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Remembered Today:

27/BN A.I.F


Guest Trouta
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Gday Gentleman, i have recently been given war medals belonging to my grandmothers brother, who was killed in france in 1918 and was trying to find some imformation on his history

On one of his medals it has a number 2875 with his name PTE J.F.T Witcomb and his regiment 27/BN A.I.F

I also have his medal which stats died for king and country and on the back says killed in france 1918

the only history i no of was he fought overseas and then returned home until they called for more reinforcments and this is when he went back and was killed in france

any help on this matter would be greatlly appreciated

Thankyou gentlemen

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Hi

John Francis Trafford Witcomb's complete Service Record is avaibable for free viewing on the National Archives of Australia's web site.

The records are quite extensive - 107 pages! with much about his stays in hospital. He was wounded in action 3 times, dying of his wounds after the third time.

Duncan

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Hi

The National Archives also list:

Sydney Trafford Witcomb

Frank Trafford Witcomb

Oscar George Witcomb

as well as John Francis Trafford Witcomb

All from Yacka or Clare, South Australia

It looks like you might be getting other family members records to check out! - either John's brothers or cousins?

I don't know how to provide a link to the service records, perhaps one of the other forum members who is a bit more technically competant can help

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Yeah thanks heaps Duncan for your efforts, you are onto the right witcombs we are from south australia and he did have brothers who served as well, as i no one of them lost an eye

ive tried the site you have said and joined as a member as well but i cant seem to find the info that you allready no about his stays in hospital and stuff, ive only found his name and his next of kin and that hes from clare i applied for the digital copy but it says it doesnt have one at this stage, so i may not be doing something right not sure, but really appreciate you input and efforts duncan

cheers mate

darren

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I became aware of Sydney Trafford Witcomb a few years ago when his medals were up for sale. The person in Australia who bought them then told me that he sold them on to a member of the Witcomb family who already held Sydney's brother's medals. This brother apparently survived the war. Please e-mail me seperately if you wish to get in touch with him.

I visited Sydney's grave in Lone Pine cemetery in 2004, see attached.

A very appropriate subject on ANZAC Day !

post-7183-1145950316.jpg

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Darren,

I checked the NAA site as well and I don't know how cazna managed to view the digitized file since it hasn't been posted yet??? But luckily access is open and it's available by request. Apparantly all the service records have now been scanned and will all be available for viewing within the next few months.

Peter,

What a small world!!

Tim L.

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And just for your info, I've found this interesting photo from the Australian War Memorial files:

Place made: Picardie: Bertangles, Europe; France; Picardie; Somme

Date made: 22 April 1918

Summary: The remains of Baron von Richthofen's Fokker Triplane at the aerodrome of No. 3 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, near Bertangles. The famous German airman was shot down and crashed in Australian lines while flying a Triplane very near the ground on the tail of a British scout. Only one bullet - believed to be from a Lewis gun attached to a Battery of Australian Field Artillery - was found in his body, and that through the heart. It was a dramatic event. Note white fabric on rudder. See also K48-K50 (Imperial War Museum). Left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) C. W. Gray, observer; Lt F. J. Mart, observer; Lt N. Mulroney, pilot; Lt O. G. Witcomb, observer; Lt T. L. Baillieu, pilot (later awarded DFC); Lt R. W. Kirkwood, observer; Lt A. L. D. Taylor, observer (Killed in action 20 May 1918); Private L. H. Reid, storeman (behind); Lt M. Sheehan, pilot.

post-2918-1145971770.jpg

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Hi guys

I've just been checking out the Nat Archives as well - and I reckon they're probably having the same trouble they had a couple of years ago, when a whole swathe of records that had been viewable - suddenly weren't!

Anyway, while trawling, I came across the following which may be of interest:

http://www.peoplesvoice.gov.au/stories/sa/yacka/yacka_w.htm

Cheers, Frev

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Frev,

I can't believe you beat me to that link by just a whisker. It makes quite a few things clear and certainly will give Darren some very useful info on the Witcomb's.

Darren,

From what I've found out, all the four Witcomb's above were related. Frank and John (Jack as he was obviously known) were the sons of Francis and Florence Witcomb of Yacka SA.

Oscar and Sydney were the children of George and Annie Witcomb of Port Wakefield/Clare SA.

What was interesting from the website Frev suggested was the Yacka Public School WW1 Honour Board of former Yacka residents which included Oscar and Sydney.

I would be fairly certain that Francis and George were brothers, brought up in Yacka, married, had their children and then George moved away to Port Wakefield with his family.

Also I found a couple of reference from the SA State Library in the Register. The first had to do with the Witcomb family history from Yacka. The second was a quote by someone about when they first arrived in Yacka in 1873. There was nothing there except being overrun by sheep and only one building - a hotel built by Mr Witcomb.

