Most soldiers who served in the First World War were hospitalised as a result of injuries received or due to illness. Many of those men were admitted to hospital on multiple occasions during the course of their military service.
Vivian Herbert Evans was clearly an exception. He served for a period of four years and was not hospitalised once during this time. He was, however, injured; on 2 May 1918. His service record states:
Wounded slightly and remaining at duty
Vivian’s brother, Keith William Evans, also served in WWI, and was not so fortunate. Keith was killed in action in France on 18 July 1918.
Born in Orange in 1889, Vivian was the third of four children of Advocate newspaper owner William Cunningham Evans and Harriet Priscilla nee Mackey. The family moved to Balmain following William’s bankruptcy in 1890.
At the time of his enlistment in July 1915 Vivian was working as a bookbinder for wholesale chemists Elliott Bros Ltd, with whom he had served a seven-year apprenticeship. Viv was known in Sydney musical circles as a gifted baritone singer.
Vivian embarked HMAT A71 Nestor in Melbourne on 11 October 1915. He was taken on strength with the 15th Field Artillery Brigade as a gunner in Suez in February 1916. Gunner Evans served in Egypt, France and Belgium for the duration of the war. During his service Vivian sang in impromptu concerts organised for soldiers’ relaxation and entertainment and he is reported to have appeared on English and French stages.
Gunner Evans returned to Australia in June 1919 and was discharged from the AIF the following month.
Vivian’s apparent good fortune did not continue in his post war life. In 1922 he married Nina Elizabeth Murden and their son Keith (presumably named after Vivian’s brother) was born the same year. In May 1923 nine month old Keith passed away in Royal North Shore Hospital. Just twelve months later Vivian became a widower when Nina died from pneumonia.
On 8 September 1928 Vivian married Margaret Kidd Miller at the Church of England in Drummoyne. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1935 following Margaret’s desertion of Vivian.
On 5 October 1947 Vivian passed away at a private hospital in Marrickville aged 58 years.
Vivian Herbert Evans is commemorated on St John’s Church of England Balmain Honour Roll.
Born in Orange on 11 January 1887, Keith William Evans was the second of four children of William Cunningham Evans and Harriet Priscilla nee Mackey, who had married in Balmain in 1883.
Keith’s father, William, was a journalist who had purchased the Orange Advocate newspaper in 1878. The family moved to Sydney following the William’s bankruptcy in 1890. Keith’s mother Harriet died in Balmain in October 1903, and William less than three months later, in February 1904.
On 15 September 1908 Keith, aged 21 years, enlisted in the Australian Naval Force. He served for five years as a stoker, 2nd class, aboard the Pyramus. Keith returned to Sydney following his engagement and resumed work as a station hand.
In November 1915 Keith enlisted for service in WWI, doing so at Casula. He nominated his sister Madeline (aka Madge) as his next of kin. He embarked HMAT A15 Star of England in Sydney on 8 March 1916, a private in the 4th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement.
Private Evans was transferred to the 56th Battalion at Serapeum in Egypt in April 1916, before proceeding to France in July.
In October 1917 Keith attended the Bomb School of Instruction, and, in January 1917, was detached to 14th Brigade Mining Company.
In mid July 1918 the 56th Battalion was stationed hear Bray on the Somme, conducting patrols along the enemy wire checking for gaps. On 18 July Captain Williamson recorded in the battalion’s diary:
The 55th Battalion relieved us tonight. It was a nasty wet night and the trenches were very sloppy. The relief was complete by 1.25am. Pte Evans, KW of B Company was killed. 3 other ranks were wounded.
The details surrounding Private Evans’ death are unknown.
Keith William Evans is commemorated on panel number 162 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Four members of the Harrison family from Lucknow volunteered to serve in the First World War. One of them – Thomas Harrison – did not return; he was killed in action at Villers-Bretonneux in France on 17 July 1918, at age 24.
Thomas was born in Lucknow in 1893. His father, Frederick, had arrived in Australia in March 1885 and was employee of the Wentworth Mine at Lucknow. By the late 1890s the family had relocated to Neutral Bay in Sydney, where Thomas attended the public school.
