Born in Inverell in 1896, Arthur Clive Gentle grew up in Mount McDonald, near Cowra, where he attended to local public school.
When Arthur was just nine years old his father, Arthur snr, died from a long standing heart condition. Arthur snr had been an employee of the Australian Postal Service. He worked in the Electric Telegraph Department in Inverell, Armidale and Sydney.
Young Arthur followed in his father’s footsteps, training as a wireless telegraphist after completing his schooling. At the time of his enlistment in August 1915 he was working as a junior assistant at Orange Post Office.
Because Arthur was under the age of 21, his mother, Edith Emily Green, was obliged to provide her written consent to his enlistment.
Image courtesy National Archives of Australia.
Arthur spent three months at Army Training Camp, before embarking SS Hawkes Bay in Sydney in November 1915. Private Gentle served in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine with the Australian Light Horse.
In June 1916 Arthur was admitted to the 3rd General Hospital in Port Said with burnt feet. He was discharged one month later and taken on strength with the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Tel-el-Kebir.
In October 1916 Private Gentle qualified as a Signaller.
On 28 March 1918 Arthur was wounded in action during the first Battle of Amman. He was admitted to 14th Australian General Hospital in Port Said with gunshot wounds to both legs and his left thigh. Arthur recovered from his injuries and rejoined his regiment in July 1918.
Three months later Signaller Gentle was admitted to the 47th Stationary Hospital in Palestine suffering from malaria. On 21 October 1918 Arthur succumbed to the disease. He was buried in the Gaza War Cemetery the following day; Chaplain ER Lockyer officiated at the funeral.
Arthur Clive Gentle is commemorated on panel number 5 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Arthur’s WWI service medals were issued to his mother, Edith, and are now held at the Australian War Memorial.
Arthur Clive Gentle’s grave Gaza War Cemetery, Palestine. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Herbert Hamilton Holden was 19 years old when enlisted in Bathurst in October 1916. He embarked from Sydney the following month, arriving in England in January 1917.
Private Holden was plagued with chest complaints; he was in England for barely a month before he was hospitalised, suffering from pneumonia. He proceeded to France in September 1917, but was hospitalised again in November, with laryngitis, and, in December, was transferred to the Fovant Military Hospital in England suffering from bronchitis and debility.
Upon his recovery Herbert returned to France and served another year with the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement, before returning to Australia in August 1919. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force in September 1919.
Herbert returned to his parent’s house in Sale Street, Orange, and worked as a farmer until his death in 1939, at age 43.
Herbert Hamilton Holden is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates and on the Toogong War Memorial.
Herbert’s brother, George Holden, also served in WWI; he died of disease in Egypt in October 1918.
Cudal WWI memorial.jpg. Cudal and District War Memorial Gates. Image courtesy Anthony Stavely-Alexander.
Lindsay Gordon Smith c1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Lindsay Gordon Smith served with the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War for just over three years. On 4 October 1918 he was wounded in action, receiving gunshot wounds to his lower back during the advance on the Hindenburg Line. Driver Smith was evacuated to the City of London Military Hospital at Clapham, England, where, on 19 October, he died of his wounds. According to the Officer in Charge of Base Records:
The deceased soldier was accorded a full military funeral, firing party, bugler, and pallbearers being in attendance, the coffin (good polished elm) was draped with the Australian flag and conveyed to the graveside where the Last Post was sounded.
On 13 December 1917 Driver Lindsay Smith had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. In July 1919 the Officer in Charge of Base Records penned the following letter to Lindsay’s mother, Sylvia Smith, describing the details surrounding her son’s award:
It is with feelings of admiration at the gallantry of a brave Australian soldier who nobly laid down his life in the service of our King and Country, that I am directed by the Honourable The Minister to forward to you, as the next-of-kin of the No 1952 Driver LG Smith, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, the Military Medal which His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award to that gallant soldier for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty while serving with the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force.
