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.
Cousins Alf and Ben Chapman. Image courtesy Kerrie Nicholls.
Alfred Chapman was born Orange in April 1897, the second son of Charles Chapman and his wife Selina Jane (nee Reece). A brother Frank had been born in 1895, a sister Elizabeth (Bessie) followed in 1900.
Charles was a member of the Spring Hill pioneer Chapman family, a successful farmer and grazier who designed the local Methodist (now Uniting) Church. Alfred and his siblings attended the Spring Hill Public School and later Alfred farmed the family property of Inglewood.
On 8 February 1915 Alf and his cousins, brothers Benjamin Barnett Chapman and George Denis Chapman, enlisted together in Liverpool. When completing their attestation papers all three claimed to be 18 years old. Alfred was, in fact, just 17 years of age, and Ben only 16.
The cousins were assigned to 7th Light Horse Regiment, 6th Reinforcements. On 15 June Alf and Ben embarked HMAT A66 Uganda in Sydney. They served on the Gallipoli peninsula from October until the evacuation in December 1915.
Alfred was transferred to Maadi in Egypt, where he was appointed a driver. In February 1916 he was marched out to Serapeum, and in July 1916 transferred to the 2nd Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron at Bir et Maler.
In July 1917 Driver Chapman was hospitalised due to septic sores on his leg, apparently the result of a horse bite. He rejoined the Machine Gun Squadron two months later, in September 1917.
In November 1917 Alfred’s squadron fought in the Battle of Beersheba and the 3rd Battle of Gaza in Palestine. It was here that Alfred Chapman was killed in action, one of the four men killed that day. According to Ben Chapman they were advancing amid direct enemy fire with less than half a kilometre left to go when Alf, who was riding behind him, went down. George Chapman said that after Alf went down he half rose and waved his hand: “game till the last”.
Alfred Chapman is buried in the Beersheba War Cemetery in Israel. In 1921 his parents Charles and Selina took a nine-month long journey during which they attempted to visit their son’s grave. They were unable to due to “the disturbed state of the country”.
Alfred Chapman is commemorated on the Spring Hill Public School Honour Roll, the Spring Hill Church Roll of Honor, the Spring Hill Temperance Hall Honor Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 180 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Alfred is also commemorated on his cousin Benjamin’s headstone in Spring Hill Cemetery, which bears the inscription “Mates in Peace and War”.
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 A Chapman”; it was donated by W Marriott. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Alfred’s cousins, George and Benjamin both returned to Australia after WWI, George in March 1919 and Ben in August 1919.
Benjamin Chapman’s headstone at Spring Hill Cemetery commemorating Alfred Chapman: Mates in Peace and War. Image courtesy Alex Rezko.
On 31 October 1917 Sidney Alfred Maddison was killed in the Battle of Beersheba in Palestine. Sidney was one of 31 Australians who died that day, and the only person from the Orange district to die in that conflict.
Sidney was born in Orange in 1882 to John and Elizabeth Maddison. John and Elizabeth were early settlers in Orange; during the 1860s John worked as a carrier for Dalton Brothers. After 25 years’ employment with the company John retired to Manildra.
Sidney was educated at Manildra Public School. Following John’s death in January 1904 the family moved to Elderslie, near Camden, where Sidney found work as a station manager.
In July 1915 Sidney and his brother John, a veteran of the Boer War, enlisted in Liverpool. Both were assigned to the 1st Light Horse Regiment, 12th Reinforcement; the brothers embarked together and served together in Egypt and Palestine.
The 1st Light Horse Regiment was involved in several conflicts during 1917: the Battle of Romani, the Second Battle of Gaza and the Battle of Beersheba. On 31 October 1917 Sidney was driving a supply wagon during the Battle of Beersheba when a bomb landed nearby, killing Sidney and several horses.
Sidney Alfred Maddison is commemorated on Manildra Soldiers Memorial Hall Honour Roll, St Luke’s Church Manildra Honour Roll, Manildra Rifle Club Honour Roll and on panel number 2 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
There is also a monument in Meranburn Cemetery at Manildra that is inscribed:
In loving memory of
Sydney Alfred Maddison
Killed in action in Palestine
31 October 1917
A young life nobly ended
Too far away for sight or speech
But not too far for thoughts to match
Peace Perfect Peace
Sidney’s brother John Ernest Maddison was declared medically unfit and discharged from the AIF in April 1918.
Lancelot Douglas Nicol, June 1916. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Lancelot Douglas Nicol was born in Temora in 1892, a first son to John Coventry Nicol and his wife Florence Emma (nee Stark). Lance grew up in Millthorpe, where his father ran a butchery. He was educated at Spring Hill Public School and Bathurst Superior Public School and later trained as bookkeeper.