On 1 February 1916 Thomas enlisted at Casula. He gave his occupation as a slater and tiler and nominated his mother Annie Eliza as his next of kin. He embarked for overseas service on 9 April and disembarked at Plymouth on 7 June after a brief stopover in Alexandria, Egypt, to change ships.
Thomas undertook further training at the 5th Training Battalion before proceeding to France on 17 August, a private in the19th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement.
On 16 November 1916 Private Harrison was wounded in action, receiving a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. He was evacuated to England where he was hospitalised and rehabilitated, followed by three weeks of furlough. He then spent ten months at Perham Downs before rejoining his battalion in Belgium on 14 October 1917.
Nine days later Thomas was shot for a second time, this time in the right arm. He was admitted initially to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, but was again transferred to England for treatment. He did not rejoin his unit for a further four months.
At daybreak on 17 July 1918 the 19th Battalion succeeded in capturing a German post near Villers-Bretonneux. Private Harrison was stretcher-bearing, transporting a wounded German soldier to safety when he was hit by an enemy shell, killing him instantly. Thomas was buried in the nearby Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery.
Frederick was born in Lucknow on 13 March 1892, the second of five children of Frederick and Annie Eliza Harrison. Frederick snr was employed at Wentworth Mine and young Frederick followed his father’s example and became a miner.
Frederick embarked for overseas service on 11 February 1915, a private in the 1st Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement. He served on the Gallipoli Peninsula until 6 August 1915 when he sustained a gunshot wound to the chest during the Battle of Lone Pine.
Private Harrison was taken to St Elmo Hospital in Malta, but two weeks later was transferred to County of London War Hospital in Epsom, England.
On 7 November 1915 Frederick embarked for his return to Australia, arriving in Sydney on Christmas Day. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial force on 27 March 1916.
On 30 December 1916 Frederick married Doris Roach Murray at St Michael’s Church in Wollongong. The couple had three children: Frederick Francis, born in Balgownie in 1917; Phyllis, born in Glen Innes in 1922 and Norman, who was born in Narrandera. The family later settled in Sydney.
In 1949, as his health failed, Frederick moved to Dalby in Queensland to live with his son Frederick Francis. He died in Dalby Hospital on 27 June 1949, aged 58 years. Representatives of the Returned Sailor’s Soldier’s Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA). attended his funeral, and as a mark of respect his casket was draped in the Union Jack.
Frederick Harrison is commemorated on the Shadforth Public School honour roll, the St Peter’s Anglican Church Mosman World War I Honour Roll and the East Face of the Mosman War Memorial.
Frederick’s father and brother Richard survived the war; Thomas Harrison was killed in action in France in July 1918.
Frederick Harrison snr enlisted in Liverpool, Sydney, on 11 July 1915, aged 44 years. He served for two years, before being invalided home from Egypt with severely fractured ribs. He was serving with the Imperial Camel Brigade in Abbassia when he sustained his injuries.
Born in Bradford, England, in 1864, Frederick served two years with the West Lancashire Yeomanry before migrating to Australia in 1885. He settled in the Shadforth district and married Annie Eliza Totten in Orange in 1890. Frederick and Annie had five children, all of whom were born in the Orange district.
Frederick was employed as a miner at the Wentworth Mine at Lucknow, and played cricket for the town’s team. In August 1897 he was appointed vice-president of the Lucknow branch of the Australian Miners’ Union as the mine employees made the decision to strike in protest of intrusive searches and accusations of theft. Fred was subsequently appointed assistant secretary of the Strike Committee.
By the late 1890s Frederick had moved his family to Neutral Bay in Sydney.
Fred embarked for overseas service on 9 November 1915, a private in the 30th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement. He disembarked in Suez on 11 December and was transferred to the British Camel Corps at Abbassia on 24 January 1916. He served with the Camel Corps for almost a year before sustaining the wounds that would see him invalided home. On 5 February he was admitted to 54th Casualty Clearing Station at El Arish with fractured ribs. He was transferred to the 24th Stationary Hospital and the 14th Australian General Hospital before rejoining his unit on 10 April 1917.
