Ballarat Tunnellers at Gallipoli
Ballarat Tunnellers Robert Bass and Harold Baxter were both part of the No 2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers. Both died and are buried at Gallipoli.
Robert Felix Bass was born in Ballarat, but he lived in Snake Valley which is a small town 30 kilometres to the west of Ballarat. Private Robert Bass was 19 years old when he enlisted, and he joined the 6th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement on the 5th January, 1915. . He was transferred to the 2nd Company Engineers on the 12th August 1915. Sapper Robert Bass died between 01/08/1915 and 31/08/1915, when he was in the Australian Engineers, 2nd Field Coy. He is listed at Lone Pine Memorial, Panel Reference 12, at Gallipoli, Turkey:
Harold Evelyn Baxter was from Snake Valley. He was a telephone mechanic from Melbourne, Victoria, prior to enlistment. He was a member of the 2nd Field Company Australian Engineers. Sapper Baxter was killed in action on 3 June 1915, aged 23 years:
Photo via the Australian War Memorial – A field company, Australian Engineers, reaches the beach:
Members of No. 2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers, land on the Gallipoli beach at 6.30am 25 April 1915. Most are waiting to disembark from the ship’s boats, while the first troops jump onto the beach and make their way towards the remainder of the landing party seen in the background. Reflections from the bayonets of men of the recently landed 7th Battalion can be seen in the distant left as they advance up a gully . AWM P02226.014.
25 April 1915 – The Battle for the beaches:
Sapper James Hambleton 4089, was a 41 year old miner from Buninyong. He enlisted in Adelaide on 7 January 1916 and died of bronchitis 18 December 1916. He is buried in the Estaires Communal Cemetery in France.
Photo of Sapper Hambleton thanks to Danielle Duncan.
Other image of the Memorial Wall at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The Tunnellers, or those belonging to the Mining Companies in WW1, can be hard to find but sometimes you just get lucky!
Wouter van Dijken posted a photo on facebook, of the gravestone of Sapper Percy William Hocking, 2nd Tunnelling Company,
buried in Flanders Fields in Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery, Nieuport, Belgium.
Percy William Hocking 2467. was born in Daylesford and lived in Wycheproof in the Wimmera District with his wife Margaret
and their 3 children when he enlisted in Bendigo. He was wounded in action and died on wounds on 18 October 1917.
Percy William Hocking has now been added to our list of tunnellers from the Ballarat electorate.
For more on Mining Mud & Medals please check:
(Photo of grave taken by Wouter van Dijken & photo of Australian War Memorial Wall – Yvon Davis)
Our very special, locally produced, in full colour
ANZAC CENTENARY COMMEMORATIVE CALENDAR 2015
‘FROM THE BUSH TO THE BATTLE’
They retail at $15 each and for postage within Australia for 1 or for 2 calendars
please add on $3.50.
For overseas mail add $4.70 postage per calendar.
We are working on a PayPal account for our overseas friends.
You can order them via our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
and by depositing the amount for the calendar and postage at:
Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc – Bendigo Bank
BSB 633 – 000 account number 145608105
The calendar is currently available at the following:
*Collins Booksellers Ballarat – Sturt Streethttp://www.collinsbooks.com.au/store/Collins-Booksellers-Ballarat—Sturt-Street/70
*Barbeques Galore Ballarat – https://www.barbequesgalore.com.au/
*Dave Wright Militaria – http://www.davewrightmilitaria.com.au/
*The Ballarat RSL during working hours (entry via the George Hotel
*The Ballarat Tourist Information Office a few doors down from the RSL. (They are there every day!)
*Creswick Museum – http://www.creswickmuseum.org.au/
*Avoca and District Historical Society -http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/organisations/2829/avoca-and-district-historical-society
*Ballarat Ranger Military Museum – http://mhhv.org.au/?p=1447
*Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed – http://www.becs.shed.org.au
*Ballarat Pop Up Collective – http://www.popupco.com.au
*VOICE FM Radio Ballarat – http://www.voicefm.com.au/
We are currently searching for photos and other types of memorabilia stored in private collections by descendants of tunnellers, or members of their extended family. These items can be used to help us highlight the vital role Australia’s tunnellers played in the ‘secret war’ fought beneath front lines at Gallipoli, in Egypt, and in France on the Somme and along the Western Front.
