Feb 032016

When researching you have to keep rerunning your searches in the various databases that are being added to constantly.

We all know and love Trove which is full of treasures. The site is more than just newspapers with photos, theses and much much more.

My treasure yesterday was from a paper. New papers are being added and kind volunteers are correcting the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which can be a bit variable depending on font and age of paper.

My George Howard Busby was in the 15th Battalion that landed on Gallipoli on the 25th April.

I found this letter snippet (wish it had all been printed!)

Like a Hailstorm
The following is an extract from a letter received by Mrs G.H. Busby, James Street Kingsholme from her husband (Mr George Busby) who at the time of writing was laid up at Courtaulds Hospital, Coventry: –
 “You will know by now that the Australians got a terrible cutting up. Bullets were flying around like a hailstorm. While we were landing the water was white with shrapnel shell. Whole boatloads of men were blown up and sometimes a boat would come ashore without a man alive in it. There were six killed in the boat I was in – one was sitting next to me. I got three bullets through the pocket of my coat, but they did not touch me. We had to jump out of the boats up to our necks in water and make a bayonet charge. The Turks do not like cold steel. I was in for nine days before I got hit so I had a good run for my money. If it had not been for the battleships we would never have been able to hold the position. It was a great sight to see their shells bursting among the Turks. They would be coming up in close formation , a couple of shots would come over from the ships and what was left of the Turks would be running for their lives.”

STORY OF THE WAR. (1915, August 24). Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936), p. 4 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved February 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article179903211

Apr 242015

Raymond Augustus Stanley

Born 14 April 1883 Died 20 July 1930

Employed as an Assistant Government Analyst Queensland from 1908

He was very active in the Militia prior to the Great War so when he enlisted he went in at rank of Captain
Enlisted 19/10/1914 in Brisbane aged 31 Captain in 2nd Light Horse, 2ndSignal Troop

Embarked 22/12/1914 HMAT A30 Borda

Arrived Gallipoli 11/5/1915

Wounded in action 13/11/1915 Gallipoli  Remained on Duty
Disembarked Gallipoli when Gallipoli was evacuated

Honours and Awards

Mention in Despatches

3-9thNovember 1915 on Gallipoli

On the night of 3-4 November a forward movement on a pre-arranged plan was made from Chatham’s Post towards the Bird trenches. The arrangements involved the reconnaissance by night of the enemy’s front and the construction of a tunnel towards a knoll 100 yards distant. The forward movement, the unopposed occupation of the knoll and the construction of a fire trench were completed on the 3-4 November. On the night of 4-5 November the enemy made four unsuccessful attempts on the new position which was improved and consolidated during the 5th under heavy rifle and shell fire. On the night of 7-8 November a further advance of 30 yards was made under enemy bombing and rifle fire and the position finally secured. During the operations Captain Stanley rendered excellent service. The communications were maintained in a most excellent manner during each advance.

One of the interesting things in his military file downloaded from the Australian National Archives is there is a lot of medical detail including this temperature chart

Joined 5th Divisional Signal Company

Promoted to the rank of Major on April 1, 1917

Mention in Despatches 24 October 1918

Mention in Despatches 31 December 1918

Distinguished Service Order

For meritorious service and devotion to duty Major Stanley has been in command of the 5thAustralian Divisional Signal Company since 14 March 1915.

During the period 22 September 1917 to 24th February 1918, his work has been of the greatest assistance to the Division. During the operations east of Ypres September and October 1917, his organisation and maintaining communications very often under difficult conditions of weather and shell fire contributed in a very large measure to the success of the operations of the Division.

Returned to Australia: 9/12/1918 aboard the  Leicestershire

Date of discharge 25/3/1919


Returned to work at the Government Analyst Department

The Queenslander 6 August 1921

Major R. A. Stanley, D.S.0., who commanded the 5th Australian Division Signal Company in the A.I.F. has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Died 20 July 1930 leaving a widow and one daughter


Courier Mail Monday 21 July 1930

Lieut.-Col. R. A. Stanley.