Frederick was hospitalised again in early May and on 11 July 1917 – exactly two years after enlisting – boarded HT Port Sydney in Suez for return to Australia. He disembarked in Sydney on 14 August 1917 and was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force due to medical unfitness on 21 September 1917.
Frederick died in Mosman on 14 November 1945, aged 81 years.
Frederick’s sons Thomas, Richard, and Frederick jnr also served in WWI. Frederick jnr was invalided home in November 1915; Richard returned to Australia in February 1919 and Thomas was killed in action in France in July 1918.
In 1912 Joseph and Martha Ann Parrish emigrated from Wales to Australia and settled in the Newcastle district. Six years later they would lose two of their sons within seven days of each other, both victims of the hostilities on the Western Front.
On 16 October 1915 Joseph Parrish jnr joined the Coo-ee Recruitment March at Wellington. He completed his medical at Wellington, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at Orange on the 24 October 1915. At the time of his enlistment Joseph was living at Creek Reserve, Boolaroo, where he was employed at the colliery.
After completing the Coo-ee March Joseph proceeded to Liverpool Camp as a reinforcement for the 13th Battalion. On 8th March 1916 Private Parrish and his fellow Coo-ees departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, arriving in Egypt on 11 April.
On the 16 April 1916 Joseph was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. Six weeks later, on 4 June, he embarked HT Scotian at Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force in Marseilles, France.
Private Parrish was transferred to the 4th Machine Gun Company on 12 May 1918. On 10 June 1918 the company was engaged near Villers-Bretonneux when Joseph received a gunshot wound to the neck. He was admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance and later transferred to the 53rd General Hospital at Abbeville.
Joseph failed to recover from his wounds; he died on 27 June 1918, aged 21 years; the cause of death being listed as gunshot wound to neck and bronchopneumonia. He was buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery at Wimille.
Joseph Parrish is commemorated on panel number 176 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
George Henry Goode c1916. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
In the early hours of 2 June 1918 former Millthorpe grocer, George Henry Goode, was delivering canisters of hot tea to his comrades on the front line at Morlancourt near Villers-Bretonneux when an enemy shell exploded nearby, killing him instantly. George was the second member of his family to die in service; his brother Ernest Harold Goode had been killed in action in February 1917.
Born in Millthorpe in 1887, George was the seventh of ten children of farmer William Goode and his wife Elizabeth Grace nee Pascoe.
Following his education George worked as a grocer for Messrs W and E Hayes Trade Palace Stores in Millthorpe.
George enlisted in December 1915 and was assigned to 17th Battalion, 13th Reinforcements.
On 29 December 1915 the Millthorpe Methodist Church congregation farewelled a group of local soldiers – George included – on the eve of their departure for camp. Superintendent of the Sunday School, Mr Bacon, wished them well, stating:
You are worthy sons of worthy parents. We thought a lot of you before – we think a thousand times more of you now. I trust that your mission will be fully realised. I think the Kaiser is sin personified, and the world should be rid of him.
The following morning many townspeople saw the recruits off from the railway station as they set off for camp at Lithgow.
In late April the privates returned to Millthorpe for final leave before embarking for overseas service. The Methodist Church hosted an evening of entertainment for the soldiers and presented each of them with a pocket bible. Mr Bacon again addressed the congregation:
On this occasion my feelings are too great for words. These young men are going to fight for their King and country. I am glad that the spirit of their forefathers is strong in them. As instructor of the cadet corps which was here once, I just looked up the records a few days ago to see how many had enlisted, and I find that 24 out of the full strength of 30 have answered the call. Maybe before this terrible struggle is over we older ones will be wanted, and I for one will be there, for I would sooner die a free Britain than live a German slave.
Private Goode embarked HMAT A55 Kyarra in Sydney on 3 June 1916. He disembarked in Plymouth exactly eight weeks later, on 3 August 1916. The following month he was taken on strength with the 33rd Battalion, proceeding to France on 21 November.
In early March 1918 Private Goode was granted two weeks’ furlough in England. He rejoined his unit on the Western Front on 20 March, where he served for a further ten weeks before he was killed in action.
George Henry Goode was buried in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery at Picardie, France. He is commemorated on the Honour Rolls at the Orange Methodist Church, Millthorpe Methodist Church and on panel number 122 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Informal group portrait of soldiers from the 18th Battalion prior to embarkation c23 September 1915. Ernest Goode is in the back row on the far left. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
On 4 August 1916 Private Ernest Harold Goode was wounded in action at Pozieres in France. A private in the 18th Battalion 6th Reinforcements “Ern” received a gunshot wound to the head amid heavy enemy shelling.
Private Goode was evacuated to the nearby 2nd Australian Field Ambulance. The following day he was transferred to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, then admitted to the 11th General Hospital at Camiers. On 9 August he was conveyed to the hospital ship HS Dieppe at Calais and evacuated to hospital in England.
Private Goode recovered from his wounds; he rejoined his unit in France in November 1916.
Ernest was wounded a second time, but this time his injuries proved fatal. On 25 February 1917 he was stretcher bearing at Butte de Warlencourt when a shell exploded nearby killing him instantly. Eyewitnesses claimed that he died from concussion, and that he body was unblemished.
Company Sergeant Major Butler of the 18th Battalion later observed:
Private Goode was well known to many for his excellent conduct and good service as a stretcher bearer
Pte. Goode was born locally, spent all his school days here, and enlisted here not very long after the beginning of the war. He bore an unblemished reputation, and an upright character, and was highly respected by all who knew him.
Ernest was born in Millthorpe in 1885, the sixth of ten children of farmer William Goode and his wife Elizabeth Grace nee Pascoe. He attended Millthorpe Public School and later took up farming.
In July 1915 Ernest enlisted at Liverpool. He embarked for overseas service on 2 November 1915 and proceeded to Egypt, where he served until joining the British Expeditionary Force in France in March 1916.
On Sunday 1 April 1917 the Reverend WT Dyer preached his final sermon at Millthorpe Methodist Church. During the sermon he paid tribute to Ernest and the congregation joined in singing the following hymn in his memory.
Thou who hast all Thy people in Thy sight,
To Thee we come.
Be Thou their guide, their comfort and their light
Afar from home.
Keep Thou their souls, in steadfastness and right
Remember, Lord, Australia’s sons to-night.
Gone from the humble cottage in the dell,
From home, sweet home.
Gone from the dear ones whom they love so well
To face the storm;
Gone from the mansion to defend the right-
Remember, Lord Australia’s sons to-night.
Sons are now dying, ’tis the cost of war,
Have Mercy, Lord;
Wilt Thou prepare them ere they cross the bar?
Have mercy, Lord:
Burst Thou Death’s glooms by Heaven’s celestial light
Remember, Lord, Australia’s sons to-night.
Be Thou their refuge in the darkest hour,
Be Thou their stay;
Stretch forth Thy hand, shew Thine almighty power
In Thine own way;
Thou did’st on Galilee reveal Thy might-
Oh! comfort, Lord, Australia’s sons to-night.
On Sunday 9 November 1919 Captain Chaplain Wilson conducted a memorial service at Frape’s Hall at Millthorpe for local fallen heroes, including Ernest.
Ernest Harold Goode is commemorated on the Millthorpe Methodist Church Honour Roll and on panel number 85 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Ernest’s brother George Henry Goode also served in WWI; he was killed in action in France on 2 June 1918.
James John Fleming was born in Orange in 1886. His parents James Patrick and Ellen Letitia Fleming lived at Eulalie in Stuart Town and James snr worked as a miner.
On 16 July 1917 James jnr enlisted for war service at Albury; he was 31 years of age. His younger brother Hughy had enlisted in Queensland in January 1916. James proceeded to Liverpool camp and embarked for overseas service on 31 October.
Private James Fleming disembarked at Devonport on Boxing Day 1917 and was marched in to the 1st Training Battalion at Sutton Veny. Two weeks later he was admitted to the Group Clearing Hospital suffering from mumps.
James was discharged from hospital on 22 January 1918. He returned to the 1st Training Battalion for a further three months before proceeding to France on 23 April. James’ brother Hughy was killed in action in Belgium one month earlier, on 16 March. It is unclear whether James was aware of his brother’s death.
On 30 April 1918 James was taken on strength with the 3rd Battalion. On the evening of 20 June 1918 he was serving in the trenches at Strazeele in northern France when an enemy shell fell nearby, instantly killing Fleming and two others.
When James enlisted he nominated his father as his next of kin (his mother having died in 1902). He named his cousin Rachael Charlton of Dubbo as executor and beneficiary of his will.
James snr had died in Stuart Town on 8 May 1918, just six weeks before James jnr’s death in action. The coroner returned the verdict:
The deceased died from the effects of poisoning self-administered.
James snr had committed suicide by ingesting strychnine, presumably after learning of Hughy’s death.
In February 1919 Rachael received James jnr’s personal effects. Both James’ and Hughy’s war medals were issued to their brother Ambrose.
James John Fleming is commemorated on panel number 36 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Harry Cleveland Goodsir. Image courtesy The Harrower Collection.
Harry Cleveland Goodsir was born in Newcastle on 3 September, 1891. He was the second of four children of Port Stephens sawmill manager Reuben Goodsir and his wife Eliza nee Aston.
Harry was educated in Newcastle at the Hamilton Superior Public School and later moved to Toronto, on the shores of Lake Macquarie, where he became a member of the local Rifle Club and enjoyed playing football.
In January 1916 Harry volunteered to serve in WWI. He embarked HMAT A72 Beltana in Sydney on 13 May 1916, a private in the 36th Battalion D Company. He arrived in Devonport, England, almost two months later, on 9 July. After four months’ further training Private Goodsir proceeded to France.
In June 1917 Harry received two promotions: firstly Corporal, then Temporary Sergeant Major.
The following month Harry’s unit was serving in Belgium, when Harry was wounded in action, receiving an injury to his ankle. He was admitted to the 11th Australian Field Ambulance, rejoining his unit on 7 August. Three days later he was promoted to Sergeant.
In November Harry spent three weeks’ leave in England, rejoining his unit in Belgium on 4 December 1917.
In February 1918 Harry was again promoted; this time to Company Sergeant Major. On 28 February Company Sergeant Major Harry Goodsir was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal. His commanding officer stated:
This N.C.O. has at all times shown great devotion to duty and keenness in his work both when (in) the trenches and billets. When in action his coolness and cheeriness has inspired all ranks with the utmost confidence. His courage has been frequently in evidence and has been reflected in the morale of the men under his control.
On 30 April 1918 the 36th Battalion was disbanded in order to reinforce other 9th Brigade units, and Harry was transferred to the 35th Battalion.
On 1 June 1918 the 35th Battalion was engaged near Villers-Bretonneux when Harry was mortally wounded. According to Commanding Officer of the 35th Battalion, Lieutenant Turnbull, Harry sustained:
Severe wounds on upper part of body and head caused by enemy grenade explosion, while occupying a froont line position.
Death was instantaneous, occurring in the early morning of 1 June.
The burial was conducted on 2 June 1918 at the Chalk Pitt Cemetery, Captain Chaplain Osborne, 35th Battalion officiating.
Company Sergeant Major Harry Goodsir was later reinterred at Villers-Brettoneux Memorial Cemetery.
Harry was awarded a Mentioned in Despatches honour promulgated in the London Gazette on 28 May 1918, and the Commonwealth Gazette on 24 October 1918.
In 1920 Harry’s family left the Newcastle district for Mullumbimby where they ran the local newsagency. In 1925 they relocated to Orange where Reuben became the well known operator of the newsagency and stationers located in Summer Street opposite the Strand Theatre.
Harry Cleveland Goodsir is commemorated on the Toronto Soldiers’ Memorial, the Toronto Red Cross Honour Roll, the Hamilton Superior Public School Roll Of Honor, the Booral and District Honour Roll and on panel number 125 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
He is also remembered on a commemorative plaque in Sandgate Memorial Cemetery in Newcastle and on his mother Eliza’s headstone in Orange Cemetery, Presbyterian Section, Block 8 22.
Harry’s brother, James Roy Goodsir, also served overseas in WWI; he was invalided home in August 1915.
Harry Cleveland Goodsir commemorative plaque. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.