My great great grandfather Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850 – 1927) was General Manager of the Bank of Victoria.
One of my cousins recently obtained a photograph of the staff of the bank in 1917 from the Historical Services Curator of the National Australia Bank (which was formed by the amalgamation of the Bank of Victoria with the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney in 1927 and the National Bank of Australasia in 1982).
The photo appears to have been taken on the roof of the bank’s head office in Collins Street. There are no names with the photo, but clearly recognisable seated at the centre is Philip Champion de Crespigny.
[Crespigny] joined the service of the Bank of Victoria in June, 1866, as a junior clerk. After spending a few years in country districts in service of the bank he was promoted to the position of manager at Epsom, and he filled a similar position at other country towns. Subsequently he was placed in charge of the South Melbourne branch of the bank. At the end of 1892 he was appointed assistant inspector, and he continued to act in that capacity until 1908, when he took the office of chief inspector. In 1916 he became general manager of the bank in succession to Mr George Stewart.
At the time of his first marriage, to Annie Frances Chauncy in 1877, Philip de Crespigny was the manager of the Bank of Victoria branch at Epsom five miles north-east of Bendigo. His oldest son Philip was born there in 1879. In early 1882 Philip moved from Epsom to Queenscliff, a small town on the Bellarine Peninsula, 30 kilometres south-east of Geelong. The Bank of Victoria was at 76 Hesse Street. Philip’s son, my great grandfather Constantine Trent, was born at Queenscliff in March 1882. Philip’s wife Annie died at Queenscliff in 1883.
In 1886 Philip transferred to be manager of the Elmore branch, forty kilometres northeast of Bendigo. In 1887 he was appointed manager of the South Melbourne branch. In 1888 he became Assistant Inspector of Branches, and was appointed Inspector of Branches in 1908. In 1916 he became the bank’s General Manager.
Another obituary, in the Melbourne Herald of 11 March 1927, notes that Philip was remembered for his “ability as a financial expert [and this] was known throughout Australia. During the war period, he gave his services freely to the Government, his advice having been of the greatest value to the country.”
A 1918 photograph of the Bank of Victoria’s office in Collins Street shows an advertisement for the 7th War loan.
On 28 April 1916 a man calling himself Eric Claude Champion de Crespigny married Eileen Barbara Lamport by licence at Holy Trinity Church in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London. He stated that he was a soldier, age 22 [so born about about 1894], the son of Claude de Crespigny (deceased). He gave his address as 13 Stafford Road, Stockwell.
On 5 December 1917 he was at reported to be a prisoner at Dulmen, he had previously been in Dendermonde camp; Dendermonde is a city in east Flanders and Dülmen is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia. Records of the International Committee of the Red Cross give de Crespigny’s service number as 10882, stating that he was born 1 February 1894 at Maldon. His next of kin was recorded as his wife, who lived at “Wyvern House”, Llandrindod Wells, Wales.
In a report of 8 February 1918 he was stated to be in 1 Münster having previously been in Lager Dülmen (Camp Dulmen) which was just over 30 kilometers south-west of Münster. There was a slight variation in some of the details reported. He was captured 10 September 1917. He was wounded: “Kugel 1 Bein und Schamleiste” or “Ball [bullet] 1 leg and groin”. His birthdate was given as 1 February 1893 and place of birth London.
Eric de Crespigny is recorded on Medal Index Cards, compiled towards the end of the war, as ERIC C C D’CRESPIGNY. I cannot find any earlier military records that name him.
Eric Claude Champion de Crespigny was recorded on the 1918 electoral roll for the City of Westminster as living at 48 Eaton Square.
Eileen remarried on 10 November 1919 to a man called Cyril Wardale King, giving her name as Kathleen Barbara Lamport. I have found no record of a divorce, nor have I found any other record naming Eric de Crespigny before his marriage in 1916 or after the 1918 electoral roll.
So who was Eric Claude de Crespigny?