Lance also helped out in his father’s butchery, and in 1912 opened his own business at Forest Reefs. In April 1912 Lance was unfortunate enough to trip over in Pym Street in Millthorpe, where he lived. He badly dislocated his knee and required surgery to repair the injury.
In September 1915 Lance and his best friend Thomas Vaughan enlisted together and went into training with the 6th Light Horse Regiment, 14th Reinforcement. In December 1915 the Leader reported that both Lance and Thomas had been promoted to corporal. Later that month Lance again injured his knee, this time while attempting to break up a disturbance in the camp. The injury delayed his embarkation for overseas service.
Lance embarked HMAT Wandilla A62 in February 1916. In March he joined the 25th Field Artillery Brigade at Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt. He undertook further training in England during June, before being sent to the Western Front.
Just six weeks into his service in France Corporal Nicol was hospitalised with a hernia and transferred to England for surgery. His recovery took almost a year; he did not rejoin his unit in France until August 1917.
On 29 September 1917 Lance was promoted to sergeant. On 24 October Sergeant Nicol’s battery was under heavy enemy attack at Westhoek Ridge in Belgium. Lance and several others sought shelter in a nearby dugout, but were soon killed by a direct hit from a German artillery shell. Lance was 25 years old; he had served in the Australian Imperial Force for just over two years.
You will no doubt have been notified of Lance’s death ere this letter reaches you. It is useless for me to try and express in writing my feelings for you, and for myself — you for the loss of a son and myself or the loss of a pal, having known him so long — 14 years — and being pals for that time without once having a disagreement. It is hard to realise we are parted. We were like brothers.
His death was felt very keenly among the men of his battery, who are never tired of eulogising the excellent qualities and principle of their Sergeant. He was without doubt a universal favorite of the battery — both officers and men — and I can assure you if sympathy will tend to cheer you in your bereavement, you have it most sincerely from them. The battery Lance belonged to has for some time past been having a very severe time, and has lost quite a number of excellent fellows, with whom I was personally acquainted.
One becomes very callous seeing men in the prime of life falling before your eyes every day, but the death of Lance seems to have made a gap in my life which it is impossible to repair. We were brothers, not in blood, but in friendship.
The only consolation I can offer you is that he died fighting for his country — very small consolation in your bereavement — but kindly accept from me the sympathy I feel at your loss of a son, a soldier and a man.
Your sympathetic friend, T Vaughan.
On Sunday 9 June 1918 a large congregation gathered at the Methodist Church in Millthorpe to view Mrs Florence Nicol unveil a new honour roll that she had donated in memory of her late son. Sadly, the original honour roll was completely filled by the names of the town’s men and boys who had volunteered their services.
In July 1918 Florence wrote to Base Records Office to enquire if any of her son’s personal effects had been retrieved. The office replied:
No personal effects … have been returned to the office to date…Anything coming to hand will be promptly transmitted to you… It is pointed out that owing to the lack of shipping accommodation considerable delay is being caused in the transmission of personal effects of deceased members of the Australian Imperial Force. However, as soon as parcels reach here they are expeditiously dealt with.
The office was true to their word; in September 1918 they forwarded Lance’s possessions: one identity disc, a wallet and purse, a religious book, a note book and case, a whistle and lanyard, a small key, some photographs and letters, eight coins and one charm. Florence received the parcel on 3 October 1918.
Lancelot Douglas Nicol is commemorated on the following honour rolls: Spring Hill Public School, Methodist Church Orange, Methodist Church Millthorpe, Manchester Unity Oddfellows Millthorpe. He is also commemorated on panel number 18 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Frederick Augustus Taylor was born in Cudal in 1889. His parents William Taylor and Mary Jane Anderson were married in Orange in 1879; their first son, Henry Arthur (Harry) was born in 1881, and their second, Sydney Thomas, in 1883. A daughter, Jessie May followed in 1896. William was a popular and well-respected publican in Cudal; the long-time proprietor of the Tattersall’s Hotel.
In 1913 Frederick purchased Mehruda, a 4,000 acre property between Molong and Wellington and where he went on to graze sheep and cattle and to raise crops.
When Fred was 25 he travelled to Goulburn and enlisted in WWI. He was assigned to the Medium Trench Mortar Battery Reinforcement 2 as a gunner. He embarked HMAT A60 Aeneas in Sydney on 30 September 1916, arriving in Plymouth on 19 November 1916. Fred underwent further training at the Australian Army Training Depot in Parkhouse and later at Larkhill on the Salisbury Plain.
