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Fedelmar

Hugo Throssell VC

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Fedelmar

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Hugo Throssell VC 10th Light Horse is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery W. Australia. He was the only member of the entire Light Horse to receive a VC despite the battle honours.

Hugo Throssell's grave is a private memorial and is not under the auspices of the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG). I stop by regularly and clean his grave up, put poppies there on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. I don't have flowers in my garden (yet) so I cut roses out of the cemetery gardens and put them on his grave :rolleyes:

I wrote a letter to Department of Veteran's Affairs 16th June asking that the OAWG take care of it ... I thought they might at least make an exception to the rule in his case. How naive of me!

I received a reply today. Vets Affairs through OAWG is COMMITTED to maintaining his memorial plaque in the Garden of Remembrance but do not have the statutory authority to care for his grave!!! However, Vets Affairs have notified the West Australian Heritage Council of the importance of his grave and suggest I consider taking it up with them!!! They can't look after heritage listed buildings in this state let alone Throssell's grave.

As Andrew P pointed out to me, it's buck passing at it's best. If I approach the Heritage Council they will say it's the National Trust that should look after who in turn will say it's Karrakatta Cemetery's responsibility who will then say its the Army or 10th LH and who in turn will say its the Office of Australian War Graves.

Hugo Throssell's grave is the only one of the VC winners buried in at Karrakatta Cemetery that the OAWG do not tend.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Borden Battery

Here is some additional information, much of which you probably already have but it will be interesting reading for others.

THROSSELL, Hugo Vivian Hope. (reg No.1214).

Second Lieutenant. 10th Light Horse Regiment. Australian Imperial Force.

London Gazetted on 15th October 1915.

VC Medal's Custodian is the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Austrailia.

Born 27th October 1884 at Northam , Western Australia.

Died on 19th November 1933 at Perth, Australia.

Memorial on a plaque at Greenmount, Australia and on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia.

Digest of Citation reads:

During operations on the Kaiakij Aghala, ( known as Hill 60), in the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 29th/30th August 1915, although a seriously wounded in several places during a counter-attack, Lieutenant Throssell refused to leave his post to receive medical assistance until he was satisfied that all danger was past. When he had his wounds dressed, he returned to the firing line until he was ordered out of the action by the Medical Officer. He was largely responsible, at that critical period, for saving the situation by his personal courage and fine example, by which he managed to keep up the spirits of his party.

Additional information:. Lieutenant Throssell was the youngest son of the Honourable George Throssell, CMG. At the beginning of the European War (WW I) he enlisted in the 10th Light Horse Regiment. He was first promoted to Sergeant and then gained a commission. For a time the Regiment was in Egypt before moving, dismounted, to Gallipoli, leaving Lieutenant Throssell in charge of the horses. He rejoined his regiment in Gallipoli Peninsula in time to take part, at Walker's Ridge, in the now famous charge of the Light Horse Brigade on the 7th August 1915. He was invalided to England suffering from meningitis, before returning to his regiment, which was then serving in Egypt and on to Palestine.

On his return to Australia, he married Katharine Susannah Prichard, the prize-winning author of "The Pioneers," a tale of Australian life. He did sterling work for the Discharged Soldier's Association in Western Australia.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Source:

Victoria Cross Research [Created by the late Alfred J. Askin]

This website was created by the late Alfred J. Askin and now maintained by Rhys Adams one of his grandsons. The site includes some of the following features: complete listing of all Victoria Crosses awarded and indexed by surname and with a summary of the military action and additional background information, Victoria Crosses indexed by Aircrew, ANZACS, Asian Recipients, Crimean War, Foreign born, Irish born, Welsh born, Scottish born and the Victoria Cross [VC]Rules (1856-1920). [June 2006]

http://www.victoriacross.co.uk/

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Fedelmar

Yes I did but others may not have.

Sadly Hugo Throssell committed suicide and much speculation has been made as to why he did.

This is one of the reasons why I choose to take care of his grave.

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cazna

Fedelmar

Good on you mate!!

Duncan

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Fedelmar

Thanks Duncan :)

I remembered an interesting point in this saga of removing headstones from soldiers graves and looking after Throssell's.

The rule is ... if a soldier has an official headstone (war dead) then a plaque in the Garden of Remembrance is not permitted. Throssell has a plaque in the Garden of Remebrance which is why the Vets Affairs have said they wont tend his grave. . Meaning that family headstones are not cared for by the OAWG.