The only man who fits the surname, was possibly the right age in 1892 or 1893 to father a child, and who in 1916 was describable as ‘deceased’ is Claude Champion de Crespigny, who was born in 1873 and died in 1910. Claude did not marry. He possibly fathered an illegitimate son, and this may be the man who called himself Eric de Crespigny.
His signature on the 1916 marriage record of ‘Eric Claude Champion de Crespigny’ bears a strong resemblance to the signature of Claude Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny on 1923 and 1927 petitions for United States naturalization.
Why assume somebody else’s surname and then their identity? I think Eric/Edmund/Claude gained a social and perhaps some financial advantage by pretending to be connected to the Champion de Crespigny family.
He did get somewhat out of his depth though when in 1930 in Chicago he claimed to have a PhD and joined the faculty of Loyola University. (A significant shift from his occupation as typewriter salesman reported on the census of 1 April 1930). As Professor Claude Champion de Crespigny, he gave a talk on “Britain in India today”. Professor de Crespigny was said to have ‘served with the British Legation in India’. Since India had not yet gained independence, the term ‘British Legation in India’ makes no sense. Perhaps no one noticed the slip.
Nothing was heard of ‘Professor’ de Crespigny after this. When he died in 1967 his occupation was hotel clerk, of Houston, Texas.
Claude had come down in the world, poor chap. In the long run, stealing another man’s name didn’t do him any good.
Crystal Ffinch née Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born on 9 May 1877 in Durrington, Wiltshire. She was the fourth of nine children and third of four daughters of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet and Georgiana Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell.
In the 1881 census Crystal, then aged three, was recorded as residing at Champion Lodge, near Maldon, Essex, with her mother and her five siblings, aged from eight months to seven years. Also present were two visitors and nine live-in servants: a governess, two nurses, two footmen, two housemaids, a kitchenmaid and a cook. Her father was away at the time.
At the next census, in 1891, Crystal was attending boarding school in Exeter called Edgerton House School. Crystal, aged thirteen, and her sister Cerise aged fifteen were two of the ten boarders.
In May 1896 Crystal and her recently married sister Cicely, Mrs George Lancaster, were presented by their mother, Lady Champion de Crespigny, to H.R.H. the Princess of Wales at a Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on behalf of her Majesty.
On 18 December 1901 Crystal married Captain Matthew Ffinch at St Peter’s Church, Great Totham, Essex. The reception was held at Champion Lodge, the family home, less than a mile from the church. The couple honeymooned in Madeira.
At the time of the 1911 census Crystal was in Kent on holidays with her husband Matthew, a retired army officer, staying in a private hotel called Ledge Point at Westgate on Sea. This census asked how long a couple had been married and whether there were any children. The Ffinches were childless.
I have found only one photograph of Crystal, at a Champion Lodge shooting party in November 1911.
In World War 1 Crystal volunteered with the Red Cross at Rivercourt Red Cross Hospital in Maldon. Her mother, Lady de Crespigny, was also involved with hospital matters there. The hospital building had previously been run as a “Home of Rest”, a convalescent home. At the outbreak of war the building was donated by its owner to be used by the Red Cross Society as a convalescent hospital for the troops. It operated from August 1914 to January 1919.
Crystal was recorded as a nurse probationer, who worked part-time. Her contribution, with her nursing duties, was to collect subscriptions and contributions of fruit and vegetables and entertain the patients. Her mother was noted as having the duties of nursing and that she was:
A generous supporter of the Hospital, helped to raise funds, visited regularly for Rifle Brigade. Supplied Patients with literature, cigarettes etc, also fruit & vegetables continually for 4 1/2 years. A valuable patron of the Hospital, entertaining the Patients constantly.
