19 January 1915

Luftschiff Zeppelin LZ24, the Imperial German Navy bomber L3. Image in public domain.

Luftschiff Zeppelin LZ24, the Imperial German Navy bomber L3.
Image in public domain.

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18 January 1915

The Battle of Jassini by General von Lettow-Vorbeck. Image in public domain.

The Battle of Jassini by General von Lettow-Vorbeck.
Image in public domain.

 

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17 January 1915

An Ottoman machinegun troop at the eastern front during the Battle of Sarikamish. Image in public domain.

An Ottoman machinegun troop at the eastern front during the Battle of Sarikamish.
Image in public domain.

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16 January 1915

HMAS Melbourne in dazzle camouflage, 1918. HMAS Melbourne was the only RAN vessel to be painted in dazzle camouflage during World War I. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

HMAS Melbourne in dazzle camouflage, 1918. HMAS Melbourne was the only RAN vessel to be painted in dazzle camouflage during World War I.
Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

The use of camouflage for ships during wartime

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15 January 1915

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William Isaac (‘Bill’) Woodbridge

William Isaac Woodbridge was born in Grenfell in 1893, the third son and eighth child of Benjamin and Mary Ann Woodbridge. By the time World War One was declared the family had relocated to Orange. William – or ‘Bill’ as he became known – was working as a boundary rider in northern Queensland. His older brothers, John and Patrick, were working as shearers in the same area.

The three brothers enlisted in Queensland within a few months of each other and embarked together from Brisbane in April 1915, all privates in the 15th Battalion bound for Gallipoli.

William – or ‘Bill’ as he was known – landed at Gallipoli on 9 July. Just six weeks later he was shot in the right hand, and, a week later, in the foot. Bill recovered from his injuries and proceeded to France in June 1916. On 6 August he received multiple gunshot wounds, to the buttocks, arms and thigh. On this occasion Bill did not survive his injuries; he died a week later.

William’s brother, John, was killed in action two days after William was wounded, on 8 August 1916. Patrick survived the war, returning to Australia in July 1919.

The name Woodbridge appears on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte Woodbridge”; it is unclear whether this tree was in honour of William or John. The tree was donated by W Bartlett. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

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William James Cecil Lyons

William James Cecil Lyons was born in 1888, the eldest son of William James Lyons and his wife Jessie. William – or ‘Cecil’ as he became known – worked as a station hand on the family property at Euchareena. He enlisted in WWI in January 1915 and embarked for overseas duty in April that year.

Private Lyons served in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Reinforcements for 4½ years. He was wounded twice during his service. Less than two months after arriving in Gallipoli he sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs and was hospitalised in Cairo. He was shot a second time in France in April 1917, this time in the shoulder, cheek and nose, and was transferred to the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford, England.

Cecil Lyons was one of 25 servicemen from the Orange area who served in the 3rd Battalion. On 18 September 1918 the 3rd Battalion was involved in the Battle of Warfusee in the Picardy region of France. It was here that they captured the German 77mm calibre Field Gun that is now on display in Cook Park in Orange. Lyons was on furlough in England at the time; he rejoined the Battalion on the 21st.

Cecil returned to Australia in May 1919. He was one of three soldiers who were greeted at the Orange railway station by the Model Band and “the largest crowd…for some time”. Ald. ET McNeilly, representing the Mayor, led the official party, which included representatives of the Returned Soldiers’ Club, the Voluntary Aid Detachment and the Digger Post.

Cecil settled near Bathurst, where he secured a soldier settlement block. He was a regular visitor to the Orange district, where he spent time with his many friends and family members. In 1940 Cecil enlisted in WWII. He died in March 1960 and is buried in the Anglican section of Wellington Cemetery. His headstone reads:

William Cecil Lyons
Poet, humourist, a man of great personality.
Erected by his brother, sisters and some more of his mates.

William James Cecil Lyons is commemorated on WWI Honour Roll at Euchareena Soldiers Memorial Hall.

Cecil’s youngest brother, George, also served in WWI; he was killed in action in France in March 1917.

Leader, 14 May 1919, p. 1.
Local soldiers return

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John Michael Paul (‘Jack’) Woodbridge

John Michael Paul Woodbridge was born in Grenfell in 1891, the second son and seventh child of Benjamin and Mary Ann Woodbridge. By the time World War One was declared the family had relocated to Orange. John – or ‘Jack’ as he became known – and his older brother, Patrick, were working as shearers in northern Queensland; an older brother, William, was a boundary rider in the same area.

The three brothers enlisted in Queensland within a few months of each other and embarked together from Brisbane in April 1915, all privates in the 15th Battalion bound for Gallipoli.

Jack fought at Gallipoli for just three weeks; on 8 August 1915 he was reported as wounded and missing in action.

One month later, on 9 September 1915 the Secretary of Defence sent the following telegram to Private Woodbridge’s father:

Regret Son Private JMP Woodbridge wounded between 7th and 8th August. Not reported seriously. No other particulars available. Will immediately advise anything further received.

In late November 1915 Jack’s brother, Patrick, wrote a letter from Abbassia in Egypt to his sister Rose in Orange stating:

Bill or I don’t know where Jack is since the eight of August, he has been missing, he never came back after a charge on Sunday August the eight, but he might be in England but we can’t hear of him.

In January Jack’s sister, Mary, wrote a letter to the Minister of Defence in Melbourne requesting details as to her brother’s whereabouts. Earlier letters to Mr George Briner, Member for Raleigh, and the Information Bureau in Sydney had proved fruitless.

Late the following month the family received a telegram so say that John was “Wounded and Missing”. This was six months AFTER the event.

Telegrams received by the family on 22 March and 10 May 1916 stated that there was evidence of John’s death, however in July 1916 Mary again sought the assistance of George Briner, whom she went to visit in person. Meanwhile, John’s mother, Mary Ann, was also seeking clarification of her son’s whereabouts with the assistance of a solicitor and the Salvation Army National Headquarters.

A court of enquiry dated 6 April 1916 declared Private Woodbridge to have been killed in action on 8 August 1915, however it would appear that this information had not been conveyed to his family.

In September 1916 Jack’s parent received a package containing their son’s personal effects: one hair brush, one shaving brush, one prayer book and a handkerchief.

John’s brother William died of wounds on 14 August 1915, just six days after John was killed in action. Patrick survived the war, returning to Australia in July 1919.

The name Woodbridge appears on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte Woodbridge”; it is unclear whether this tree was in honour of William or John. The tree was donated by W Bartlett. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

 

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14 January 1915

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Thomas Samuel Spicer

Thomas Samuel Spicer was born in Lewis Ponds in 1891. He was one of ten children born to William Henry Spicer and his wife Emma Jane (nee Blatchford). William and his family were well-known and highly respected residents of Upper Lewis Ponds where they lived and farmed sheep for many years.

Thomas enlisted in February 1916 and attended training camp for several months. He was discharged in July 1916.

In 1918 Thomas married Ada Jan Fardell in Orange; the couple settled in Lewis Ponds where Thomas worked as a labourer, and had several children. Thomas died in July 1970, aged 79. He is buried in Orange Cemetery.

Thomas had three cousins who served in WWI: James Caleb Spicer, Samuel Archibald Spicer and William John Spicer.

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