Point Clare Cemetery War Graves

two same numbers

Point Clare Cemetery War Graves

Until the mid 1950’s all returning servicemen and women could if requested by the family, receive the honour of a beautiful white marble or brown granite headstone courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are in total 23 Official War Grave Headstones that are the traditional headstones, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (They maintain, weed and clean them annually).  After sometime in the 1950’s they ceased to issue the stone headstone and reverted to a brass plaque to commemorate the War dead.

The stone headstones are made of the white marble from South Ulam in Queensland and is used for Australian war graves throughout the world. South Ulam marble is a metamorphic rock that is created from limestone after it has been subjected to extreme heat and pressure. The size of the calcite crystals in South Ulam marble has been determined by the amount of metamorphism it had been exposed to.

Marble that has been exposed to higher levels of heat and pressure generally have larger calcite crystals than it would have otherwise. These over sized crystals is what makes these war graves sparkle the way that they do.

crest

There are also brown stone war graves at Point Clare Cemetery, they are made from a stone called Trachyte, which is a fine grained form of granite from the Southern Highlands near Bowral NSW.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission assures me that they do not make mistakes when it comes to the War Graves at this or any other cemetery and that their records are a true and correct reflection of what is at ground level at the site. I beg to differ. There are mistakes as to the number of stones/what they are made of, service numbers of the soldiers and the details on the stones (like the age when the soldier died).

For the number of mistakes in this cemetery alone, Point Clare is by no means one of the largest cemeteries in the country, one can only imagine how many other mistakes there are on stones in other cemeteries around Australia.

mason

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records reflect that there are seven white Marble stones and that the rest are of the brown trachyte granite. As you glance around Point Clare Cemetery you will see several of the white Ulam Marble  war grave stones and it will not take you long to count more than seven of the white ones. My estimate is there is thirteen of the white marble stones all up. But there is an even more curious mistake amongst these war graves but I will get to that a bit later. Including one that is not on their official list (P. J. Wells). It is to our benefit that there are more of the white marble stone than the brown trachyte one as the white stones just sparkle and gleam back at you.

digger

Not all of the people in these graves made a name for themselves in the local paper, which is my primary source of information for all of this cemetery some of the following is information gleaned about these some returned soldiers from either the local paper or their war service records. I will in time add to this list and attempt to find information about all 23 of these returned service men. There is no particular reasoning as to why someone gets a white or a brown headstone, but there is an effort to conserve some of the white marble as it is a finite resource reserved for the Commonwealth War Graves in other countries.

There is only one stone that was erected during the wars (either WW1 or WW2) a brown trachyte stone. This is the grave of Reginald Thompson, a 16 year old Naval cadet who went AWOL and committed suicide in the bush up at Somesby in the summer of 1919.

Reginald Thomas enlisted 19 August, 1918, His service record is only 2 pages long, he had “Straw” coloured hair fair complexion and blue eyes. He was 5 foot 4 inches tall. He has a scar on his right  third finger on the inside. He died on or about 14 January, 1919. The navy approved an expenditure of £10 in respect for his funeral and that money was forwarded to the Next of Kin. That is the extent of his service record.

reg map

Reginald Thompson       Aged 16                14/1/1919

Methodist Section 1       Row       1              Grave 9

Service number                6793                 Brown Trachyte Military Stone

20th February 1919

Sad Suicide Case.

Naval Trainee Strangles Himself.

About 6 p m. on Thursday last Ernest Gambling accidentally came across a body suspended from a dry tree limb at Somesby about 50 yards off the main road. His attention was drawn to the spot by a horse rug which was also hanging from the tree.

He immediately rang up the police, and Sergeant Morris proceeded to the spot. The body was dressed in a striped cotton shirt, dark tweed coat and black sailor trousers. A pair of heavy boots with cashmere socks was lying close by.

There was also a bundle of sailor clothes near the spot bearing the names ‘ H. M.  A..S. Tingara ” and  R. W. Thompson.