YET for every unofficial headstone that is removed from Karrakatta Cemetery by the renewal program a plaque is erected in the Garden of Remembrance!!!!

Apart from that, I know for a fact that there are official war graves in at Fremantle Cemetery that have plaques in the Garden of Remembrance.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Peter Bennett

Dear Sandra, I visited this grave in March, when in Perth for my Daughters' Wedding.

As he is recorded as having a very close relationship with his Wife, do you know why she is not buried with him ?

http://nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms6201

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Fedelmar

Kathrine Pritchard Throssell died in 1969 aged 85. She was cremated at Karrakatta cemetery and her ashes were taken from there by the Funeral Director. She was still living up at Greenmount at the time of her death.

What became of her ashes I don't know.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Fedelmar

Just to bring this up to speed a little bit more.

I made a telephone call regarding the maintenance of Throssell's grave ... and am waiting for a reply however it is a little late in coming so I may need to follow this up shortly.

I was given a copy of Frank Throssell's headstone recently. As I understand it Hugo never really came to termswith his brother's death. I was at Karrakatta today, gave Hugo's grave a clean up and fresh flowers and buried in his gravesite a jar with a copy of the photograph of Frank's headstone in it.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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michaeldr

H V H Throssell was evacuated to England after the Hill 60 action and doctors managed to restore his hearing however in his weakened state he contracted meningitis and nearly died. He was recovering in Wandsworth Hospital when his brother Ric told him of the VC award.

In April 1916 he was invalided to Australia taking part in a number of recruiting drives before rejoining his unit, now in Palestine, on 17th March 1917

During the Battle of Gaza, Throssell was wounded again and his brother Ric was killed. Throssell spent the night combing the battlefield looking in vain for his brother's body. The loss left him with deep psychological scars.

The next year Throssell's health failed again and after a spell with a training unit he was returned to Australia.

In January 1919 he married the writer Katherine Susannah Pritchard whom he had met in England. She was a founder member of the Australian Communist Party and was supported in this by the VC hero (at a victory parade in Northam in July 1919 he said that "war had made him a socialist" – this was greeted by the crowds with silence.)

In the 1920s he tried to make a living in real estate but without success and the depression brought him to the brink of financial ruin. He believed that a war service pension would provide for his family and clear his debts, so he shot himself (19th Nov 1933) leaving a will in which he explained that he had "never recovered from my 1914-1918 experiences…"

Condensed from Stephen Snelling's excellent book 'VCs of the First World War – Gallipoli' see pages 221 to 229

Regarding names – Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell was (per Snelling's book) known in the family as 'Jim.' The brother known in the family as 'Ric' was Frank Eric Throssell

An article by Derek Hunt (in 'The Gallipolian' No.97 Winter 2001-2002) entitled 'Outcast Anzac Honoured' describes the dedication of a memorial to Throssell VC which was set up in Northam in 1999 at the very spot where he had addressed the crowd at the victory parade in 1919. The article concludes with the words of the Governor of Western Australia spoken after the unveiling "The people of Northam can take pride in having this reminder……………The formal honouring of such an inspiring, courageous man is well overdue." As Derek Hunt put it 'Northam's only Victoria Cross hero has been rehabilitated at last.'

1999 does not seem too long ago so I hope that the memorial is still there

And thanks to Sandra for looking after the grave. Derek Hunt's article also mentions 'The Hugo Throssell VC Memorial Fund' – can they be of any help to you or was it wound–up after the memorial was laid?

Best regards

Michael D.R.

ps: Derek Hunt also mentions that Throssell VC had a son, whom he named Ric after his brother. Tragically he "also killed himself some years later." If there was no other family then this may account for the neglected state of the grave?

Michael

Edited by michaeldr

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Peter Bennett

"Ric" Throssell died in 1999 aged 77, I have been unable to find out whether he commited suicide

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Borden Battery

Katharine Susannah Prichard 1883-1969

http://kspf.iinet.net.au/katharine/index.html

Katharine Susannah Prichard was the first Australian novelist to gain international recognition. In 1915, her novel, The Pioneers, won the Hodder and Stoughton All Empire Literature Prize for Australasia.

Fifty years later, with thirteen novels to her credit, five collections of short stories, ten plays, two films, two volumes of verse, translations into thirteen foreign languages and prizes for a novel, a short story and a play, Katherine confessed that she had been born "with ink in her veins". A love for writing was her inheritance.

Her father had been Editor of The Fiji Times when she was born at the height of a hurricane. "The Child of the Hurricane" the Fijians called her. It was to be the title of her autobiography, written in 1964 after she had lived through a lifetime of conflict, triumph, tragedy and unremitting struggle for the things she believed in.

The editor's blue pencil was her first literary lesson as a staff journalist on The Melbourne Herald. "You must make every word count", he taught her. But when the opportunity arrived in 1908, she eagerly accepted an assignment in London and Paris.

The misery of starving men and women, the homeless, the desperation of the hunger marchers spurred her search for the way to a fairer world. "I wouldn't have the poor of London on my conscience", she wrote. She found her answer in the promises of socialism - hopeless dreams, until she saw in the improbable victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia, the hope that their dreams might become reality.

London too brought changes to her own life. With the laurels of her own literary victory still fresh, she met an Australian Light Horseman at a convalescent hospital for Australian soldiers. Lieut. Hugo Throssell from Perth had recently been awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding gallantry at Gallipoli.

Katharine Prichard had returned to Melbourne to a triumphal welcome when the war ended and Captain Hugo Throssell V.C. could also come home to Australia and claim her. Katharine and her "Jim" were married in 1919, with bushfire smoke blue in the air around their honeymoon cottage at Greenmount.

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michaeldr

Peter,

Thanks for that additional info on son Ric

Hunt's story about Ric is unconfirmed by Snelling's book as it dates from 1995.

What Snelling does have to say about Throssell's son Ric is that

I) he was their only son

II) at some time he was a Director of the Commonwealth Foundation

III) in 1984 he donated his father's VC medal to the People for Nuclear Disarmament

["Later his (H. V. H. Throssell's) medals were purchased by the Returned Services League of Australia and presented to the Australian War Memorial, Canberra."]

BB

Thanks too for the add info on Throssell's wife

Regards

Michael

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Fedelmar

Just to bring you up to speed on the subject of caring for Throssell's grave site. Below is a letter I have just sent.

Major General J P Stevens AO (Retd)

Director Office of Australian War Graves

Department of Veteran's Affairs

PO Box 21

Woden ACT 2606

Your Reference 022036

Dear Major General Stevens

Thank you for your letter of 19th June 2006.

I am disappointed with your response in relation to the care and maintenance of Hugo Throssell's gravesite.

I am aware of the 'rules' regarding memorial plaques in the Garden of Remembrance and private graves. There are two anomalies arising from this:

1: OAWG has seen fit to permit memorial plaques to be placed in the Garden of Remembrance for those unofficial headstones that are removed from the graves of our defence personnel buried in at Karrakatta Cemetery.

2: I know for a certainty that there are several plaques in at the Garden of Remembrance that have official headstones and under the direct care of the OAWG.

Therefore I find it mystifying that you find it necessary to refuse to tend the grave of Captain Throssell, even more so as his is the only VC one that is not. Whilst the OAWG may not have the statutory authority to care for the gravesite the license has expired and the gravesite is now the property of the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board and permission may certainly be given.

In relation to the heritage significance of Capt Throssell's gravesite, I remind you this will not include the care and maintenance required and it would have been more pertinent for the OAWG to apply for the heritage status.

Bright Blessings

Sandra PLAYLE

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Andy in West Oz

Sandra

I'm in Perth and would like to help if I can. Have emailed and pm'd you.

Cheers

Andy

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Guest kimedw

Hello,

My name is Kim Edwards and I'm Hugo Throssell's great, great, great niece. I was just researching some family history and came across this forum and am hoping to clarify a couple of your questions.

Hugo Throssell shot himself after suffering depression and then losing his business during the Depression - he thought Katherine, his wife, and his son Ric would be better off due to money they would receive from his WWI service.

There is a lot of literature about this and the best book to read would be My Father's Son, a biography written by Ric Throssell.

Ric did commit suicide in 1999 - I only just found this out and have been trying to find out why but I believe he overdosed on sleeping pills, alongside his wife who was suffering from cancer.

Ric had a daughter, Karen. She is also a writer (poetry) and you can find information about her on the internet. She lives in Melbourne.

Katherine's ashes were scattered on Greenmount Hill, as per her request, in the valley across from her house. Her house is now used as a creative writers' centre. There is a website on it.

I hope this helps a bit.

Kind regards,

Kim

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Fedelmar

Thanks for your contact Kim.

Just to let you know that I am not able to stop by Hugo's grave as regularly as I would like having moved further away. But I do visit quite often and clean up his grave and put fresh flowers on it.

Please pass on my regards to Hugo's family.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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