Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
vfl
afl
phil on...
politics
people
history
travel
music
literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : History Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

BLAMPIED BOYS AND THE GREAT WAR

Although the hamlet of Blampied, just outside Daylesford, was an Irish-Catholic enclave, where immigrant families such as the Clearys were implacably opposed to the 1914-18 war in Europe, there was still plenty of young men marching to the British Empire's tune.

Peter Lafranchi - No 5377 - 22nd Battalion - Died 3 May 1917

Villers Bretonneux

The son of Julian and Ann Bridget Lafranchi, of the Eganstown Post Office, Victoria, farmer Peter Lafranchi enlisted at Ouyen on 28/07/1916. He died less than a year later - aged 29 years - on 3 May 1917.

He is officially remembered at 26 Villers Bretonneux. Lafranchi was probably killed at Bullecourt in one of the many battles - 3 May until 17 May - associated with the disaster there..

The 22nd Battalion AIF was formed on 26 March 1915 at Broadmeadows Camp in Victoria and became part of the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division. Most of the battalion embarked for Egypt on 8 May 1915. The battalion deployed to Gallipoli in the first week of September 1915, allowing elements of the 2nd Brigade to be rested from their positions in the front line at ANZAC. The battalion served on the peninsula until the final evacuation in December 1915, and were then withdrawn to Egypt and brought back to strength with reinforcements.

Lance Corporal Richard Francis O'Neill - No 1261 - 38th BN - 10th Brigade - killed 4th Oct., 1917.

Broodseinde - Battle of Ypres - Passchendaele

Eganstown Cemetery - The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Belgium

Richard O'Neill's family grave in Eganstown. He is listed below his father.

Richard O'Neill is officially remembered at 29 The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Belgium. The son of Mary and the late Richard O'Neill he was a native of Bendigo, Victoria, and was 23 years old when killed.

His mother was an Egan from the famous Egan family. Richard enlisted in Williamstown, where his mother was living in a house named ' Corinella' after the homestead of her grandfather John Egan.

O'Neill was the subject of an extensive Red Cross report that included statements by Pte David Hegarty 1181 of 35 Clarke Street, Northcote, L/Cpl J E C Fisher and Pte Charles R Innes 2097, Pte T A Bennett and Capt Orchard.

Capt W H Orchard's account of O'Neill's death

'...He was killed about 11 o'clock...at Ypres...walking along with me ...unlucky bullet through the heart...I feel sure the bullet was not fired at him...buried where he fell...later in the day...about 500 yards left of Springfiel Farm and about 1000 yards straight in front of Van Isaac's farm.. put a wooden cross...next of kin don't believe what is written...

Mrs R O'Neill's address was listed as Corinella, Hannan Street, Williamstown. O'Neill was killed at 'Broodseinde, 1 1/2 miles southeast of Passchendaele..(and) he did not speak after he was hit...

At Broodseinde the 38th battalion suffered casualties of 38%. In total, the battalion lost 499 men and had 1478 members wounded, many gassed.

Vin Dalton - No 539 - 8th Battalion - Gallipoli - WWI Survivor

Vin Dalton in a 'borrowed' Light Horseman's hat.

Vin Dalton was snared during the army's initial rural recruiting campaign. He embarked on the Benalla on 19/10/1914 and was part of the second wave at Gallipoli. Born in 1890 he was 24 when he enlisted, only two months after war was declared.

He gave his occupation as miner - Ararat. He named his 'uncle', Michael Cleary of Kingston, as his next of kin. Michael Cleary was in fact his deceased mother, Ellen Dalton's, step-brother. Michael Cleary and Ellen Dalton (nee Heagney) had the same mother but different fathers.

Dear Phil,

This is one (photo) taken in Egypt, I think while he was recuperating after being evacuated sick from the peninsula. He went back shortly before the attack at Helles, which the Second Brigade took part in, being transferred from Anzac for the attack with the French and British. He said that this was the worst attack of the war. They advanced across featureless terrain covered in wheat and grass toward entrenched machine guns and fixed defences looking down on them.

He said they advanced with their entrenching tools futilely held either in front of their faces or their groin, depending on personal preference. He also opined that this battle proved how wasteful war was because "it took hundreds of bullets to kill a man"! He didn't get a scratch on that occasion despite being convinced that he would be killed. But I digress. The photo shows him in a Lighthorse hat, despite the fact that he was an infantryman. He stole the hat from its real owner! Thought they were fairly dashing.