The body, which was badly decomposed, was suspended from the tree limb by a cord attached to the boy’s neck. It was not sufficiently long to permit of any drop, and the lower portion of the body was practically resting on the ground.

In the breast of the coat pocket the Sergeant found a leather purse containing 17s Id.

Subsequently the body was identified by Mr. Robert Parsons and Mr. Henry Clarke as that of a lad named Reginald William Thompson. Deceased spent a portion of his Christmas holidays at Mr. Parsons’ place, and towards the end of his stay Mr. Parsons stated that the lad became very despondent and did not wish to return to the H.M.A.S. Tingara, where he was a naval trainee.

On Saturday an inquest was held at the Courthouse by the District Coroner, Mr. R. J Baker.

Mr. John W. Thompson, of Camperdown, stated that deceased was his son, aged 16 years and 8 months, and had been a trainee on the Tingara about six months. The lad had been on a holiday, spent at Mr. Parsons’ place, Somersby, and returned home on the 5th January.

He was due to return to his ship on the 13th and left home that day with his kit all packed up, and the parents were under the impression that he had gone back to the boat. But instead, the boy took train to Gosford and walked to Somersby, where during the night he secured a couple of rugs and lantern from the residence of Mr. Parsons, and, going into the bush about 300 yards away, nailed one of the rugs (a horse rug) to a tree.

Later on, probably next day or night, he placed his sailor uniform cord around his neck, the end tied to the limb of a tree, and in this determined way strangled himself.

The body was not found till a month later. A verdict was returned that the deceased died fron suffocation wilfully caused by strangling himself on or about the 14th day of January, 1919.

The remains were interred in Point Clare cemetery

thompson stone

Service record for Reginald Thompson

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=4523951&S=1&N=2&R=0#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=4523951&T=P&S=2

scanlon map

Patrick Joseph Scanlon                  20th September, 1924,                   Aged 40 years

Service number                                3682                       Brown Trachyte Military Stone

Roman Catholic,                               Section 1             Row 3                    Plot 1

Enlisted in 1917, aged 33 years. Was 5 foot 6inches tall with a fair complexion and auburn/red hair. His record notes his above the knee amputation (right leg) that happened after his term of service. He had been wounded in action, shot in the heel (again right leg) whilst serving. That injury to his heel and any further medical attention required for that heel was under the auspices of Veteran Affairs. Veteran Affairs appear to have paid for the false leg even though the heel injury was no more.

scanlon stone

25th September, 1924

P. J SCANLON.

On Saturday morning last, the death, occurred at the residence of his mother, Mrs. McCarthy, Gertrude Street, Gosford, of Mr. Patrick Joseph Scanlon, aged 40. He was a native of Quirindi, but had resided for some time in this district, and enlisted from Gosford for the A.I.F.

He served in the 33rd Battalion, and was wounded at the front in the ankle, and also gassed.

After his return to Australia he was thrown from a train while in charge of some horses returning from Canterbury Races; and a train passing on the next line severed one leg. He was a well-known figure about Gosford of late years, and many friends regret death, and express sympathy with relatives.

 Mr. Scanlon (who was generally known as McCarthy, his mother having married a second time) leaves a widow and a son nine years of age. Another son died at the age of five months while Mr. Scanlon was away with the A.I.F. The deceased ex-soldier had been ill for some time, and during –last week became much worse. Medical attention was given, but death came from heart failure. The funeral moved to Point Clare Cemetery on Sunday and was very largely attended.

The Rev. Father Donovan performed the last rites; and a number of wreaths were laid on the casket. Returned soldiers attended in uniform, and six of their number acted as pall-bearers.
25th September, 1924

DEATH.

SCANLON.— September 20th, 1924, at the residence of his mother, Gertrude Street, Gosford, Patrick Joseph Scanlon, aged 40 years.

R.I.P.

