Sunday, April 29, 2018

52 Ancestors - Anzac Day

I'm being a rebel again, in my own very tiny way. This week's theme is "cemetery" but the list is very American and is really just a prompt to get you writing about your ancestors, so instead I've gone with "Anzac Day".

First up, on my side, we have David Eric Morton who was my 1st cousin, twice removed (son of my maternal great-grandmother Emma Morton's brother).

According to the Australian War Memorial, he was a Private in the Army/Flying Corps. His WWI records show he signed up on 19 March 1917 in Sydney when he was 20 years old and he embarked on 9 May 1917 on the "Port Sydney", arriving in the Suez on the 8th September 1917 as part of the Camel Reserve Corps - 1st Camel Battalion as a Private.

The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade was formed in 1916 from British and Commonwealth troops and was attached to the Anzac Mounted Division. There were four regiments: the 1st and 3rd were Australian, the 2nd was British and the 4th was a mix of New Zealanders and Australians. Each regiment had around 770 men and at full strength, the brigade contained almost 4000 camels. Apparently, the men of the ICC had a rough reputation, largely because when te Corps was originally formed, Australian battalion commanders had seized upon it as an opportunity to offload some of their more difficult characters.

In July 1918, David was transferred to the AAVC - the Australian Army Vetenirary Corps as part of the Lighthorse Brigade, before then being transferred to the AASC - the Royal Australian Army Service Corps in September 1918, which was a supply unit. He embarked back to Australia on 20 July 1919 on the "Morvada".

That's all I can find on my side of the family for WWI - although I admit I wish we had better searching capability on Ancestry for recalling say "all relatives with WWI service" (you can only search for names in the tree).

Over on Andrew's side of the family, he has at least two WWI veterans and they were both married to his maternal grandmother, Blanche Annie Reynolds.

The first was William George Silas Bryson. He married Blanche on the 20 March 1911 and they had two daughters - Phyllis (1911) and Joyce (1914). He enlisted on the 20 April 1915 (five days before the landing at Gallipoli) and was first a Private then rose to Sergeant in the 3rd Australian Infantry Batallion. He was part of the 7th reinforcements and embarked aboard HMAT Orsova on 17 July 1915. He served at Gallipoli for about a month, before they withdrew.

Bill Bryson on the right,
wearing a badge to denote he is a qualified signaller. 

The battalion also fought at Lone Pine (Aug 1915), the Western Front, the Somme, Flanders, Poziers and the Hinderburg line, until the 11 November 1918 armistice.

Bill died on 28 January 1919 in Dartford, UK from influenza after returning from battle. If you are ever at the War Memorial in Canberra, he is found on panel 35, and his name will be projected on quite a few dates in 2018.

Blanche remarried after Bill's death to Ellwood James "Ted" Homewood (Andrew's maternal grandfather) in 1922. He had previously served as a Private also in the 3rd Australian Infantry Batallion, enlisting on 2 September 1915.

He was injured whilst serving - apparently shot and the bullet landed near his heart. He suffered from that injury after returning to Australia on 20 October 1918. 

He went on to have two children - David James in 1921 and Patricia Mary (Andrew's mum) in 1924. He died as a result of his war injuries on 6 December 1933 aged 46.

The impact of war on families should never be underestimated. Whether they died in service, came home injured or suffered PTSD as a result of the unimaginable horrors they saw and participated in. 

Lest we forget.

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