Regards,

Ed

Vin Dalton in uniform - back right - probably after the war - with Mick Cleary from Kangaroo Hills and family. Vin had some strong words for the men who sent the boys into no-man's land.

 

Vin Dalton - circa 1905 -according to his family - at 15 years.

 

The girl in France - Aut - who wrote to Gallipoli veteran Vin Dalton.

 

The letter from France. I can only wonder who this young woman, Aut, is and what was the nature of the relationship..

Dean, George Herbert - No 1575 - 24th Battalion

Buried in Creswick- survived the war

When my grandfather, John (Jack) Cleary died in 1967 I was already interested in his life. A few years later I came across some of his photos and personal affects. Among the photos was the one below above, taken, it would seem, when the man, 'Dodger' Dean, was on active service.

All I knew, was his name. Some 37 years later the email below provided a few insights. Dean departed on the HMAT Ceramic on 25/06/1915 from Melbourne and gave his occupation as labourer and residential address as Cambridge Street, Creswick.

George Herbert Dean, aka Dodger.

Dear Phil

Browsing the net today and googling family names I was delighted to not only see my grandfather's name but his picture on your website. That certainly is "Dodger Dean" my mother's father. George earned his nickname as he was a runner at Gallipoli and was renowned amongst the 24th Battalion for his skill at dodging bullets. He served at Gallipoli alongside his brother William Knight Dean 8th Battalion, alas William or "Doc" as he was known was killed on April 25th shortly after arriving on that fateful shore.

Dad survived the war and wed my grandmother Eva, who was a war widow with a small boy. They went on to have seven more children and stayed in Creswick until their deaths. Dodger died peacefully at 80. He was known as a real character in the town.

My mother tells me that he told many stories of his time at war, but only the humorous accounts. He never told of the fear and tragedy. I suppose it was far too painful. I have his picture (in full army uniform) hanging proudly in my living room and regret that I cannot remember this remarkable man, as he died just after my first birthday. My mother Betty is now his only surviving child. I honour his memory and all he went through and triumphed over to enable me to grow up in such a wonderful country.

Thank you for including him on your website. Also thanks for the information posted about the 24th Battalion as I am in the process of tracing his movements throughout the war.

Sincerely,

Dodger Dean's youngest grand daughter Kim Havill.

PS Kim also pointed out that Dodger had worked in the mines. I suspect they had worked around Creswick in the mines before Jack Cleary became a seafarer.

24th Battalion

What the history books say.

George Dean's 24th Battalion was raised in a hurry. The original intent was to raise the fourth battalion of the 6th Brigade from the "outer states", but a surplus of recruits at Broadmeadows Camp in Victoria lead to a decision being made to raise it there. The battalion was formed during the first week of May 1915, and sailed from Melbourne at the end of that week.

Training shortfalls were made up in Egypt in July and August, and on 4 September 1915 the Battalion went ashore at Gallipoli. It spent the next 16 weeks sharing duty in the Lone Pine trenches with the 23rd Battalion. The fighting at Lone Pine was so dangerous and exhausting that battalions rotated every day. While the bulk of the battalion was at Gallipoli, a small party of 52, trained as packhorse handlers, served with the British force in Salonika.

The Battalion was reunited in Egypt in early 1916 and proceeded to France in March. It took part in its first major offensive around Pozières and Mouquet Farm in July and August 1917. The Battalion got little rest during the bleak winter of 1916-17 alternating between the front and labouring tasks. When patrolling no-man's land the men of the 24th adopted a unique form of snow camouflage - large white nighties bought in Amiens.

In May 1917 the battalion participated in the successful, but costly, second battle of Bullecourt. It was involved for only a single day - 3 May - but suffered almost 80 per cent casualties. The AIF's focus for the rest of the year was the Ypres sector in Belgium, and the 24th's major engagement there was the seizure of Broodseinde Ridge.

Like many AIF battalions, the 24th was very weak at the beginning of 1918, but still played its part in turning back the German offensive in April. When the Allies took to the offensive, the 24th fulfilled supporting roles during the battles of Hamel and Amiens. At Mont St Quentin, however, it played a major role by recapturing the main German strong point atop the summit on 1 September. A diorama at the Australian War Memorial depicts this attack.

The battalion's last battles of the war were at Beaurevoir on 3 October and Montbrehain on 5 October. It left the front line for the last time on 6 October 1918 and disbanded in May 1919.

 

 


 

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
[home]   [vfl]   [afl]   [world sport]   [politics]   [people]   [history]   [travel]   [music]   [literature]

© 2000 Phil Cleary Holdings
site by five