11 Dec

WW1 Casualties II: For God, King & Country

Jack Couzner, Batman to Lieutenant Pascoe.

God save our splendid men
Bring them safe home again
God save our men.
Make them victorious
They are so dear to us
God save our men.

Jack Couzner had a brief meeting with Frank Murphy on the Western Front in France in 1917. He only had enough time to say ‘How are you ‘Murph’? which was Jack’s nickname for Frank. The meeting occurred shortly before Jack was engaged in one of the terrible battles to be remembered as The Second Battle of Bullecourt.

02 Dec

WW1 Casualties I: Lost in the Gunsmoke

Lost in the Gunsmoke: Charles Chandler & Walter Gammon. Boyhood Pals from Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

‘Privates Gammon and Chandler are now
among the honoured dead. Each of them
followed the path of duty and served
his country to the end. Today in heart
the whole district stands with uncovered
head before the memory of two of
this nation’s men.’i

These sentiments of grief and loss of families and of a community in mourning were expressed in an article in the Healesville Newspaper titled “Killed in Action’. It was printed during the Great War in 1917 when news of the death of two soldiers reached Healesville in Victoria. The soldiers mentioned in the article, Walter Gammon and Charles Chandler were from the same battalion and the same district. Charles was killed on the Somme near Bapaume and was an older brother of James Chandler who had already returned home having been invalided out of the army with shell shock. The report in the Healesville newspaper of 1917 noted that Walter Gammon and Charles Chandler were former residents of Long Gully and that the sad news ‘caused a general feeling of gloom throughout the district’. Long Gully is near Tarrawarra in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.