Crystal’s husband Matthew served as a Special constable. In 1916 a Zeppelin numbered L33 crashed nearby, at Little Wigborough, ten miles from Heybridge where the Ffinches lived. It made a forced landing but the crew were largely unharmed. First setting set fire to the airship to prevent it falling into British hands, they trudged off in the direction of Colchester, eight miles north, to give themselves up. (L33 was one of twelve Zeppelins to bomb England. Another, the L32, crashed in flames at Great Burstead, south-west of Maldon, killing all on board.) The crew, found on the road by a Special Constable, spent the rest of the war in captivity. Captain M. Ffinch reported on how the Special Constables of Peldon helped to control the traffic and the thousands of sightseers who descended on the village the day after the zeppelin landed.
In 1919 Matthew was made one of the Deputy Lieutenants of the County of Essex. In a 1922 directory he was recorded as one of the County Magistrates for the Witham Division.
At the time of the 1921 census, Matthew and Crystal Ffinch were living in a twelve-room house at Langford Mead, Heybridge near Maldon with two live in servants: a cook and house parlour maid.
The British Legion, founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-service community, had a presence in Maldon, with separate sections for men and women. Crystal, Mrs FFinch, was chairman and her mother, Lady Champion de Crespigny was president. In September 1923 a cavalcade of charabancs took 90 women members, including Crystal and her mother from the war memorial to a garden party hosted by Captain and Mrs Long-Price at their home ‘Rosmeade’ in Ulting.
On 29 September 1939 a Register was compiled of every member of the civilian population. The information was used to produce identity cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to issue ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and the direction of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation. In 1939 Crystal was recorded as living in Langford Meads, Heybridge. Her entry on the 1939 Register is annotated “Vice President British Red +”. In the same house was William Lyddon, a retired colonel of the Royal Artillery, William and Mary Rawlings, who served as chauffeur and parlourman, and a cook. Matthew was recorded at the Grange, Newton Regis, Warwickshire.
Matthew died in 1951. His death was announced in The Daily Telegraph of 15 February 1951:
FFINCH.—On Feb 14. at 85. Campden Hill-court, Kensington, W.8. Captain MATTHEW BENJAMIN DIPNALL FFINCH, C.B E.. late The North Staffordshire Regiment, formerly of Langford, Essex, in his 85th year. Funeral at Ulting Church, Essex, Saturday. Feb . 17, at 12 noon. Flowers may be sent to J H Kenyon Ltd.. 12. Kensington Church-st.. W.8. by tomorrow (Friday).
His death notice in The Times of 20 February 1951 stated:
Captain Matthew Benjamin Dipnall Ffinch, C.B.E., Assistant Chief Constable of Essex from 1914 to 1919, died at his home in London recently at the age of 84.
Crystal died ten years later. Her death was announced in The Times of 17 November 1961:
FFINCH.-On 16th November, 1961, in a London nursing home CRYSTAL, aged 84 years of Langford Meads, Maldon, Essex Widow of CAPTAIN MATTHEW BENJAMIN DIPNALL FFINCH. C.B.E.. and daughter of the late Sir Claude and Lady Champion de Crespigny. Funeral Tuesday, 21st November (arrangements later)
Claude Raul Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born at Durrington, Wiltshire on 19 September 1878. He was the fifth of nine children of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet, and Georgiana Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell. The five sons of the fourth baronet were all given the first name Claude. The younger four sons each had a middle name: Raul, Philip, Vierville, Norman.
On 24 Jun 1913 Raul married Violet Rose (Vere) Sykes in the Royal Military Chapel (The Guards’ Chapel) on Birdcage Walk opposite St James Park. Vere’s brother Claude Alfred Victor Sykes was also an officer in the Grenadier Guards.
An article in a New Zealand newspaper called the ‘Dominion‘, dated 29 January 1918, with the headline ‘The Perfect Soldier’ described Raul’s distaste for staff work and eagerness to return to his battalion. He was:
'One of those commanding officers who believe in being in the thick of the fighting, he used to lead his men over the top with a 'loaded stick' as a weapon. In one of the recent engagements in Flanders he charged a Hun machine-gunner who was scattering death right and left with his stream of bullets. With one mighty swing of his stick he broke the neck of the Hun, and the regiment went on. The Hun's gas mask and steel helmet are in England now hanging on the walls of Brigadier-General de Crespigny's Essex home among innumerable trophies of the chase, grim relics of a man whose hobby is fighting.'
