Contact the authors

The authors are keen to hear from anyone who might have information about men who served in the 56th Battalion during the First World War.  We have access to all the official papers, but what we’re also really interested in are personal stories, especially things like diaries, letters, postcards or photographs.

If you can help, please either:

Leave a comment on this blog or,

Send an email via Craig.Tibbitts@awm.gov.au or,

Phone (02) 6243 4248 (w) or (02) 6259 5551 (h)

Many thanks…

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41 Responses to “Contact the authors”

  1. Evan Brown Says:

    I had 2 great uncles who served with the 56th. One died of wounds in 1917 and is buried at Dernencourt. The second survived the war after being wounded and gassed, and died at Inverell, NSW in 1985. I have photoes of both men, and photoes of Edward Brown’s grave at Dernencourt, France. If they are of any interest to you, please let me know and I will forward copies of the photoes to you. Regards, Evan Brown

    Editor’s response: Hi Evan, thanks for contacting us. Your great uncle Edward must have been wounded at Louverval on 2 April 1917. By coincidence I’ve recently been writing the chapter on this battle. I’ll send you an email so you can send copies of the photos.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  2. Neville Browning Says:

    Hello
    I am in the process of writing a history of the 48th Battalion. I have written a few others, some of which are in the AWM library.

    They are :
    The Westralian Battalion – 44th Bn AIF
    The 52nd Battalion AIF
    For King and Cobbers – 51st Bn AIF
    Please check them out and let me know what you think.

    I have been collecting information for a future project on either the 53rd or the 55th Battalion. I do have some info on the 56th – including a detailed honour roll, which I am happy to share with you.

    Do you have an email address for Yves Fohlen? I need to get in contact with him.

    Good luck with your project!
    Neville

    Editor’s response: Hi Neville, thanks for your comment. I am aware of your books but haven’t read any at this stage – too much other reading on my plate I’m afraid. We’re compiling various rolls of 56th Bn men, but send us what you’ve got if you like, you might have some data that we haven’t yet collected. As for Yves Fohlen, I don’t have his contact details, but if you visit the Families and Friends of the First AIF, you can probably track him down through that blog. The 53rd does need a new history written, as The Whale Oil Guards is quite inadequate. I know of a chap who has commenced work on a history of the 55th, but not sure how advanced he is by now.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  3. Jax Says:

    I have just completed a website called Dear Homefolks http://www.smythe.id.au/letters which is the transcripts from over 100 letters from Bert Smythe to his family back home.

    His brother Vern Smythe was a Captain in the 56th. There are a few original letters from Vern and the other two brothers Viv and Percy but most of the letters are from Bert.
    cheers
    Jax

    Editor’s response: Hi there, many thanks for letting us know about your website. I must say you’ve done a wonderful job on it. It’s really well presented and such a great tribute to the family. Congratulations. Of course Vernon Smythe is an important figure in the 56th, so he’s of genuine interest to us. I’ll have a good read of the other brothers’ letters as well.

    Regards,
    Craig.

  4. Lisa Faulkner Says:

    My great uncle Walter Frederick Disher (b.1892) was a Private in the 56th Battalion A.I.F from 2nd Rfts (Regiment No: 1650).

    Walter known as “Fred”, had been working as a labourer in his home town of Darlington Point when he enlisted 16 February 1916 at Cootamundra. Walter departed Sydney 14th April on the HMAT “Ceramic” embarking for England via Alexandria and Marseilles and marched out to active service 2 Dec 1916. Just four months later 2 April 1917, Walter was wounded in action and transferred to the 1st S.M. Casualty Clearing Station. He died 4 April 1917, from his wounds at the age of 25 years, not quite one year after he left Australia.

    Walter was buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension France by Reverend JW Grayson.

    Walter’s second eldest sister, Eliza Jane “Jig” Disher wrote a letter (dated 27 October 1917) to the officer in charge enquiring about Walter’s belongings. It seems from this letter that she had written previously and had not received an answer. The letter was acknowledged 2 November 1917. The first letter may not have been immediately answered as there may have been some confusion about which regiment he was actually in. In Eliza’s letter she had written that Walter was in the 36th battalion which was actually her eldest brother Norman’s battalion, instead of 56th Battalion, and Norman had been wounded 12 October 1917.