The specific deed for which this distinction is bestowed is as follows:
During the recent operations East of Ypres from 29th. September 1917 to the present date No 1952 Driver Lindsay Gordon SMITH has accompanied every ammunition party to the guns situate in Hannebeke Valley SW of Zonnebeke and has never once failed to reach the battery position even though he has been subjected to very heavy shelling and delays on the road. This man in company with two other Drivers made nine trips each during one night from the dump to the guns, this despite the severe conditions prevailing at the time. This man has at all times shown a cheerful willingness for any task however arduous and has proved very valuable to the Battery. His conduct is worthy of special recognition.
Lindsay Smith was born in Orange in 1889. His parents were William Paynton and Silvia Sarah Eliza Smith. He grew up at Curra Creek near Wellington and attended the Finger Post Public School.
In September 1915 Lindsay enlisted at Dubbo. He was accepted into the AIF despite having lost his left index and middle fingers and part of his thumb. The following month he embarked from Sydney, a trooper with the 6th Light Horse Regiment, 13th Reinforcements. Shortly after arrival in Egypt Lindsay was admitted to the Government Hospital in Suez with mumps. On 5 February 1916 he was discharged to duty and taken on strength with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. In March he was transferred to the 25th Howitzer Brigade as a driver, and, in June proceeded to France.
Driver Smith served in France with the 14th Field Artillery Brigade, 53rd Battery for two and a half years until his death on 19 October 1918.
Lindsay Gordon Smith is commemorated on Wellington Cenotaph in Cameron Park, Yeoval Memorial Hall WWI Honour Roll and on panel number 18 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
On the third anniversary of Lindsay’s death his family published the following tribute in the Wellington Times:
Somewhere abroad. No matter where
He was just as close to Heaven
As though he had lain in his bed at home,
When the signal to cease was given.
He has borne his cross, he has gained his crown,
Though he lies in a far off grave
And we think of his life and duty done,
Manly, unselfish, and brave.
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.
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.
Daniel Terence Byrnes courtesy Henry Observer, 4 June 1954, p2.
Daniel Terence Byrnes was born in Orange in 1887. He was the fourth son of Peter Byrnes and Jane Maria Byrnes (nee Sherry), a well-known family of the Burdett area near Canowindra. Daniel, along with his brother, Peter Christopher Byrnes, enlisted at Marrickville on 1 May 1916.
As a young man Daniel Byrnes worked on farms. He later joined LA Fosbery and Co, stock and station agent in Wagga Wagga, where he was employed as a clerk.
With his brother Peter, and several other young men from Wagga Wagga, Daniel embarked on board HMAT A11 Ascanius at Sydney on 25 October 1916. According to a letter from Gunner GW Browne, also a Wagga lad, published in the Daily Advertiser on 23 February 1917, the journey was not without event. The troop ship was forced to pull into Sierra Leone along with other ships from Australia and New Zealand due to German activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually they set sail for England under escort and arrived at Devonport, near Plymouth, on 28 December 1916. According to the article, it was the worst Christmas dinner the soldiers had eaten because of lack of supplies due to the unexpected layover.
Once in England, Daniel was marched out to Swanage on 10 January 1917 and then taken on strength with the 36th Heavy Artillery Group, 22nd Howitzer Battery. In July of the same year he was transferred to France as a gunner.
On 30 October 1917 Daniel was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering from myalgia, an injury sustained while attempting to lift the trail of an artillery piece. Daniel was transferred to the Mile End Military Hospital in England in November and then returned to Australia via HMAT Argyllshire in December 1918, suffering chronic myalgia. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force as medically unfit on 14 February 1919.
After a couple of years working in the Sydney area, Daniel Byrnes returned to Wagga Wagga and commenced business as a Crown Lands Agent and General Commission Agent. He was an active member of the local community; newspaper articles show that he participated in the construction of the Victory Memorial Gardens in Wagga Wagga and tree planting projects in several locations in the town. He was actively involved in the repatriation of men returning from the War, helping them acquire Soldier Settlement plots. He sat on the local Council and was Mayor of Wagga Wagga from 1924 to 1925 and the following year became president of the local RSSILA (Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmens’ Imperial League of Australia).
