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Andrew P

Australian Unit Histories

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frev

Hi Drew, Tim D & anyone else with Unit histories – just wondering if anyone could please check a few for me when time permits.

I’m after anything (and everything) that’s been written about the 4th Divisional Sports held at Allonville on the 22nd July 1918. Especially any detail on the crash in the first race, between Capt EHG Kemmis (4th Div HQ) & Capt RJ Smith, MC& Bar (4th DSC) which resulted in their deaths.

For the 4th Bde, I already have details from the 13th UH & Jacka’s Mob – would appreciate knowing about anything mentioned in the 14th, 15th & 16th UH’s.

12th Bde – have 46th UH details – anything in 45th & 48th (is there a 47th UH?)

13th Bde – have 51st UH details – anything in 49th & 50th (is there a 52nd UH?)

Thanks.............in anticipation...............cheers, Frev.

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Andrew P

Hi Frev

Will have a look over the weekend at the 16th, 45th, 48th. Hopefully Tim or Chris can help with the others.

The 52nd Bn unit history won't have anything in it about the accident as they were dissolved as a unit before this date.

Cheers

Andrew

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frev

Ta Drew - you're a gem as usual!

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Fedelmar

http://www.awm.gov.au/diaries/ww1/diary.asp?diary=82

Some of the Infantry Brigades and Unit Diaries are here.

You can follow the progress of digitisation for others from here:

http://www.awm.gov.au/diaries/ww1/index.asp

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Andrew P

Hi Frev

Nothing much in the 16th, 45th or 48th unfortunately.

The 48th mentions sports but nothing really specific but the 16th & 45th expand a bit more on it. The 16th mentions that two officers were killed and the fact that a German plane came over while the sports were being held. The 45th also touches on the large gathering attracting German attention.

I'll send the passages through on Monday if you want them.

Cheers

Andrew

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Chris Henschke

frev,

Capt Kemmis was riding LADY MARDA and Capt Smith was riding ETTA in event No. 1 Pozieres Stakes, 5 furlongs 12.15pm.

When you say that you are after 'anything (and everything) that’s been written about the 4th Divisional Sports' perhaps it would be helpful to say what you already have.

Chris Henschke

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frev

Thanks Drew - would really appreciate copies of the passages - every little bit helps build the story of the day.

Thanks heaps Chris - finding out the names of the men's mounts & what the first race was actually known as, are 2 crucial bits of info I was after. (would you be able to let me know the source - ta)

For your info, what I already have is as follows:

Allonville, 22nd July 1918

The village lay between Albert & Amiens

4th Divisional Sports:

4th Bde: 13, 14, 15 & 16 Bns

12th Bde: 45, 46, 47 & 48 Bns

13th Bde: 49, 50, 51 & 52 Bns

46th History:

“On July 22, 1918, the 4th Division held a most successful race meeting at Allonville, however, the first event was marred by a terrible accident resulting in two competitors being killed. Thousands of spectators from all of the allied armies were present and all, especially the Australians, were ready for a bit of a punt on the favourites, some of the spectators were said to have even turned up in aeroplanes! The 46th once again proved that it was a sporting, as well as a fighting power, taking out first place in the Hebuterne Scamper and places in the; Pozieres Stakes, Villers-Brettoneux Sprint, and the Messines Gallop. The 46th’s horses had proved very successful during this meet and as the unit diary stated, “a lot of punters were very successful through backing our colours.”

13th History:

“The Divisional Race Meeting on the 22nd was one of the greatest sporting events held anywhere on Western Front during the war. Motor lorries of troops – Australian, American, French and Imperial – came from far and wide to Allonville. In addition to races there were sideshows and fancy costumes galore, and a tote. An enemy plane came over from behind the clouds during the afternoon and destroyed an observation balloon near the course.

Unfortunately a tragic event marred the total enjoyment of the day – two Divisional officers being killed in a race.”

Jacka’s Mob – E.J. Rule:

Dear Aunt (27/7/1918)

……………. Our race meeting was a great success, apart from two officers being killed in the first race. ………….. About a dozen bookies and a “tote” catered for all who wanted to bet.