    Walter’s effects were packaged and sent from Echelon France on 14 January 1918 (9 months after his death) to his father Robert Disher, noted as next of kin (N.O.K). Walter’s effects consisted of cards, photos, pipe, pocket book, 2 Religious books, badges, belt, mirror, metal watch (damaged), handkerchief, writing pad, 2 stationery cases, and a pencil.

    Medals and a photo of Walter’s grave were sent to his father in 1922 and 1923, however I have not been able to locate them. I do however have a photo of Walter in his uniform.

    From his records I discovered that Walter had not even reached the “Front” when he was disciplined for Active Service misconduct whilst on rank march 20 Oct 1916. Walter had been carrying a hawker’s basket on the March after being warned not to do so. Discipline was awarded by the commanding officer of the Segregation Camp Etaples, and Walter was to forfeit 2 days pay. As my family has never really spoken of Walter or his character I can only assume from his conduct that Walter was very enterprising and contemptuous of authority or perhaps just naïve about what lay ahead of him.

    Also from his records I found that a Mrs Crain from Adelong enquired after a photo of Walter’s grave. My family knows nothing of this person and I have wondered if perhaps her husband had known or fought alongside Walter.

    I look forward to learning more about the 56th battalion.
    Regards
    Lisa

  5. Craig Tibbitts Says:

    Editor’s response:

    Hi Lisa,

    Nice to hear from you and thanks for contacting us about your great uncle. He was wounded at a little French hamlet named Louverval, which I visited last year. The 56th Battalion captured this place after a short, but tough fight, then had to endure the German retaliatory bombardment for two days.

    There was a William Crain from a place called Bangadang near Adelong who served in the 56th Battalion. He was in the same group of reinforcements as Walter so they were probably mates.

    I would love to get a copy of the photo you have. If you don’t mind, could you scan it and email it to me at,

    Craig.Tibbitts@awm.gov.au

    Many thanks,

    Craig.

  6. Mick Connor Says:

    Hello
    I have a bracelet made from a shell case with the following inscriptions magill .t.p, (1950), 56 Battalion A.I.F and peronne sept 1918 inscribed on it. The bracelet is in the form of Australia and has been handed down my family over the years.
    I have started to research T.P Magill and have found that he enlisted 29/02/1916 and embarked on board HMAT A37 Barambah on 23/06/1916 and he returned to Australia 22/09/1919.
    The information of how the bracelet ended up in Catchgate, Durham, UK, is that he was convalescing there after been wounded, could you help me in any way with my research as i would like to; at some stage pass the bracelet onto a living relative of T.P Magill.
    kind regards
    Mick Connor

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Mick,

      I could only suggest looking at Magill’s service record, (which I presume you’ve already done), for any clues on his nearest family. From there it’s purely genealogical research really, so I’d suggest you try Ancestry.com or some other such avenue to track down any living relatives. I don’t have any additional sources that could help, sorry.

      Good luck
      Cheers,
      Craig.

  7. Terry Williams Says:

    Hi Craig,

    I am doing some research for a book on Rugby League During WWI and am interested in Edward Buckley (Reg No 2991). He had played for Qld and Australia against the 1909 Maori side and went on to play one Test against Great Britain in 1910. Born in NZ, his parents were both deceased when he enlisted and he was unmarried. After serving on the Western Front in 1916-17 (including a a couple of GSW at Bullecourt) he ended up dying at Polygon Wood on Sept 28, 1917. However, I can find no record of how he perished on either the NAA or AWM sites. Can you assist? Any help would be greatly appreciated, and congratulations on a great website.

    Regards

    Terry

  8. Craig Tibbitts Says:

    Hi Terry,

    Nice to hear from you and thanks for the info about Buckley – I didn’t know about his Rugby League background. I can throw a little extra light on what happened to him on the Western Front.

    Firstly, he was wounded at Louverval, not Bullecourt on 2 April 1917. Louverval is a tiny hamlet which is only a few kms from Bullecourt. The 56th Bn did not participate in the second battle of Bullecourt until mid May.