In April 1917 Gunner Taylor proceeded to France, where he was taken on strength as a driver with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. In mid-October the brigade saw action in the Westouvre area of Belgium. The brigade’s unit diary for 19 October 1917 states:
Owing to bad state of roads and heavy shelling the Batteries experienced considerable difficulty in moving into position.
Three days later, on 21 October 1917, Frederick was killed in action. There is no entry for that day in the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade’s diary, however the very entry on the list of casualties for the week ending 28 October is:
Driver FA Taylor, killed in action, 21 October 1917
When he enlisted Frederick nominated his mother Mary as his next of kin, and in January 1918 she received a small parcel containing his personal effects: his identity disc, two wallets, a French book, letters, photographs, his unit colours and two blank drafts. In accordance with army protocol Frederick’s war medals were forwarded to his father.
Frederick Augustus Taylor is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates, the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 13 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
[Frederick’s brother Harry was a partner in the successful auctioneering firm of Bedford, Taylor and Weston Ltd. A noted philanthropist, he awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth during her 1954 tour of Australia.]
Cudal and District War Memorial Gates. Image courtesy Anthony Stavely-Alexander.
John Thomas Fearish. Image courtesy australianroyalty.net.au
John Thomas Fearish had a relatively short military career; he enlisted in November 1916 and died less than a year later from wounds received on the Western Front.
John was born in Orange in 1882, the fifth of eight children born to English immigrant William Fearish and Bathurst born Bridget Mary Fogarty. The family relocated to Surry Hills in Sydney, where John attended Marist Brothers School.
In October 1903 John’s father William was working as a bricklayer’s labourer when he was killed by a falling brick. John’s mother died seven years later from a cerebral haemorrhage.
When 34 year old John enlisted in November 1916 he nominated his sister Catherine as his next of kin. Private Fearish was assigned to the 1st Pioneer Battalion, 9th Reinforcements. He embarked from Sydney on 24 January 1917 and arrived in Devonport in 27 March 1917.
Less than a month later John was admitted to Fovant Military Hospital with bronchial pneumonia. He was discharged to the Pioneer Training Battalion in late May and proceeded to France on 25 September where he was taken on strength with the 45th Battalion.
On 20 October 1917 John was hit by a shell, sustaining multiple fractures to his arms and legs plus wounds to the face and groin. He was transported to the nearby dressing station where he died a few hours later.
In May 1921 the Base Records Office wrote to John’s sister Catherine to say:
Upon enlistment the late soldier recorded you as next of kin, but it has been ascertained that he has a brother living, Mr W Fearish of Weston…and I shall be obliged to if you will advise me whether there are any reasons why the War medals should not go to him.
Upon enlistment my brother recorded me next of kin. My Brother lived with me since My Mother’s Death. When my Brother got killed I lost the only one I loved and who loved me in the Family. John and I were true Friends. I pray you grant me this Medal in honour of My Brother so I may keep it in love and memory until I die and when I die I will give it to William Fearish of Weston.
In July 1921 the Office wrote to John’s older brother William to ask if he had any objection to Catherine receiving John’s war medals:
[Catherine] was nominated as next of kin and seems to have distinct moral claims to the mementos.
William failed to reply, but it was not until December 1922 that Catherine received John’s war medals and memorial plaque.
John Thomas Fearish is commemorated on panel 27 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and on panel number 139 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
John’s cousin Sidney John Fogarty also served in WWI; he was killed in action at Warlencourt in France on 14 November 1916.
Cornelius Michael Walsh and Susan Emily O’Meara were married in Wagga Wagga in August 1880. A son, James, was born the following year, followed by a daughter, Mary in 1883. A second son, Joseph Albert Walsh was born in Orange is 1894, followed by three more daughters. Cornelius was well-known in Orange, being a veterinary surgeon and a breeder of trotting horses.
Joseph was educated by the Patrician Brothers in Orange, under whom he passed the Public Service Examination. He proceeded to join the Orange Land Board Office as a deposition clerk. Joseph also served four years with the Orange Troop Militia Light Horse, gaining a Certificate for Commission from Duntroon Military College.
In November 1915 the Land Board Office granted Joseph military leave to serve in the First World War. By the time Joseph enlisted he was the only remaining son in his family; James had died in 1898, as had his youngest sister, Gertrude in 1901.
Joseph was assigned initially to the 1st Australian Light Horse. In September 1916 he was transferred to the 29th Battalion, 11th Reinforcements. He embarked A19 Afric in Sydney on 3 in November 1916, arriving in Plymouth on 9 January 1917. Private Walsh undertook further training at Hurdcott camp and proceeded to France in March. On 7 April 1917 he was Promoted to Lance Corporal, and, a month later, to Corporal.
