The grave of George Holden, Port Said War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Born in Cargo in 1899, George Holden claimed to be 20 years old when he enlisted in Orange in October 1917. He was, in fact, just 18 years old.
George was the second of three boys born to Samuel Holden and Rosalind (nee Locke), who had married in Cargo in 1896. He attended Bowan Park School Public School and was working as a farmer prior to enlistment. He was also a member of the Bowan Park Farmers and Settlers’ Association, who presented him with booklets of War Savings Stamps to the value of £3 10s prior to embarkation.
George embarked from Sydney in March 1918. He was stationed in Moascar, Egypt, where he was a trooper with the 1st Light Horse Regiment, 35th Reinforcement.
Trooper Holden was hospitalised in August and September 1918 with pyrexia (fever) and neurasthenia (hysteria). He was transferred to the 14th Australian General Hospital in Port Said, where he died of malaria the following month, aged 19 years.
George Holden is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates, the Toogong War Memorial and on panel number 2 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
George is also remembered on a commemorative plaque in Orange Cemetery, Presbyterian Block 3, Grave 55.
Signaller Frederick Arthur Hollands sends news from the Jordan Valley where he is battling the heat and mosquitos. He sends thanks to the Australian Comforts Fund for the supply of tinned food that recently arrived; it includes salmon, artichokes, celery, pineapple and cherries. Soldier’s Letter
German troops abandon positions along the Belgian coast and northern France as Allied forces continue to advance
Percy Lennox Young was born in Orange in 1890. He was one of 12 children born in Orange and various Sydney suburbs to Arthur Lennox Young and Ada Seers. Nothing can be found of his early life, however being an engineer by trade one could assume that he received a good secondary and possibly tertiary education.
In 1911 Percy married Ida Evelyn Smith in Ashfield and two children were born of the union: Winifred, born 1912, and Jean Margaret, born 1913. Sadly, Jean died at the age of eight months.
Prior to his enlistment at Liverpool on 25 February 1915 Percy served three years with the No 1 Electric Co Engineers for. He was attached to 19th Battalion, A Company, and one month later was promoted to Sergeant. On 29 March 1915 he embarked per HMAT A40 Ceramic in Sydney. Percy was hospitalised twice during October 1915, once for dysentery, in Malta, and later for rheumatic fever, in England.
On 8 June 1916 at Weymouth in England, Sergeant Percy Young stood before a court martial for:
Knowingly and with intent to defraud altering a document which it was his duty to preserve
He pleaded guilty to altering his pay book to the sum of £24 and thereby overdrew his account to the extent of £21 5s. In his defence, he said he had planned to return the money when further funds had arrived from Australia. He did not realise that this would be such a serious crime.
Percy was found guilty and the sentence imposed:
To be reduced to the ranks and to undergo detention for 112 days
After sentencing Percy’s Medical Report on an Invalid states:
Immediately after [the court martial] he developed Mental symptoms – became nervous, frightened, looked wild and distracted and lost the power of speech.
Percy was diagnosed with hysterical aphonia [loss of the voice resulting from psychological causes] and was declared unit for general service for more than six months and unfit for home service. The opinion of the doctor who made the diagnosis was that Percy’s disability was:
caused by the shock of trial by Court Martial
Percy Young returned to Melbourne, Australia, on 26 September 1916 via HMAT Marathon. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 30 October 1916 as medically unfit, although his speech did return.
The scars of war can be physical, but they can also be mental. A body was found in the Gap Park, Watsons Bay, in May 1918 which was later identified as Percy Lennox Young. He had suffered a bullet wound to the head. A Coroner’s Court ruled Percy’s injury to be self-inflicted.
Percy Lennox Young, aged 28, was laid to rest in Presbyterian Section of the Woronora Cemetery alongside his eight-month-old daughter Jean and his father Arthur Lennox Young.
* Sharon Jameson, October 2018
Percy Lennox Young. Image courtesy National Archives of Australia.