    As for his death at Polygon Wood on 28 Sept 1917 I can make the following observations:

    * He was in D Company, which at the time was holding the battalion’s front line positions (right-hand sector), putting them around 500-600 yards southeast of the present day 5th Division Memorial, atop the Butte feature.

    * A witness, Private William Hull (2152) says he saw Buckley killed by the same shell fragments that killed Private Martin Carney. However, I think Hull actually was talking about Private William Carney, not Martin Carney. Martin was in C Company and killed the following day (29 Sept). William Carney was in the same D Company as Buckley, and was killed the same day (28 Sept), so that’s what I think happened.

    * Both Buckley and Carney would have been given battlefield burials somewhere near their frontline positions and the graves marked with a view to later recovering the bodies for burial in a proper cemetery. However, like so many thousands of men in the Ypres area, the massive amount of shelling and the very wet weather that turned the area into a bog (from early October on), meant that their graves were never re-located. Perhaps they were just torn to bits by the shelling, or maybe they just disappeared into the mire.

    Therefore Buckley and Carney are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, along with about 55,000 other British and Commonwealth troops whose bodies were never found.

    Hope this if helpful to you.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  9. Richard Lander Says:

    Hi Craig,

    I stumbled on to your blog this morning while conducting some research into my own family. My great uncle, Herbert Leslie Lander, the unlucky 13th of 14 children, served and died with the 56th Battalion in France and is buried in the Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt L’Abbé, in the Somme.

    I have a photo of Herbert plus some correspondence written to and by his mother immediately following his death and these are all included in my own book, “A History of the Lander Family 1811-1994”, Gordon, NSW, 1994 (ISBN 0 646 17861 X).

    I will forward you an extract of the information I have on Herbert under separate cover.

    Wishing you every success with your research and book.
    Kind regards,

    Richard Lander

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks very much for contacting us about your great uncle – I’ve checked our nominal roll and we do indeed have him listed. And thanks for the photo and biographical information of him as well. We do like to collect of much of this sort of thing as possible, even though we realise that not everyone’s individual story or photo can make it into the book.

      Still, it gives us more options and through this blog we can always cover a few stories and people that don’t make it into print.

      I’ll put you on the list of people to contact when the book is ready to launch, otherwise just keep checking this blog for updates.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  10. Mary Hord Says:

    Hello there,
    I was searching around for information about my Grandfather Charles Edward Hord (No. 5111) when I stumbled across this site. Originally in the 4th Battalion, it seems that he was transferred to the 56th. I don’t quite understand what that is all about. My Grandfather was wounded at Fleurbaix. I am quite interested in your findings and would appreciated being notified when the book is completed.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for contacting us about your grandfather. I’ve checked our nominal roll and found his name is present. From the records I can see that he joined the AIF in November 1915 and left Australia in April 1916. Yes, he was originally assigned as a reinforcement for the 4th Battalion, but in 1916 with the creation of two new divisions, many men were shifted into the new battalions, such as the 56th. The 4th Battalion was the main source of men for the 56th so your grandfather’s transfer was quite typical.

      A quick summary of his service record (held by National Archives), reveals that he joined the 56th Battalion in Egypt in May 1916. On the Western Front in France later that year he was promoted to Lance Corporal, then Corporal. He was wounded on the Somme in December 1916, just a week before Christmas. His wound must have been severe since he was unable to continue his service and after recovering somewhat, he was returned to Australia (arriving in August 1917) and discharged as medically unfit in February 1918.

      I will put your name on the list of people to contact when the book is finished. Also, do you have any of your grandfather’s photos, letters, diaries etc?

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  11. Fay Danby Says:

    Hi Craig,
    Came accross this site because even though I have 2 pictures of my grandfather in army uniform I’m trying to find pictures of the 56th Battalion hoping I will see another photo of him with the Batn if possible. My grandfather, Harry brown was transferred from the 55th Batn to the 56th, 3.7.17. Harry’s enlistment no was 5045, unfortunately for Essie, his wife, another Harry Brown also living in the Sydney area and had the same enlistment number but fought in the 19th Batn. This proved confusing for both Essie and the War Records which is recorded in a series of letters written by Essie to the War Records about her husband’s injuries because she was notified he was coming home with the sick and wounded, wrong Harry. A letter of apology was sent to her when the mistake was realized. It’s been said by the family that Harry was gassed during the war, but that information is’nt in his records. However, he had Trench Fever, Influenza and Bronchitis and was in hospitals most of the time which mystifies me as to why he was’nt sent home as unfit. I still have to find out what a lot of the abbreviations mean in his records and I want to find out all I can about the 56th Batn after seeing how sick Harry was all the time, I need to know all about the battles they fought and if poor Harry was in much of it. Only just started researching. The irony was, that despite managing to stop alive through that hellish war he died of blood poisoning from an infected finger after a car accident in which he was a passenger in 1928. I would really appreciate being put on your list of people to contact when your book is finished, can’t wait to read it! Regards, Fay.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Fay,