An important new book, also titled Mining Mud and Medals, will be launched in June 2017. In addition to commemorating the lives of tunnellers who attended one of the four Schools of Mines established at Creswick, Clunes, Daylesford and Ballarat, it will feature stories of tunnellers who were born and raised within the boundaries of the Ballarat Electorate.
Purchasers of our newly printed 2015 calendar ‘From the Bush to the Battle’ will be helping to raise the vital funds needed to ensure publication of that book. To order a copy of the 2015 calendar, or to share relevant info and tunnelling memorabilia with the Mining Mud & Medals team, send us an email:
MINING MUD & MEDALS
P.O. BOX 171N
BALLARAT NORTH 3350
‘From the Bush to the Battle’ – Three passionate speakers on Ballarat’s involvement in WW1, on Tuesday 11 November 2014 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Humffray Room, Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, 117-119 Sturt Street, Ballarat. $10 per person (Including supper)
Neil Leckie from the Ballarat Ranger Military Museum:
To speak about the 8th Battalion which was raised at Ballarat on 14 August 1914. Enlistment dates for men who served in this Battalion commence on that date and run through until just before their embarkation overseas, which commenced on 19th October 1914.
And more on Ballarat’s smaller WW1 units: 18th Australian Army Service Corps (18 AASC) and Ballarat’s Medical and Light Horse connections.
Tim Fitzgerald from Bendigo, Volunteer Research Officer:
Come and hear the story of Ballarat’s own 39th Battalion which was raised on 21 February 1916, at the Ballarat Showgrounds.
Enlistment dates for the men who served in this Battalion commence on that date and they run through until just before their embarkation overseas,
which commenced on 27 May 1916.
Yvon Davis – Project Manager, Mining Mud & Medals:
Will talk about the 4 year project Mining Mud & Medals, highlighting the role of men who served in various Australian Tunnelling Corps during WW1,
particularly those who came from the Ballarat Electorate, or those from elsewhere who came to study at the Schools of Mines in the electorate.
The Mining Mud & Medals Project is partially funded by the ANZAC Centenary Grant.
Tickets for the event are $10 per person (includes supper) and they can be purchased at the door or from these venues: Ballarat RSL (at the George Hotel); Dave Wright Militaria & Collectables (behind Dan Murphy’s) and Antik on the corner of Grant Street and Humffray Street South, Ballarat.
MINING MUD & MEDALS
P.O. BOX 171N
BALLARAT NORTH 3350
Sapper William John Lavars (1065), 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, was a 40 year old miner from Creswick, who enlisted on 25-11-1915 in Kargoolie W.A. Killed in action 12 September 1916, in France.
We would like to add more details about this tunneller to our wiki and wondered if anyone has any information about him, or even perhaps a photograph?
Listed on the Creswick honour board:
Photo of original burial site via the Nation Archives of Australia.and photo of Australian War Memorial Wall.
Sapper John McInroy (3934) member of the 5th Tunnelling Coy as well as the 2nd Tunnelling Coy.
John McInroy was born at Horsham, Victoria.
After WW1 John McInroy returned to Daylesford where he lived with his wife, Frances.
(Photo taken by Clare Gervasoni)
Local Tunneller – Lieutenant William Charles Gilbert, 15th Field Company, Australian Engineers (348), was born in Ballarat East in 1888.
He listed his trade as a well borer and a 7 year apprenticeship with the Phoenix Company in Ballarat. He enlisted on 12 July 1915 at the age of 27
and returned to Australia in 1919.
In June 1918 he received a Military Cross ‘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.’
(As mentioned in the London Gazette).
More on Tunneller Gilbert (who also enlisted in WW2) can be found via Tunnellers.net: