Thursday, 27 August 2015

Herbert and Harold Waddell and the Boer War

Recently when undertaking research for another project I found references to the  involvement of members of the Waddell family from Singleton, New South Wales, in the Boer War.

Both Herbert William Waddell and Harold Henry Waddell were the grandsons of William Waddell who brought his family from Scotland to Australia in 1839. Herbert's father, Daniel Munro Waddell, was born in New South Wales in 1843 while his brother, William, Harold's father, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1836. Herbert was born in 1873 and Harold was born in 1876. Both families lived in Patrick Plains (Singleton).

When searching in Trove for information regarding the Waddell family I found an article containing a copy of a letter, written by Harold, published in the Singleton Argus 6 February 1900 recounting experiences in South Africa. The letter was written on 2 January 1900 from Rendsburg and recounts an encounter against the Boers where a number of the horses were killed or wounded but only three of the one hundred Australian and one hundred English involved in the incident were wounded. The letter ends with the words "It is wonderful how our men escape".

The Australian War Memorial provides a useful overview article on Australia and the Boer War (1899-1902).

 Harold was a member of the New South Wales Lancers while Herbert was a member of the New South Wales Citizen Bushmen. Information about these and other units can be found on the Australian War Memorial website in the War History section by selecting Units then name of the war or conflict - eg  South Africa 1899-1902 (Boer War).

Always check the links in the side bar. For example the Heraldry link in the New South Lancers page includes images of uniforms and medals for that unit.
Another useful Boer War website is Australian Boer War Memorial website of the National Australian Boer War Memorial Association.

The Australian War Memorial in their People section allows the searching for names of Australians who served during various wars and conflicts.

Searching the nominal rolls for the name Waddell and selecting South Africa 1899-1902 in the drop down list provides four names including the names of the two cousins.
Summary information is provided along with links to any digitised records.
Herbert Waddell was killed at Piennaar's River on 22 September 1900. A search in the Roll of Honor provides similar information and, in this case, a photograph of Herbert (photographs are not available for all records).
Trove provides additional information about Herbert William Waddell. The Australian Town and Country Journal 17 February 1900 contains an article listing the men from the Bushmen's Contingent about to leave for South Africa.

The Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday 2 October 1900 reports the death of Herbert Waddell in South Africa on the previous Thursday. The Singleton Argus for the same date provided additional detail:
Word was received yesterday that Private Herbert Waddell, of Singleton, a member of the Bushmen's Contingent, was killed in a battle at Pienaars River. The deceased, who was a son of Mr D. R. Waddell, of Sedgfield, was a native of this district, and is the first Singletonian to lose his life at the front. Hitherto our local men have been attended with marvellous luck, but it has now come to this unfortunate young fellow's lot to lose his life for Queen and country, and he now fills a soldier's grave in South Africa. The family will be accorded the sympathies of every resident of the district in their sad bereavement.
A number of other newspapers also carried the news of the death of Herbert William Waddell and the effect of his death on the local community. The final intimation of the death of Herbert William Waddell was received by his father from Captain Eckford the previous day according to the Evening News 8 May 1901.
The Evening News 14 April 1901 reported on plans to build a memorial in the memory of Trooper Waddell.
Memorial in Burdekin Park
Unfortunately the erection and the unveiling of the memorial caused much controversy over the following years. Money for the project was collected by public subscription.  Trove contains a series of articles about the delay in erecting the memorial in memory of Trooper Waddell. The memorial was finally erected on 27 September 1903, three years after his death. The Singleton Argus 29 September 1903 provides a scathing article on the events leading up to the unveiling of the monument.

The Register of War Memorials in New South Wales website provides photos and details of the memorial. Additional information about the memorial is available on Dossier 48 website and also Singleton - Boer War and Herbert Waddell on Terry Callaghan's history & genealogy website.

The money left over from the public subscription to erect the monument was used to unveil a memorial tablet in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (now Singleton Uniting Church) on 24 May 1903 (Singleton Argus 26 May 1903).

Harold Waddell's association with the Lancers did not end when he returned home from the Boer War as he remained a member of the Singleton section of the Hunter River Lancers (4th Australian Light Horse). An article in the Singleton Argus 13 December 1904 mentioned that he was to be a lieutenant (actually 2nd lieutenant). Another article in the Musswellbrook Chonicle 14 March 1906 announced his promotion to lieutenant. The Desert Column website lists him as being a captain on 21 January 1908.

Anzac Live

One of the organisations I 'Like' on Facebook is National Archives of Australia. This evening there was a post on my Facebook newsfeed about Anzac Live - 'The lives and experiences of ‪#‎WW1‬ soldiers and nurses brought to life using social media http://socsi.in/wFvta '.
Anzac Live is a collection of stories of the experiences of real people who served during World War I. The posts are based on diary entries and provide a day by day account of activities, thoughts, fears and hopes. Social media - Facebook and Twitter - is used to tell the stories. There are nine individual stories to be followed using Facebook plus the Anzac Live Facebook page providing the 'big-picture perspective on the conflict'.
I had a look at the Alice Ross-King page which follows Alice's story. The story begins in 1891 when Alice was born in Ballarat. The next post provides a little family background when the family moved to Perth in 1895 and then Alice and her mother returned to Melbourne. There are two posts about the pre-war nursing experience of Alice (1903 and 1911) before the story of Alice's involvement in the First World War commences when she enlisted as a staff army nurse on 5 November 1914. The latest post is dated 27 August 1915.
I look forward to following Alice's story.