The article goes on to list his sporting accomplishments in steeple-chasing, boxing, cricket, shooting and aquatic sports.
Though Champion Lodge was certainly cluttered with sporting trophies, bashing a Hun to death then then mounting a trophy of the occasion on your wall seems more likely to have been a literary trope than solid fact. Nancy Mitford’s ‘Uncle Matthew’ comes to mind, in ‘The Pursuit of Love‘:
"THERE is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us as children."
Raul’s marriage ended in divorce in 1926.
Raul became the 5th baronet after the death of his father in 1935. He died on 15 May 1941. His obituary in the Chelmsford Chronicle noted that he “settled at Champion Lodge, and took a kindly interest in the affairs of the neighbourhood, especially the British Legion. His last public duty was performed a few months ago, when he opened the gift sale of the Maldon Farmers’ Union in Maldon Market on behalf of the Red Cross.” Members of the British Legion provided a guard of honour at his funeral.
Claude Raul had no children. Of the five sons of the fourth baronet, only Claude Vierville had a daughter, but women could not inherit the baronetcy. The title passed to a cousin, Henry Champion de Crespigny (1882-1946), son of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1850-1912). Philip was the younger brother of the fourth baronet, second son of the third baronet.
In Australia today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the first large (and pointless and losing) military action by Australian and New Zealand soldiers (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), their landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
11 November 1918, when WWI came to a halt, was called Armistice Day. It was a truce, not a victory. Armistice Day is set aside as a day to remember all the men and women who served in Australia’s armed forces.
When WWII in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945, the day was known (on the Allied side) as V-E (Victory in Europe) day. In London there was great celebration.
V E Day began with Mr Churchill’s broadcast officially announcing the end of war in Europe. Londoners took to the streets in celebrations which continued for nearly two days. Outside Buckingham Palace the crowds chanted ‘we want the King’ and were rewarded by the Royal Family appearing on the balcony. At nine o’clock in the evening the King broadcast to Britain and the Commonwealth.
The war was not finished for Australians, however. The Japanese had not yet surrendered and Australia and its allies were still fighting in the Pacific. The Adelaide News noted that “the Allied victory in Europe, V-E Day, was [celebrated] in Adelaide in an atmosphere of sober satisfaction and thanksgiving rather than one of wild rejoicing.”
(News (Adelaide), 8 May, p. 3.)
“The Fallen of World War II” is an animated documentary about war and peace that looks at data on the human cost of the wars in the twentieth century and how these compare to wars in the distant past and more recently.
I hope we never forget the suffering and misery of war and the unspeakable wickedness and stupidity of people who let it happen.
Among my paternal grandmother’s photographs is a casual shot of her father, Arthur Murray Cudmore, her future father in law, CTC de Crespigny, and Bronte Smeaton, another Adelaide doctor, in deckchairs on RMS Mooltan sailing to Lemnos in the Aegean, near Gallipoli, in 1915. Both Drs de Crespigny and Cudmore held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel: de Crespigny was Registrar and Secretary and Cudmore a consultant surgeon of the 3rd Australian Hospital.
Arthur Murray Cudmore with Trent de Crespigny [centre] & Bronte Smeaton [left] in 1915 at sea. Picture from my grandmother Kathleen née Cudmore’s scrapbook. (Kathleen later married the son of Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny.)
18 May 1915 Crowds of well-wishers farewell Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) personnel who have just embarked on the transport HMT Mooltan at Port Melbourne railway pier. Australian War Memorial image id C01009 retrieved from http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C01009/
In January 1916 the hospital closed. De Crespigny was put in charge of the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis. The staff of the hospital sailed for Marseilles in 1916 from Alexandria.
