Albert Parrish

A Gerringong farmer, Albert Parrish was born at Foxground, son of Thomas and Susanna.

Albert embarked at Brisbane on HMAT Kyarra on 3rd January 1916, with the 8th Reinforcement of the 25th Battalion AIF, joining the Pioneers in Egypt.

kyarra

HMAT Kyarra

ScreenHunter_349 Aug. 26 16.01

Albert was killed in action on 27th May 1918 at Pont Noyelle by a bursting shell. According to Lieut.Grove of the Australian Pioneers:

He worked at the Q.M.’s store. His brother was killed at Westhoek
Ridge, Ypres, last year, and I was with his brother too when he was
killed. A.Parrish was good looking, about 5 ft 10, clean shaven, and
very quiet. I was about ¼ mile away from him at the time, and didn’t
see him killed. He was killed by an aeroplane bomb while looking
after the store on the Main Albert-Amiens Road. He was killed
instantly.

And this account from Cpl. Smith of the 2nd Australian Pioneers:

He was killed instantly by a shell in the evening just before
dark. He was buried at Franvillers by the Padre, and a proper
cross was put up. I took his job over after he was hit. Jerry
was shelling, and instead of staying in the dug-out he went
into a field and was hit there. Two or three others were killed
with him.

Kiama Independent. 19 June 1918.

Kiama Independent. 19 June 1918.

Albert’s younger brother Thomas Lindsay Parrish was killed earlier in 1917. Both Parrish boys attained the rank of Lance Corporal.

The grave of Albert Parrish is amongst these.

The grave of Albert Parrish is amongst these.

The grave of 5068 Private (Pte) John Cook Smith of Darling River, NSW, 27th Battalion, killed in action (KIA) 7 June 1918, in Franvillers Cemetery. Left to right is the grave of 3862 Pte Horace Pearce of Richmond, NSW, 20th Battalion, KIA 5 June 1918; 4851A Corporal Gerald Saville Maxwell of Bendigo, Vic, 28th Battalion, KIA 1 June 1918; 1942 Sapper Frederick Lawrence Green of Kyneton, Vic, 7th Field Company Australian Engineers, KIA 27 May 1918 (deceased’s uncle and four cousins were killed in action); 6176 Pte Frederick William Masson (Frederick William Deakin Masson) of Northam, WA, 28th Battalion, KIA 1 June 1918; 3608 Lance Corporal (L Cpl) Albert Parrish of Gerringong, NSW, 2nd Australian Pioneers, KIA 27 May 1918 (brother of 3607 L Cpl Thomas Lindsay Parrish, 2nd Australian Pioneers, who died of wounds 25 September 1917); 6649 (Roll of Honour shows 6640) Pte John Reid, enlisted Claremont, WA, 28th Battalion, KIA 1 June 1918. This image is one of a set of photographs of the original graves of some members of the 27th Battalion. The Battalion funded the purchase of the camera through its adjutant Captain (Capt) Southon for 5541 Pte G R Barrington to photograph the graves. The camera and negatives were then acquired by Major John L Treloar on behalf of the Australian War Museum, reimbursing costs for the camera to Capt Southon.

Sergeant Wallace John Sharpe of Gerringong

Wallace Sharpe did not follow the family tradition of farming.  Instead, he worked with his Uncle, Will Nelson in his Gerringong general store. Often riding his horse to outlying parts of the district, Wallace was very popular and likeable, of good moral character, and fine manly qualities. He also played tennis with the Gerringong Tennis Club.

Fern St. Gerringong. Will Nelson, Wallace Sharpe, George Wilson

Fern St. Gerringong. Will Nelson, Wallace Sharpe, George Wilson

Enlisting on 29th July, 1915, Wally, as he was affectionately called, joined the 6th Light Horse Regiment, 16th Reinforcement, embarking from Sydney on 3rd May 1916 on HMAT Hymettus, leaving his home, “Aorangi” in Gerringong forever.

HMAT Hymettus

HMAT Hymettus

The First Battle of Amman aimed at cutting the Hejaz railway line running south from Damascus. The operation began on 22 March 1918 with the building of bridges across the River Jordan. Rain made going extremely difficult, but by the evening of the 25th, the village of Es Salt had been taken. On the morning of the 27th, the attack began on Amman. About 3,000 Allied soldiers faced 4,000 Turks in well prepared positions, supported by machine-guns and fifteen artillery pieces.