A number of other online resources provide information about Alice Ross-King:
  • Documents relating to Alice's war experience can be found on Discovering Anzacs.
  • The Australian War Memorial has an article about Major Alice Ross-King.
  • The transcript of the diaries of Alice Ross-King can also be found on the Australian War Memorial website.
  • The Australian Dictionary of Biography also contains an article about Alice.

The other participants in the Anzac Live project that you can follow are Charles Laseron, Bert Reynolds, John Monash, Archie Barwick, Ellis Silas, Arthur Adams, Charles Suckling and Hector Brewer.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

World War I - selection of non-fiction books

Many non-fiction books have been published about the First World War. These titles can often be located on library shelves with Dewey numbers starting with 940.3 and 940.4. Books on military history can also be found with Dewey numbers starting with 355. Below is a sample of some of the books that may be available.

Adult non-fiction
  • Anzac memories: living with the legend by Alistair Thomson
  • The spirit of Gallipoli: living the Anzac legend by Patrick Lindsay
  • Gallipoli: the final battles and evacuation of Anzac by David W Cameron
  • Battle for Lone Pine: four days of hell at the heart of Gallipoli by David W Cameron
  • Remembering Fromelles: a new cemetery for a new century by Julie Summers
  • Maestro John Monash: Australia’s greatest citizen general by Tim Fischer
  • Monash: the outsider who won the war. A biography of Australia’s greatest military commander by Perry Roland
  • Bean’s Gallipoli: the diaries of Australia’s official war correspondent by Charles
  • Anzacs on the Western Front: the Australian War Memorial battlefield guide by Peter Pedersen
  • Walking with the Anzacs: the authoritative guide to the Australian battlefields on the Western Front by Mat McLachlan
  • Mapping the First World War by Peter Chasseaud
  • Letters from the front by Dorothy Gilding (correspondence of Jim McConnell)
  • Testament of Youth: an autobiographical study of the years 1900-1925 by Vera Britain
  • Anzac Girls: the extraordinary story of our World War I nurses by Peter Rees
  • Kitty's war by Janet Butler
  • Victoria at war 1914-1918 by Michael McKernan
  •  Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War by Joan Beaumont
  • Shattered Anzacs: living with the scars of war by Marina Larsson
  • Ghost at the wedding by Shirley Walker
  • A place to remember: a history of the Shrine of Remembrance by Bruce Scates  
  • Australian War Memorial: treasures from a century of collecting by Nola Anderson
  • Anzac Treasures: the Gallipoli collection of the Australian War Memorial by Peter Pedersen
  • Furphies and Whizz-bangs: Anzac slang from the Great War by Amanda Laugensen
  • And the band played on: how music lifted the Anzac spirit in the battlefields of the First World War by Robert Holden
  • Fighting on the home front: the legacy of women in World War One by Kate Adie
  • Virago book of women and the Great War and the Great War 1914-1918 by Joyce Marlow
  • Singled out: how two million women survived without men after the First World War by Virginia Nicholson
Junior non-fiction
A selection of some of the titles available:
  • Australia and the First World War, 1914-1918 by A K Macdougall
  • Children in Wartime by Michael Dugan
  • The First World War through Children’s Eyes by Anna Ciddor
  • World War I: the Australian Experience by Michael Andrews
  • Zero Hour: the Anzacs on the Western Front by Leon Davidson
  • Fromelles: Australia’s bloodiest day at War by Carole Wilkinson
The Australian War Memorial and Department of Veterans’ Affairs have published a series of books for upper primary and secondary school students on aspects of war. Some of the titles cover both World Wars. Titles include:
  • Ancestry: stories of multicultural Anzacs by Robyn Siers and Carlie Walker
  • Devotion: stories of Australia’s wartime nurses by Robyn Siers
  • Audacity: stories of heroic Australians in wartime by Carlie Walker

Friday, 29 May 2015

The First World War through children's fiction

Recently I was asked to compile a list of books held in the library relating to the First World War. This proved to be an interesting exercise especially as I was to look at books for a variety of ages.

