Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Australian Graves


Steven Broomfield

Recommended Posts

Steven Broomfield

A few weeks ago I had to go to a meeting in Harefield, West London. Quite by chance I passed a sign indicating Australian Graves, so I went to have a look, and found the local Parish Chuch had a very prtty little burial ground of Australians who had died in a local hospital during the Great War.

I had to return for another meeting this week, so i took a camera; attached are a few shots. I have to go back yet again on 13th july, so if anyone wants shots of specific graves, PM me and I'll try and oblige.

This is a general view:

Close-up of the obelisk inscriptions:

post-6673-1150362909.jpg

post-6673-1150362973.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

And the other side

A couple of headstones

post-6673-1150363109.jpg

post-6673-1150363152.jpg

post-6673-1150363163.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

The gateway and another general shot

post-6673-1150363222.jpg

post-6673-1150363237.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Stephen Nulty

Great photos, Steve. Thanks for posting them.

I notice on CWGC that it states "Uniquely, their graves are marked by scroll shaped headstones, chosen by the staff and patients at the hospital".

Link to post
Share on other sites

These are the graves of Australians who died of wounds in Harefield Hospital, now the well known heart place?

IIRC the Australian community in Britain hold a service there on Armistice Sunday. They have done so at least once, and I have an idea that they do so every year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Before it became a specialist heart hospital, Harefield was a general hospital and prior to that a TB sanitorium.

It's original location, outside of the suburbs, on a hill, with good, clean air made it an ideal place for treating chest complaints. Could it be that it was used in WW1 for gas casualties?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

Don't know the provenance, I'm afraid. The headstones are interesting: if you look at the shot of the rear of several, you will see 2 different designs. The design nearer the camera has the inscription as applied letters in lead (?), whereas the other design has the lettering engraved.

I think Beppo's right about the service: the obelisk was well-stocked with wreaths from the great and good (and Hillingdon Council!).

The reason I was there was a visit to the Dogs Trust's new West London place...very nice.

Also a lovely little church, tho' sadly locked on both visits :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for posting these photos Steven.

If it's not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could take a photo of my Great Uncle's headstone - he is one of the 111 Anzacs buried there (+ an Aussie Nurse).

His name is Percival Cecil LUCAS and he's buried in grave no. 94. Percy survived the fighting only to catch the dreaded flu whilst on leave in England - he died 10th Dec 1918.

He, along with all the others buried there, has been visited every Anzac Day since 1921 by the Harefield School children, who place flowers on all the graves - such a wonderful gesture.

For more info on the Harefield Hospital see here:

http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/harefield/doc.htm

I'll PM you with my email address.

Thanks again, Frev.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just came across this thread and what a find!

How kind of you to post these pics, Steven. Many thanks too for filling in the context too guys.

Robbie

Link to post
Share on other sites
I notice on CWGC that it states "Uniquely, their graves are marked by scroll shaped headstones, chosen by the staff and patients at the hospital".

They also paid for them. They stopped the practice when they learnt that CWGC would provide headstones from 1919 onwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing thos photos with us Stephen.

While checking out something else on the AWM Honour Roll I came across this photo of a casualty buried at Harefield.

c September 1915 Studio portrait of 1233 Trooper (Tpr) William Crellin Clover, 9th Reinforcements, 4th Light Horse Regiment, of Drouin, Vic, aged 23. Tpr Clover enlisted on 26 July 1915 and embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Hororata on 27 September 1915. He was later transferred to the 2nd Light Horse Regiment. Tpr Clover died of illness on 23 June 1917 at No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park, England.

Regards

Andrew

post-43-1150863357.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Before it became a specialist heart hospital, Harefield was a general hospital and prior to that a TB sanitorium.

It's original location, outside of the suburbs, on a hill, with good, clean air made it an ideal place for treating chest complaints. Could it be that it was used in WW1 for gas casualties?

Thanks for the information, squirrel. So the man to which Andrew refers may have died from TB? Or was this hospital already a "heart" hospital at this time?

Robbie

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure about when it was first used as a TB Sanitorium; what info I have suggests that the specialist Heart Hospital was much later than WW1.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Stephen Nulty

Extract from a Hansard report on a debate on Harefield's future....

"In the words of the author of its history, the cardiothoracic surgeon Mary Shepherd, who worked there for some 20 years, Harefield hospital is "the heart of Harefield", the place where in the great war 50,000 wounded Anzacs were treated, and close to where 114 of their number remain to lie in St. Mary's churchyard, in graves bedecked and garlanded with spring flowers by local school children every Anzac day.

Between the wars, Harefield hospital treated the scourge of tuberculosis. In the second world war, Harefield dealt with casualties north of the river Thames and, with St. Mary's hospital, Paddington, enlarged its scope to deal with general and thoracic surgical war casualties, hence its current expertise."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Former consultant thoracic surgeon Harefield Hospital, Middlesex (b 1933; q Royal Free Hospital 1957; MS, FRCS), died from thyroid cancer on 20 October 2003.

