|Image courtesy of Pixabay|
For quite some time now, there has been an ongoing project by the Irish Studies unit at UNSW, to research and collate the details of all Irish born enlistments in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) in the First World War. While the collection is already huge, it is still an active project, made possible by a grant from the Irish government's research program.
You can read more about it here....
A few facts to date... there are 12,504 items/names listed
Awards and recommendations..558
Embarkation roll records.. 4,902
Red Cross File .. 317
Roll of Honour Record.. 904
Service Record.. 5,823
18 Birthplace towns are listed... plus unknown..
19 birthplace counties... plus unknown
and the lists go on... including enlistment town, enlistment state, religion, fate, NAA series (National Archives Australia code numbers) and awards.. including from France and Belgium.....
Far too many items to list here, so rather than repost too much of the material, I've selected a few records from various counties. Once you search through the records for yourself, you are more than welcome to contact the project and have your own family added to the project if they aren't listed but you feel they should be.
All these records are easily accessed and you can define them by using filters.They are FREE to download.
HINT to save a lot of work.
* Once you have found a record you are interested in, take note of the Bar Code, then go to SODA
* Look across the black bar at the top to Barcode Retrieval..
* Type the barcode in there and you will have the record you are after, with an option to download the whole file as a .pdf
So much easier than downloading page by page.....
I selected the 5th down in Co Clare... which happens to be for HICKEY Michael George Barcode 5457321.. this has 74 pages.. click on the printer symbol and you should get the option to save as .pdf
Many of you will be familiar with these records, bear with me, for those who aren't...
Details on first page include full name, Company enlisted in, Date of enlistment/joining,
Address, Next of Kin, ager, occupation, marital state...
In this case, I wonder if the next of kin, listed as Mrs. Simpson, Sydney, is a sister .. something to follow up perhaps.
On to Tipperary... 5th down is John Joe Cotter... Barcode 3428086.. back to SODA...
a smaller record, just 24 pages... Note Joe lists his father as his next of kin (NOK) and gives his address as Tipperary. John was 24 years and 4 months and occupation warder... always good to see the actual signatures on these records.
If we move into Page 4, we get a physical description... 5ft 7 3/4 inches height, weight 145 lbs, fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair... however, even though that wouldn't make him stand out in a crowd, perhaps the birthmark on his stomach might.
Moving on to page 15, you can see his medical report, including a dental chart. Do be aware that not all records will have exactly the same information, it varies from person to person. You might even be lucky enough to get a photo in some files.
On to page 20 and you can see that Joe has been to France and was admitted to hospital...with mumps. You'll be pleased to know that he recovered, enough to go AWOL in England and was docked 6 days pay! It doesn't end there, I'll leave you to explore page 21...
On to the females, I chose a fairly common name, KELLY Alicia Mary .. place of birth just listed as Ireland. NOK M.Kelly
Alicia is listed as SERN sister.. Senior Enrolled Registered Nurse
Page 4 shows she has been awarded the Military Medal, as well as the other awards.. note her name is now Mrs Chipper.
Page 6 gives you some more details of her service...
Noted that she has served in Egypt, I wondered if she was one of the sisters mentioned in the ANZAC Girls...I just happened to be reading this book. There she is, on pages 222-224... it says that she is called 'Rachel' rather than Alice, and that she was fom Perth, Australia.
"Two weeks after the Battle of Passchendale began, Sister Alicia "Rachel"Kelly, from Perth, was on duty at No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Brandhoek#. It had eight operating tables going night and day."
#Brandhoek is a small hamlet in Belgium situated between Ieper, Vlamertinge and Poperinge just off the N308/N38. Wikipedia
Though the area was under fire, Sister Kelly refused to leave her patients even though the other nurses were ordered to evacuate. She couldn't leave her boys alone...
"The Chaplain said Rachel did not know that 'she had been perfectly heroic... She was only troubled that she couldn't obey the order to seek shelter, because her poor boys looked so frightened, and all the orderlies had run out of the ward.' "
To protect her patients, she covered their heads with enamel washbasins to protect them from flying shrapnel then stood in the middle of the ward cheering them along... a Medal well deserved.
So much history and all at your fingertips... good luck in your search.
Our pride in our ANZACS, wherever they came from, remains as deep as always.. spare a moment today for all who served in all our forces, our civilian organisations, and all who kept the home fires burning.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
ANZAC GIRLS.. Peter Rees
The Extraordinary Story of our World War1 nurses.
Published by Allen & Unwin
Footnote: Sister Alicia Kelly Chipper passed away in 1942