Service record for Scanlon

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8078490

Henry Doggrell

Henry Doggrell                 10/11/1949         Aged 60

Service number                4681                    White Marble Military Stone

C of E                                  Section 8             Row 7    Plot  M3

Henry Doggrell enlisted in July 1915, He was an Englishman born in Dorsett, near the town of Shaftsbury.  He was 26 years and 10 months. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. He was 5 foot seven inches tall. He was Church of England. He arrived in England by August 1916. He was wounded in action by March 1917 with a gunshot wound to the left leg/thigh. He returned to Australia by April1917. He was Medically Discharged August 1917. Awarded a pension of £3 per fortnight.

doggrell stone

11th November 1949

Man Collapses and Dies In Garden –
Henry Doggrell, 60, collapsed and died in his garden at his home at 75 Hill Street, Gosford, yesterday afternoon about 5 o’clock. Brisbane Water Ambulance officials were told that Doggrell was chipping grass when he collapsed. Doggrell, who was a returned soldier, was a member of the Gosford Buffalo Lodge, of which he was a K.O.M. (Second highest rank)

Mr R. H. Creighton, of Gosford, will conduct the funeral to Point Clare Cemetery today.

The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) is a fraternal organisation which assists members, their families and charities. It has a tiered structure, with a Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodges and Minor Lodges. Originating in Drury Lane, London, in 1822 when a group of actors set up various lodges as they toured the country, it is now active globally, particularly in former parts of the British Empire. In Sydney the first recorded meetings date from 1882.

45th battalion                                  

Service record for Henry Doggrell

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3511460

wo both rave

Haines and Kissell

Both Service Number 2624

Both these men are returned servicemen from the First World War. Both of these men survived the ordeals of what the war threw at them. Both of these men received the honour of receiving a beautiful white marble headstone courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

John Albert Haines                                         27/3/1947            Aged 75

Service number                2624                       White Marble Military Stone

 C of E    Section 5             Row 2    Plot 32

He enlisted in May 1916, aged 44 and 5 months… He was 5 foot 6 inches tall… 13 stone…Dark hair eyes grey with a dark complexion… He embarked August 1916 and served in France for 18 months…He caught the flu which turned into Bronchitis, was unable to train and was a medical discharge 23/12/19  He was a Bootmaker by trade… Ran the Blackwall Post Office he played cricket… was good friends of the Singleton and Buttwell Families… he took Gosford Council to court over the appointment of a staff member without applying the correct procedures… and was the first Secretary of the Woy Woy Branch of the RSL.

There are three mistakes about this stone, one is his age at death… if you do the maths based on his war service record he was 75 not 80 when he died. The cut off age for the Army Service was 45 years, maybe Haines shaved off 5 years when he joined and the family put forward the correct details (?).

The other two mistake are possibly his service number as stated on the stone and that the War graves Commission has it listed as a trachyte stone not white marble.

haines stone type

The following article from the local paper is about his son.

13th February 1930

SUCCESSFUL SCHOLAR.

Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Haines, of the Blackwall Post Office, have every reason to feel proud of their son John Haines junior, who is employed at the Standard Weighgoods Works at Clyde, was successful in the fitting and machinery section of the recent technical examinations, and shows good promise of making big strides in the engineering world.

Haines’ War Service Record

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=4266409

kissell stone

George Henry Kissell     22/5/1951            Aged 60

Service number                2624                    White Marble Military Stone

 C of E    Section 8             Row 12               Plot 18

Enlisted 30 June, 1915… He was living in Bathurst NSW… He was aged 25 years 1 month… He was a labourer. He was 5 foot 4 inches tall… He had a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair… He was Church of England He embarked from Australia 9/8/15… He had trouble with his teeth that required medical intervention… He reported to the venereal diseases hospital four times… Was transferred to the cycle Corps and went AWOL four times… was sent to France in January 1916… Sent to London in October 1917 went AWOL again four times… was sent to France in November 1916… wounded in Action January 1917… He went AWOL five times… wounded in Action a second time in October 1917… he kept up his AWOL ways and was finally charged with desertion, he was court marshalled and sentenced to 3 years at Pentonville Prison in Greater London on the 4th November 1918 (one week before the war was declared over 11/11/1918.) he was released from gaol on 21/7/19 and deported to Australia on7/9/19… there is a big stamp on his war service record “Not Eligible For Medals”.

