27 May 1916

This entry was posted on May 27th, 2016.

26 May 1916

This entry was posted on May 26th, 2016.

25 May 1916

This entry was posted on May 25th, 2016.

24 May 1916

Ancient Order of Foresters' Orange Roll of Honor. Image courtesy Orange City Library.

Ancient Order of Foresters’ Orange Roll of Honor. Image courtesy Orange City Library.

This entry was posted on May 24th, 2016.

23 May 1916

This entry was posted on May 23rd, 2016.

Richard James Whiteley

Richard James Whiteley was born at Orange in April 1895, the fifth son of Henry and Mary Ann Whiteley (nee Jobson).

The family later moved to Narromine, and on 23 May 1916 Richard and two of his brothers – Alexander Tinnock Whiteley and Charles Henry Whiteley – travelled to Dubbo and enlisted in the First World War. The brothers were issued sequential service numbers: 5926 (Charles), 5927 (Alexander) and 5928 (Richard).

The three brothers spent the next nine months together; they joined the 17th Battalion, 16th Reinforcements and attended Dubbo and Liverpool camps. The trio embarked HMAT A40 Ceramic in Sydney on 7 October 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 21 November. Richard and Alexander were assigned to the 5th Training Battalion at Folkestone, and Charles to the 6th at Rollestone. In February 1917 Richard and Charles proceeded to the Western Front in France, however Alexander remained at Folkestone for a further three months, arriving on the Western Front in May 1917.

On 18 February 1917 Richard and Charles were marched in to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples. At 3.45am on 3 May 1917 the Australian 2nd Division and the British 62nd Division launched an attack on the Hindenburg Line with the intention of securing the fortified village of Bullecourt. Soldiers of the 17th Battalion, Richard and Charles included, were engaged in the battle. They managed to penetrate the German line but met determined resistance. The brothers were both wounded in action, however their official status was later upgraded to “wounded and missing in action”. Some time later Charles managed to rejoin his unit, however Richard was not seen again.

On 9 July 1917 Army Base Records sent Richard’s mother, Mary Ann, the following telegram:

Reported Private Richard Whiteley wounded. Will advise anything further received.

On 22 September Mary Ann enquired:

Would you be so kind to let me know if my son Richard James Whiteley is alive or not, as I have not been notified to that effect, only that his pay has been stopped, the last news I got was that he was wounded and missing and that was in July 1917. I had a letter from his brother saying that he was wounded, and that the soldiers had carried him to the hospital, said that it was only a flesh wound, and that is the last word I have heard about him. I would be very thankful for any information you could give me as it worries me very much.

It was not until November 1917 that AIF Headquarters declared Richard to have been killed in action at Bullecourt on 3 May 1917. He was one of 11 men from the Orange district who was killed that fateful day. He has no known grave.

The Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Bureau investigated Richard’s disappearance; there are mixed reports concerning his fate. His brother Charles reported seeing him wounded during battle and carried to the dressing station by stretcher bearers. A comrade lit him a cigarette and Charles said “he was alright then”.

A fellow soldier wounded on the same day reported being with him in a shell hole behind enemy lines early in the morning of 8 May, but said that he died later that day.

Several soldiers reported that he had been wounded and was sent to hospital in England.

In September 1918 Mary Ann received a package containing her son’s personal effects – letters, cards and photographs.

In April 1920 she again wrote to Base Records:

I have been told that Richard James Whiteley is supposed to be alive and had lost his memory, and also his disc, but I may tell you that he has a mark on one of his legs caused by a barbed wire fence before he left Australia.

They replied:

I…regret to state that there appears no reason to doubt the authenticity of the report that [he] was killed in action.

Richard’s brothers Alexander and Charles both survived the war; they returned to Australia in December 1917 and May 1918 respectively.

The three brothers are commemorated on the World War I honor roll of St Andrew’s Uniting Church (formerly Presbyterian Church) in Narromine.

This entry was posted on May 23rd, 2016.

Charles Henry Whiteley

Charles Henry Whiteley was born at Orange in April 1893. Charles’ parents, Henry and Mary Ann (nee Jobson) were both born in Orange and had married in the town in 1878. Henry was working as a boundary rider in the district at the time of Charles’ birth.

The family later moved to Narromine, and on 23 May 1916 Charles and two of his brothers – Alexander Tinnock Whiteley and Richard James Whiteley – travelled to Dubbo and enlisted in the First World War. The brothers were issued sequential service numbers: 5926 (Charles), 5927 (Alexander) and 5928 (Richard).

The three brothers spent the next nine months together; they joined the 17th Battalion, 16th Reinforcements and attended Dubbo and Liverpool camps. The trio embarked HMAT A40 Ceramic in Sydney on 7 October 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 21 November. Charles was assigned to the 6th Training Battalion at Rollestone, Alexander and Richard to the 5th at Folkestone. In February 1917 Charles and Richard proceeded to the Western Front in France, however Alexander remained at Folkestone for a further three months, arriving on the Western Front in May 1917.

