Thursday, 3 July 2014

Clive Condor Weston

Clive Condor Weston, born at Coonamble in 1875, was the youngest son of William Clifton Weston and Jane Cox. Clive worked as a clerk in the Petty Sessions office at a number of locations in New South Wales including Lithgow, Balmain and Newcastle.

In January 1900 he enlisted in the NSW Citizen's Bushmen and was in C squadron. The men were stationed at a training camp at Kensington before marching through Sydney on 28 February to board the ship to South Africa.
Image originally in Sydney Mail 3 March 1900
Clive was with the same group of soldiers as Arthur Hutton. They would have known each other as Clive's sister, Annie, had married Arhur's brother, George. Clive was one of six sergeants in C squadron. Clive's service number was 256.

The NSW Citizen's Bushmen contingent consisting of 30 officers and 495 other ranks, with 570 horses arrived at Cape Town on 2 April 1900. They disembarked at Biera on 12 April and then continued on to Bulawayo in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). C Squadron was involved in a battle at Koster's River on 22 July while attempting to relieve the Eland River Garrison. They continued to operate in the Transvaal and the advance on Pietersburg before returning to Cape Town to embark on ships returning to Australia. They arrived back in Australia on 9 May 1901 disembarking in Sydney on 11 May.

The NSW Citizen's Bushmen contingent had several name changes to Australian Bushmen Contingent and then to 1st Bushmen Regiment.
For information about the NSW Citizens' Bushmen:
Australian War Memorial
Australian Military History of the Early Twentieth Century  

Back in Australia Clive was CPS first in Raymond Terrace and then in Bourke from 1902 until 1905.  He appears then to have made a carer change as when he enlisted in the army in 1914 his occupation was listed as Stock and Station Agent.

Clive was 39 when he enlisted in the AIF on 24 August 1914 at Coonabarabran, however most of his military records give his age as being 34 when he enlisted. His next of kin was listed as his sister, Mary Balcombe, at Coradgery Station, Parkes. The description on the attestation papers was that Clive was 5 foot 9 inches tall, weighed 12 stone 2 pounds, had a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He was a private in the 1st Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron, and his service number was 536. On 20 October 1914 the men embarked on the HMAT A16 Star of Victoria for Egypt.
On 9 May 1915 the troops, without their horses, were transferred to Gallipoli. During the next three months Clive received a number of temporary promotions first to corporal and then sergeant as men holding these positions were killed or wounded. Clive Condor Weston received head and hand injuries on 7 August. His records do not specify the battle but the date coincides with the diversionary action by Australian and other forces to allow British forces to land safely. Details of the battle were published in Australian newspapers - Gallant Australians - Charge of the Light Horse part 1 and part 2.

The papers relating to Quarter Master Sergeant Clive Condor Weston in Discovering Anzacs show that for the next two years Clive served at various locations in the Middle East including Romani and Tel-el-Kebir, however for much of the time he was in hospital having treatment, particularly for his hand. A medical report made on 25 April 1916 stated ' anchylosis 1st & 2nd joints 2nd finger right hand & failing memory and headaches'.  The report continued 'RH quite stiff - making hand unfit for rifle shooting. Occasional giddiness, headaches and loss of memory.' On previous occasions bone fragments had been removed and work done on the tendons but hand was not responding. The doctor recommended that Clive Weston should be discharged as unfit, as did the Medical Board, however he was returned to his unit. The records give details of another medical report dated 4 September 1917.
    patient states he was wounded in the right hand at Gallipoli. Since then the hand has steadily been getting more useless. Admitted into No. 14 AGH on July 3 1917. Examination of r. hand showed ankylosis of middle finger in all its articulations, and very little power in the other fingers. Middle finger amputated: adhesions in the other fingers forcibly broken down. Has received no benefit from massage and hot air treatment.
This time the recommendation was that Clive Condor Weston should be discharged to Australia for six months. The Medical Board agreed and also noted that his ability for earning a full livelihood in the general labour market had been lessened by one half.  At Suez on 12 November 1917 Clive embarked on the SS Wiltshire to return to Sydney where he arrived on 20 December.
By the middle of 1917 it would appear that Clive was using alcohol to resolve his problems. Before leaving Cairo, Clive had been arrested on 28 July 1917 for being drunk and disorderly. At his trial on 2 November he received a reprimand for his behaviour. In Sydney on 22 February 1918 Clive was admitted to No. 13 AAH (Australian Auxiliary Hospital). Unfortunately the writing is difficult to read but he was committed to the hospital suffering from the effects of drinking. 'He was noisy, abusive & threatening. He was sent to the cottage'. The next note dated 4 March 1918 reads, 'Is now well & in his normal condition.  He wishes to be discharged and this is recommended.'

Clive was  discharged from the army as medically unfit on 20 March 1918 and from 21 March received a pension of 71 shillings a fortnight.

On 17 October 1922 Clive Condon Weston committed suicide in his room at Central Australian Hotel, Bourke, New South Wales. The Raymond Terrace Examiner and Lower Hunter and Port Stephens Advertiser on Friday 20 October 1922 provided the following report.
    Death. Mr. Clive C. Weston, who about 20 years ago, was C.P.S at Raymond Terrace, was found on Tuesday morning in an hotel at Bourke with a cut in his throat and his wrists bleeding. Medical aid was summoned but he died in about ten minutes. He had been to the war, and was badly gassed, and was more or less a physical wreck. Before evil days came upon him he was a fine type, and his passing thus is a sad one.
The statement about Clive having been gassed was incorrect however the sentiment expressed probably summed up the situation. A sad story.

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