A squadron of Aussie airmen landed on the course, having come about a hundred miles, and they promptly commenced to enjoy themselves. By the time the races were finished some of them were well shickered but it made no difference to them. They climbed into their machines, and before they eventually started for home they did some of the maddest capers I’ve ever seen. ………………..(interesting description follows)

51st History:

“July 22nd was declared a holiday for the 4th Division’s horse race meeting, which was held at Allonville. Lieutenant Colonel Christie’s mount ‘Bob’ won the Pozieres Stakes; Major Fitzgerald’s ‘Quandong’ came second in the Mouquet Farm Plate and third in the Dernancourt Flutter. A member of the 51st Battalion Transport Section won a donkey race to tumultuous applause from the men of the 51st. The meeting was organized with a full complement of race officials and bookmakers and well-attended by all ranks. The weather broke on the following day, …………………”

[Lt Col Robert CHRISTIE & Maj Richard Francis FITZGERALD – both of the 51st Bn]

Australian Battlefields of the Western Front – Laffin:

[Allonville – the site of “The Allonville Disaster” – 30th May 1918 – attacked by the Germans after extracting info from POW’s] p.76

“On the 31 [sic] July 1918 the 4th Division held a famous race meeting on the aerodrome. About twenty pilots from Nos 2 and 4 Australian Flying Corps squadrons based further north flew in to bet on the events, which included Polygon Wood Jump, Pozieres Stakes and Mule Sprint and Steeple. As a climax to the exciting afternoon one of the fliers gave a breath-taking flying exhibition.”

The Great War – Carlyon:

“Haig thought horses were for cavalry; Australians knew what horses were really for: betting. A few weeks after Hamel the Australians staged a race meeting at Allonville, a few miles north-west of Bussy. Some 11,000 men attended – generals, privates, Australians, Canadians, Englishmen, Frenchmen – and one woman, identity unknown. There were a dozen bookmakers and a totalisator, a clerk of the course decked out in hunting pink and a judge’s box. The betting was furious on the Gallipoli Hurdle and the Pozieres Stakes. Much vin blanc was drunk in lieu of beer. Major A.W. Hyman of the 4th Division was clerk of the scales. He borrowed a butcher’s scale for weighing the ‘jockeys’. Two officers were killed in a fall in the first race. ‘Fortunately’, Hyman wrote, ‘we were able to keep the fact from the crowd.’

German balloons to the east overlooked the race meeting but not a shell was fired.”

[Major Arthur Wellesley HYMAN was the claims officer at 4th Div HQ for 2 years from August 1916]

The 2 officers killed:

Capt Ernest Henry George KEMMIS, 4th Division HQ

113th Howitzer Battery, 5th Div Fld Arty – blown up and partially buried by shell explosion at Fleurbaix 17/7/1916 – suffered shell shock, dazed for 24 hours – headache, insomnia, bad dreams & tremors

Embarked at Melbourne 29/9/1915 on the RMS Osterley - disembarked Suez 25/10/1915

Proceeded to join BEF 18/6/1916 on Kinfaus Castle – disembarked Marseilles 29/6/1916

Died 22/7/1918 from fracture to base of skull, sustained in a horse racing accident

Buried St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens

Born 1892, Age 25 at death - Son of Arthur & Mary Susannah Kemmis of St Kilda, Vic

Accountant – All Saints Grammar School – Royal Park Senior Cadets

[AWM have him in a group photo of 4 Div HQ, taken May 1918 Allonville – but not yet available on-line]

Capt Robert James SMITH (MC & Bar), 4th Division Signal Coy Engineers

Joined 2/11/1915 as a Lieut, and embarked with the 2nd Div Sig Coy 28/1/1916 on board the Themistocles.