The theatrical career of Gerald Benedict Fahy was brought to a sad end at the 15th Australian Field Ambulance where he died of gas poisoning on 7 April 1917. “Gattye”, as he was known to his family and friends, enlisted at Enoggera, Queensland, on 9 May 1915. Although he gave his occupation as “labourer” he signed his enlistment form with a flourish, perhaps indicating his standard of education. Indeed, he is remembered on the Patrician Brothers’ Orange Old Boys Roll of Honour.
Gerald embarked at Sydney on HMAT Shropshire on 20 August 1915 bound for Egypt, where he was taken on strength with the 15th Battalion at Lemnos. On 9 February 1916 he was wounded and admitted to the Australian Overseas Base at Chesireh, Egypt.
In March 1916 Gerald rejoined his battalion and was transferred to France. Here he was wounded in action on 8 August and again on 28 August 1916, when he also suffered shell shock. On 3 September 1916 Gerald rejoined his battalion and was then transferred to the 4th Division Salvage Company. On 7 April 1917 at the 15th Australian Field Ambulance he died of gas poisoning and was laid to rest at the Bernafay Wood British Cemetery in Montauban France.
Gerald had originally enlisted under the name of Thompson. In a letter included in his war record he explains why:
This is my explanation to having enlisted under a wrong name. For the last four or five months I have had relatives of my wife coming to my home and wanting to lene [sic] on me. They are quiet [sic] able to work but seem to be of the kind that don’t want it. I did not care to cause rows between my wife and self and took the name of Thompson and shifted my address thinking that would leave me free of them for a time. On the day that I enlisted I took the name of Thompson not knowing that I was doing wrong and with no intention whatever of doing anything wrong. I came to the knowledge of what I had done and took the first opportunity I had of explaining matters. I can get references from the last three places in which I was employed as to character and my way of living showing that my past is good and above reproach. I ask you to treat me as lightly as possible as my heart is bent on going to the front.
Why did Gerald Fahy choose the name “Thompson”? The Perth Daily News dated 15 January 1907 records a performance of Fun on the Bristol. In the play Gerald Fahy performed the role of “Thompson” – perhaps it was the first name that popped into head that he was familiar with! Obviously, Gerald enjoyed performing. In 1903 the Petersham Choral Society performed Dorothy where Gerald performed on alternate nights. The Port Augusta Dispatch of Friday 21 June 1907 records:
Gerald Benedict Fahy was born in 1883 and was the son of Patrick Fahy and Jane Collins (of Springside) who had married in Orange in 1864. They had eight children; Gerald was the first boy after six girls. His father Patrick was the licensee of both the Steam Engine Hotel and the Daniel O’Connell Hotel in Lords Place. The family later moved to Stanmore in Sydney where the last four children were born.
Flicking through the pages of A Gentleman of the Inky Way by Joe Glasson (who identifies himself as a cousin through the Collins line) it is apparent that the Fahy family was musically talented. Gerald’s younger brother “Bort” (Herbert) was well-known in Sydney and country New South Wales for his musical talents. Though “Bort” could not read a note of music he could sing and play for hours. Joe Glasson records his visits to the Fahy family home in Stanmore, Sydney:
As soon as tea was over, Bort, an accredited musical genius, would sit at the piano hour after hour, his brother, sisters and friends would sing first-class music in four parts, including all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
Gerald left a widow and three small children. He had married Annie Harper, daughter of William Thomas Harper, in Brisbane on 22 April 1912. In 1918 Annie was chosen to occupy one of the Anzac Cottages at Goodna, Queensland, built especially for war widows. Annie never remarried and died in Queensland in 1957. Their son, Gerald Herbert Fahy, served in WWII.
It is interesting to note that while Gerald Benedict Fahy died and was interred in France, his widow Annie Fahy registered his death in Brisbane, Queensland, in 1922. His death certificate states that he was given a military burial. Three children are listed on the death certificate: Minnie Josephine, aged four, Edward Henry, three, and Gerald Herbert, one.
Gerald Benedict “Gattye” Fahy is commemorated on the Patrician Brothers’ Roll of Honour, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel no 184 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
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 GB Fahy”; it was donated by AB Woodhouse. Very few of the trees are still standing today.