Kisssell’s War Service Record

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7373428

This is where these two returned service men have a historical crossing over by having the same identical service numbers. Service numbers are to be allocated to each individual and are generally not supposed to be reused. But during WW1, this pre computer/non centralised data based era, it was common for multiple servicemen to have the same number.

These incidences of multiple men having the same service number happened once someone with the number died during the war, the service number was reissued. Usually they would add a ‘A’ before the number to denote that it was a reissued number however sometimes they did not.

two same numbers

In the case of Haines and Kissell, in this instance, it looks like a mistake of some sort of administrative type. Haines died in 1947 and Kissell in 1950 (or 1951), both servicemen well after the Wars (both of them WW1 and WW2). Also what are the odds of someone being buried within 50 meters of the other out of the 160,000 who enlisted in WW1, with the same service number.

digger 2

By having a good look at the service records using the links provided Haines has some red pen adding as number 2624 on the front of his file, but my money is on Kissell being the true 2624 although in 1936 on page 7 of Kissell’s record it is noted in handwritten scrawl “No record of 2624 Kissell G. E., 4th Battalion – Is this the man?”. (Note the red pen on Haines records page 5…the service number looks like a later addition) So even at the time of the records being written there was some degree of confusion about these men.

popplewell

James Lawrence Popplewell      23/11/1941         Aged 63

Service number                5760                       Brown Trachyte Military Stone

RC but buried C of E        Section 5             Row 1    Plot 18

James Lawrence Popplewell was born in New Zealand and Enlisted February 1916… He was 36 years and five months old and married… a cook and baker by trade… he was Roman Catholic, he has a vaccination scar and it is noted “that he is giving no trouble”. Embarked for Europe in June 1916, was in England with Bronchitis in Dec 1916. He was transferred to France, October 1917 and very quickley wounded in action in October 1917 by a shell wound to the Left shoulder and buttocks and repatriated to England. He was medically discharged in October, 1918.

popplewell stone

Popplewell’s War Service Record

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=8016767&S=1&N=15&R=0#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=8016767&T=P&S=3

 mcintosh

C.E. McIntosh 16/7/1947            Aged 61

Service number                1639                       White Marble Military Stone

RC but buried C of E        Section 3             Row 3    Plot 75

C. E, McIntosh 29 years and 1 Months of age when he enlisted in June 1915… he was 5 foot 3 inches tall, ruddy complexion with blue eyes and dark brown hair… He had a scar below both knees and a mole between the shoulders… He was a Baker/ Cook by trade… There is a wife noted, but then a further note states that she is dead…Arrived December 1915 ANZAC… sent to VD Hospital in Suez January 1916… in September 1916 Invalided to Australia medically unfit due to VD… In 1957 his son and lost contact with his father and was in Callan Park Mental Institution. The army had to inform the son that his father had died some 5 years earlier.

ce mac

McIntosh’s War Service Record

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=1946372&S=1&N=21&R=0#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=1946372&T=P&S=21

And just when you think the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has made a further mistake there actually is another McIntosh C. in the graveyard.

