Herbert Norman Kelly

Herbert Norman Kelly was born on 1 October 1893 at Jaspers Brush, NSW to John and Mary Ann (nee Tierney). He was a horse breaker prior to the war.

His experience with horses fuelled his eagerness to enlist.


Herbert ultimately joined the 12th Light Horse unit as a trooper at the exact age of 21 and 11 months.

The photo below was taken in Sydney, 1911.

Herbert Kelly. Standing on the left.

Herbert Kelly. Standing on the left.

During his service (6 November 1917), Herbert was charged during training for assaulting a civilian and subsequently served two months in gaol: Darlinghurst Detention Barracks.

He died on 15 November, 1917 at the George River, Liverpool due to accidental drowning.  He was 22 years of age. He is buried at Rookwood Necropolis in Sydney and is commemorated at panel 8 at the Australian War Memorial.[1]



[1] AWM, Embarkation Rolls – Herbert Norman Kelly, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/roll_of_honour/person/R1641247/&gt;  viewed 18 December 2013.

Alexander Davidson

Alexander Davidson was one of the many men that enlisted in the war. Born on February 19, 1890 to James Davidson and Lousia Pugh, Alex enlisted in 1916 at the age of 26.

He was a carpenter in Sydney before he enlisted.

Group photo with Alexander Davidson.

Group photo with Alexander Davidson.

Whilst on service, he was in the 56th Battalion and was appointed Lance Corporal in 1917.

Alex regularly wrote postcards to his sister, Lucy (Louisa) from the front.

Postcard addressed to Lucy.

Postcard addressed to Lucy.


Postcard from Alexander Davidson.

Postcard from Alexander Davidson.

He was wounded four times in action and each time he re-joined his battalion.

He returned to Australia in 1919 after filling out a demobilisation form stating that return to Australia was desired because his “parents are dependent.”



Following his return, he married Bella Kirkpatrick in 1920.

Davidson died in August, 1978 in Newcastle, NSW.

Alexander’s family are local, Illawarra residents and have kindly shared his story and photos with Wollongong City Libraries.