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
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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

 

 

PROTESTANT COUNTRY BOYS GO TO WAR

Some are remembered in the Mt Prospect Cemetery, Daylesford and Creswick cemeteries

In 1997 I made my fist careful study of the Presbyterian, Mount Prospect Cemetery. ln an article for the Age newspaper - see the home page - I identified two graves - Stanley Coutts and Albert Yelland - of Great War soldiers. Three months before Anzac Day, 2006, I found another grave, that of Howard Boustead, who died in France in 1917.

Stanley Coutts - No 5358 - 14th Battalion - Died 29 Aug 1916

A mere 18 years of age - Battle of the Somme

Mt Prospect - Villers-Bretonneux, France

Who was this boy, Coutts, I thought? The records show that he was an 18-year-old brickmaker from Daylesford, where he enlisted on 12/2/1916, and was killed six months later on 29/8/1916, at the battle of the Somme, probably at Pozieres. A major battle was begun there in August 1916. He is officially buried at Villers Bretonneux in France. Even conservative historians acknowledge that the Battle of the Somme was a military disaster, in which men were sent to their slaughter by Generals with no regard for human life.

What would young Coutts have known about this mysterious and pointless war in Europe? He enlisted two months before the Easter Rebellion in Dublin, an event which galvanised Irish Catholics - including my relatives in Blampied - against the war. Was it adventure and the opportunity to escape the excruciating heat and the boredom of the brickworks that induced him to join? Did any mates join him?

William and Harriet Coutts

The son of William and Harriet Coutts, of Victoria Park, Daylesford, Coutts is commemorated by his sister, Harriet Hussey, in a grave that contains her husband, William Hussey - died aged 29 years on 21 Jan 1922 - and her parents, William - died 1922 aged 52 - and Harriet - died 1925 aged 59. Also there, is John Coutts, brother of Stanley and Harriet, who died in 1942, aged 45 years.

The 1901 Post Office Directory lists Isabella Coutts, farmer, as living in Mt Prospect.

The Coutts family grave

Albert Yelland - No 1750 - 58th Battalion

Died 30 Sept 1917 - Polygon Wood - Flanders

Battle of Ypres

Married March 1916

Commemorated in Mt Prospect and Hooge Crater, Belgium

Gunner Albert Yelland and his mum. What happened to his wife? I'll find out in time.

Factory hand Albert Yelland joined the 58th Battalion of the Australian Infantry and was killed in action on 30 September 1917, probably at Polygon Wood, Ypres, where a major battle had begun on 26 September. He is commemorated in the Mount Prospect cemetery in a grave that also contains his mother, who died on 9 April 1926, aged 57. The son of of Alfred and Catherine Yelland and husband of Elsie, he was a native of Rocklyn and only 23 years of age when he died..

Married Elsie Hill on 20 March 1916

Although Albert was a factory hand, his wife gave her address as 59 Millswyn St, South Yarra, Victoria. Why was she living in South Yarra when he died, and did she re-marry?

Yelland joined the 58th Battalion at Rocklyn, his home town, on 4 January 1916 and embarked on the HMAT Port Lincoln on 4/05/1916, six weeks after marrying Elsie Irene Armstrong Hill.

When he married 18-year-old Elsie Hill, Albert Yelland gave his address as the Military Camp Ballarat. The marriage took place at St Mark's Church, Brown Hill - near Ballarat - on 20 March 1916. She too was a native of Rocky Lead, later renamed Rocklyn.

There is no record of a marriage of Elsie Yelland in the years following the war, although there are a number of marriages of women -1920 onwards - by the name of Elsie Hill. This matter will take further research.

Albert Yelland's official war grave is 112 Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillebeke Belgium.

The following is taken from an article on the web:

The mine crater at Hooge was blown by the British during fierce fighting here in 1914-15. The water-filled crater can still be seen in the grounds of the chateau across the road, which also houses a small museum. For much of the early part of the war the front line ran through this area, but it moved further east soon after the first Australians arrived here in late 1916.

The cemetery was formed in October 1917 and originally contained 76 graves. It was enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the surrounding area and today contains 5922 burials.

Most of the Australians who lie here were killed in the Battle of Polygon Wood (September 26th-29th 1917). The most notable feature of this cemetery is a stylised 'crater' landscaped near the entrance. Total burials: 5922 - Australian burials: 513 (178 unidentified)

Buried also in Hooge Crater is

Private Patrick Bugden VC, 31st Battalion, died 28/09/1917, age 20.

'Paddy' Bugden was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during several days of fighting at Polygon Wood from September 26th-28th 1917. On several occasions he led small parties to capture pillboxes that were holding up the advance and five times he rescued wounded comrades under heavy fire. Bugden also single-handedly rescued a corporal who had been captured by three Germans, shooting one and bayoneting the other two. He was killed by shellfire on the 28th. Grave VIII. C. 5.

Howard Wellesley Boustead - No 4433 - Died 13/05/1917

58th Battallion - Bullecourt

Howard Boustead was killed at the battle of Bullecourt, a few kilometres north of Pozieres, in which the 58th battalion was engaged in May 1917. He is buried at Villers-Bretonneux. His parents Emma and Irving (who died in 1914) ran the Dean post office.

Pte A Duncan, 1403, A Coy - Buchy nr. Rouen, 8. 8. 17 - offered these thoughts in a Red Cross Report:

'I saw him lying dead on a waterproof sheet on the 13th May at Bullecourt. He had been sniped and killed instantaneously. I can say nothing about his burial.....'

Howard's brother Albert Gordon Boustead enlisted two months after his brother's death. And two other local Bousteads - brothers William Herbert and Owen Tudor - sons of William of Dean Street, Ballarat - joined the AIF.

William Zeis - No 8065 - Died Castlemaine 06/07/1916

Australian Infantry Base Depot

Buried - Daylesford

Two graves containing members of the Zeis family can be found in the Mt Prospect cemetery. The stone laid by Friederike Zeis, in memory of her husband Henry Ernst Zeis, carries an inscripton in German.

The Zeis grave with its German inscription.

The second grave appears to contain William Zeis' mother Alexandrina and his father Adolf, who died in 1899, aged 35 years, when William was five years old.

Alexandrina is recorded as Mrs Alexandrina Anniss on William's death certificate. One presumes she had remarried. A daughter, Alvina May, had died a month shy of her second birthday, on 3 August 1898.

William is listed as buried in Daylesford - C of E 36 8065 -and as having enlisted in Castlemaine. Zeis' battalion is not identified in the records. The facts are that William died of TB in Castlemaine, where he was a railway clerk at the time of his enlistment in the AIF. He was 22 years of age.

This Adolf, born around 1864, is the father of Private Zeis. Adolf's wife Alexandrina is surely his mother. Did she re-marry after he died in 1899? The Jacob on the stone is almost certainly William Zeis' uncle.

James George Bull - Daylesford Cemetery - 38th

Buried also in Daylesford is James Bull, who died in Bendigo on 29/05/16 and was listed at the Australian Infantry Base Depot. The son of Edwin Bull, of Koroocheang, James Bull enlisted in Daylesford.

The 38th Battalion was formed at Epsom Racecourse, Bendigo, in early 1916 and experienecd a cerebrospinal meningitis outbreak that resulted in the fit men being transferred to Broadmeadows. In November 1916 the battalion took off for France. Did James Bull, as was the case with William Zeis, die of TB? Did the meningitis kill him?

Frederick James Baxter - Creswick Cemetery - 38th

Gunner, Fred Baxter, joined the 38th Battalion on 25/2/1916 at age 28 years. He embarked on 20/06/16 on the HMAT Runic and arrived home on 4/12/18. The son of Mrs E Baxter, Harris was a school teacher from Leichhardt and carried the rank, Lance Corporal. He died on 19/06/21.

James Matthew Harris - Creswick Cemetery

James Harris, from Smeaton, joined the 14th Infantry and set sail on the Port Lincoln on 16/10/15. A labourer, he cited his next of kin as his grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Kelso, of Smeaton. He died on 23/10/1919.

 

 

 

 

 

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