      Thanks for your comment on our blog. I will put your name on our list of people to contact when the book is published. I’d also like to see the photos you mentioned of your grandfather. Would it be possible for you to scan them and email them to me at Craig.Tibbitts@awm.gov.au ?

      I will look at his service record and see what I can make of it. If there are any particular abbreviations you don’t understand, let me know and I’ll see if I can figure them out.

      Regards,
      Craig Tibbitts

  12. David Crawford Says:

    Hi, I would be grateful if you would let me know when your history is finished. My great grandfather was James Bell, service number 1156 who I understand transferred from the 7th Light Horse in Egypt to the 56th and was wounded in 1917 at about the time of the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt. He was returned home and discharged before the end of the war. His name appears on the Roll of Honour at the Berry School of Arts. My Dad who is now 80 remembers his grandfather reasonably welland I am sure he would be interested as I am.
    Thanks
    David Crawford

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for contacting us about your Great-Grandfather. I’ve checked our nominal roll and his name is on it. I’ve also added your name and email to our list of people to be contacted when the book is finally published.

      If you turn up any photos, letters, diaries etc, could you please let me know?

      Cheers,
      Craig Tibbitts

  13. Amy Says:

    Hi,
    I have just started to research my mothers grandfather. The paper work I have says that his service number is 1697, William Maxwell. It looks like he was in the 48th Battalion and then transferred to the 56th, where he was killed in action on 1/9/1918 and originally buried at “Clery”, though it looks like he may have been moved? Would you have any further information on this? I am interested in your book too! I have a photocopy of his statement of service though I guess this is something that would be online somewhere.
    Amy

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Amy, nice to hear from you. I do have a little information about your great-grandfather, William Maxwell. I’m actually writing about the Battle of Peronne right now, the battle in which he was killed.

      All I know is what I’ve found in his Red Cross Wounded and Missing file that I have in the archives of the Australian War Memorial. My brief notes are as follows:

      Private William Charles Maxwell (1697): Died of wounds on 1 Sept 1918 near Peronne. A young bloke about 20, 5’ 5” in height, slight build. He was a No. 1 on a Lewis Gun, in 1 Platoon of A Company. Hit in the chest by enemy machine gun fire shortly before Zero Hour (6.00 am) on 1 Sept. Carried away by stretcher-bearers but died at the Casualty Clearing Station about an hour later (Red X file).

      If you click on the link below you can read the whole file (usually just a few pages)

      Red Cross file

      Also, his full service record is held by the National Archives of Australia and can also be read online. You probably already know this, but the link below will get you there.

      William Maxwell (1697)

      Do you have any of his letters or diaries, or perhaps a photo of him?

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  14. Ted Campbell Says:

    I am researching my wife’s grandfather Herbert Leslie Raine (1896-1970)who was originally part of the 35 Battalion after his arrival in England on 09.07.1916 aboard the HMAT Benalla was transferred to the 56th Battalion on the 09.09.1916 as a reinforcement. He was wounded on 17.10.1917 at Passchendaele.
    I have some photos of Herb and stories my wife tells aboout him and his rememberances of some of the times on the Western front.
    How can we contribute to the book that is being written?

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for your email. I would be interested in seeing any photos you have and hearing the stories as well. It’s probably easiest to just email a digital copy of the photo/s to me if you can. As for the stories, again, email would be fine, otherwise a phone call would also do the trick. If phoning, could you please leave it until next week when I’m back at work. My direct number is 02 6243 4248.