Mary Shepherd embarked on a career in cardiothoracic surgery and first worked at Harefield as a registrar in 1963, being promoted to senior registrar shortly thereafter. She spent a year in research at Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital with Dr W T Mustard, and her work on the diaphragmatic muscle graft formed the basis for a Hunterian professorship and her MS thesis. She was appointed as a consultant at Harefield in 1968 and remained there until she retired in 1985 to pursue other interests. During that time she helped to train a generation of thoracic surgeons and engaged actively in clinical research.

A larger than life character, her operating garb of cotton headscarf, green dress, and white boots made a striking impression on all those privileged to work with her. Her Mark II Jaguar would always be parked at the door, and, if you were very lucky, on social occasions, you might hear her play the piano accordion. Yet she had a serious side. Her paper on plombage published in Thorax in 1985 is still a standard text to be read by any surgeon with the now unusual task of managing the complications of this method of treating tuberculosis. In her spare time she also served on the board of visitors at Wormwood Scrubs prison.

Age robbed her of none of her character and she bore her final illness with great fortitude and dignity.

source: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/ful...7427/1351-c/DC1

shepherdm.jpg

post-4246-1150895871.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks so much for posting these photos Steven.

If it's not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could take a photo of my Great Uncle's headstone - he is one of the 111 Anzacs buried there (+ an Aussie Nurse).

His name is Percival Cecil LUCAS and he's buried in grave no. 94. Percy survived the fighting only to catch the

Thanks again, Frev.

Frev

If Steven can't do it I hope to be there next week.

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mike - Steven has let me know there's no problems doing this for me - but I wouldn't knock back any photo that anyone decided to take............... :)

Ta, Frev

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add, if anyone reads this thread in the future I live just round the corner from Harefield so PM me any requests.

Jane

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-5991-1151150612.jpg

To Steven and others

Thanks for posting the information. I notice the headstone to 2730 Serjeant C.E. Bradford MM and Bar and thought I would do a bit of research. Here is a brief account of his military career.

Clement Everly Bradford was born at Ashbourne, South Australia, in 1896. He was educated at Mount Barker High School, located about 40 kilometres from Adelaide in the Adelaide Hills. Whilst at school Clement received two year’s training in the senior cadets. On leaving school he undertook work as a house painter and dairyman. Clement enlisted in the AIF on 28 May 1915 at the age of 18 years 11 months, giving his trade or calling as shop assistant. At that time he was accepted into the 8th reinforcements for the 10th Infantry Battalion.

Information provided by his mother, Julia Bradford, for the Roll of Honour mentions that “He was more than anxious to enlist with his elder brothers when war was declared but was only 18 years old. After, he went to Torrens Island to guard German prisoners and enlisted 2 months afterwards.” [During the war the Australian Army used the quarantine station on Torrens Island as an internment camp for “enemy aliens”. It’s possible that part of Clement’s one year of service in the Citizen Forces was spent on Torrens Island]

Four months after enlistment, on 21 September 1915, Pte. Bradford embarked on active service with the 9th Reinforcements, 10th Battalion, leaving Adelaide on HMAT A15 Star of the Sea. [Change to the 9th Reinforcements occurring on 1 September 1915]

On 25 November 1915 he was “taken on strength” in the 10th Battalion at Mudros. The service records do not show whether he proceeded to Gallipoli. By late December 1915, however, he had arrived in Alexandria and on 26 February 1916 he transferred to the 50th Battalion. The Australian War Memorial records that this battalion “was raised in Egypt on 26 February 1916 as part of the “doubling” of the AIF. Approximately half of its recruits were veterans from the 10th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 10th, the 50th was predominantly composed of men from South Australia. The battalion became part of the 13th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division.”

The 50th Battalion arrived in France on 11 June 1916, disembarking the next day at Marseilles. Its first major engagement was in the Battle of Pozieres, specifically the fighting for Mouquet Farm between 13 and 15 August 1916. On 14 August, whilst in the field, Clement was promoted to lance corporal. Several days later he reported sick with a bronchial condition, a forerunner to later health problems. He was treated in the field and returned to the Battalion in early November 1916, by which time the Battalion together with other Australian forces had moved to the southern half of the Ypres salient. There followed a bitterly cold and wet winter during which the Battalion participated in front line duties, interspersed with training and labouring in the rear lines.

On 13 February 1917 Clement was admitted to a casualty clearing station with influenza. Fuelled by the harsh conditions of winter the incidence of flu had spread throughout the units. Clement’s condition seems to have deteriorated and he was eventually transferred to England for treatment, remaining there till mid-October 1917.

On 24 October 1917 he rejoined the 50th Battalion in the field with the rank of corporal remaining there for almost a year. During this time the Battalion was involved in the significant actions at Dernancourt on 5 April 1918 (Battle of the Ancre) and Second Villers-Bretonneux on 24-25 April 1918.

