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Staycalm

British ex-soldiers in Australia After the War

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Staycalm

My Great Grandfather was born in Birmingham abt 1886. I have found his pension record through Ancestry.com and have been slowly trying to understand what it all means.

What I think I know from this record:

He joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1904.

His reg no was 20018.

He married Charlotte Taylor 4 Aug 1907.

He left the army in 1907 (I think).

It also has his physical description and the names of his father and brothers (father's name is not the one that I have a record for).

What I am not 100% sure of:

Did he rejoin the British Army from Australia? I definitely have him and his family in Albert Park, Victoria,Australia.

How did he get to England from Melbourne?

Where was he during the war and what was his rank, etc?

How did he get back to Australia after the war?

If I want to understand his pre-war and WW1 experience, what else do I need to know? Any good books or websites to recommend?

I would really appreciate any insight into this as he disappears from the records in Australia in the early 20s and I want to see if the war might have had any bearing on this.

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CGM

What is the earliest date you have him in Australia?

Do you know if he was he actually in Australia before 1914?

CGM

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BFBSM

I have just found a record for him in the Silver War Badges Database:

First name(s) George Ernest Last name Sheppard Service number 20018 Rank Gunner Badge number B183443 Enlistment date 19-Jul-1904 Discharge date 07-May-1919 Unit from which discharged R.G.A. Cause of discharge Para 392 (xvi) King's Regulation. Whether served overseas Yes Badge date of issue 16-May-1919 Record set Silver War Badge Roll 1914-1920 Category Armed forces & conflict Record collection First World War Collections from United Kingdom

This suggests he served continuously.

Looking at his service records he is shown as serving:

Home: 19 July 1904 - 18 July 1907

" : 19 July 1907 - 19 Jul 1915 (an additional line below states the dates: 5 Mar 1914 to 19 Jul 1915)

BEF France: 20 July 1915 - 26 Sep 1915

Home: 27 Sep 1915 - 16 May 1919.

Looking at the stamps he was mobilised in Melbourne Australia on 5 August 1914, It looks like he 'joined Australian 1st(?) Force' on 8th Aug 1914.

I have searched the UK Departure records on Ancestry and FindMyPast and found a record for a George Ernest Sheppard (1894) travelling to Melbourne Australia in 1922. I haven't been able to find any record for a George Ernest travelling to Australia born 1886. I also couldn't find an entry in the incoming passenger lists either.

Mark

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CGM

In 1911 a family consisting of

George Ernest Sheppard, Head, aged 24, Rubber Worker, (Motor Tyre)

Charlotte, wife, aged 24, married 3 years, 2 children,

Lily, daughter, aged 3,

Frederick, son, aged 1

all born Birmingham, Warwickshire

is living at 2 Talbyrn (Talbryn?) Place, Nechells Place, Birmingham.

Could this be him and his family?

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BFBSM

I don't know if this fits, and from CGM's last post it may:

April 1913 a Miss C Sheppard (26), Miss L Sheppard (5) and Mr G Sheppard (2) departed from London, England bound for Melbourne Australia aboard the Port Macquarie.

I also have found the record for their arrival in Melbourne in May 1913.

Mark

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Oz Ubique

You probably know that he is buried in Falkner Cemetery Melbourne in 1962? (Assuming it is the same G.E.S.).

Oz.

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BFBSM

Oz,

I checked that one on the Victorian BDM website and he was born in 1894.

Mark

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CGM

Could be the G. E. S. Motor Driver who left for Melbourne in 1922.

But I digress.

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Staycalm

You guys are great. This has given me a few more avenues of investigation.

As far as I can tell, yes, it was his family in Birmingham in 1911, his wife and two children travelled to Australia in Apr 1913 and the earliest date for him in Australia is the electoral roll with him and his wife in Middle Park in 1914. I also have him enrolled and living in Albert Park with his wife in 1919 and 1924. After that he is missing from verifiable records until his wife dies in 1951 and, although she is noted as married, the length of marriage is noted as 19 years. As they were married in 1907 it seems to imply that he left the marriage around 1926. A living family member born in 1951, born on the same day as his wife died, says she never heard of him, despite she and her parents living in the house where GES used to live.

It has taken some unravelling, and I'm not quite there yet, but there is a man with the same name whose occupation is a motor driver, living in Northcote in the same period and who I think also came from England but was younger. My GE Sheppard is recorded as a rubber worker, both in the UK and in Australia when living with his wife Charlotte. So this is a confirmed occupation for him. I can't remember exactly but I think I did the research on the other GES and found that the one in Fawkner Cem is the other GES. I will go back to see what I found just so that I can exclude him completely.

Thanks for the war info BFBSM. Very interesting.