      I couldn’t guarantee that photos or stories will make it into the book at this stage – it all depends on whether they provide the sort of insights I’m looking for. But, every little bit does help in building up the picture of the general experience of these men at war, so it’s all much appreciated.

      Kind regards,

      Craig Tibbitts.

    • Symon Kidson Says:

      Hi Ted and Craig,

      I am researching a cousin, Lt Alfred De Vere Kidson, 56th Btn, who was killed at Polygon Wood on the 26th Sept 1917 by a shell. On his Red Cross witness statements there was a H.B Raine (Q/M Sgt) that was a close friend of his.

      I’d like to find out if this is the same Raine, although the initials are slightly different..

  15. Harry Willey Says:

    Could you please tell me information on 56 Chaplains was there a Alex Herville.
    Thanking you in Anticipation.
    Harry

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Harry,

      I’ve only found reference to Chaplains Holliday, Kennedy and Greville being associated with the 56th Battalion during the war. I’ve never heard of an Alex Herville, nor can I find any reference to him.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  16. Ms Elizabeth McEachern Says:

    Dear Craig,

    I’m interested in discovering more about my Grandfather, Hugh McEachern, who served in the 56th. I understand he was wounded and gassed in the trenches in France; however he did make it back home to NSW alive, and died a good age. Do you know where I could find more information about his injuries and war experiences?

    Hugh also had 3 brothers, all of whom served in WW1, and all of whom came back alive; William, John & George McEachern. I’m wondering how I might work out which Batalions Hugh’s 3 brotherserved in.

    Thank you for your special interest in the 56th Batalion.
    Please notify me when your book becomes available; I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.

    Regards,
    Elizabeth McEachern (Ms)

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Great to hear from you. I had come across your grandfather’s name before during my research and he was of particular interest because two of his brothers, William and John, also served with him in the 56th Battalion. George, who I believe was John’s twin, served with the 45th Battalion. Perhaps they just couldn’t handle having twins in one unit! There will be information about all four men on their individual service records. These are held by the National Archives of Australia, but they’ve all been digitised so you’ll be able to read them on the internet. I’ll send you a separate email with the relevant links.

      I would also dearly love to see anything you or your family had on the brothers; i.e. photos, postcards, letters or diaries, etc. would be great.

      I’ll put you on my list of people to be contacted when the book is finally published.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  17. Leanne Wilson Says:

    Hi Craig,
    I am interested in learning more about my grandfather Stanley Villis Murray Blundell. Unfortunately his photos and postcards went missing and I never got to see them.
    I would appreciate it if you could put me on your list to be contacted when your book is published.

    Cheers,
    Leanne Wilson.

  18. Ryan Spratt Says:

    Hi Craig,

    My great grandfather George Alfred Beagle N103888 served with the 56th battalion in France and although I dont know much about what he did during the war, I do have a story which was passed down which may be of some interest whether fictitious or not I dont know, but he and a friend were apparently involved in capturing a group of German prisoners in France during WW1, where they were recommended for a decoration maybe a MM or MC? Anyway apparently my great grandfather and his friend were given the choice to flip a coin as only one medal was going to be awarded and my great grandfather lost the toss. Maybe there is a reference in the battalion records somewhere.
    I am also told that he signed up while serving in the British merchant navy because he was so impressed by the ANZAC troops.
    Also I know that he was gassed on the 20/4/18, you may have some information regarding this incident as to the location.
    The only information I have regarding my great grandfather are the records on the national archives website and word of mouth from family members. I have a photograph of him at the naval college in Hull UK which he attended as a boy but is irrelevant to your quest unfortunately.
    Any information that you may have would be much appreciated and I eagerly anticipate the book.

    Regards,

    Ryan Spratt

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hello Ryan, thanks for contacting us about your great grandfather. That’s an interesting story about how it was decided who the medal would go to. Unfortunately my records don’t indicate during which battle this might have taken place, nor have I seen any reference to the coin toss. It’s probably true though.