During the last two weeks of July 1917 Corporal Walsh attended Musketry School in the field; he was promoted to Sergeant on 6 August.
On 27 September 1917 the 29th Battalion was engaged in the Battle of Polygon Wood. It was here that the 23 year old Sergeant Walsh was killed in action. According to a fellow soldier he received a gunshot wound to the leg followed by a fatal shot to the head. Joseph was buried in the Hooge Crater Cemetery at Ypres.
Nothing can give us greater ease and trust than frequent Holy Communion. Whenever I get an opportunity I go, and take the boys of my platoon. The line has no terrors for us, fortified as we are by God’s grace in Holy Communion.
On 29 September 1917 Cornelius Walsh wrote the following letter to the Army Base Records Office:
I am in receipt of a communication from the Defence Dept informing me of the death in action of my only Son, No 4387, Sert JA Walsh, B Company, 29th Battalion, AIF Between 26 and 27 Sept.
This information is too meagre. Can I not ascertain where my Boy was killed or be given some particulars as to the manner of his death…
…Can you send me the address of the Catholic Chaplain of the 29th Battalion? I am most anxious to know if my beloved son received burial.
Thanking you in anticipation
The Officer in Charge replied:
The only available information regarding him to date is that contained in a brief cable message “Killed in action on 26 or 27 September 1917.”
On 6 November 1917 Cornelius wrote a second letter, stating:
I am anxious to receive his personal belongings and his uniform if possible. Can you procure there for me if possible or advise me of what steps to take to secure them. I would also derive some consolation from hearing of the manner of my dear boy’s death.
Cornelius received the following reply:
I have to state that in due course any personal effects that may be recovered relating to your son…will be forwarded to this Office for transmission to you, or in accordance with any testamentary instructions that may come to hand. His uniform and military equipment will not be returned.
Undeterred, Cornelius wrote a third letter dated 6 May 1918, advising:
I have not yet received any intimation of the personal belongings of my late beloved son…I am most anxious to receive them
It was not until October 1918 that Cornelius received his son’s personal effects: two wallets, a razor, a silver wrist watch, photos, cards, letters, certificates. Joseph’s identity disc followed in June 1920, his war medals in April 1921, and his memorial plaque in September 1922.
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 “Sgt JA Walsh”; it was donated by CR Campbell. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Joseph Albert Walsh is commemorated on the Patrician Brothers’ Roll of Honour, St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 116 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He is also remembered on a commemorative plaque on his mother’s grave in Orange Cemetery, Catholic Section TG – 93/94.
In completing the details for the Roll of Honour Circular Joseph’s father observed:
He gave every promise of a brilliant career and was a general favourite
Joseph Albert Walsh commemorative plaque, Orange Cemetery. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.
Robert Clyde Jones was born in Forbes in 1895. His father was Richard Edward Jones of Tamworth and his mother Alice Maud Peters of Summerhill Creek. Richard and Alice were married in Orange in 1889 and had several children. Robert was educated at Orange East Public School.
Maud Jones died in Orange in June 1913. It is unclear when Robert’s father passed away but when Robert enlisted in WWI in January 1916 he nominated his stepbrother, Percival Arthur Lewis, as his next of kin. His will dated 8 July 1917 stipulated:
In the event of my death I bequeath all my money and deferred pay to my step brother Percival Arthur Lewis
Robert embarked from Sydney on 14 April 1916, a private in the 4th Battalion, 17th Reinforcement, D company. He arrived at Suez on 17 May and was reallotted to the 14th Training Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. On 21 June he embarked HT Invernia at Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.
On 17 April 1917 Robert was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal with the 56th Battalion. He attended Corps School from 29 May until 22 June, when he rejoined his battalion. Three months later the 56th Battalion was engaged in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the Western Front when Lance Corporal Jones was killed in action, one of three men from the Orange district to be killed in that battle. He has no known grave.
The sad news has been received in Orange of the death of Lance-Corporal Clyde Jones, who was killed in action somewhere in France on the 29th September [sic]. The deceased hero was a native of Orange, and 23 years of age… His only brother, Ted, is at present with the Light Horse in Palestine. Both boys are very well known and highly respected in Orange and district.
In May 1918 Robert’s stepbrother Percival received Robert’s personal effects: one testament, one wallet, a purse, his birth certificate, some photographs, a one mark note, and 14 coins.
Four years later, on 2 May 1922, Percival completed a statutory declaration to say that Robert had an older brother: Albert Jones of 54 Grosvenor Street in Woollahra, and in July that year Robert’s war medals were issued to Albert.