 

macintosh 2

C. McIntosh                 16/7/1940            Aged 65

Service number                956                         Brown Trachyte Military Stone

Presbyterian                      Section 1             Row 4                    Plot 28

Charles McIntosh enlisted in February 1915 and has a very low service number with only three digits was 39 years and 7 months of age… he puts his trade as Steel Smithing… he had previously seen battle action with the South African Volunteers… he was 5 foot 10 inches tall, dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair… He was Presbyterian… In September 1917 he had a gunshot wound to the chest… He was discharged in March 1918… In 1940 there seemed to be a hitch with his estate. There is a letter requesting  the locations of the witness’s to his Will, that he wrote whilst in the Army. The Army had to write back to inform them that both of the witness’s to his Will had been killed in Action.

c mac

C.McIntosh’s War Service Record

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1946361

 

ellison map

Alexander William Ellison                           28/6/1943            Aged 64

Service number                252                         White Marble Military Stone

Church of England                                           Section  5            Row 3    Plot  72

Alexander William Ellison enlisted just one month after the beginning of World War 1 in August 1914, hence is extra low, three figured service number.

He was born in Adelaide and was 36 years 3 months of age… He was 5 foot 5inches tall with brown hair brown eyes… He was a horse Groom… He was a Trooper with the 6th Light Horse He was Church of England… Enlisted august 1914… Went to Malta… Caught Dysentery at Gallipoli…  August 1915… December 1915… Medically discharged June 1916 Suffering from nervousness, very weak, loss of flesh, diarrhoea and recommended for further treatment. 2 months convalesce. He was married to Agnes Ellison who applied for a Widow’s badge in March 1945 to be told that they did not make them anymore.

Commonwealth War Graves commission has this stone in their records as a trachyte granite stone.  

ellison stone

Ellison’s War Service Record

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=3541347&S=1&N=58&R=0#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=3541347&T=P&S=58


12th July 1917
THE ANZACS’ DICTIONARY.
Language of the Trenches.
The following is a list of words or phrases used in the trenches in Flanders :—
Aussie ( “Ozzy”):                     An Australian soldier.
Tommy or Choom :                An English soldier.
Jock :                                           A Scotch soldier.
Zealand :                                   A New Zealand soldier. (Call him Pig Island if you would make him wild.)
Fritz :                                          A German soldier.
Savee :                                        Do you know.
Compree :                                  Do you understand.
Imshi :                                        Clear out.
Backshee :                                 Something for nothing.
Chatty :                                       Affected with trench vermin, known as chats.
Clink :                                         Gaol
Bird :                                           Prisoner.
Quack :                                       The army doctor.
Swinging the Lead :                Evading service ; malingering.
The Heads :                              Those in authority.
Dead Meat Tickets :               Identification
Tray Bong :                               Very good.
Hickory :                                    Be off.
Barometer                                Gas helmet.
Tin Hat :                                     Steel helmet.
Shooting Stick :                        Rifle.
Ham and Chicken :                 Ammunition.
Mills’ Pills :                               Mills’ hand grenades.
No. 9 :                                          Pills ordered by the army doctor.
Freak Villa :                              The cook-house.
Babbling Brook :                      The cook.
Iodine Villa :                             Where the doctor rests his patients.
Army Nervous Corps :           Service Corps. ,3V
Dinkum Oil :                             Straight information.
Napooh Mafeesh :                   The finish.
Dopey :                                       Silly.
One-star Artist :                      A second lieutenant.
Tanks or Oases :                      Army boots.
Mad Mick and Banjo:             Pick and shovel.
Knocked :                                  Wounded.
Skittled :                                    Killed.
To get a Blighty :                     To be wounded and sent back to England.
Home and Dried :                   Safe and sound.
Hop Over                                  To go over the trenches towards the enemy.
Iron Rations for Fritz :          Shells for the enemy
Comfort                                     Funds Shells.
Fags :                                           Cigarette.
Step the Gutter :                      Pass the butter.
Jack Scratch                             Got a match
Wandering Jew :                     Stew.
Dodger :                                     Bread.
Possie :                                       Position.
Digger :                                      A West Australian.
Jack, Charlie, Mac. :              A handy name for anyone.
Dag :                                           A character, a ‘ hard case.
Windbag :                                A talker out of his turn.