      He was gassed near Villers-Bretonneux on 20/4/1918 – no doubt about that. I don’t really have anything else on your great grandfather I’m afraid. You could look at the unit war diaries, but these are very detailed and contain lots of rather dull administrative stuff.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  19. adam morrissey Says:

    Gday Craig,

    My grandfather served with the 56th,Reginald Francis Mccrory.
    He was awarded the distinguished conduct medal and i think
    recommended for the military medal,we have photo’s of him in uniform but none on the front,we have copy’s of the citation,
    if you have any information it would be great as mum said he would
    never talk about the war,good luck with the book.
    Regards,
    Adam Morrissey.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Adam, nice to hear from you and thanks for your post. I would love to see a photo of your grandfather. Could you perhaps scan it and send via email? Feel free to contact me offline via email at Craig.Tibbitts@awm.gov.au.

      Have you seen his personal service record? It’s available online here

      I also have the text of the two recommendations for medals:

      Military Medal (not awarded)

      Private Reginald Francis McCrory (3204) and Private Norman Green (2677)

      ‘At about 11 AM on 18th April 1918, No 7 Pl of my company [B Coy], occupying a strong point about 500 yards from the enemy lines in front of V-B was subjected to a heavy and accurate enemy bombardment. On hearing that the platoon was suffering heavy casualties these two men took out their stretcher in the broad sunlight and at considerable personal risk proceeded to bring in the wounded in full view of the enemy. This is by a repetition of their gallant conduct whilst acting as stretcher bearers with this battalion, both during engagements and whilst holding the line. I consider their conduct worth of any honour. I strongly recommend them for the award of the Military Medal’ (Capt Gother Mann).

      Distinguished Conduct Medal (Awarded)

      Private Reginald Francis McCrory (3204)

      ‘For conspicuous gallantry and consistent devotion to duty. He has been a stretcher bearer with the battalion since its arrival in France. On 1 and 2 October 1918 during the attack on Estrées, he displayed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On 1 Oct prior to the attack he did splendid work carrying wounded American soldiers from the open into the Hindenburg Line under very heavy shell fire. On the following day during the attack he worked continuously, attending to the wounded at great personal risk and was an inspiration and example to all. The previous gallant and unselfish work of this man throughout the whole period this battalion has spent in France has been exceptional. He has not missed an action in which this battalion has taken part and is one of our few surviving original stretcher bearers.’

      Cheers,

      Craig Tibbitts

  20. Sandra Morris Says:

    Hello my Great Grandfather was William Edward Privett service number 2783 who transferred from the 20th Battalion to the 56th Battalion on the 16th of Febrary 1916. He was promoted a number of times. He lived until the age of 82 and I was fortunate to know him well while I was growing up. I have a photo and his photo is also on the Yass Historical Society website. He married my Great Grandmother in Salisbury were it would appear he had been transferred to some sort of training school. I would be very interested in your book when you have completed it.

    Regards
    Sandra Morris

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your post. I have seen your great grandfather’s name on our nominal roll and have also seen his photo on the Yass and District Historical Society website. I will add your name to the list of those to be contacted when the book is published.

  21. Michael Franz Says:

    Hi Craig,

    My Great Grandfather was a member of the 56th Battalion. His name was Pte Charles William Eagle reg no. 2156. He was 26 when he joined up on 28/2/1916. He was wounded somewhere in France by what I think was an artillary shell on 16/5/1917. After spending some time in hospital in England he returned to Australia on the 20/11/1917 and was officially discharged on the 21/1/1918.
    Please add me to your contact list so I can buy your book.
    I have a couple of photos of Charles if you would like copies.

    Kind regards

    Michael Franz

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Michael, thanks for your post. Looks like your great grandfather was indeed wounded by an artillery shell (either fragments or shrapnel), at the second Battle of Bullecourt. Yes, I would like to see the photos of him as well. That would be great.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  22. Jason McMerrin Says:

    Sorry it’s about the 44th AIF my great grand father served, I have a playing card that so the legend has it were used for a mission in lieu of ID.
    Not sure if you can help.
    Thank you

    Jason

  23. Glen Taylor Says:

    Hello Craig,

    After doing some initial research into my family history, I have discovered that My Great Grandfather Herbert Renwick was a Private within the 56th Battalion.., Reg No 2788. I I believe he enlisted on the 23rd August 1915, and fortunately returned to Australia on 21st July 1917.
    Unfortunately for me, I am the only surviving member from that line of my family (my mothers side) and as such uncovering the movements of my Ancestors is proving quite difficult.
    I would love to know more about my Great Grandfather, especially his story through the First World war, and any information that you could help me with would be greatly appreciated.
    By the sounds of previous posts, you are producing a book outlining the movements of the 56th through the First World War, and if so, I’d love to find out how to obtain a copy.
    I also have a large box of old photographs, which my mother left for me when she passed, which have a number of Soldiers depicted, Once these are sorted would be happy to scan and send these across if they would be useful to you.