The death took place at 10 o’clock yesterday morning, at his late residence Appell-street, South Brisbane, of Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond Augustus Stanley, DSO, VD, after a long illness. The late Colonel Stanley was born in Brisbane on April 14 1883. He took an eager interest in defence matters in his early years, and joined the   electrical section of the Corps of Australian Engineers in February, 1903, transferring to the Submarine Mining Company the following year. He was promoted to commissioned rank as lieutenant in 1908, and obtained his captaincy in 1913. 
He served with the AIF throughout the World War, leaving Brisbane on November 6, 1914 as captain of the 2nd Signalling Troop, and was transferred to the 5th Division Signallers on March 14 1916. He was promoted to the rank of major on April 1, 1917 and was demobilised on March. 25, 1919. On return from active   service he was a major in the   Signal Division, and on March 31, 1921, was appointed to command of signals for Queensland, with the rank of Lieutenant-colonel. His period of command was extended until March 31,   1926 when he was transferred to the unattached list.

For his services with the AIF he was awarded the DSO, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. He was mentioned in despatches on three occasions. He was awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Force Officers Decoration in 1923. His war service included operations in Egypt, Gallipoli and with the Egyptian   Expeditionary Force to January 1916, and operations in France and Belgium until September 10 1918. He was one of the first three officers to be gazetted to the Queensland Cadets prior to Federation.

For two years the late colonel was  president of the United Service Club and he was a prominent figure in Masonic circles. He was worshipful   master of the Naval and Military Lodge for 1928-29 and was immediate past master of that lodge at the time of his death He is survived by his widow (formerly Miss Ruby Orton) and a daughter (Anne), aged 10 years. The late Colonel Stanley was an officer of the Government Analyst’s Department and by his genial personality   kindly consideration and unswerving loyalty to his friends he was held in  the highest esteem by all sections of the community. The funeral service will take place at All Saints’ Church at 4 o clock this afternoon, and the remains will be laid to rest in the Toowong Cemetery.  

Apr 242014

Each year the Auckland library issues the TransTasman ANZAC Day challenge.
This year I am going to talk about Ernest William Weeks , my great great uncle.
Ernest enlisted in Brisbane 10 December 1914. He was a machinist (possibly at the Albion sawmill) and he had previously served in the Field Artillery for 2 years and 5 months (from attestation papers).

Ernest William Weeks

His physical description from his attestation papers is given above. There is nothing listed in the distinguishing marks column.
He joined the 5th Light Horse as 2nd reinforcements and his unit embarked from Brisbane on the Itria 9 February 1915. 

Per his service record downloaded from the Australian National Archives he arrived at Gallipoli  29 July 1915.
Ernest was one of the very many soldiers there affected by disease and was removed to the hospital ship Huntsend 6 September 1915 with dysentery. He was discharged from there to Malta 14 September and was taken on strength again 26 September, in Egypt.
ernest william weeks war memorial  Ernest is named in two photographs at the Australian War Memorial and you are able to purchase copies of their    photos. In this one he is listed as being second from the right.

Interestingly as reading further in his file it states he had lost two fingers, the 4th and 5th digits, in an accident about 1907. Strange as I would have considered that having two fingers missing would have been a distinguishing mark, wouldn’t you?

It did say that not having those fingers had no effect on him using his rifle, well that was until he was unloading camels and apparently had an issue with them which affected the next finger! Ernest is classified as B class November 1915, although is still apparently able to use his rifle enough to remain in the Army.

Ernest stays in the Army and around various areas in Egypt until he returns to Australia 28 June 1919 aboard the Madras. 

Ernest had spent a number of years away at war and one can only wonder at his thoughts coming home to re-establish his life.

The next we hear of Ernest is in 21 August 1919 Queensland Times.  


William George Weeks was the caretaker/gardener at Albert Park and lived in the caretaker’s cottage in Albert Park which is near the Roma Street railway station.  On the 23rd August Ernest is still listed as missing. 

Courier Weeks body 1 Sept 1919 His body was not found until the 30 August floating in the Brisbane River near Raceview. It was believed he may have been dead for a while.

The truth of what happened will never be known. 

Funeral notice sep 1919
Was it suicide?

Did he have, what today, we would call post-traumatic stress? 

Had something happened to him when he came back?

To the right there is the newspaper article of his funeral which was well attended (and is the the reason I feel he may have worked at theAlbion Sawmills)

The below is the inscription on  his Monument at Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane:

In Loving Memory Ernest William
Late 5th L.H.
Beloved Son of William & Ellen Weeks
Died August 14th 1919
Ages 27 Years
“Thy will be Done”

When his parents passed they were buried with their son, Ernest.


It is so important that we don’t forget our soldiers, past, present and future. We must work to support them while they are enlisted and after they return.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
“Lest We Forget”