15 December 1917

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14 December 1917

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13 December 1917

The Death Ballot anti conscription poster, 1917. Image courtesy Riley and ephemera collection, State Library of Victoria.

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12 December 1917

General Allenby’s formal entry on foot to Jerusalem, 11 December 1917. The leading figure is that of Borton Pacha, the British Military Governor of the Town, followed by his two Aides-de-Camp. Further behind, from left to right: Colonel de Piepape, Commanding the French Detachment, General Allenby, whose head is visible between the shoulders of the officers preceding him, and Lieutenant Colonel D’Agostino, Commanding the Italian Detachment. Image courtesy Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 12616).

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Curtis Robert Payne

Curtis Robert Payne was born in Orange in 1891, the second son of William, a popular local hairdresser, and Mary Ann nee Jones. William and Mary married in Orange in September 1886; their first son, William Henry, was born the following year.

In 1911 Mary Ann applied for a dissolution of her marriage with William on the grounds of desertion. This was granted, and Mary and Curtis moved to Sydney.

Curtis and William enlisted together in Sydney on 19 February 1917. Both were assigned to the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron; Robert as a sapper and William as a captain. The brothers embarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney for overseas service on 9 May 1917.

Two weeks later, on 23 May, the Port Sydney arrived in Fremantle, whereupon Curtis disembarked to take a tour of the city. He failed to re-embark on time, and the vessel left without him. He was forced to wait for five weeks until the next transport vessel arrived.

Sapper Payne re-embarked from Fremantle on 30 June 1917. In August he joined the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron in Mesopotamia, but was hospitalised shortly after arrival with fever. Sapper Payne was discharged from hospital on 10 September 1917 and rejoined his unit on 7 October.

Two months later, in December 1917, Curtis’ brother, William Henry Payne, died of smallpox whilst serving in Mesopotamia.

In early January 1918 Curtis embarked HT Ekma in Basra, for return to Australia. In June he underwent a medical examination at the 4th Australian General Hospital in Randwick. The subsequent report noted that Curtis was suffering from debility, weight loss, palpitations and tremors. The report also noted that he had been hospitalised on two occasions with malaria and neurasthenia. On 14 August 1918 Curtis was discharged from the AIF due to medical unfitness.

Curtis Robert Payne returned to his mother’s house in Coogee. He passed away at a private hospital in Randwick on 23 September 1924, aged 33. He is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Long Bay Road, Coogee.

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William Henry Payne

Captain William Henry Payne and despatch riders with the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron, Mesopotamia, 1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

William Henry Payne was born in Orange in 1887. His father, William snr, was a popular local hairdresser and his mother was Mary Ann nee Jones. William and Mary had married in Orange in September 1886 and William Henry was their first-born son. A second son, Curtis Robert, followed in 1891.

William attended Orange Public School and later joined the operating staff at the Orange Railway Station. He trained with the Australasian branch of the Marconi Company and was also a Deputy Manager with Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Ltd.

As a young man William took himself off to New Zealand, where he served two and a half years with the 3rd Auckland Infantry Regiment (C Company). In July 1914 he married Ethel Mary Fromm of Gisborne. The couple relocated to Sydney, where Ethel gave birth to two children.

When WWI broke out William served two years and seven months as a Lieutenant with the 17th Signal Troop Army Engineers at Moore Park, where he developed the AIF Wireless School, effectively organising the entire scheme for military wireless training in the Commonwealth.

William and his brother Curtis enlisted together in Sydney on 19 February 1917. Both were assigned to the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron; William as a captain and Robert as a sapper. The brothers embarked HMAT A15 Port Sydney for overseas service on 9 May 1917.

Captain Payne proceeded to Mesopotamia; his squadron formed part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. William was hospitalised shortly after his arrival in Mesopotamia. He returned to duty in August 1917, but was readmitted to hospital in late November with small pox. William’s condition deteriorated and he died on 10 December 1917, aged 30. He was buried in Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in Iraq.

William Henry Payne is commemorated on panel number 26 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

William’s brother Curtis Robert Payne returned to Australia in May 1918.

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10 December 1917

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9 December 1917

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Dr Hussein Salim al-Husseini (with walking-stick and cigarette), with his party under a white flag-of-truce, 9 December 1917. Image courtesy Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 13213B).

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8 December 1917

HMAS Sydney launches a Sopwith Camel from her new revolving launching platform, 8 December 1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

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7 December 1917

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