Tuesday, 29 April 2014

James William Moses

James William Moses was born in Windsor in 1893 (possibly in January). He was the son of Lucinia Daley and James Uriah Moses and a grandson of Uriah Moses, a convict who arrived in Australia in 1800, and Ann Daley, the daughter of convicts, Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson. He therefore belonged to one on the pioneering families of Windsor.

On 10 November 1915 James enlisted in the AIF at Windsor. The enlistment papers show that James was 22 years 10 months when he joined the army and that he was 5 feet 4 inches tall, had fair hair and blue eyes. He was a farmer. As next of kin he provided the name of his aunt, Florrie Graham, the sister of his mother, as both of his parents had died many years previously. James appears to have not been able to write his name as the official papers are signed with a x and the words his mark next to his name.

The papers in the file for James William Moses in Discovering Anzacs show that James was a member of the 15th Reinforcements of the 4th Battalion A I F stationed initially at Liverpool, New South Wales. He embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 26 August 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 12 October 1916.
Initially James spent time in the Overseas Training Brigade in England. His first trip to France was on 16 January 1917 aboard the Princess Clementine leaving England from Folkstone but on 22 April returned to England.  On 15 November 1917 he left Southampton  once again for France. The military papers for James in Mapping Our Anzacs largely deal with his medical history - he spent much time in and out of hospital and also record an issue at Cape Town on the voyage to England when he was late back aboard the ship and spent 24 hours in detention. One part of his military service is however recorded.

At Chuignes on 23rd Aug 1918, when his platoon was held up by machine gun fire, Pte Moses fired grenades into the enemy post, killing two. With others he charged the post, putting the remainder of the crew out of action and capturing the gun. His conduct was of the greatest assistance at a critical moment and allowed his platoon to advance. He was throughout conspicuous for bravery and absolute disregard for danger.
For the above action Private James William Moses was awarded the Military Medal. 

The gun that was captured was known as a Big Bertha and was reputed to be the largest German gun used on the Western Front.
Cartridge case belonging to the captured gun
The battle at Chuignes occurred towards the end of the war. A month later on 11 September James was once again in hospital, this time suffering he effects of gas. James eventually returned to Australia aboard the London in 1919. The following report appeared in the Windsor newspaper.

Another Windsor boy has brought the   Military Medal home — Private James Moses, son of the late Mrs. S. Hanchett. 'Jimmy' did four years on active service, and won the M.M. in the last big stunt just before the Armistice, in August last. He arrived in Windsor this week, and no one knew of   his coming. Hats off to the brave young   Windsor boy — Private Moses, M.M. He   looks well, and has filled out splendidly. He managed to dodge Fritz's iron rations, but was badly gassed.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette 11 July 1919

As well as the Military Medal James received the 1914/18 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In 1921 James married Emily Walker  but Emily died a few months later following surgery. In 1924 James married Ellen Pearson and their son, James, was probably born in 1925. Unfortunately James was killed in a motor car accident on 26 May 1926.

My search for James' story began when I located his name on the Memorial Gates, Windsor, on the Hawkesbury on the Net website.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Anzac Day displays

Organisations throughout Australia, including many public libraries, organised displays to commemorate Anzac Day.
Part of the display at Nunawading Library prepared by staff  to mark the 25th of April. There was also a display of books relating not only to Australia's involvement in World War I but also in other military conflicts.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Anzac Day 2014

Bayswater RSL, Mountain Highway, Bayswater

Wreaths laid at the Dawn Service earlier today
Lest we forget

5000 Poppies

My attempt at knitting poppies
Anzac Day, 25 April, in Australia and New Zealand is a day of commemoration when we remember those from our countries who have been involved in military conflicts - particularly World War I and World War II but also other conflicts.

Next year will be the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli and many projects are planned to commemorate the centenary. One project is 5000 Poppies: a Community Tribute of Respect and Remembrance.

A post in a new blog appeared in June 2013 announcing the project:
The aim of this project is to create a field of 5000 poppies which will be displayed publicly in Melbourne on ANZAC Day 2015 as a community tribute to commemorate more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved.