The Turkish resistance, bolstered by the German Asia Corps, proved impossible to overcome. By 2nd April, the Allies had withdrawn. The venture had cost 118 killed and 55 missing from the Mounted Division. (Ency. Of Australia’s Battles. Coulthard-Clark)

Tired Light Horsemen returning from the Amman raid, April 1918

Tired Light Horsemen returning from the Amman raid, April 1918

According to the Red Cross wounded and missing report:

“Informant states that on the 28/3/18, the Regiment was in action against
the Turks at Annam east of the River Jordan in Palestine. During the advance,
Sharpe was hit by machine gun fire, together with two or three others.
Informant was about 50 yards away, and saw all the men hit, lying on the
ground. He recognised Sharpe who was still alive.”

“I knew Sergeant Sharpe by sight. He was a tall man standing about 6ft. of
big build, dark, clean shaved. He went out with Liet. Ridgway’s party, when
they made an unsuccessful attack on Aman. We were in support; Ringrose
was the only man of the party who returned. He reported that everyone
of them had been hit. This was on the 28th March, 1918. Another attack was
made on Amman 6 months after this and the place was taken. Some of us
went out to see the place where Liet. Ridgeway’s party had been attacked.
The dead bodies were lying there just as they had fallen, and we buried
them.  Sharpe was identified by some of the men. Sharpe was one of the
most popular men in the Regiment – He was a great leader of men.”

Sergeant Wallace Sharpe. SN 2377

Sergeant Wallace Sharpe. SN 2377

Back on the home front, for nearly a year the family lived in anxiety and suspense, not knowing whether  27 year old Wallace was alive or dead.  Finally they received the bad news – previously he was reported missing.

Kiama Independent. 13 April 1918

Kiama Independent. 13 April 1918

Wallace was a general favourite with his comrades who found him gallant and brave, kindly, loyal and considerate.

The memorial Service to Sergeant Sharpe was conducted by the Rev. W.T. Hooker in the Gerringong Congregational Church. The rostrum was draped with the Union Jack and Australian flag. In the centre was placed a large wreath of white flowers with streamers of Sergt. Sharpe’s Battalion colours (red and green). The whole service was uplifting, a note of triumph ran through it all, in prayers, readings, anthems, hymns and address from Romans 14:7-8.

Congregational Church, Gerringong

Congregational Church, Gerringong

Congregational Church, Gerringong

Congregational Church, Gerringong

6th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch

6th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch

Wallace has a memorial inside the Gerringong Uniting Church and a plaque at the Jerusalem Memorial. Panel  58.

Jerusalem Memorial

Jerusalem Memorial. Courtesy CWGC

Memorial inside Congregational Church, Gerringong

Memorial inside Congregational Church, Gerringong

John William Donovan of Gerringong.

John William Donovan was a dairyman from Gerringong, born in 1893. His mother Eliza saw his boy enlist at Liverpool on 5 February 1915.

Private Donovan was a member of the 18th Australian Infantry Battalion which arrived at Gallipoli in August 1915.

The Battle of Hill 60 was the last major assault of the Battle of Gallipoli.  Hill 60 was a low knoll at the northern end of the Sari Bair range which dominated the Suvla landing. Capturing this hill along with Scimitar Hill would have allowed the Anzac and Suvla landings to be securely linked.

Hill 60 showing bones of members of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and New Zealanders, 1919. (From the CEW Bean Collection).

Hill 60 showing bones of members of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and New Zealanders, 1919.
(From the CEW Bean Collection).

On the afternoon of 21 August the first assault was made by Australians of the 13th and 14th Battalions together with the 5th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers. With no effective artillery support, under fire from Hill 60 and neighbouring Hill 100, the infantry were decimated. The undergrowth caught fire, burning to death many of the wounded. By nightfall the Indian Brigade had managed a foothold at the base of the hill.

On 22 August the attack was reinforced by the Australian 18th Battalion, of which Private Donovan was a member. The men were fresh and healthy, in stark contrast to the veteran troops, but were inexperienced and ill-equipped, even by Gallipoli standards. Attacking with bayonet only, they suffered 383 casualties in their first attack. [Taken from Wikipedia, “Battle of Hill 60 (Gallipoli)]. According to reports, Private Donovan was killed on the extreme left of this charge. One witness, who was only a few yards away, states that Private Donovan stood up on the parapet to get a better aim, and was killed instantaneously.

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Gerringong.

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Gerringong. Courtesy kcljd

According to an informant, “Burglar Miles”, on 24 August, 1915,  Private Donovan was seen lying dead near Suvla Bay, having been shot in the head. The back of his head had been shot away. There is no evidence of burial. Private Donovan does have a panel at Lone Pine Memorial, no.61., as well as the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Gerringong.

Australian Red Cross report into Private John William Donovan.

Lone Pine Memorial.

Lone Pine Memorial. Courtesy CWGC.