Perhaps an enquiry with the State Library might prove useful. It seems your family are of original Yacka stock!!

Tim L.

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Hi

Yesterday morning I was able to view the entire 107 pages of 2875 JFT Witcomb with the usual entry of keywords"2875 Witcomb" on the NAA site. Tried it again 24 hours later - same result as the others above.

Not available, but can be requested. I guess they are having a few problems.

From memory 2 of the other Witcomb family service records were available for immediate view, but I did not download them.

While on the subject does anyone have a way to print out a complete service record from this site, other than 1 page at a time?

Duncan

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Duncan,

I'm not sure what's going on at the NAA but they seem to be having some gremlins playing funny *******.

No, there's no way of printing the file in it's entirety - it's got to be page by page.

The only way I can think of to print the service record as one would be to save each individual image file onto your computer and then combine them into one document. I've got Adobe Professional for creating Acrobat files and would probably use that but there are other programs you could use.

Unfortunately it still means some stuffing around.

Tim L.

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Thanks Tim

I guess they figured that some pages would have to be printed Landscape and the rest Portrait style.

I think I would have preferred to print the lot portrait and discarded those that did not fit, then reprint those landscape.

Notwithstanding this, surely this is the best resource in the medal collecting world.

I think all Aussies are grateful for the service.

I have had 5-6 occassions where I have contacted the NAA or AWM directly with a query. I have always found them polite and seemingly interested with my petty questions. Very different from contact with most other Government entities.

Duncan

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You guys are unbelievable, hats of to all of you, Cazna, Peter, Auimfo and Frev

Thankyou so much for all of your time, im really amazed, my first post on the site and a mountain of help allready, thanks again

yes John and Frank were brothers, john was killed in france and frank lost one of his eyes in the war, it was replaced with a glass eye and he used to raise hell with the kids with it by taking it out n chasing them with it

from what im gathering i think Oscar and Sydney are cousins of theres, but yes all from the same stock

I have applied for the digital copy and will wait until they send some info on it , hopefully not to far away

So glad i came across this site and hopefully can help some people out, in the way i have been helped out

with all this info ill be able to print all the information out and pass it on to the family

Thanks fellas

Darren

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Hi

Just tried the NAA site again.

2875 Witcomb's 107 page Service Record is available to view again.

Perhaps you should be quick in case it goes into the ether again

Duncan

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Hmmm.......something funny's been going on. I just checked and now I can view the digitised files as well.

Interesting records of the Witcomb lads.

Tim L.

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Darren,

If you're still keeping watch on this thread here's some info for you.

John was originally with the reinforcements for the 27th Battalion but after reaching Egypt early in 1916 he transferred to the 10th Battalion. It also appears he may have been with the 32nd Battalion for a very brief time inbetween. These three battalions feature regularly in the other service records of the Witcomb brothers/cousins.

Very early on (whilst in Egypt) he was diagnosed with a hernia but refused an operation and was recommended for discharge. A couple of months later he must have decided to have the operation as he was taken into the 10th battalion.

After the 10th was sent to France, he was wounded several times and finally on the 26th August he was severely wounded by shellfire and died at the 61st casualty Clearing Station on the 27th.

CEW Bean's official histories (Vol VI, page 770) gives the following description of the 10th's action on the 26th, south of Cappy, France:

"At dusk the German artillery in this sector fired a heavy barrage of smoke and gas shell, and it was afterwards found that their infantry had withdrawn. The 11th and 10th battalions were ordered to relieve the 12th and 9th and attack at midnight. The thunderstorm and the vagueness of the position at Olympia Wood delayed the relief. Eventually the 11th and 10th advanced at 6 a.m. on the 26th, the 11th through communication trenches, the 10th over the open. By evening the 10th was approaching the old French front between Frise and Dompierre."

There is also a note regarding this action at the bottom of page 770. Here is an abridged transcript highlighting specific references to the 10th Battalion:

"Neligan's (Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder-Neligan CMG DSO and Bar DCM C de G, Commanding Officer of the 10th Battalion) method was to send forward patrols by stages and at each stage dribble the platoons up to them."

"Both battalions advanced again, the 10th about noon outflanking stubbornly held German machine-gun posts at Justice and October 30 Woods..................by 6 p.m. the 10th battalion was through Nameless and Virgin Woods."

I hope this has been useful to you in learning more about your Great Uncle's service.

Tim L.

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Yeah Tim, have been keeping an eye on this and have seen the digtisled copy its amazing looking at the original papers written and signed on blew me away, is a very interesting read from what i can understand

thx heaps for the other info, that was amazing stuff, was that from a book? has given me a lot of info to go on

thanks for your help

Darren

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