Ballarat East tunneller William Gilbert was a 27 year old, married well borer who served a seven year apprenticeship at the Phoenix Foundry in Ballarat. He studied Maths at the Ballarat School of Mines in 1903.
In June 1918, Sgt William Gilbert was presented with a Military Cross. The accompanying citation recorded he had been nominated for the Award for,
‘…conspicuous gallantry and untiring devotion to duty. From 29th September to 1st October 1918, in the vicinity of Bellicourt and Estrees, he repeatedly carried out forward reconnaissances under continuous shell fire, and obtained valuable information on location and condition of wells, roads, cellars and dug-outs, and furnished the first reconnaissance reports of the captured portion of the Bellicourt Tunnel.’
To learn more about Sgt W Gilbert or his employer, visit
or the Mining Mud & Medals Wiki:
(Image via google – Military Cross)
Arch of Victory – Avenue of Honour Committee
Service Commemorating the Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles
Wednesday 20 July2016
He served in France with the Australian Mining Corps.
Awarded the Military Cross:
More on the Mining Mud & Medals Wiki:
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Thirty men from each of the three Australian Tunnelling companies were separated to become the Australian Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company. They became known as the ‘Alphabet Company’, and the men who served were referred to as the Alphabeticals.
One of their number, Walter Browne 5055 (a well borer by occupation) came from Blakeville (near Ballan) in Victoria. After being assigned to the 13th reinforcements for the 2nd Field Coy Engineers, he transferred to 12th Field Coy Engineers at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt on 18 March 1916.
Nine months later Browne was reassigned to the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company (AE&MM&BC) at Messines, Belgium (on 14 June 1917). After falling ill with influenza in France he was admitted to hospital on 28 October 1918.
Walter Browne 5055 died of bronchial pneumonia at the New Zealand Stationary Hospital, Wisques, France on 6 November 1918. He is buried in the Souvenir Cemetery, Longuenesse.
Via our wiki – Australian Electrical & Mechanical Mining & Boring Company:
Memorial Service to commemorate
Annie Westcott AANS WW1
and in memory of all forgotten nurses of WW1
Saturday 27th of February 2016
Ballarat Old Cemetery
Annie Maynard Westcott was 24 when she commenced her training at the Ballarat Base Hospital, and with 16 years of Nursing and administration experience, she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service in October 1915.
She was buried with other family members whose names were recorded on adjacent headstones, however Annie’s name was missing. Discovering she was lying anonymously in the Old Ballarat Cemetery, the Ballarat Base Trained Nurses League set about raising funds to give Annie her identity and recognition.
Her story came to light during the preparation of the book “They answered their countries call’ written by Garry Snowden.
Ballarat Courier: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3755843/hearing-annies-story/
Ballarat Miner: http://theminer.net.au/identity-restored-to-forgotten-nurse/
John Brain 190, a 27 year old labourer from Ballarat who ended up in different Battalions,
such as the the 14th, 29th and 46th.
Interestingly he also joined the 2nd Canadian Tunnelling Company in France.
He contracted Pleurisy, was gassed, as well as shot in the right leg.
He did however return home to Ballarat, where he died at the age of 85.
Record via the National Archive of Australia.
Other details via ‘They answered their country’s call’ by Garry Snowden.
Short account of service and sacrifice from Ballarat General Cemeteries.www.ballaratcemeteries.com.au
where he joined the New Zealand Engineers and Tunnelling Company.
He died of wounds on the Flanders Fields in the 14th of October 1917.
He is buried at Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas-de-Calais, France.
WW1 New Zealand Tunnelling Company Memorial Dedication at Gilmour Reserve, Waihi, New Zealand – 22 January 2016.
Di & Yvon from Mining Mud & Medals were honoured to be able to accept the invitation to be part of this special event. We have had an amazing few days. Special thanks go to Sue, Kit, Krishna and Warwick (in particular) for making us so welcome; it was like meeting longstanding friends from the moment we all clapped eyes on one another. Their extra special brand of Kiwi generosity will never be forgotten. We will return…
For More on the New Zealand Tunnellers:
NZ Tunnelling Company