On 24 March 1916 Alice Ross King received her orders to sail to France. She and her fellow nurses from No. 1 Australian General Hospital waited on the pier at Alexandria, weighed down with the booty from a final shopping spree. One nurse had a canary in a cage. A captain was told to make sure all the nurses were on board the hospital ship Braemar Castle.‘Not knowing the AANS he told us to form a double row to “number off”,’ Alice recounted.‘He wanted 120. Each time he got a different number. He was terribly worried. Finally our big [commanding officer] Col De Crespigny came down the gangway to see what was the matter. In his tired voice he called out, “Sisters! Form a fairly straight line. Left turn! Get on board.” “Oh! Sir,” said Matron, “they are not all here.” “Then they’ll be left behind,” said our CO. Our first hard lesson! We had always been fussed over [and] spoilt before,’ Alice wrote, with a shade of overstatement. (Rees, Peter. The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-1918. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2008. Retrieved from https://epdf.pub/other-anzacs-the-nurses-at-war-1914-1918.html)
I never knew my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny, and my impression of him is derived from what my father can remember and other people’s memoirs. But this story, of him of directing people to get on with it, sounds characteristic. It certainly brings him to life for me.
Another shipboard anecdote is set in the journey home. My great grandfather, supposedly averse to brisk exercise, did his rounds of the deck very very slowly. But he met a satirical suggestion about his speed with a rapid retort:
In 1916, Sophia, Mrs Philip Champion de Crespigny, (1870 – 1936), second wife of my great great grandfather, started a campaign to knit a scarf for General Birdwood, the popular commander-in-chief of Australian divisions on the front.
The first anniversary of the landing at ANZAC was observed on Tuesday 25 April 1916, with prayers and mourning for the dead.
Three days later ‘ANZAC Button Day’, with parades and many stalls and kiosks, was held in Melbourne to raise money for the troops. One of the attractions was a kiosk, ‘erected by the St. George Society’, an English patriotic society, where for sixpence patriotic knitters could add a row to scarf for General Birdwood.
Mrs Philip Champion de Crespigny was responsible for this money-raising idea.
Sophia Champion de Crespigny about 1894
Two of her sons and two step-sons enlisted during World War 1:
In June Sophia de Crespigny travelled to Geelong, where would-be scarf-knitters would find her at the Bank of Victoria in Malop Street.
The Geelong Advertiser reported that the scarf was khaki with a border of General Birdwood’s colours: red, purple, and black, and a touch of yellow. The scarf was now 2½ yards long.
By mid-August Birdwood’s scarf, completed, and yard longer than planned, was put on display in the window of Messrs Singer and Co. in the Block Arcade on Collins Street. There was also a book with the names of over 300 of its volunteer knitters. Sophia’s scarf campaign had raised £13. The Melbourne Lady Mayoress’ fund for Red Cross got £2 18/-, and £10 2/- was presented to the Y.M.C.A. for the benefit of the Australian soldiers at the Front (a national appeal).
Melbourne Punch 24 August 1916 page 32
Among letters received by General Birdwood, now digitised by the Australian War Memorial, is one from Sophia, Mrs Philip Champion de Crespigny, forwarding the scarf and the book of names of the ladies who worked on it.
Letter from Sophia Champion de Crespigny to General Birdwood enclosing a scarf and a book with the names of the knitters. Retrieved from the Australian War Memorial Letters received by Field Marshal Lord William Birdwood, 1 June 1916 – 25 December 1916 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2084586?image=107
I have not found a picture of General Birdwood in a scarf. This picture from the Australian War Memorial is from about 1915: The officer in the foreground, rugged up in a greatcoat and scarf, is possibly Major Harold A Powell of the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC). The tents in the middle distance on the left are probably those of a field hospital; the location appears to be the Gallipoli Peninsula.