Some questions I have from this info:

Does that imply that he was only ever in France from July to Sep 1915? Why would he then have been sent back to England? Is it likely to be injury or mental condition? Any way of telling? There are two months between his time in France and the beginning of his stint "home". I find it odd that he never went back to the front for the rest of the war. Would he still be attached to the RGA as a Gunner in his role at home? What would have he been doing?

The record implies that GES remobilized through some process with the military here in Melbourne. This is a second confirmation he was here in Melbourne in 1914. So how could he still be serving in the British forces and yet be here in Melbourne as a rubber worker? That Mar 1914 date is odd, as it was before the war began. Is it possible he travelled between England and Aus on ships with Australian military? Were there British servicemen based here in Melbourne for some reason? Could he have been making tires for the military?

I have always had some issues with GES because I haven't been able to reconcile his presence in Australia with his wife and children, and his military service to the British army, and there don't seem to be any stories within the family, perhaps implying the story was not a happy one.

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CGM
We may, and I stress may, be looking at a man who had completed the term of service with the regular army which he had signed up for and was serving the normal period (typically of five years) on reserve.

As a Reservist he would have been eligible for mobilisation in 1914.


This is a very simplified statement, as I don't know very much about this.


You can read about it on The Long, Long, Trail HERE.


If he was a Reserve,he would have known that he would be mobilised on the outbreak of war, ...even if in Australia ..?

Thinking about it, were Reservists allowed to leave the UK..?


Now, we need someone far more knowledgeable than me to decide if this could be an explanation, and if so tidy up the wording somewhat !


CGM

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Staycalm

My GGrandfather is George Ernest Sheppard of the RGA who enlisted in 1904 and did his three years before marrying and leaving in 1907. I have been sorting through his record and trying to understand all the bits and bobs. What had me stumped for years was knowing he is in electoral rolls with his wife in Melbourne, Australia in 1914 and 1919 and that he somehow got mobilized in Victoria, made it to England where he served with the 16th siege bat in France in Jul to Sep 1915. He served at home until the end of the war, before reappearing in Melbourne. He disappears from records after 1924.

What I would really like to know is what responsibilities did he have under the Reserve status? Would he have to let the RGA know he was in Australia? Considering I cannot find any passenger lists for him, either coming or going from Australia, could he have traveled in some military capacity? In Australia his occupation before and after the war was rubber worker. He was involved in the manufacture of tyres. Could this have had any military relevance?

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Guest

He would have had permission to emigrate. The page below is from the August 1914 returns and shows 7,967 men serving out their Reserve obligations overseas. There were 1,355 Reservist in Australia of which 85 were RGA men. Australia had the second largest number of Reservists after Canada.

Reservists in the UK had in theory to do one day every second year (infantry). Not sure what the RGA obligation was. I suspect he may have had to report to the nearest Australian military unit. Presumably there were some in the vicinity of Melbourne.

Many men permitted to live abroad made it back to the UK. The most notable group who didn't were in Canada. Given the large numbers (1,485 Infantry Reservists) they formed a large nucleus for the formation of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry along with RM and RN reservists. I am not quite sure of the details but I assume it was on a voluntary basis as there is little doubt that individuals in canada made it back to their Regimental Depots.

MG

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johnboy

Do you know where he was after September 1915?

Is it possible he was discharged and had elected to return to Australia? If so he might not appear on any passenger lists.

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Staycalm

Thanks for the info Martin G. From what I understand from his records he served at a number of places in coastal England. He was discharged 16 May 1919.

Although I have the passenger records of his wife and two children traveling to Australia in 1913, I have never found any evidence for him, even though he made at least three crossings. Where could I look to see if he travelled on ships with the Australians?

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Staycalm

I found this reference on the Australian War Memorial website:

"The Imperial Reservists were men who had recently served with a British Regiment before emigrating to Australia. On the outbreak of the First World War they were recalled to serve with their old units and sailed in the first troop convoy to leave Australia."

I am not sure where they left from so I'll do some more digging. The info is starting to come together.

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johnboy

This may help

 "Troopship passenger lists, 1 October 1915 – 30 September 1920", Official Record series AWM31. Nominal rolls of Australian Imperial Force members returning to Australia from the United Kingdom and Middle East during or at the end of the First World War. Arranged first by name of ship, then by military district, then by category, e.g., "sick and wounded". Not every ship returning with troops is listed. Search RecordSearch [www.naa.gov.au/collection/search/] using name of ship.  Lists of names can be found in some voyage reports (Official Record series AWM7)

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frev

G.E. SHEPPARD, RGA Gunner 20018 - reported to the authorities in Melbourne on the 8/8/1914 and embarked with other troops on the A35 Berrima on the 22/12/1914.

His file with the Aus Nat Archives is here: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=6039339

Andrew Pittaway, a member of the forum, has done quite a lot of research into the Imperial Reservists who were in Australia - if you PM him, he'll probably be able to answer some of your other questions.