 

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Cecil and Francis Morris

Grave Site Roman Catholic Section 1 Row 1 Plot 1

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Francis Lyle and Cecil William Morris
Both the sons of Sergeant 2nd class William Morris of Gosford Police Station,
Francis Lyle Morris died 21 October 1916, aged 20 years.
Cecil William Morris, died 6th August, 1915, aged 21 years. (as per the stone).

Unless otherwise stated all newspaper referrals are from the Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate (1906 – 1954)

Francis Lyle and Cecil William Morris.

This is the grave that has caused the most historical anomalies in the written histories of Point Clare Cemetery in the past. The first internment occurred in January 1916 (Fred Cox), and with the Morris stone mentioning a date in 1915, the Morris’s grave site is often mistakenly listed as the oldest and first in the cemetery.

Cecil Morris died in 1915 at the battle of Lone Pine, none of the bodies from that battle were repatriated to Australia.

Francis Lyle Morris died just over a year from when the news of his brother’s death became known, yet not officially confirmed. When Francis Morris died in 1916, his father commissioned the headstone to have both the brother’s names on it, and as with the tradition the names were placed in the chronological order of the deaths and so Cecil’s name is above Francis’s.

So it is Francis’s burial plot and Cecil’s place of memorial.

The William Morris and family moved to Sydney in 1922 and lived in Abbotsford and are buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

We learn of Cecil’s war tale via a series of soldiers letters published by the local paper. There is below, a link to Cecil’s War record, it contains a particularly distressing letter (which has been included on this page scroll down) from Cecil’s father when he wants it confirmed that Cecil has indeed been killed on the war front. 

 

morris grave22nd January, 1915

A Soldier’s Letter.

Mr. Henry Hastings, of Gosford, now with the Australian soldiers in Egypt, writes to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Hastings: —

Suez Canal, December 3. — We are told no censorship will be exercised over these letters, but even so, I cannot tell much for we have to little time before the mail goes. Cairo is to be our destination, so after all it is to be hot instead of cold weather, but ‘ so far, I have not found the heat as great as, our Australian heat.

We have just passed a French vessel going the opposite way. She greeted us with English, cheers, and our band played the Marseillaise. The Canal is just wide enough to allow two ships to pass. Each side seems to be endless stretches of sand, while every little way along are men on garrison duty, who are very much in  evidence.

Our men are all well now. Ern Bailey (formerly schoolteacher at – Gosford), is very well, though like the rest of us, the heat has thinned him a bit. So are Donald, Ken, and Tom Robertson, and Cecil Morris; the Sergeant’s son.

Their friends might be glad to know, if they do not happen, to hear from them — and there are such hosts of letters, thousands in every mail, that no one knows whether many of them will ever reach their destination.

Young Burns, whose place adjoins “Fraternus ” on Mangrove Mountain, is on this boat, too, and Mitchell, who was in the Newcastle Scottish’ Rifles when George and I were there, and several men, too, whom I knew in Narrandera.

Alexandria, December 5th. — We arrived here yesterday, after -7% weeks. Two companies of infantry went out of our ship to-day. The New Zealanders left their ships yesterday, and with other troops have gone on to Cairo. We (the Army Medical Corps) will leave to-morrow. Everything is in readiness, and ‘Tights out” has just sounded, so I must , stop in a minute.

Egyptian; scenery so far seems to bentirely sand and rocks, but all the color of the towns makes them look like a bazaar or fancy fair.

Mena Camp, Pyramids, Cairo,

December. 7.— We arrived here at eight o’clock last night, and are camped right at the foot of the Pyramids, just about 10 miles out of Cairo. The British flag; is to be hoisted in Cairo to-morrow. The mail closes at once, and we are awfully busy, so I can’t write any more how. The ticket enclosed is a Cairo tram ticket. Loving greetings to you all, — HENRY.