Less than a year later the project has captured the imagination of craft-minded people in Australia and the proposed target is now 20,000 poppies to be displayed in Federation Square, Melbourne, in 2015. Patterns are available for making knitted or crocheted poppies and also in felt and other fabrics. Workshops on making poppies are held from time to time in Federation Square. Throughout the country local communities have been making and displaying poppies to mark Anzac Day. As photos in the 5000 Poppies blog and on other websites show the mass display of crafted poppies make eye-catching displays. New Zealanders are also involved in the project making poppies for displays in their country.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Military Forces in Australia before Federation

British soldiers were among the first European settlers in Australia as they were needed to guard the convicts transported first to New South Wales and then to Tasmania. However, being a British colony, when Britain was at war with another country, particularly the French, it was  considered additional security might be required and voluntary forces were formed. The Year Book of Australia 1909 contained an article entitled the 'Military System in Australia Prior to Federation'. The article is available online on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

The Napoleonic Wars were the first overseas events to impact upon events in the colony. In 1801 a corps of volunteers known as the Loyal Association was formed in New South Wales in case of invasion by the French.. When news of the outbreak of war with France reached the Colony in 1808 the Governor called a muster to raise a defence force. Many of the settlers also organised their own protection. When Thomas Birch, for example, built his large brick house in Hobart in 1815 he mounted a canon on the roof in case of foreign invasion.

The next major international concern was in 1854 when England was at war with Russia - the Crimean War. Before Federation, each state was responsible for its own defence.  In New South Wales the 1st Regiment of New South Rifles was established in Sydney initially consisting of one troop of cavalry, one battery of artillery and six companies of foot soldiers. In Victoria the Melbourne Volunteer Rifle Regiment (later the Victorian Volunteer Rifle Regiment) was formed with 2,000 men.

In New South Wales, once the threat of war was over the regiment barely existed but in 1860 a second expanded force of volunteers was established consisting of one troop of mounted rifles, three batteries of artillery plus twenty companies of infantry - a total of 1700 men. The Volunteer Regulation Act of 18687 reorganised the structure of the forces and also offered incentives such as a grant of 50 acres of land for five years 'efficient service'.  In 1874 the land grants were abolished but were replaced a system of part payment. Additional artillery batteries and other forces were introduced including the Engineer Corps and torpedo and signalling corps. The New South Wales Lancers, a cavalry regiment, was raised in 1885 as a volunteer reserve corps until they were merged into a partially paid Light Horse troop three years later. The uniforms and weapons were supplied by the government but the men provided their own horses. Another unit, the Mounted Rifles, was also part of the Light Horse. Over the years companies were formed, merged or disbanded until 1892 when the 1st, 2nd. 3rd and 4th Regiments were extended from eight to ten companies. A number of civilian rifle clubs had also been formed at this time. By 1894 it was the custom for senior cadets from public schools to be absorbed into the regiments. Organisation of the forces improved and by 1895 an Army Service Corps, an Ordinance Store Corps and a Veterinary department was added.

From the mid 1890s volunteers were again encouraged with the formation of the Scottish Rifles, Irish Rifles, St George's Rifles and Australian Rifles. The Defence Forces continued to grow with the establishment of the First Australian Volunteer Horse in 1897 and the Railway Volunteer Corps (1897 - 1899) and the National Guard (consisting of older men and former servicemen) in 1899. Volunteer companies continued to form including, in 1900, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, Civil Service Corps and Drummoyne Volunteer Company. An Army Nursing Service Reserve was also established.

In New South Wales by the end of 1900 the military consisted of 505 officers and 8833 men. There was also a reserve with 130 officers and 1908 men plus 1906 members of civilian rifle clubs.

Military establishments also developed in the other states.

By the end of 1900 in Victoria the forces consisted of 301 officers and 6034 men, in Queensland the military forces totalled 4028 men, in South Australia there were 135 officers and 2797 men, in Western Australia there were 135 officers and 2561 men while in Tasmania there were 113 officers and 1911 men.

The Year Book Australia 1909 article provides detailed tables showing the numbers of military personnel for each state and the types of units including permanent, partially paid and volunteer in 1908.

The military forces were not just established to protect the colony from attack. An infantry battalion of 522 men and 24 officers plus an artillery battery of 212 men left Sydney on 3 March 1885 to fight in the Sudan under the command of the British.

Colonies, particularly New South Wales and Victoria, also sent troops to assist British forces in China during the Boxer Rebellion and to South Africa - the Boer War.

The Internet has a number of introductory articles on the topic. A sample of sites is listed below.
General articles:
Colonial Forces of Australia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_forces_of_Australia
Military System in Australia Prior to Federation - online edition
Digger History - http://www.diggerhistory.info/
History of Australia's Artillery - http://artilleryhistory.org/history.html
Australian War Memorial website has a number of sections covering:
Colonial Period 1788-1901 - http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/colonial/
Sudan (New South Wales Contingent) 1885 - http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/sudan/
Australia and the Boer War 1889-1902 - http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/boer/
China (Boxer Rebellion) 1900-1901 - http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/boxer/
Victorian Military History:
Victorian Volunteer Forces 1854 to 1884 - Museum Victoria
Victoria's Volunteers - Defending Victoria website
Colonial Defence Records held in Melbourne - National Archives fact sheet
Colonial forces and militia - State Library of Victoria research guide
Australian colonial forces and family history - State Library of Victoria research guide
Armed forces VF 372 -   Public Record Office Victoria
The early muzzle loaders in the Victorian Volunteer Forces - http://mhhv.org.au/?p=754
Military History and Heritage Victoria - http://mhhv.org.au/
Victorian Volunteer Force on the Central Victorian Goldfields 1853-1883 - thesis by Bob Marmion
Victorian Volunteer Forces Long and Efficient Service medal 1880 - Museum Victoria
Melbourne Volunteer Rifle Regiment - History
Victorian Mounted Rifles - Traralgon Historical Society
Victorian Colonial and Pre WWI badges - Digger History

A number of books have been written covering the military in Australia prior to Federation.
A search in the State Library of Victoria catalogue for Colonial Forces or Volunteer Forces or Military service, Voluntary for example provides information about  books, records on microfiche, photographs and online resources on the topic. Similar searches in the catalogues of the other state libraries and the National Library of Australia would also provide useful information.
Books have also been written concentrating on one locality. One title is The Shire of Lilydale and its Military Heritage by Anthony J McAleer published in 1994.

Also check public library catalogues for relevant items. The search for the words Colonial Military Forces in a public library catalogue located the following titles:
A Military History of Australia by Jeffrey Grey (3rd ed. 2008)
An Atlas of Australia's Wars by John Coates (2006)
The Diggers: Makers of Australian Military Tradition (1993)
The Colonial Volunteers: the Defence Forces of the Australian Colonies 1836 - 1901 (1988)
The Remote Garrison: the British Army in Australia 1788-1870 (1986)
Red Coat Dreaming: How Colonial Australia Embraced the British Army (2009)
Australian Military History for Dummies (2010)

Newspapers are perhaps the most valuable resource for locating information on early Australian military history, particularly as it affects a local area. Increasingly local newspapers, as well as the larger state and national newspapers, are being digitised and made available through Trove. Use the Advanced Search option to limit the search to a particular newspaper or time frame. If the local newspaper in your area has not yet been digitised it may be available on microfiche or even hard copy at the historical society for the area. The State Library of Victoria has copies of newspapers published throughout Victoria. Check the catalogue for availability. It may be necessary to order copies in advanced as much of the newspaper collection is in storage, offsite.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Crimean War - Thomas Bruce Hutton

Family history is one way to explore and help to understand military events.

Thomas Bruce Hutton (1834-1914) was born in India where his father was a captain in the British army serving in India until 1841. The family then returned to Scotland and Thomas was listed in the 1851 Scottish Census as a scholar living in Lanarkshire. He became a professional soldier and served in the British Army from his enlistment in 1855 aged 20 to his resignation from the service in 1872 aged 38. During that time he served with the 21st (Royal Scots) Fusiliers, the 61st (South Gloucester) Regiment of Foot and the 100th (Prince of Wales Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot. Deployments were to the Crimean War, Indian Mutiny, Canada, West Indies and West Africa as well as time spent at Aldershot in England training soldiers.

Thomas Bruce Hutton enlisted as an ensign in the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers on10 January 1855 when he was 20. By July 1855 he was a lieutenant and on his way to the Crimean War (1853-1856). His first involvement was at the Siege of Sevastopol which took place from 25 September 1854 to 8 September 1855. Thomas would have arrived towards the end of the siege and during the final battle for Sevastopol on 8 September the regiment was in reserve and not involved in the actual battle.

With four other regiments from the Fourth Division the Fusiliers then took part in the bombardment of Kinburn on 7 October. The regiment then returned to the Crimea until the end of May 1856. From there they went to Malta before serving in the West Indies. For his services in the Crimea, Thomas received a medal and clasp from the Queen, and also a Turkish medal.

