William Michael George

William Michael George was born at Castlemaine, Victoria. Prior to the war, he worked as a a farrier – a specialist in equine hoof care.

He enlisted on 11 October, 1915 at the age of 25 and joined the 5th Field Artillery Brigade, 1-5 Reinforcements as a gunner.

William Michael George 1914/15.

William Michael George 1914/15.

He embarked from Sydney on 15 January, 1916 on RMS Osterley. In his diary, he writes that there were 500 artillery and about 900 infantry on board, they got off at every port and had a good time. Once they arrived at Heliopolis, they had a big camp full of horses, mules and camels.

16 June 1916
Germans sent out gas last night. Called up at one in the morning and had to put our helmets on, a lot of Australians were gassed.
Have been Corporal since 14 April. My mate Harry Mathias was sent to hospital with a gash in neck on the 14th, kicked by a mule.
Expecting to leave this front shortly for a hotter front around Ypres. Aus artillery infantry doing good work round here.

The brigade fought at the Somme front, they began making their way on 10 July 1916. On June 23rd he wrote, …Our men captured 2 lines of trenches on the Somme. They fought for around three months until leaving on 5 September to go north. William continued fighting with his brigade up until late 1918 when he was injured.

Photo from the front: "18 pounder, 2."

Photo from the front:
“18 pounder, 2.”

He was ultimately discharged on 12 April, 1919 and disembarked for Australia.

Arrived at Sydney without any sickness on board and disembarked on Sunday 18th February at Woolloomooloo Warf where we were driven in motors to the Anzac buffet in the domain and got a great welcome home, was met at buffet by my Dear Mother… also got a great welcome home to Mortdale.

Got my discharge on 17th February and finished my 45 days leave on 12th April 1919… So endeth my adventures at the game they call soldering.

The last page of his diary he has written his total service times:

Total service- 3 years 186 days Service abroad - 3 years 46 days France - 2 years 10 month England - 2 months Egypt - 7 months

Total service- 3 years 186 days
Service abroad – 3 years 46 days
France – 2 years 10 month
England – 2 months
Egypt – 7 months

William was officially discharged on 12 April, 1919. It would not be long until he re-enlisted in the Second World War (15/10/1939).

 

 

NAA: B2455, GEORGE W M

Herbert Vincent Reynolds

Herbert Vincent Reynolds was born in Sebastopol, Victoria on September 16, 1896. In his early life, Herbert attended Sebastopol State School and after gaining a Merit Certificate in year 8, he left and began work at the Pyrites works, a chemical gold processing plant on the outskirts of Sebastopol.[1]

Herbert had been an army cadet since the age of fourteen. When war broke out in 1914, he enlisted but was initially rejected due to his age(under the age of twenty-one). Only after his mother granted him permission did he join the 1st Field Ambulance 1st Reinforcements.

He remained on service during the entire period of war.  

Herbert Vincent Reynolds.

Herbert Vincent Reynolds.

He was wounded in September 1917 on the Menin Road at the Battle of Ypres and was operated on at the Casualty Clearing Station. He was then sent to England for recovery where he wrote a letter to his mother:

Wednesday 26th September, 1917.

…I got hit when we were going up to the line with stores etc. just before the hop over started. I don’t know really just what got me, as I heard nothing, just found myself sailing in space for a few feet, with my head going like an electric motor., things were very much mixed after that, at any rate. I was operated on at a C.C.S and I finally found myself down here where I’m getting alone A1 and being looked after well…[2]

One postcard from a postcard booklet which depicts France after bombardments 1914-1916.

One postcard from a postcard booklet which depicts France after bombardments 1914-1916.

His journey home back to Australia began in October 1918.

Brass 'A' ANZAC badge issued after the war.

Brass ‘A’ ANZAC badge issued after the war.

On his return, he married Phyllis Myrtle Booth in June 1928.

He had some experience as a carpenter during the war and became a builder. He was also heavily involved in the local council and was elected Mayor of Sebastopol in the 1953/54 Mayoral year.

He enlisted in the Second World War but could not join due to medical unfitness and instead, joined the Volunteer Defence Corps from September 21 1942 to October 1, 1945.

Herbert died in Ballarat on September 21, 1978.

His son and daughter-in-law have resided in Austinmer for forty-five years; his son publishing a book: An Anzac’s Story – Rex Reynolds. The book contains diary entries and letters by Herbert along with photos and postcards making up an account of his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] R.E Reynolds, An Anzac’s Story, R.E Reynolds, Austinmer NSW, 2007, p. 9.

[2] Ibid p. 206.

NAA B2455, REYNOLDS HERBERT VINCENT
Reynolds R.E, An Anzac’s Story, R.E Reynolds, Austinmer NSW, 2007.