Cheers, Frev

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Staycalm

Thank you guys. I am learning a lot and it is fantastic that you've found this when I couldn't. So happy!

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Waggoner

On a related note, it is believed that, in addition to Imperial reservists, there were German and Austro-Hungarian reservists leaving Canada for Europe! It would be interesting to know if they ever encountered each other on board ship!

All the best,

Gary

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charlesmessenger

Worth pointing out that Reservists who had settled in India were ordered to report to British Regukar units stationed there raher than return home to rejoin the Colours, as was the case with the other Dominions.

Charles M

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Guest

Worth pointing out that Reservists who had settled in India were ordered to report to British Regukar units stationed there raher than return home to rejoin the Colours, as was the case with the other Dominions.

Charles M

The Black Watch took in a number of Reservists who had been working in the Jute industry in India

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augmauns

I have recently discovered that F Cullen on the local Five Dock memorial in Sydney was in fact not AIF but 8266 FW Cullen, a Reservist of the West Riding Regiment. He died of wounds in France in Feb 1915.

Thanks to this thread I have tracked down his records which I didn't know existed in the Nat Archives (Thank you Frev). I had assumed all records were in UK. Thankfully his survived the WW2 bombing.

Of interest though is that his Aust. records showed he was paid 6/- per diem and his wife & child received the standard widow / child Australian pension.

So leads me to believe Imperial Reservists were not paid British Army pay but the (much) higher AIF pay; and their dependents the Aust pension.

Is this true?

Cheers, Greg

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Michael Johnson

On a related note, it is believed that, in addition to Imperial reservists, there were German and Austro-Hungarian reservists leaving Canada for Europe! It would be interesting to know if they ever encountered each other on board ship!

All the best,

Gary

I recall a number of Canadian criminal cases involving assisting Germans to leave Canada to report for duty.

My grandfather was a French reservist (Class of 1898) working in Welland Ontario. It was made quite clear that failure to report on general mobilization would merit a death sentence if you ever set foot on French soil again. So he and his French assistant were the first men from Welland to go overseas in August 1914.

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Loader

I saw a service record for a man in I think was ASC. He had gone to Canada to work in 1913 & DID NOT notify the army, he was a reservist. He got back to UK very fast & a copy of the leter hwe wrote when he returned home to the Army is in the file. I recall it said he did not notify the army he was going & he was sorry but made it back to UK & repoeted in as soon as he could. He asked to be cleared of any wrongdoing based odn his record of service in Boer War, etc.. Seems he suffered no penalties for his "oversight", he said the job offer came to him with a deadline to be in Canda & he had to go. No other mention of his dealyed reporting or any official action against him. Can't recall nameor details but interesting to read that! A case of easier to get forgiveness than permission!!

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BFBSM

I have recently discovered that F Cullen on the local Five Dock memorial in Sydney was in fact not AIF but 8266 FW Cullen, a Reservist of the West Riding Regiment. He died of wounds in France in Feb 1915.

Thanks to this thread I have tracked down his records which I didn't know existed in the Nat Archives (Thank you Frev). I had assumed all records were in UK. Thankfully his survived the WW2 bombing.

Of interest though is that his Aust. records showed he was paid 6/- per diem and his wife & child received the standard widow / child Australian pension.

So leads me to believe Imperial Reservists were not paid British Army pay but the (much) higher AIF pay; and their dependents the Aust pension.

Is this true?

Cheers, Greg

Greg,

Just trying to work out search strategies in the new UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929 database on Ancestry, and input details for F W Cullen. Information you probably already know:

Name: Frederick Walter Cullen Gender: Male Death Date: 15 Apr 1915 Death Place: No 11 Gen Hos Boulogne Rank: Private Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment Regimental Number: 8266

Record image is at: http://interactive.ancestry.com/60506/42511_6117462_0032-00122/487339?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2f%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3findiv%3d1%26db%3dukarmyregisterseffects%26rank%3d1%26new%3d1%26MSAV%3d1%26gss%3dangs-d%26gsfn%3dFrederick%26gsln%3dCullen%26gskw%3d8266%26cpxt%3d1%26uidh%3del4%26cp%3d11%26pcat%3d39%26fh%3d0%26h%3d487339%26recoff%3d3%2b5%26ml_rpos%3d1&ssrc=&backlabel=ReturnRecord

There are also copies of his service records at: http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=britisharmyservice&rank=1&new=1&MSAV=1&gss=angs-d&gsfn=Frederick&gsln=Cullen&gskw=8266&cpxt=1&uidh=el4&cp=11&pcat=39&fh=0&h=400740&recoff=&ml_rpos=1

These records show that his widow was awarded a pension of 15/- for herself and one child, payable in NSW. And authorised by the War Office.

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