Picture books
The library holds a number of picture books with World War I themes for older children. The use of illustration is a powerful and moving way to portray the effects of the war. Some titles are listed below:
  • And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda –Eric Bogle’s song about Gallipoli illustrated by Bruce Whatley
  • Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings; illustrated by Owen Swan [As a mother explains the history of Anzac biscuits, World War I battle scenes are also provided]
  • Jack’s Bugle by Krista Bell; illustrated by Belinda Eliot [the journey of a bugle from Australia to Gallipoli and back to Australia] 
  • Lest We Forget by Kerry Brown; illustrated by Isobel Knowles & Benjamin Portas [the story of a boy and his grandfather]
  • Lone Pine by Susie Brown & Margaret Warner; illustrated by Sebastian Ciaffaglione [story of bringing the Lone Pine to Australia]
  • The Poppy by Andrew Plant [story of Australian involvement at Villers Bretonneux]
  • The Soldier’s Gift by Tony Palmer; illustrated by Jane Tanner [one family’s courage during the First World War] 
 Junior fiction
A variety of books with the theme of World War I can also be found in the junior fiction collection.

One of the best known titles is probably War Horse by Michael Morpurgo [This tale of the relationship between a man and his horse on Western Front has recently been performed as a play and also made into a film]

 Once again a selection of the titles is provided in this list of books designed for a variety of ages:
  • Best Christmas Present in the World by Michael Morpurgo [Christmas in the trenches in 1914]
  • The Bomber Balloon by Terry Deary [Zeppelins over England in 1916]
  • In Flanders Fields by Norman Jorgensen & Brian Harrison-Lever [It is Christmas morning and the guns stop firing]
  • Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman [Story of Frank and his horse in the Light Horse]
  • Evan’s Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood [Evan travels with his father to the Dardenelles]
  • Roly the Anzac Donkey by Glyn Harper & Jenny Cooper [Activities of the NZ Medical Corps & their donkeys]
  • The Red Poppy by David Hill [Two wounded soldiers from different armies in No Man’s Land are rescued with the help of a messenger dog]
  • My father’s war by Sophie Masson [A journey to discover what the war was like in 1918 in France]
  • Do Not Forget Australia by Sally Murphy & Sonia Kretschmar [Australia’s relationship with Villers-Bretonneux forged by war]
  • Stories of WW1 by Tony Bradman
  • Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer [Jim & Charlie join the Light Horse in 1914]

Thursday, 30 April 2015

World War I: a history in 100 stories

Currently I am doing an online course prepared by Monash University and placed online by FutureLearn. It is a five week course and through the One Hundred Stories project we look at aspects of the war through the stories of 100 participants. The stories are portrayed as silent presentations - a series of slide-shows of white text on black background - to tell each story. Fifty of the stories are currently online and another 50 will be added. A book containing more detailed versions of each story will be published later in the year.

Each week we look and discuss stories relating to a theme. Week one - Monuments and Mourning included how families grieved back home, particularly when a body was never recovered. Week two - Women and the War included those who performed unpaid work at home as well as the nurses who served overseas. Week three - The Other Anzac, looked at non-British soldiers who served with the Australian services, particularly indigenous soldiers. Week four - War Wounds, both physical and psychological. Week five - The Old Lie, the politics of war and how war divided society such as conscription debates, how the men were (or were not) helped to settle back into Australian life including soldier settlement schemes. As well as looking at individual stories there are videos where related topics are discussed and each week aspects of the theme may also be portrayed via a poem or piece of fiction, drama, art or music. A feature of the course is the forum where participants are encouraged to share their views. Often additional links or titles of appropriate books are provided via the forum.

So far this has been an interesting and often moving course. Looking closely at the experiences of individuals during the war, and in many cases the back story, brings home a greater understanding of how the war affected individuals, families and Australia.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Whitehorse Remembers

The Anzac Day display at Nunawading Library this year focuses on some of the memorials to those who served in World War I in what is now the City of Whitehorse.
 In conjunction with the Diggers in Whitehorse and Manningham project one of the librarians, Elaine Craig, took a series of photographs of all the memorials she could locate. A selection of the Whitehorse memorials is included in the display.
In the foyer of the Box Hill Town Hall there is a large honour board listing the names of those from the Shire of Nunawading, as the area was then known, who served during the First World War. The centre panel contains the names of those who did not return.
There are a number of official public memorials in the region including the Box Hill War Memorial, now located in the Box Hill Gardens.
Another war memorial is at Morton Park in Blackburn (pictured centre in the above image). The honour board shown on the left is for the Vermont Volunteers. This board was for many years displayed at the Vermont Mechanics Institute. Schools also remembered former pupils and staff who served. Many of the schools had honour rolls which often included information about the military service of students. Honour boards would also be displayed at schools.
Many organisations including churches and businesses also recognised their members who served. Space for the display was limited however the small selection demonstrates a range of memorials in the region. The display also promotes the library's Diggers database containing the names of those who served as well as Whitehorse Heritage Week to be held 10-17 September.

Giant Poppy Art Project

Another Anzac Day project utilising the poppy, this time in Auckland, New Zealand
Giant Poppy Art Project

If the video from the official website does not work the following link takes you to a video about the project.

The aim of the project is to use 59,000 red metal discs, representing New Zealanders killed or wounded during the First World War, to prepare an installation  40 metres wide in the Auckland Domain.
Money raised from the project will be used to assist ex-service personnel and their families.