31 December 1915

A New Year’s Eve in War Time 1915-1916 by Thomas Hardy

Phantasmal fears,
And the flap of the flame,
And the throb of the clock,
And a loosened slate,
And the blind night’s drone,
Which tiredly the spectral pines intone!

And the blood in my ears
Strumming always the same,
And the gable-cock
With its fitful grate,
And myself, alone.

The twelfth hour nears
Hand-hid, as in shame;
I undo the lock,
And listen, and wait
For the Young Unknown.

In the dark there careers —
As if Death astride came
To numb all with his knock —
A horse at mad rate
Over rut and stone.

No figure appears,
No call of my name,
No sound but ‘Tic-toc’
Without check. Past the gate
It clatters — is gone.

What rider it bears
There is none to proclaim;
And the Old Year has struck,
And, scarce animate,
The New makes moan.

Maybe that ‘More Tears! —
More Famine and Flame —
More Severance and Shock!’
Is the order from Fate
That the Rider speeds on
To pale Europe; and tiredly the pines intone.

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30 December 1915

The upturned hull of HMS Natal in Cromarty Firth, 1915. Image in public domain.

The upturned hull of HMS Natal in Cromarty Firth, 1915. Image in public domain.

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29 December 1915

The French submarine Monge. Image in public domain.

The French submarine Monge. Image in public domain.

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28 December 1915

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27 December 1915

Austrian soldier in body armour, Bukovina Province, 1915. Image courtesy photosofwar.net.

Austrian soldier in body armour, Bukovina Province, 1915. Image courtesy photosofwar.net.

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26 December 1915

The Kingani on Lake Tanganyika 1915. Image courtesy Kolonialen Bildarchiv, Frankfurt.

The Kingani on Lake Tanganyika 1915. Image courtesy Kolonialen Bildarchiv, Frankfurt.

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25 December 1915

1915 Christmas billy, Thomas Sydney Harrison. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

1915 Christmas billy, Thomas Sydney Harrison. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Each man was given a ‘Christmas Billy’, and I can assure you they opened them as eagerly as children at home do open their Christmas stockings … Just one thing hurt very much — it was the picture on the outside of the billy, showing a Kangaroo on the map of Gallipoli, with his tail knocking a Turk into the sea and underneath the words ‘THIS BIT OF THE WORLD BELONGS TO US’.

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James Dalton

James Dalton. Image courtesy Rosemary Serisier.

James Dalton. Image courtesy Rosemary Serisier.

James Dalton was born in Sydney in 1890. His father was Thomas Garrett (“Gatty”) Dalton MA, LLB, and Mayor of Orange in 1903, 1904 and 1905. His grandfather, also called Thomas, built Duntryleague and founded Dalton Brothers Stores.

James was the first son and the third of six children born to Gatty and his wife Mary Helene Condon. He spent his childhood at Killiney in Kite Street, a house built in 1875 by his grandfather, and now known as Mena. He was educated at St Ignatius’ College at Riverview.

James served in the Senior Cadets for three years and in the 9th Light Horse Regiment, of the Citizen Military Forces for 15 months. When he enlisted in January 1915, James was employed as a clerk in the family business – Dalton Bothers Ltd.

James was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant to the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 4th Reinforcement, embarking from Sydney in April 1915 with the Third Expeditionary Force. James, also known as “Sonny Jim” returned to Orange to farewell his family and friends prior to embarkation. A large crowd gathered at the Steam Engine Hotel on 3 March 1915 to pay tribute to James. The Mayor, Ald. ET McNeilly, chaired the meeting and a number of other alderman proposed toasts and delivered speeches. The crowd joined in singing patriotic songs and at the end of the evening Ald. McNeilly presented James with a wristlet watch. A Soldier’s Farewell

Just two months later, in June 1915, James was promoted to Lieutenant. He served for the duration of the war, in Egypt, Gallipoli and Palestine.

In August 1918 Lieutenant Dalton was sent to Jerusalem rest camp, only to be hospitalised three days later, suffering from debility. He rejoined his regiment the following week, but was again hospitalised in December, this time with pneumonia. James died at the 28th Casualty Clearing Station in Salonika on 19 December 1918, less than six weeks after the armistice agreement was signed.

James is commemorated on St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll and 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 Lieutenant Dalton; it was donated by his uncle, Michael Francis Dalton. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

James’ brother Thomas Joseph Dalton also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in 1918.

Leader, 30 December 1918, p. 1.
Another Hero Gone

 

7th Light Horse Regiment officers, Maadi, Egypt. James Dalton is in the back row on the far left. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

7th Light Horse Regiment officers, Maadi, Egypt. James Dalton is in the back row on the far left. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

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24 December 1915

Ville de la Ciotat. Image in public domain.

Ville de la Ciotat. Image in public domain.

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23 December 1915

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