General Sir William Riddell Birdwood visiting a Battalion Headquarters in the support line trenches in Ungodly Avenue in the Messines Sector, in Belgium, on 25 January 1918. General Birdwood is second from the left. Australian War Memorial image E01495
Across Australia many other scarves were knitted by ladies who gave their sixpences and shillings to raise money for the soldiers, and it seems more than likely that Sophia’s was not the first. I’m not a great knitter myself – I started a scarf in the 1980s, which forty years later is still less than a foot long – but I’m delighted to have a family connection with Sophia’s.
In my post for Remembrance Day yesterday I listed only our closest relatives, up to first cousins. We also had many second cousins who fought in the war. In one family, named Butcher, six sons enlisted. Against the odds, all six returned to Australia.
I do not know if my great grandfather’s family, the Cudmores, knew the Butcher family. Before 1900 they lived at Wentworth, New South Wales, close to their Cudmore cousins, and the families may have been in contact, but around the turn of the century the Butchers moved to Bridgetown, Western Australia. (Recently I discovered that I share DNA with two descendants of Rachel Butcher née Gunn, the cousin of my great great grandmother Margaret Cudmore née Budge.)
Rachel Butcher née Gunn (1853 – 1937) was born in Wick, Caithness. In 1863, when she was ten years old, Rachel Gunn arrived in South Australia with her family on the “Ocean Chief”. Three more children were born to the Gunns in South Australia including a son named William Cudmore, whose second given name seems to indicate that the Gunns had, or wished for, a connection with their wealthy Cudmore relatives.
In 1869 at Wentworth, New South Wales, Rachel’s father William Gunn was kicked by a horse and died. It appears that the Gunn family had moved to Wentworth shortly before.
At Wentworth in 1875 Rachel Gunn married George Butcher (1852 – 1928). Between 1876 and 1898 they had ten children, all born in Wentworth.
The Butcher family moved to Bridgetown, Western Australia, in the early 1900s. In 1905 a son died there.
Frank Gunn Butcher, born 1886, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 19 October 1914. He was 28 years old, unmarried, and his occupation was orchardist. He had been apprenticed to a blacksmith.
Robert Rae Gunn Butcher, born 1891, enlisted in the AIF on 15 June 1915. He was 23 years old, unmarried, and gave his occupation as horse trainer.
Kennewell Gardiner Gunn Butcher, born 1895, enlisted 26 July 1915. He was 19 years old, unmarried, and gave his occupation as farmer.
George Henry Butcher, born 1881, enlisted in the AIF on 30 August 1915. He was 34 years old, a timber worker, married, no children.
Horace Butcher, born 1883, enlisted 20 November 1915. He was 32 years old (he said he was 35) and married. His occupation was labourer.
Ruben Murray Gunn Butcher, born 1888, enlisted 20 January 1916. He was 27 years old, married and living in Melbourne. His occupation was driver.
All six men were sent overseas. All returned to Australia.
Robert Rae Gunn served with the 2nd Field Company Engineers. He was gassed in January 1918 and returned to Australia on 17 June 1918. In January 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal.
George served with the 28th battalion. He returned to Australia 28 July 1918. He was recorded as suffering from a debility, trench fever (a fairly serious infection, transmitted by lice).
Ruben served with the 3rd Tunnelling Company and returned to Australia 19 April 1919. When he was discharged from the AIF in Melbourne he was stated to be unfit but is disability was not stated.
Horace also served with the 3rd Tunnelling Company and returned to Australia 19 April 1919. In the course of his service he was promoted to sergeant. He does not appear to have been wounded or hospitalised during the war.
Frank served with the Australian Army Medical Corps 7th sanitary section. He returned to Australia 3 July 1919.
Kennewell Butcher returned to Australia 10 July 2019. He served with the 10th Light Horse.
While five of the brothers lived to the 1950s and 60s, George died in 1923 at the relatively young age of 42.
I am very appreciative that the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board provided me with a photograph of George Butcher’s headstone taken prior to redevelopment.