The following link is to Henry Hasting’s War Record

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=4768273&S=1&N=27#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=4768273&T=P&S=27

war mem gos

14th May 1915

The following is an excerpt of the local paper,

Word has been received that’ Mr Cecil Morris, son of Sergeant Morris, Gosford, has been detained in Malta Hospital suffering from a bayonet thrust in the leg.

9th July 1915

Private Cecil Morris, son of Sergeant Morris, of Gosford, writes

from Imafa, Malta, under date May 5 : — . –

I suppose you have heard all – about our battle with the Turks. I am wounded in the leg and hand with shrapnel after having bad a fortnight’s fighting. We were landed, under a perfect hail off shot and shell, in small boats each containing about 50 men.

Some of the boats by the time they reached the shore had nothing but loads of mangled humanity. The Turks bad hundreds of machine guns td ‘ concealed batteries .. commanding the beach, and it looked an utter impossibility for our men to land.

However, we fixed bayonets, jumped out of the boats into the water up to our waists, and made for the shore. We were soon struggling with wire entanglements fitted under the water, again there was heavy slaughter among the landing parties before we finally got to the land. The Turks then endeavoured to drive us back into the sea with the bayonet, “but our chaps, ‘knowing what was in store, fought as never a fight has been waged before and gradually gained foothold.

The coast where we landed is something like Terrigal round about The Skillion, and we had to scale up these huge cliffs that were absolutely swarming with the enemy. They were yelling “Allah, Allah!” and sounding all the British bugle calls.

Others were shouting out orders to retreat, the object being to confuse us. But we  had warnings about the enemy’s tactics and took no notice of them, beyond rushing their trenches with the bayonet.

The Australians fought with such grim tenacity, that the enemy gave way everywhere, and retired to the heights from where they fired volleys of rifle fire on the attackers below.

The Turks were officered by Germans. While we were landing, one of them stood up and yelled in English, ” Come on, you Kangaroo, you are not fighting Cairo now.

After an hour’s fighting, and with the assistance of the warships (Queen Elizabeth included), we had control of the hill and started to advance and built trenches under heavy fire for the day.

When advancing, the order was to run ahead about 20 yards, one at a time, and drop down, eventually forming one long line. During these operations’ I had a peculiar, creepy experience; I was advancing and ran up the required distance and dropped between two other comrades. I asked the one on my right the range and he did not answer. Turning to the one on my left I repeated the question, but no reply came. Both poor fellows were stone dead, shot through the head while still remaining in a firing position.

Needless to say, I soon shifted on. We were entrenched one night about 10 o’clock and the order came along from mouth to mouth, “Cease firing, Indians on the right about to charge.” So we stopped firing.

The Turks then came in thousands, but we mowed them down. This looked a bit “fishy,” and our officer told us to look out for anyone passing orders. Another order started to come along, and the chap that started it was grabbed. He turned out to be a German dressed in an Australian uniform. He has ceased to exist.

It was the second Sunday, at 8 o’clock at night, that I got hit. The wounds, however, were not serious, although I was packed off to the hospital at Malta. The British call us the ” white Gurkhas.” An English officer said he never saw men fight like the Australians, and that the fighting was worse than at Mons.

At time of writing I am doing well, but expect to be sent from here to England to get thoroughly well again. I suppose you know more about the Dardanelles in Australia than I have heard. We who have actually been in the firing line know little about things in general, the operations being so extensive. By the bye, when X was hit I was ordered to get back to the first dressing station.

While doing so as best I could, I met an old ” cobber ” and was shaking bands with him when a bullet came ” zip ” and planted itself in his shoulder. He coolly said ” Hold on, I will come with you.” Do not worry about “toe, I am not going to get knocked over/ . I have already had as many lives as a cat. I do not know where Lance Mason or any of the other Gosford chaps are. – Cecil.

This letter was published about a fortnight before his death during the battle of Lone Pine. Lance Mason to whom he refers to made it back after the war.

The following link is to Cecil William Morris’s War record.