In 1954 Daniel contested the seat of Farrer unsuccessfully as a Labor Candidate.
Daniel Byrnes remained in Wagga Wagga until 1955 when he moved to Maroubra in Sydney.
In 1958 Byrnes Road in Bomen, Wagga Wagga, was named in Daniel’s honour.
On a personal level, Daniel Terence Byrnes married Lydia Cramp, the daughter of Alfred Cramp of Cowra, in Sydney in 1914. Mrs Byrnes died in Wagga Wagga in 1944; her obituary made no mention of children from this marriage. In 1945 Daniel remarried Mary Cecilia Dwyer in Concord. She pre-deceased him in 1968.
Daniel Terence Byrnes died in Sydney on 17 June 1974 aged 87. He was laid to rest in at Rookwood Cemetery (RC Lawn 4, Row 20, Plot 709).
Daniel is remembered on a plaque at the New South Wales Garden of Remembrance
Peter Christopher was born in Orange in 1883 and up until his enlistment at Marrickville on 1 May 1916 worked as a farmer in the Burdett district on his father’s property. It is stated in the Molong Express and Western District Advertiser on 11 March 1916 that he and his brother were on the eve of enlisting and that Percy Doust and Percy Taber were also volunteers from the area. All four gentlemen were members of the Cranbury Rifle Club.
On 25 October 1916 Peter embarked at Sydney on board HMAT A11 Ascanius, bound for Plymouth in England. On 12 December 1916 he joined the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery. On 9 May 1917 he was transferred to France and was taken on strength from the Australian General Base Depot to be posted to No 2 Section as a Driver.
Almost a year to the day later, on 24 October 1917, Peter’s family received the dreaded telegram reporting that:
Driver Peter Byrnes dangerously wounded will furnish progress report
Driver Byrnes’ war record states that he was wounded on 8 October, sustaining gunshot wounds to the chest, thigh, hand and foot. He was taken to the Canadian Hospital Clearing Station and then removed to England for treatment.
Peter returned to Australia via HMAT Orontes on 13 May 1918 and was accorded a hero’s welcome at the local Burdett Hall. He was presented with a richly engraved gold watch by the local community as a token of their thanks. He was discharged from further service with the Australian Imperial Force on 23 August 1918 due to medical unfitness.
In 1923 Peter married Josephine Begley in Cowra and together they raised a family of seven children in the Canowindra district.
Peter Christopher Byrnes died on 20 August 1956 at the Canowindra Soldiers Memorial Hospital. His cause of death was given as congestive cardiac failure. He was laid to rest in the Canowindra Cemetery.
Peter is remembered on the Roll of Honour at the Canowindra Memorial Hospital.
Peter Byrnes and Josephine Begley on their wedding day. Pictured with them are Daniel Byrnes (groom’s brother) and Margaret (Maggie) Begley (bride’s sister). Image courtesy ancestry.com
Harold Percival Gavin. Image courtesy ancestry.com.
When 19 year old Harold Percival Gavin embarked for overseas service in August 1916 his mother Ellen bestowed upon him her engagement ring, presumably as a token of good luck and talisman for his safe return.
Harold was wounded on three occasions during his service on the Western Front. He survived the first two injuries – gunshot wounds to his left arm, followed by one to his back – but his third injury proved fatal. At 7am on 3 October Harold was killed when a shell exploded nearby, hitting him on the left side of his head.
In May 1919 Harold’s family received a package containing his personal possessions: his wallet, a notebook and calendar and some photographs, letters and cards. Ellen’s engagement ring was not included, either was Harold’s watch.