 Details of Thomas' military history were listed in an article in the Argus on Saturday 11 February 1882 when Colonel Hutton was invited by the Government to take temporary command of the volunteer forces in Victoria. Information about military units can often be found on line. In this case

History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers  is a book by Buchan available online and there is a Wikipedia article on the 100th (Prince of Wales) Regiment of Foot.

The Crimea Medal was a campaign medal of the British Forces awarded for taking part in campaigns against the Russians on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding area from 28th March 1854 to 30th March 1856. Clasp-Sebastopol.
 He was also awarded the Turkish Crimea Medal. The Sultan of Turkey awarded the medal to allied military personnel involved in the Crimean War.
Both of these images were found via a Google search the website, Forces War Records also has images of a number of British medals from various campaigns. They also have brief records relating to British soldiers who have fought in various wars including the Crimean War. This is a paid site and when I took out a one month subscription I found a little information. Like most databases additional records are constantly being added.

Crimean War - locating information

Recent developments with Russia annexing the Crimean Peninsula from the Ukraine has raised interest in the dispute in the area in the mid nineteenth century.

The Crimean War (October 1853-February1856) was fought between the Russians and an unlikely partnership consisting primarily of British, French and Ottoman (Turkish) armies. The Ottoman Empire was in decline and the Russians wanted access to Ottoman territories, particularly to gain  access to the Mediterranean Sea. The British and the French did not want Russia to move into this area especially if it resulted in a risk to shipping through the Mediterranean. There were also disputes about access to religious sites in the area. Most of the battles were fought on the Crimean Peninsula. Major battles and sieges included Sevastopol, Balaklava and Inkerman. The icy winters played a crucial part in the sieges with all the armies suffering from the extreme cold. Major military tactical blunders on both sides were also prevalent during the campaigns in the Crimea. The end of the Siege at Sevastopol on the 8th September 1855 was one such example with the French taking the Malakhov which was their target but the British failing to take the Redan. Some of the British soldiers did succeed in scaling the fortifications but most remained outside refusing to enter, therefore providing no support to those who had breached the walls. Although the Russians later evacuated the city and the Russian naval base at Sevastopol was destroyed, the victory of the French further compounded the embarrassment of the British defeat. The war finally came to an end after the Austrians told the Russians that they would enter the war on the side of the Allies if Russia did not accept an ultimatum by 18 January 1856. Points included freedom for ships of all nations to sail on the Danube and the Black Sea, plus Russia relinquishing the protectorate of Wallachia, Moldavia and Serbia and also over the Orthodox population of the Turkish Empire. Other issues could be raised at a Peace Conference. At the end of the war all parties had suffered severe casualties for only marginal changes to the situation before the war.

The Crimean War was noted for the use of new techniques in warfare including the use of railway and the electric telegraph. Florence Nightingale gained prominence during this period with changes introduced in the treatment of British wounded soldiers. The events of the war were also documented extensively with written reports in newspapers and photographs and other illustrations keeping the public aware of developments.

A number of websites provide a summary of events during the Crimean War. A selection includes:
The National Archives (UK) provides a summary of the events leading up to and during the fighting. The site also contains copies of maps and documents relating to the events.

The Economist (March 18, 2014) provided a summary of events leading to the war while on 24 March 2014 it published an article originally written on 25 March 1854 about the possibilities of war with Russia.

BBC History has an article by Andrew Lambert about the Crimean War.

Many books have been written on the topic. Two books that may currently be available in public libraries are:
Fletcher, Ian and Natalia Ishchinko. (2008) War in the Crimea: an illustrated history
Kerr, Paul et al. (1997) The Crimean War
It is probable that additional material will be available as recent events have probably renewed interest in events that occurred 160 years ago.

As noted earlier, British newspapers carried regular reports about what was happening. Many of these newspapers have now been digitised and can be searched online via databases such as The Times Digital Archive (1785-1985), Nineteenth Century British Newspapers and The British Newspaper Archives. Many libraries subscribe to these databases making the information available to their members.

Trove which includes digitised Australian newspapers is another place to search. Using the advanced search and the term Crimean War limited by the years 1853 to 1856 provided 118 articles. Searching for articles including the term Crimea includes thousands more If interested in a particular battle type the name of the battle - Sevastopol for example - for articles restricted to that topic.

The National Archives UK contains records relating to the Crimean War. It is best to begin with the information sheet explaining what is available in the archive and elsewhere and how to locate the records.