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7984266

 

names liveth24th December 1915

Killed at Gallipoli.

ANOTHER GOSFORD HERO.

In October last Private Mayo, writing home, reported that Private Cecil W. Morris, of Gosford, had been killed in the charge on the Turkish trenches at Lonesome Pine on 6th August last. No confirmatory news was received from the military authorities, and Sergeant Morris at once placed himself in communication with the Officer of Base Records.

Several cables were sent to and fro, and on 16th instant the following letter was received from the Department of Defence : —

‘ In continuation of letter dated 30th ultimo, a further cable has been received from Egypt that No. 160, Private C. W. Morris, 3rd Battalion, was last seen on the parapet of a Turkish trench seriously wounded. The foregoing is the result of an enquiry made to the officer commanding your son’s battalion. —Yours faithfully, J. M. Lean, Capt.”

The letter from the Defence authorities confirms the authenticity of Private Mayo’s statement, and there is little to ‘ doubt but that another of Gosford’s gallant young men has fallen in mortal combat against the enemies of our King and country Private Cecil Morris was the eldest son of  Sergeant Morris, of Gosford, and, had life lived, would have celebrated his 21st birthday on 21st October. He was educated at Gosford, Burwood and Fort Street Superior Schools, and was last employed as clerk in Messrs. Goodall’s office, Sydney. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the 1st Expeditionary Force and was sent to Egypt and later to the Dardanelles. He was twice wounded prior to the storming of the Turkish trenches at Lonesome Pine. As already stated, Private Morris was but 21 years of age, and was an all-round athlete, just the type of young Australian that would play his part when acts requiring, grit and courage were called for, otherwise he would not have received, his death-blow on the parapet of the enemy’s trenches. We deeply sympathise with the parents and family – relatives in their sad bereavement, but they have the consultation of knowing that their brave young soldier boy died doing his duty with his face to the foe, as so many of our gallant young Australians have done in this cruel and world-wide war.

Note : It took a little while for Cecils death to be officially confirmed to the Morris family, the official date of death, from the armies records is the 7th of August 1915, but the family having heard before this official notification of his death, had the date of the begining of the Battle of Lone Pine put on the stone… (6th August).

dads letter

9th August 1917

ROLL OF HONOR.

MORRIS. — Killed in action at Lone Pine, 7th August, 1915, our dearly loved son and brother, Private Cecil Wm Morris. Aged 21 years 10 months.

No one he loved was by his side,

To bid a fond farewell ;

Or give one word of comfort,

To him they loved so well.

Inserted by his father and mother, sisters and brothers.

dead in action form

Francis Lyle Morris

Roman Catholic Section 1 Row 1 Plot 1

26th October, 1916

Obituary.

It is with feelings of extreme regret that we are called upon this week to report the death of Francis Lyle Morris, second eldest son of Sergeant William Morris, of Gosford.

The sad event took place in the Sydney Hospital on Friday morning last, the cause of death being *Bright’s disease.

The deceased who was 21 years and 1 month of age, was born at Carinda, and finished his education at Burwood Superior Public School. He entered the Postal Department as a telegraph messenger at Gosford Post Office, and at the time of his death was relieving Postmaster at Cessnock.

Four weeks ago he was taken seriously ill, and admitted to Cessnock Hospital. Sergeant Morris was later on sent for, and the young man was subsequently removed to Sydney Hospital, where the end came a week after admission.

Young Mr. Morris was a gentlemanly and courteous official, and was popular with all sections of the community. He had reached a high standard in the Service,’ and was a brilliant operator. His elder brother, Cecil, was killed at Lone Pine. At that time Lyle, though under age, was also in khaki, but withdrew in response to his mother’s pleadings. The remains were brought to Gosford and interred in Point Clare cemetery on Saturday afternoon. The funeral was largely attended, and Rev. Father Kelly conducted the burial service.

*Bright’s Disease is a term for Renal/Kidney failure.

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