Robert Clyde Jones is commemorated on the Orange East Public School Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, on panel 29 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and on panel number 162 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
He is also remembered in Newman Park in Orange, where his name appears on a plaque commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action and on his mother Alice’s grave in Orange Cemetery, Methodist Section E, Grave 27.
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 RC Jones”; it was donated by Eyles and Eyles. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Robert Clyde Jones memorial plaque, Orange Cemetery. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.
Alfred Leslie Northey. Image courtesy National Archives of Australia.
Alfred Leslie Northey was born in Millthorpe in 1895 to Joseph Thomas and Elizabeth Northey. The family later moved to Sale Street in Orange where Alfred attended Orange Public School. After his education Alfred worked as a telephone attendant at the Orange Post Office.
In 1913 Alfred joined the railway department at Dubbo as a junior porter, a position he held for just over two years, until he enlisted for service in June 1915.
Upon enlistment, Alfred stated that he was a member of 42nd Infantry Militia. He was appointed to 20th Battalion 4th Reinforcements, D Company, embarking from Sydney in September 1915.
After further training in Egypt the 20th Battalion proceeded to France to serve on the Western Front. In July 1917 Alfred was appointed Lance Corporal. Two months later, on 20 September 1917, Alfred sustained a gunshot wound to the chest when leading his men into the Battle of Menin Road Ridge near Ypres. He was admitted to the 6th Australian Field Ambulance and later transferred to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station, where he died two days later from his wounds. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium. Alfred was 22 when he died; he had served for two years and three months. Lance Corporal Northey was one of seven men from the Orange district to die during the Battle of Menin Road Ridge.
The Leader reported Alfred’s death on 5 October 1917, stating:
To his heart-broken relatives the sympathy of the whole district goes out, but in their deep sorrow they have the grand consolation that their boy died in the defence of his country – the noblest death of all.
Later that month Alfred’s fiancée, Miss L Williams of Greenwich, Hurlstone Park, wrote a letter to the Base Records Office requesting confirmation of his death:
I was told by his relatives that he was reported as having died of wounds…but so far his name has not appeared in any casualty list.
The following month Alfred’s parents received a letter of condolence from his platoon leader, Lieutenant Henry Lachlan Cyrus Hailey who declared:
I cannot speak too highly of him or his work, and altogether he was a fine and brave little gentleman and soldier, and as such had the respect of his comrades, and confidence of the officers
Alfred is a commemorated on the Orange Public School Honour Roll, Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and on his sister Elsie’s headstone at Orange Cemetery. His name appears on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 92 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 AL Northey”; it was donated by Fred Baker. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Alfred Leslie Northey memorial plaque. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.
Joseph Christopher Cox was born in March in 1890, the sixth of 13 children born to Francis Henry Baylis Cox and Martha Griffith. Most of Joseph’s siblings were born in Orange but by the turn of the century the family had moved to Menah near Mudgee, where Francis ran a grazing property, and where he was killed in a riding accident in January 1910.
In January 1916 26-year-old Joseph travelled to Dubbo to enlist. Private Cox was assigned to the 22nd Battalion, 17 Reinforcements, and proceeded to Dubbo training camp. The following week he travelled to Liverpool, where he spent two weeks before embarking for overseas service on 30 October.
Private Cox disembarked in Plymouth in early January 1917 and was marched in to Rollestone camp for further training before proceeding to France on 15 March. In early May Joseph was wounded in action, sustaining gunshot wounds to his arm and right leg. He was transferred to the 4th Southern General Hospital in Plymouth where he spent almost two months recovering. He rejoined his unit in France in August.
On 22 September 1917 Private Cox was reported to be missing in action in Belgium. On 29 September a court of enquiry determined that Joseph had been killed in action at Beaurevoir Wood on 18 September. According to a comrade Joseph and eight fellow soldiers were killed when a shell burst in their dugout. Joseph was 28.
In February 1918 Joseph’s mother, Martha, wrote to the Base Records Office to enquire if any of her son’s personal effects had been forwarded to her from France, and, if not, could they please be sent. The officer in charge replied:
“no personal effects have been returned to this office to date, but any coming to hand will be promptly forwarded”.
In April 1919 Charlotte Gardiner of Forest Lodge also sent an enquiry to the Base Records Office regarding Joseph’s personal effects. She was informed:
“it is considered improbable that any personal property he may have had in his possession at the time of his death was ever recovered”.
Joseph Christopher Cox is commemorated on the Wesley Uniting Church in Dubbo World War I Roll of Honour, the Dubbo War Memorial, the Dubbo RSL and on panel number 96 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.