Saturday, 26 July 2014

When Did Australia declare war in WW1 World War One ?

Australia declared war in WW1 on Germany and Belligerents (Central Powers ) on the 5th August 1914.

Historical Dates from an Australian Perspective.
28th June 1914 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife, heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire.
28th July 1914 - Is accepted as the Start of World War One when Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.
31st July 1914 Friday -Prior to this date a Federal Election had been called in Australia. Thus the Prime Minister Joseph Cook and the Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher were electioneering when WW1 commenced. Two historic speeches were given on consecutive nights by the then Federal Opposition leader, Andrew Fisher (in Colac on Friday night the 31st July 1914),and followed the next night by Prime Minister Joseph Cook (in Horsham on the 1st August 1914). The two speeches declared Australia`s commitment to follow Britain into World War One, with Opposition Leader Fisher declaring "Australia will stand by the mother country to our last man and our last shilling" and Cook`s opposing speech on the Saturday night in Horsham with "If the old country is at war, so are we."
3rd August 1914 Monday - Germany declares war on France
3rd August 1914 Monday - Following Canada and New Zealand, PM Cook announces that Australia offers a 20000 man force to the Motherland.  
4th August 1914 Tuesday - Germany enters Belgium, Britain responds by declaring war on Germany.
5th August 1914 Wednesday - The then Governor General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, received the cable that Britain had declared war on Germany at midday local time on 5 August. Prime Minister Cook then advised the people that Australia was at war with Germany. Australia did not have to 'declare war' as back then it had no constitutional right. Suffice to say, if 'Britain was at war', that meant Australia was at war.
The first hostile shot of the war (British and Dominions) occurred in Australia when the Victorian Fort Nepeanfire fired at the German merchant ship Pfalz trying to leave Port Phillip Bay.
10th August 1914 - AIF recruitment commences.
19th August 1914 - Australian Forces depart to capture German interests in New Guinea and Islands.
1st November 1914 - Convoy first AIF Leaves.

So It Begins, at the start of Great War Australia pledged 20000 men by the end of WW1, on the 11th November 1918, 330000 odd Australians had been sent to the front.
information sourced from Australian War Books

Monday, 14 July 2014

9th Battalion & 10th Battalion AIF WW1 Commander Honoured in new book

Australian 10th Battalion CO

A Magnificent Anzac The Untold Story Of Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan CMG, DSO and Bar, DCM, Croix De Guerre MID 5 times

In 1980, the author, Peter Holmes worked in the Research Section at the Australian War Memorial. While at the AWM he assisted Mr Clarrie Wrench in researching his 9th Battalion History book, ‘Campaigning With The Fighting 9th Battalion AIF’. Clarrie Wrench had been a Lieutenant in the Australian 9th Battalion during WW1. In the latter part of 1918, during the Allied Offensive, he was awarded the MC medal for gallantry while leading his 9th Battalion platoon against a German machine gun post. After the war, he became a leading advocate for the 9th Battalion Association. It was said that he, ‘lived for the Battalion’.

During the many hours of discussion between Peter Holmes and Clarrie Wrench it become obvious that Clarrie had a deep affection for the 9th Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Wilder Neligan. Peter Holmes become fascinated with the stories, life and mystery of this highly decorated Australian WW1 Commander. He has just released a new Australian Military Book about Wilder Neligan.

Australia's Official Historian and WW1 Commanders bestowed many tributes on Wilder Neligan not least,
'a restless adventurous spirit’
'the most brilliant raid that Australians undertook’
'an impetuous dare devil officer'
'clever soldier and inevitably a leader'
'The best show ever done by a battalion in France'
'never a greater organiser'
'a dashing leader'
Click to read more of this Magnificent Anzac Book 10th Battalion commander

Monday, 7 July 2014

Pompey Elliott Famous Australian WW1 leader

Pompey Elliott WW1 Hero

Harold 'Pompey' Elliott
'POMPEY' ELLIOTT was a famous Australian leader of WW1. In civilian life, he was a respected Melbourne solicitor and Federal Senator from Ballarat Victoria. Before World War One he fought in the Boer War where he was awarded the DCM medal for ‘particular daring’ gallantry.

During the Boer war he was promoted with a Officer’s commission. Upon his return to Australia he continued with law study and the militia.  At the start of the Great War, due to his Boer War and Militia service he immediately joined the AIF and was made the CO of the 7th Battalion.

 He was an outstandingly successful military leader who was able to ‘train men to become soldiers’. Amongst his men he was known as 'the bravest of the brave' and was given the nickname 'Pompey' or just 'Pomp' 'Brig', he was renowned for never sending anyone anywhere he was not prepared to go himself.

Elliott was wounded in the ankle while landing at Gallipoli with the battalion. The boot he wore is now part of the Australian War Memorial collection. He returned to Gallipoli in June 1915 and was present at the Battle of Lone Pine when men from his Battalion were awarded 4 Victoria Cross Medals. After Gallipoli in 1916, he was given command of the 15th Brigade shortly before the disastrous Battle of Fromelles. He was present at the Battle of Fromelles when his Brigade was decimated; he was never able to forget this loss. He went on to lead at the Battles at Polygon Wood, Villers-Brettoneux, Peronne and the Hindenburg Line. During the war Pompey Elliott was MID eight times, made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917, Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1918, and his other decorations included a  Distinguished Service Order. Besides his Commonwealth decorations, he was awarded the Order of St Anne, 3rd Class and the Croix de guerre.

After WW1, in 1919 was elected to the Australian Senate. He was plagued with the bad memory of the war years. He made an attempt to suicide by gassing himself at his home. The next day on the 23rd March 1931, while in hospital for this problem he did commit suicide – he was 52 years old. Pompey Elliot was buried on 25th March 1931 at Burwood Cemetery, the inscription on his grave reads, 'This was a Man'. 

The former PM, Stanley Bruce, attended the funeral and later wrote to Elliott's wife Kate:

'I have just returned for his funeral and I have never seen a greater tribute paid to a man ... it must be some comfort to you to see the universal regard, esteem and even affection in which he was held.' 

Recently, his memory was preserved in Ballarat when a magnificent statue was dedicated to him in the main Street of Ballarat.

Above information sourced from Australian Boer War Books