On 18 February 1917 Charles and Richard were marched in to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples. At 3.45am on 3 May 1917 the Australian 2nd Division and the British 62nd Division launched an attack on the Hindenburg Line with the intention of securing the fortified village of Bullecourt. Soldiers of the 17th Battalion, Charles and Richard included, were engaged in the battle. They managed to penetrate the German line but met determined resistance. The brothers were both wounded in action, however their official status was later upgraded to “wounded and missing in action”. Some time later Charles managed to rejoin his unit, however Richard was not seen again. Six months later, in November 1917, AIF Headquarters declared him to have been killed in action on 3 May 1917. He was one of 11 men from the Orange district who was killed that fateful day.

Charles recovered from his wounds, but five months later, in October, was again wounded, sustaining gunshot wounds to the hand and leg. He was admitted to the 7th Canadian General Hospital in Etaples and later transferred to Queen’s Canadian Military Hospital at Beachborough Park in England. He remained there until February 1918, when he was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford. Charles was invalided home; he returned to Australia in May 1918 and was discharged from the AIF in July. Charles’ brother Alexander returned to Australia in December 1917.

In March 1926 Charles, now 32, married 21 year old Mary Elizabeth (‘Gracie’) Kable at St Johns Church at Parramatta. The couple’s daughter, Valerie June, was born three years later, in 1929.

Census records indicate that Charles was living in Merrylands and working as a labourer during the 1950s. Charles died in Wellington District Hospital on 18 March 1960, aged 66. His death certificate stated his residence as Montefiores, Wellington.

Charles Henry Whitely and his brothers are commemorated on the World War I honor roll of St Andrew’s Uniting Church (formerly Presbyterian Church) in Narromine.

This entry was posted on May 23rd, 2016.

Alexander Tinnock Whiteley

Born in Orange in 1882, Alexander Tinnock Whiteley was the second child of Henry Whiteley and his wife Mary Ann (nee Dobson).

In 1910 Alexander married Eva Ivy Thomas and settled in Narromine, where his family lived.

On 23 May 1916 Alexander and two of his younger brothers – Charles Henry Whiteley and Richard James Whiteley – travelled from Narromine to Dubbo to enlist in the First World War. The brothers were issued sequential service numbers: 5926 (Charles), 5927 (Alexander) and 5928 (Richard).

The three brothers spent the next nine months together; they joined the 17th Battalion, 16th Reinforcements and attended Dubbo and Liverpool camps. The trio embarked HMAT A40 Ceramic in Sydney on 7 October 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 21 November. Alexander and Richard were assigned to the 5th Training Battalion at Folkestone; and Charles to the 6th at Rollestone. In February 1917 Charles and Richard proceeded to the Western Front in France, however Alexander remained at Folkestone for a further three months, arriving on the Western Front in May 1917.

Private Alexander Whitley was hospitalised twice following his arrival in France; in July with pyrexia (fever), and again in August, suffering from debility. He was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley in England, and in September to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital. Alexander spent a month at Weymouth Camp following his discharge from hospital before embarking in late October for his return to Australia.

Whilst in Weymouth Camp Alexander received a letter from his sister-in-law Mary Katherine McAuley in Cootamundra, to which he immediately replied:

Dear Mary

I had a very pleasant surprise today when I received your letter. I was beginning to think that you had forgotten me, and had given up hopes of hearing from you again, as three of the letters I had written to you were returned to me from Cootamundra while I was in France.

I was sent away from the front in July and was in hospital in Rouen, a town in France until early in August. I was then sent to England and was in the British Red Cross Hospital at Netley near Southampton until three weeks ago. I am now in a camp near Weymouth waiting my turn for a boat home to Australia. I am permanently unfit for further active service.
I have had a very bad time, I do not think I will ever be strong again.

I am sorry too have to tell you that my poor brother Dick has gone under. We had a very bad time on the 3rd of May, that is the day he fell, a piece of shell got him. Charlie is still with the Battalion, I had a letter from him a few days ago.

Well Dear Sister by the time you receive this I may possibly be on my way home again. I will write again before I leave for home. I will go to see you at the earliest opportunity when I get home.

Trusting you are all well I will say goodbye, with best love to all.

From your affectionate Brother
Alexander T Whiteley

Alexander arrived back in Australia in December 1917 and returned to his family in Narromine. He and Ivy had five children, but sadly, Ivy passed away in 1922, at just 34 years of age. The couple’s youngest child was only nine months old at the time.

In 1926 Alexander married Ollie Field in Orange. By 1930 the family was living in Stuart Town, where Alexander was working as a miner. The 1943 electoral roll indicates that the family had moved to Peisley Street in Orange, and Alexander was a munitions worker.

Alexander died in Orange Base Hospital in July 1952, aged 70 years. His obituary in the Central Western Daily reports that he was survived by his wife Ollie, six sons, eight daughters and 23 grandchildren.

Alexander’s brother Richard did not survive the war; he was one of eleven men from the Orange district who were killed in action at Bullecourt on 3 May 1917. Charles returned to Australia in May 1918.

The three brothers are commemorated on the World War I honor roll of St Andrew’s Uniting Church (formerly Presbyterian Church) in Narromine.

 

Alexander Tinnock Whiteley's headstone, Orange Cemetery Image courtesy Orange Cemetery

Alexander Tinnock Whiteley’s headstone, Orange Cemetery. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.

This entry was posted on May 23rd, 2016.

22 May 1916

This entry was posted on May 22nd, 2016.

21 May 1916

Big Ben

This entry was posted on May 21st, 2016.