  24. Jennifer Anderson Says:

    Hi Craig, I’ve emailed previously and met with you in Canberra, with my mother a few years ago. Glad to hear you are still working on the 56th book. My local Ku-ring-gai Historical Society is publishing a book and companion CD as a World War I Centenary Project. The book will include a complete nominal roll of all World War I veterans who enlisted from the suburbs of Ku-ring-gai Municipality, with chapters giving short biographies of those who were killed in action or died of wounds, and those who were decorated. The local nurses will also be researched. The 56th’s much loved commander, Humphrey Scott, came from Wahroonga in Ku-ring-gai. I believe that both Humphrey and his brother, Lee, were killed without issue but that their sister may have had a son named Bill Messer Junior. I would love to try to locate any living family members to ensure that Humphrey Scott is appropriately remembered. Any information would be appreciated. I noticed another soldier mentioned in your blog came from Gordon in Ku-ring-gai too. We’d love information on all WWI soldiers and nurses from Ku-ring-gai. Research coordinator is Kathie Reith, email:frithie@netdata.com.au
    regards Jennifer Anderson (grand-daughter of William (Bill) Parker of the 56th battalion.

  25. Laura-Lee Chick Says:

    Hi Craig,

    My Great Uncle was also in the 56th Bn. His name was Pte Norman Leslie Anderson. He was killed in action on 20th October 1917.
    I am endeavouring to find out as much as I can. The thought of a young 21 year old man that was a member of your family being buried in a foreign country has prompted me to make the pilgrimage. All I know is that he “died in the field”. I dont know what battle he was killed in or where he is buried? I have a register of Menin Gate Memorial.
    I dont know a lot about him but I remember my Grandmother was always shattered at the loss and named her only son after him. That Norman went on to serve in WW2 at Kokoda age 18…thankfully survived.
    I know someone in the family has a photo….I will try and locate a copy to send you.
    In the meantime I would be SO grateful of any information you may have.
    I believe we owe it to these young men that fought and died for us, to bring their memory back to life. Norman Anderson wasnt allowed the opportunity to ever marry and have a family of his own…so I will carry his banner.
    What great work you have done and I was enthralled by the Smythe Family letters.
    Ive picked a rather emotional day for it.

    Kind Regards
    Laura-Lee Chick

  26. Catherine Coburn Says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you’re writing the story of the 56th and look forward to its publication. My uncle Private (Pte) William Alfred Rose, served as a cadet with the 42nd Battalion, Citizens Military Forces, of Wellington, NSW. He enlisted in the AIF on 27 August 1915 and served with the 7th Reinforcements, 56th Battalion. He embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Suevic on 20 December 1915 and was killed during the Battle of Flers on 1 November 1916. The only photograph I have of him is when he was serving as a cadet from the AWM website https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1665893/ My husband and I visited the Somme and his grave in Warlencourt cemetary last year and are returning next week with our son, to discover more about the battles fought there in 1916. Sorry I can’t help with any photos or letters – no-one knows where they ended up, along with his medals. I was told by my brother that my father believed his brother was killed by friendly artillery fire.I’d appreciate it if you have any further information on him other than the limited amount of the AWM website. And I’d really appreciate it if anyone with photos of the men enjoying time off, contacted me. Perhaps we can find a photo of my uncle amongst them? Interestingly, in a bar in Pozierres I saw a photograph of a group of soldiers called – “Soldiers parading for the trenches”. It was taken after they’d taken the town of Pozierres in July 1916. I am positive the young man in the middle of the front row is my uncle – his resemblance to my brother and nephew is uncanny. I’d love to try and find out more about it but have no idea where to start to confirm if it’s him. I believe he was serving with the 56th at the time of his death but may have been in another battalion before that? Sorry this is so long-winded, but I’m very excited to find there is to be a book on the 56th.

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