Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Teachers at the Front

Thanks to Coburg Historical Society member Lois Williams for pointing out the following teacher soldiers whom she found when going through the Victorian Education Department’s Record of War Service, 1914-1918. Lois’s father-in-law was presented with the book some years ago and it has remained in the family. It is a wonderful source of information and often includes photographs of the soldier-teachers. 

The following information comes from the Victorian Education Department’s Record of War Service, 1914-1918; the soldiers’ dossiers which are located online at the National Archives of Australia; information from VPRS 892/1119, Letters of condolence etc, Public Record Office of Victoria.

All of these men are featured in the World War One Pictorial Honour Roll of Victorians

Group portrait of the personnel of the 2nd Sanitary Section attached to the 5th Division at Samer, France. Photo taken 30 December 1917. John Norman Bartley is the short man, 4th from the right in the back row. Image courtesy AWM, E01607.

18150 Pte John Norman Bartley of the 1st Sanitary Section of the Australian Medical Corps
Twenty-one year old John Bartley was from Northcote but taught at Coburg High School at the time of his enlistment and is listed on the Coburg High School honour board. He enlisted in October 1916, embarked August 1917, was sent to hospital in London with influenza in February 1919 and returned to Australia a month later. Unlike so many others, he survived the war and the influenza.

68888 Pte Edward Theodore Ebbels of the 15th Reinforcements.
Nineteen year old Edward Ebbels of Brunswick was teaching at the Moreland School at the time of his enlistment in 1918. He did not see service because the war was over by the time he reached Europe. 

Raymond Gardiner. Image courtesy AWM, P05248.047

2325 Pte Raymond Aubrey Gardiner of the 38th Infantry Battalion.
He and his brother Reg were Coburg boys. They attended Coburg State School and are featured in the Coburg State School Soldier’s Book that can be consulted at the Coburg Historical Society Museum (82 Bell Street, Coburg on the 1st Sunday of the month, except January, from 2 to 4.30pm). The family lived at 18 Chandos Street, Coburg, although at the time of enlistment 26 year old Raymond was head teacher of SS3316 Cororac South, in rural Victoria. He enlisted in July 1917 and was killed in action at Ypres only three months later. At the time of his death, his father Alexander was engaged in war work in England, his brother Reg was serving as a Lieutenant in the 55th Infantry Battalian and another brother Claude was in camp at Broadmeadows.

303 Lieutenant Reginald Scott Gardiner of the 55th Infantry Battalion
At the time of enlistment, Reg Gardiner was a 22 year old student teacher and resident at the Teachers’ College in Parkville. He suffered from influenza in 1915 at Gallipoli and was gassed in November 1917. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and returned to Australia in May 1919. On his return he completed a law degree and on 1 March 1922 was admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor. He did not survive the war long, however, and died on 14 November 1922 at home in Chandos Street, Coburg. He is buried at Fawkner Cemetery. (Argus, 2 March 1922, p.6)

Image courtesy AWM, DASEY1422. Photographed by Darge Photographic Company, c. 1915

24 Sgt Woolstan James Govan of the 13th Light Horse Regiment
At the time of his enlistment, Woolstan Govan was the Head Teacher at SS2287 Mangalore. His brother Gavan was a clerk in the Lands Department. He did not see action because he died of a heart attack on 2 April 1916, shortly after arriving in France.

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