Harold’s father, Alfred, wrote a stinging letter to the Army Base Records Office:
…he possessed a ring and a watch which were not of very large value, but the ring was his mother’s engagement ring, taken from her finger and given him when parting, so you can imagine her bitter disappointment at not receiving this tiny memento. I presume you have not received any record of the articles, but the act proves what a pack of ghouls accompanied the men who gave their lives for the honour of their country.
The Officer in Charge of the Army Base Records Office replied:
In the event of the articles you mention coming to hand later, they will be promptly transmitted to you.
Alfred and Ellen Gavin received no further news as to the fate of Ellen’s engagement ring.
Harold was born in Cargo in 1897, the third of ten children. He attended Patrician Brothers school in Orange, where he was a member of the School Cadets. Following his education Harold completed a three and a half year apprenticeship with Orange carpenter James Douglas of Summer Street. He also served in the Commonwealth Trainees units; a Lance Corporal in the 42nd Infantry A Company.
Harold, aka Boyd, served with the 17th Battalion during the First World War. At 6am on 3 October 1918 the 17th launched an attack on the village of Wiancourt in France. One hour later, at about 7am, Harold was mortally wounded by a shell wound to his head. He was 21 years old.
Harold Percival Gavin is commemorated on the Patrician Brothers’ Roll of Honour, the St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll, on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, and on panel number 82 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 HP Gavin”; it was donated by Dr Wally F Matthews. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Though wounded early in the attack he continued to lead his company, and himself conducted the assault on the objective, and consolidated and secured the position. His courage and example contributed largely to the success of the operations.
Charles’ medal was one of 2,366 Military Crosses awarded to Australians during the First World War. Charles received his for bravery during the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917.
In November 1917 Charles received the following congratulatory letter from General Sir William Birdwood:
This is a line to congratulate you most heartily upon the Military Cross, which has been awarded to you for your good work in the operations at Polygon Wood on the 20th September. Although wounded early in the attack, you continued to lead your company with great courage and ability. Immediately the objective was attained, you set to work in the consolidation of the position, and refused to leave the line until the position was made secure— some nine hours after you were wounded.
Thank you so much for your gallant conduct, and I trust that your wound is making favourable progress.
Charles was born in Bathurst on 5 January 1885 to solicitor Walter Jhonson and his wife Margaret Susannah nee Cleland. When Charles was a young boy the family moved to Orange where Walter practised as a solicitor.
Charles, aka Chas, was educated at Sydney High School. Prior to his war service he worked at the Bank of Australasia in Orange. Chas was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force on 13 August 1915. He embarked for overseas in October 1915 and served with the 53rd Battalion in Egypt and France.
Charles was wounded in action on three occasions. In July 1916 he received gunshot wounds to the thigh and arm. He was evacuated to the 5th Australian Casualty Clearing Station but later transferred to 3rd London General Hospital in England.
Captain Jhonson rejoined his battalion on 19 September. One week later, on 26 September, Charles was wounded for a second time, sustaining a gunshot wound to the left arm. Again, he was transferred to 3rd London General Hospital in England. He rejoined the 53rd Battalion in France on 9 December.
On 30 September 1918 Captain Jhonson was wounded for a third time, a gunshot wound that proved fatal. Lieutenant AC Elliott of the 53rd Battalion observed:
This officer was in command of two companies advancing astride the Le Catelet Trench during the attack on the Hindenburg Line near Hellicourt on 30 September 1918. He had done magnificent work and had driven the enemy back about 800 yards when he was mortally wounded by a gunshot wound in the back.
Captain Jhonson died of his wounds on 2 October 1918, aged 33. He was buried in the Tincourt New British Cemetery in France.
Charles Aubrey Jhonson is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, the Orange Golf Club Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, the Mosman Neutral Bay Rifle Club, Our Fallen Comrades Bowl and on panel number 157 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 “Capt CA Jhonson”; it was donated by Dr Cyril Beresford (‘Jack’) Howse. Very few of the trees are still standing today.