The attrition rate over this period was considerably high and with his experience Clement rose to the rank of temporary sergeant on 23 July 1918 and then sergeant on 1 August 1918. The months of August and September 1918 saw an escalation in fighting commencing with the major Allied offensive launched on 8 August. It was during this period that Clement was awarded a Military Medal and bar.

His first award was gained on 12-13 August 1918 during an attack by the 50th Battalion to clear the Etinehem peninsula, north of the Somme River leading to Bray. (See the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, Vol IV. Pp 711-712, 1942 edition).

The citation states:

On the 12th August, 1918, near BRAY-sur-SOMME this N.C.O. with one man carried out a daring daylight patrol and located the positions of several hostile machine guns. During the night 12th/13th August he took out a fighting patrol of 15 men which he led with exceptional courage and dash. Against strong opposition he captured a hostile machine gun with some of the crew.

In spite of a determined effort of the enemy with superior numbers to recapture the gun he fought his way back to our lines without losing the captured gun or his prisoners.

The bar was gained a month later on 13 September 1918 during the attack on the Hindenburg outpost line between 12-18 September. The citation states:

On 13th Septr. 1918 near LE VERGUIER N.W. of St QUENTIN, this N.C.O. showed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst in charge of his platoon in a night advance. The platoon came under heavy machine gun fire from the enemy who were strongly entrenched, but this N.C.O. with determination, and setting a high example of bravery, led his men forward and gained the objective. The enemy then counter-attacked him strongly, and although he had but few men, his determination, fearlessness, and cheerfulness in keeping his men together, was undoubtedly the cause of the platoon being able to hold on and consolidate the position.

As a result of this operation, heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and two machine guns captured. This N.C.O. has already been recommended for a M.M.

Having spent just under a year in the field, Clement was given leave to England on 24 September 1918. However, it was not long before he succumbed to illness again, probably due to a combination of his previous health conditions and being worn down by the stress of battle. On 7 October 1918, having presented to the Medical Inspection Room of the Administration Headquarters AIF in Horseferry Road, London, Clement was admitted to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Harefield. He died five days later on 12 October 1918, one month before the war’s end. The primary cause of death being heart failure, with the secondary cause being influenza and pneumonia.

Clement was buried with full military honours at 2.30pm on Wednesday 16 October 1918 in the Australian Section, Harefield Parish Churchyard. Sergeant W. J. Austin was buried at the same time. A firing party and bugler from Headquarters and several staff and patients from the Hospital attended the ceremony, which was conducted by Chaplain the Reverend A.P. Bladen, who was attached to the Auxiliary Hospital. Mr C. Billyard-Leake of Harefield provided a wreath.

In due course, Clement’s modest possessions were sent home to his mother. In addition to his Military Medal and bar, Clement received the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These, together with a death plaque and certificate, were also sent to his parents.

May he rest in peace.

Information sources:

The Australian War Memorial – roll of honour, nominal role, embarkation role, honours and award role, recommendations for honours and awards, Red Cross wounded and missing file

National Archives of Australia – digitised service record and information sheets

C.E.W. Bean, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, Vol IV The AIF in France 1917, Vols. V and VI The AIF in France 1918.

I would be interested to see a photo of the church if someone could oblige. Also, looking at the headstone there appears to be a photo of a soldier (Clement) in the bottom right hand corner. Would it be possible to get a close up photo please?

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice bio Chris and well researched. I was just reading through the thread and had decided to do the same thing but then found you'd already done it.

Tim L.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As Tim said - excellent work Chris - thanks so much for telling Sgt Bradfords' story - and thanks for adding the photo Jane.

Another poor soul brought back to life. (so to speak!)

Cheers, Frev

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jane, thanks for the close up of Sgt. Bradbury's photo and for the link to the church.

Tim and Frev, thank you for your compliments. I did enjoy putting the piece together. There may be more to add if I can get back to Canberra soon and look through the battalion diary.

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but I've just returned from a week's skiing holiday in Perisher Valley (I do the cross country and mountain trekking in solitude taking lots of photos on the way, whilst the wife and girls hurl themselves down the slopes). Back to the rat race on Monday.

Cheers for now

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 14 years later...

Good morning on this Remembrance Day 2020.

In St. Mary's Church Harefield there are two memorials - one to the Australian soldiers buried in the neighbouring churchyard and one to the 'Men of Harefield' killed in the Great War. On this latter memorial several surnames are repeated suggesting some families suffered terrible loss within this community of barely two thousand people. This might explain why the villagers of Harefield showed great compassion to the ANZAC soldiers recuperating at Harefield - inviting them into their homes, volunteering at the Hospital and generally welcoming them within the community.IMG_0268.jpeg.025204b63028288bed5f4f2d88bfac60.jpeg 

IMG_0264.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...