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,
The following is taken from an article on the
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,
'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
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
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