Karrakatta Cemetery record information for George Henry Gunn Butcher
On Remembrance Day 2011 a friend visited the gravesite and laid a poppy and sent me a photo
The grave site of George Butcher Remembrance Day 2019 – we have not forgotten
George is now remembered with a bronze plaque in the Western Australia Garden of Remembrance is situated adjacent to Perth War Cemetery in Smythe Road, Nedlands. A staff member kindly sent me an image of the plaque.
George’s parents are buried in the Wesleyan section, at EA grave 594. The ashes of two of the brothers, Robert and Kennewell were placed at the family grave. The headstone commemorates only George and Rachel. This area is scheduled for redevelopment but I have been advised that this grave has been designated an Official War Grave and will remain.
The grave of George and Rachel Butcher Karrakatta Cemetery Wesleyan Area or Denomination EA Section 0594 Photographed 11 November 2019
Frank was cremated and his ashes were scattered at Karrakatta. Horace was cremated. His ashes are at Karrakatta Lawn 5, Wall 10, position 121. Reuben was also cremated. His remains are in the crematorium Rose Gardens, Wall O position 333.
Links to First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers
Between 1914 and 1918, 350,000 Australians enlisted in the armed services to fight for their country and the Empire.
Among these were my husband’s grandfather, Cecil Young (1898 – 1975) and his brother, John Percy (Jack) Young (1896 – 1918).
Both men and both their parents were been born in Australia.
When war threatened in August 1914, Australia, a Dominion of the British Empire, knew she was bound to join in. On 31 July 1914 in an election speech at Colac in Victoria, the Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher (ALP) famously declared that ‘… Australians will stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling’. A few days later, on 4 August 1914, Britain declared war against Germany. On 5 August, attempting to prevent a German ship escaping from Port Phillip, Australia fired her first shot against the enemy.
In October 1916 Jack Young, aged 20, signed up, becoming, as a member of the Australian Imperial Force, a soldier of Australia and the Empire.
From 23 July to 3 September 1916 Australian forces suffered badly at the Battle of Pozières in northern France. The Australian official historian Charles Bean wrote that Pozières ridge “is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.” Among those killed were Wes Rowlands of Homebush, an acquaintance of Jack and Cecil.
The slaughter in France left the Australian forces under-strength, and it was widely believed that conscription was necessary to maintain troop levels. This was view of the Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, which the losses at Pozières seemed to confirm. Not all Federal politicians supported Hughes, however, and the matter was put to a
plebiscite. After a divisive public debate and strong campaigning on both sides, on 28 October 1916, the “No” vote narrowly prevailed
Jack Young’s enlistment – he signed his attestation papers on 3 October 1916 – came at the height of this conscription debate.
Jack Young was not yet 21 and would not have been conscripted anyway.
After 6 weeks in the AIF Signal School Jack sailed on the ‘Medic’, leaving on 16 December and disembarking in Plymouth 18 February 1917. He was first at Hurdcott camp, 7 miles from Salisbury. A few weeks later he marched out to Sutton Mandeville, 15 miles west. There was a camp at Fovant nearby. From Fovant he was transferred on 7 April to Durrington 20 miles to the north-east; the military settlement of Larkhill is nearby. On 1 January 1918 he sailed for France.
Fovant Badges The badges were cut into the chalk hills near the miltary camp and originate from 1916. From the left:- The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, 6th London Regiment and the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces.
Group portrait of the Signal Section of the 10th Infantry Brigade, outside the Chateau at Querrieu, 7 July 1918. Pte J. Young is in the back row eighth from the left (fourth from the right). Australian War Memorial photograph E03830
On 26 August, wounded in a mustard gas attack, Jack was admitted to a Line of Communications hospital. On 28 August he was invalided to England and admitted to Beaufort Hospital near Bristol.
On 26 September Jack was discharged on furlough from Beaufort hospital, but on 6 November he was in hospital again, the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital Dartford. At 11:40 a.m. on 9 November 1918, two days before the war ended, Jack died of pneumonia. He is buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.