News from the Mining Mud & Medals Project
Lieutenant Charles William Whyte
C.W. Whyte was born in Melbourne and graduated from the University of Melbourne after studying at the Ballarat School of Mines. According to his SMB student record Whyte successfully completed units in Chemistry, Assaying, Mine Management, Drawing, Metallurgy, Mineralogy, Applied Mechanics, Land Surveying, Mine Management, Electricity and Magnetism and Drawing.
Whyte was assigned to the Australian Mining Corps upon his enlistment on 14 December 1915: his wife, Mary Teresa Whyte, of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand, was listed as next of kin.
Following Lieut. Whyte’s arrival in France in the early months of 1916, he was reassigned to the newly established 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company. On 22 July 1916, he was killed in action in the field in France, where he died as a consequence of receiving a gun shot wound to the head.
More on the Mining Mud & Medals Wiki:
(Photo of gravestone thanks to Andrew Holmes)
Ballarat Tunneller John Tennant Veitch (2715)
Sapper Veitch was a 34 year old single miner living at Ballarat when he enlisted on 14 January 1916.
His next of kin listed was his mother Mrs. Margaret Veitch, 226 Ascot Street, Ballarat, Victoria. His unit, 1st Tunnelling Company,
embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT Euripides on 4 April 1916. He returned to Australia on 20 April 1919.
He lies buried in the New Ballarat Cemetery.
If you have any information on him please drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
More on Sapper Veitch: http://www.tunnellers.net/u___vpag.html
Much has been reported on an area of land adjacent to the former Golden Point Primary School (Ballarat). In 1997, the land was purchased by the Sovereign Hill Historical Park. Although it was offically known as Golden Point PS Reserve, many living nearby had long since called by it by an unofficial name, William Dunstan Reserve.
In 2014 a small but vocal section of the Ballarat community expressed alarm when it became known the ‘Reserve’ had recently been purchased by a local property developer. A public campaign was mounted with a view to preserving this ‘green space’ – and a failed attempt was made to establish a ‘Green Ban’ on the site.
Full story: http://www.thecourier.com.au/…/311…/union-green-ban-on-park/
Few residents in modern day Ballarat claim to know much about William Dunstan (1895-1957) who was born at Ballarat East on 8 March. This soldier and newspaper manager, was the fourth child and third son of William John Dunstan, bootmaker, and his wife Henrietta, née Mitchell.
On 2 June 1915, Dunstan enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a Private. Two weeks later he embarked for Egypt as an Acting Sergeant with the 6th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion. On 5 August 1915, he was appointed an Acting Corporal with the 7th on Gallipoli; four days later he won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine.
On the morning of 9 August the Turks made a determined counter-attack on a newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Frederick Tubb and ten men. Two of these men were ordered to remain on the floor of the trench where they were to catch and throw back enemy bombs, or to smother their explosions with overcoats; both were soon mutilated. Lt Tubb, Cpl Dunstan, Cpl Alexander Burton and six others kept firing over the parapet. Several bombs burst simultaneously in the trench, killing or wounding five men. Tubb continued to fight supported only by Dunstan and Burton until a violent explosion blew down the barricade; Tubb drove the Turks off. Later, Dunstan and Burton were rebuilding it when a bomb burst between them, killing Burton and temporarily blinding Dunstan.
Cpl Dunstan was invalided to Australia and discharged on 1 February 1916, having been twice mentioned in dispatches. He then rejoined the Citizen Forces where he served in the rank of lieutenant, as Area Officer for Ballarat and Acting Brigade Major, 18th Infantry Brigade. His military career concluded when he transferred to the 6th Infantry Battalion in Melbourne in 1921, the Unattached List in 1923, and the Reserve of Officers in 1928 from whence he retired as lieutenant.
Photo of William Dunstan, VC (http://www.mhhv.org.au/?p=3611 )
Extract from the (unsuccessful) Application for Heritage Registration of former Reserve at Golden Point:
Another tunneller from the Ballarat Electorate – Percival Gregory Barry.
5344 Percival Gregory Barry was born on 17 November 1897, in Preston, VIC. He is remembered together with his brothers Henry, Richard and Patrick on the Avenue of Honour at Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne.
On his enlistment form, Barry named his father, Joseph – who was also living at Bacchus Marsh, VIC – as next of kin.
Barry was assigned to the 6th Battalion, 17th Reinforcements, later detached to the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company transferring to the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company (aka the AE&MM&B or Alphabet Company).
Barry was discharged from service on 15 September 1919.
His name also appears on the Roll of Honour for Bacchus Marsh held by RSL Bacchus Marsh.
Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour:
Percival Barry’s photo via:
For the past year members working on the Mining Mud & Medals Project have been searching archives and records for the names of tunnellers from the Ballarat Electorate. During that time many have been added to our growing list of names.
On ANZAC Day last year we noticed many of those them were unrepresented amongst the rows of white crosses on the median strip near the Cenotaph, on Sturt Street. Every year volunteers from Ballarat RSL and Bunnings Ballarat carefully place each cross into the ground, in alphabetical order, a few days before ANZAC Day.
Many residents will be unaware those small crosses can be purchased by family members of ex-servicemen and women from all theatres of war, for the relatives who have spent a considerable amount of their life in Ballarat, from RSL Ballarat, for the one-off cost of $20 each (Those applying do not have to be modern day descendants of ANZAC diggers). This price barely covers the cost of making and painting each cross. There are also additional costs incurred during the preparation, such as printing and plasticising of the individual name tag attached to each cross.
Members of the Mining Mud & Medals sub-committee (auspiced by Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc.) recently compiled a list of unrepresented tunnellers. They were anxious to ensure their names would not be forgotten on the centenary of ANZAC this year. A search by staff at RSL Ballarat subsequently revealed, almost 60 Ballarat tunnellers were missing from the list of names in their White Cross database.
There are many reasons why their names may have been forgotten. Descendants of those who served in Australian Army Tunnelling Companies during WW1 are often unaware great grandad or a great uncle worked as a tunneller during the Secret War. In some instances, these servicemen simply had no family left in Ballarat.
With this in mind, the Mining Mud and Medals team agreed to facilitate the donation of 60+ crosses to the Ballarat RSL. A partnership between members of the Ballarat East Men’s Shed and Bunnings Ballarat ensured the White Cross project was completed in time for the Centenary of ANZAC commemorations held on 25 April 2015.
Volunteers from the Ballarat East Men’s Shed were honoured to be asked to make and paint the timber crosses for free: in all, they made 100 from recycled hardwood! They also ensured each cross had an RSL poppy wired onto it – and double-sided plastic clips were carefully attached to hold each name card in place. RSL Ballarat provided their poppies at no cost and Bunnings Ballarat kindly offered to supply the special clips used to hold the name tags. Thank you to everyone who worked to ensure this White Cross project was such a success. What a wonderful team effort!
In March 2016 the MM&M team will once again submit a list of recently identified tunneller names to RSL Ballarat for verification, and inclusion on their White Cross database. If you or a member of your extended family are connected to a local man who served with the Australian Army Tunnelling Corps, please contact the team at email@example.com for further information.
Lest We Forget.
James Wallace was born in Ballarat on 3rd May 1882. James was admitted to the Ballarat Orphanage in 1888, and left to take up employment with Mr Duncan of Warracknabeal. He later worked in Queensland as a cane-cutter, and a miner in Broken Hill, South Australia. The latter possibly the reason for becoming a sapper in the 2nd and 3rd Tunnelling Companies in WW1.
He returned to Australia in 1918 and is buried in the New Ballarat Cemetery. He is also mentioned on the Orphanage Honour Roll.
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)