Promoted to Captain 15/4/1917

Died 22/7/1918 at the Allonville aerodrome He was riding in the first event of the day, during the 4th Divisional Sports, when his horse fell. He was picked up unconscious and died later that day from a fracture to the base of the skull. (10th Fld Amb)

Age 43 at death

Buried St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens

Born 19/8/1876 at Wandandian near Nowra on the NSW Shoalhaven Coast (reg. Shoalhaven) – son of William and Elizabeth Barker Smith, husband of Isabella Grace (nee POWELL) SMITH of Strathfield, NSW (married in 1909 at Waverley, NSW)

Children: Thelma M. & Arthur George

Occupation: Inspector of Line Construction at the PMG’s Department

Served as a Lieut with the 24th Sig Coy Militia

Thanks again - Cheers, Frev

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simon.stevens1@virgin.net

Hello Andrew,

I'm putting together a history of the men from the villlage of Newick in East Sussex, England who were killed.

One was Sydney Septimus Smith (7th son, hence the name) who emigrated to Australia pre-war. I've got his service record, but if you could look up the date of his death in the diary of the 14th Battalion AIF I'd be extremely grateful. He was killed on the 19th August 1915 and is commemorated at Lone Pine.

It wasn't the grestest of times for the Smith family, Sydney was the first of four brothers to be killed.

Many thanks in advance for this.

yours gratefully,

Simon

Newick, East Sussex, England

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Andrew P

Hi Simon I will have a look at the 14th history and get back to you soon regarding what it says for the 19th of August. In the meantime you may want to check the unit diary for the 14th Battalion which is on line at the Australian War Memorial.

http://www.awm.gov.au/diaries/ww1/folder.asp?folder=955

Regards

Andrew

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Andrew P
Thanks Drew - would really appreciate copies of the passages - every little bit helps build the story of the day.

Hi Frev

16TH Battalion

“On July 20 brigade sports were held in the Querrieu area. It was a glorious day and the whole programme went with a swing. The aquatic matches were held in the morning and the athletic events in the afternoon. Generals Sir William Birdwood and Sir John Monash were present, and it was the former’s last appearance as Commander of the Australian Corps. The ground presented a festive appearance, as there were several side shows, including a circus provided by the 7th AASC, a fortune teller from the Trench Mortar Battery and many men in fancy costumes, whose actions were extremely funny. In addition various bookmakers shouted the odds and a 15th Battalion Captain ran a totalisator. The four battalion bands of the brigade with the assistance of the band of the 132nd U.S. Infantry Regiment dispensed appropriate music during the afternoon.

In the evening a concert party from 108th U.S. Engineers entertained a very large gathering in front of the Querrieu Chateau. It was a very amusing & enjoyable performance. In the opinion of the Diggers, this day represented one of the most successful days of entertainment in the history of the battalion.

This was followed on the next day by a presentation of medals and ribbons by Lieut-General Sir John Monash. The 22nd saw a race meeting organized at Allonville. The weather was ideal and the events interesting, but unfortunately, the outing was marred by a regrettable accident, in which two officers were killed. During the progress of this meeting an enemy plane came over and fired an observation balloon, near to the sports ground."

45th Battalion history

"On July 22nd, the 4th Division held a most successful race meeting at Allonville. Thousands of soldier spectators, mostly Australians, but including English, Scotch, Irish, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, French & Belgians were present. They came to this race meeting in motor cars, lorries and wagons, on horses and bicycles, by foot and even in aeroplanes. It was an extraordinary spectacle seeing that it was held only nine miles from the firing line. No doubt the German observers reported that the “Mad” British were indulging in sport again"

Cheers

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frev

Thanks a heap Drew - the story grows!

Cheers, Frev

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simon.stevens1@virgin.net

Hello Andrew,

Many thanks for your time and the link. I'd previously looked for the War Diary on-line but couldn't find it : always pays to ask someone who knows!

Thanks again.

All the best,

Simon.

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mick_ryan
Thanks Sandra. My relative was in the 3rd battalion so its not online yet but I have bookmarked it.

Keith

Looks like you didnt get any replies, so, I shall answer for you.

The 18th were heavily involved in Battle of Menin Road. Plenty of hard fighting, where the Battalion distinguished itself. Six days later, they were thick in it, with the Battle of Polygon Wood, again, with a starring role.

If you manage to find a copy of Hells Bells & Mademoiselles, by Maxwell, the Battalion's VC Winner (& MC + bar, DCM), he covers this period.

Or you could wait 12-24 months, and buy my unit history, :rolleyes:

Mick

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Chris Henschke

Frev,

The information regarding the horses is from a programme of the race day that a friend has.

The field in which the event was held is still much as it was. I have attached a Google Earth image of the location.

My old notes also show a reference to the July, 1931 edition Reveille [unfortunately, at the time, I took no other details].

What a shame the original concept of this thread has turned into a free-for-all ask any question about the AIF. It makes it almost impossible to follow. I rarely look at it.

Chris Henschke

post-671-1197484666.jpg

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Andrew P
Hello Andrew,

Many thanks for your time and the link. I'd previously looked for the War Diary on-line but couldn't find it : always pays to ask someone who knows!

Thanks again.

All the best,

Simon.

Simon

The 14th Battalion history by Newton Wanliss doesn't mention anything about the 19th of August. On the 20th he talks about them getting ready to attack Hill 60 and the few days prior to the 19th of August they had a few days out of the attack, so hopefully the actual war diary might shed more light. Your soldier is mentioned in the Roll of Honour in the back of the book.

Regards

Andrew

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frev
The information regarding the horses is from a programme of the race day that a friend has.

The field in which the event was held is still much as it was. I have attached a Google Earth image of the location.

My old notes also show a reference to the July, 1931 edition Reveille [unfortunately, at the time, I took no other details].

Chris - thanks once again for your help.

I know it's asking an awful lot - but you never know till you try - I don't suppose there's any chance of getting a scan of your friends Race Program - or failing that - at least some idea of what order the other races were held in.

Thanks for the Google Earth image too - such a marvellous tool that I keep forgetting about.

I've noted the Reveille edition & will have a look through Bryn's list of Reveille articles - fingers crossed, he may have something - otherwise will add it to my gi-normous list for my next visit to the AWM.

Thanks again, cheers, Frev.

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simon.stevens1@virgin.net

Hello Andrew

Many thanks for taking the time to look : much appreciated. To be honest, your link to the War Diary has given me all the info. I need, so many thanks for that too.

All the best,

Simon.

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Andrew P

Hi Jesse, Unfortunately I don't have one on the 35th, not even sure if a history has been written.

The Australian War Memorial has digitised the actual unit war diaries though so you might want to check on the 35th Battalion's actions that way.

Cheers

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Andrew P
Anything on the 35th AIF?

Jesse

The 35th Battalion history has now been digitsed and is up on the War Memorial site.

Regards

Andrew

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mick_ryan

Just an update....

I have now almost completed an entire run of Infantry Battalions for the WWI to the AIF. Lacking a few in the latter Battalions.

My own book is slowly taking shape, and have been recently successful in picking up several photos of casualties. I have copied a significant diary to an NCO, later promoted to Lt, which has provided some much needed background to much of the Battalions actions, whilst out of the line.

I am open to any lookups, but bear in mind, I work around 1500km away from my library. I work a 10 day on, 4 day off roster.

Mick

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Aaron Pegram

Hi guys,

I was wondering if anybody could tell me whether a unit history exists for the 47th Bn? Im particularly interested in the fighting at Dernancourt, and not necessarily McDougall's VC.

Cheers,

Aaron

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hyvfam

Hi Andrew

I am wondering if you would have any information on what the 11th battallion 3rd infantry was doing around June 1915.

However, any information on the battallion formation onwards would be great.

I believe my grandfather John Edward Hill enlisted within days of War being announced. I would love to know the unit History.

John Edward was wounded in action on or about 3 May to the date of 9 June 1915 in Gallipoli penninsula. About three weeks later he was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Helippolis?

He was discharged back to Australia by August 1915 so anything up to this date especially would be great.

I notoiced that their is a book on the 11th called 'legs eleven'. I have had no luck trying to track a copy though.

John Edward Hills regiment number was 437 and rank was private.

Many thanks for offering help on this.

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