getting – they were in water, about twenty four hours of the day, except when they found somewhere dry to sleep, and all the toes grew together." When Fred was asked on what he knew about the horrors of war, he said "I only knew what uncle Frank had told me – about the screaming of the horses when they were hit – he said, “It was a blood curdling sound”, he said, “When the” – of course they had horses which could pull – see those horse ambulances had four –four horses in them pulling them, and they could get through the mud and slush of world war one better than all the track vehicles, better than all the tanks or anything, because they used to get bogged down in the mud, and these other horses – two fellows used to ride – there were two fellows out the front riding the horses, the four horses and they’d guide ‘em everywhere, and if they were riding postilion, and then there were two brake men on the front of it – I’ve got a photo in there, after I’ll get it for you, and that ambulance I think used to carry eleven wounded, sitting wounded, and about three – don’t hold me to this because I’ve forgotten now, but three stretcher cases."
A post-war F.J Ludbrook

Francis married Bee Horman in 1919, Bee's brother had won the MM in France. They couple had a few children following the war and Francis took up farming; One of the sons served in the Second World War. Francis died on February 27th, 1970 in Ballarat due to a Coronary Occlusion.
Francis was entitled to the standard 1915 trio

3197 Herbert Charles 'Bert' Ludbrook

Herbert Charles Ludbrook was born on November 8th, 1888 in Ballarat East, Victoria. His parents were George Henry and Mary Ann Ludbrook [Nee Lowe]. In 1906, Herbert joined the 9th Light Horse, a militia unit at the time. Herbert joined the School Cadets in 1911, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. During the pre-war period, his occupation was a painter. Herbert enlisted into the A.I.F on March 24th, 1915 with his cousin Francis, both of them would have sequential service numbers. His training is not documented like other service records so unfortunately we can only say he embarked from Melbourne on June 4th, 1915 with the 6th Field Ambulance with his cousin Francis. They went from Colombo [June 24th] to Bombay [June 28th] to Aden [July 11th], disembarking at Suez on July 17th. The 6th Field Ambulance moved to Heliopolis on July 19th. On August 29th, the embarked from Alexandria to Gallipoli, arriving on September 5th. Headquarters was quickly established on Brighton Beach and the R.A.P set at Brown's Dip. The 6th Field Ambulance served just over 3 months on the peninsula before being evacuated on December 12th, arriving on Lemnos on the 13th. From there, he went to Alexandria on January 6th, 1916 and to Tel-El-Kebir the following day.

The following photos are from the H.C Ludbrook collection
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Arrival at Tel-El-Kebir
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'Giving Christmas Billies' Tel-El-Kebir [discrepancy?], December 1915
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Herbert 'In the office' Tel-El-Kebir, January 1916.

During his time at Tel-El-Kebir, Herbert would be promoted to Corporal [January 21st] then he and his cousin Francis would be transferred to the 12th Field Ambulance on March 1st. This was mainly due to the doubling of the A.I.F which also involved the creation of plenty of other formations like the 12th Brigade and the Field Ambulance attached to that brigade. Herbert was promoted again to Sergeant on March 24th and a little over 2 months later he would embark from Alexandria on June 4th, arriving in Marseilles the following week. A day under 4 months after arriving in France, he would be reprimanded for 'Being in an Estaminet during prohibited hours' dated October 10th. Despite this incident he was promoted to Acting Transport Warrant Officer on November 12th. On January 26th, 1917 he was with Lieutenant Alick Atkinson Chapman in a tent at Benfay Woods when the enemy started shelling 'in and around the camp'. Unfortunately for both of them a shell landed and exploded in the tent. Chapman was [according to Ludbrook] 'badly knocked about' and was quickly evacuated to Ailly. Chapman succumbed to his wounds the following day with a doctor listing that he had been 'wounded in the side above the hip joint a fragment having penetrated the abdomen.' Luckily for Herbert, he only sustained shrapnel to the left thigh. He arrived in Boulogne on January 30th and was evacuated to England the following day. On March 23rd, he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Hospital and during this time he was down at Dartford.
Written by Herbert whilst in England

He was stationed at Perham Downs during June/July before he embarked for Havre, arriving on July 21st. He was assigned to his former unit; the 12th Field Ambulance and was taken onto strength on the 24th. He was with the unit without incident for 5 months and was awarded 'Blighty Leave' on December 30th. On January 3rd, 1918 he married a Nurse by the name of Daisie Mary Llewellyn [from Ballarat, Vic] at Wesleyan Church on Horseferry Roads, the same road where Australian Imperial Force's Administrative Headquarters was located. A week after his marriage, he was admitted to hospital on January 12th. During his spell in hospital, he learnt it was Tachycardia probably due to his service in France. Herbert was sent to No.2 Command Depot at Weymouth on March 2nd and during this time, he was also recommended for the Meritorious Service Medal. The recommendation reads..


"This W.O, in charge of Horse Transport of this unit, has shown consistent and steady devotion to duty under all circumstances. Especially during the fighting near Passchendaele from Oct. 19th to Oct. 23rd 1917, when horse ambulance wagons came under his control, his conduct contributed considerably to efficient evacuation of wounded. The fact that the Horse Transport of this unit has several times been formally commented on by inspecting officers, is very largely due to W.O. Ludbrook's painstaking, careful, and constant attention to duty"

Unfortunately for Ludbrook, he was not awarded the M.S.M. He began his voyage home on April 21st and disembarked at 3M.D on June 7th, 1918. Herbert was discharged medically unfit on August 29th, 1918 after three years in the service. In 1925, he became Superintendent of the Ballarat Orphanage, a position he would hold until 1949. On June 18th, 1949 he was elected to the Legislative Council for Ballarat, a position which he would hold until January 15th, 1956; the day he died. The cause of death was from a long illness [not specified]

Below are the medals entitled to H.C Ludbrook; standard 1915 trio
Other photos from the H.C Ludbrook collection..
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Edited by tankengine888


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