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Lone Pine
13-07-2009, 3:52 PM
I have decided to put this on here now, so that you can read this. :)


When I was growing up I always knew that my paternal Grandfather, had died in the First World War; my Father was completely unapproachable about the subject so it was down to my Mother to tell me that "Your Grandfather was killed at the Battle of the Somme, he joined the Australian Army, and Dad and my Grandmother received a pension from the Australian Government after he was killed. He has no grave as he was blown to pieces". "Oh" I would say, "... perhaps one day we could visit the Somme and see Granddad's memorial plaque". She would shake her head "... no, it is out of the question, your Father would not want to go". As I was growing up, the retort from my Mother, when I misbehaved would be "Well I don’t know where you get your ideas from, certainly not my side of the family; you must get them from your Father's side". I used to wonder who was my Father’s side of the family, so once again questions were asked, and my Mother would reply "oh there was a family row, and your Father never saw his Father's family again" and that was that! She did tell me once that when my Father was small he said that he used to think that perhaps his Father had suffered from 'shell shock' and in error gone back to live in Australia, and one day he would remember them and come back and find them and everything would be all right.

The years went by, my Father died in 1983; my life continued as lives do, but sometimes I would ask myself, who was my Grandfather? I knew his name, William Pritchard – the same name as my Father but that was it, just a name.

Then along came the Internet and with it the ability to search the First World War records, so off I started my research. First I tried the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 'Debt of Honour' web site. There were lots of Pritchard’s, but none killed on the Somme. There was one killed at Gallipoli, but the next of kin was wrong, I was looking for my Grandmother Ada Pritchard. Many long nights followed, coffee made by my husband Steve left to go cold, and then I would give up for a few months. When I looked at my Father's family tree, it was just my Father and my Grandmother and his half sisters. His mother (my grandmother) had remarried in the 1930s but there was no father for my father, and then I would start searching again. I would sit down at my computer and say, " ... right Granddad tonight I am going to find you" then nothing.

The search went on in this way for five years. I emailed the Australian authorities but they said they had no record of the pension. I even started to wonder did this man ever exist, but he had to have existed. Talking to the family, no one knew anything, my three aunts in Australia, knew nothing. However, I never gave up hope of finding him. I tried birth records, but there was the problem of trying to find someone with the name of William Pritchard when you are not quite sure when or where they were born, and there were a great many people with the same name. I also looked for the record of his marriage to my Grandmother, but found nothing. I was actually starting to feel quite down, but always in the back of my head was the War Pension from Australia, so they had to be married.

Then one night I was sitting there staring at the census records yet again, and I realised that I was looking at things the wrong way round. I should be looking for my Grandmother marrying my Grandfather, and 'bingo' the first search up came the record of their marriage. Overjoyed, I immediately sent away for the marriage certificate and waited - it seemed to take ages to arrive!

In the meantime one of my aunts in Australia was busy trying to help me, and one morning at 4.00am I could hear the phone ringing. It was my Aunt, she was in tears, Carole she said "... I have found your Grandfather, sorry to ring you so early but I just could not wait any longer". She gave me a website address; I looked at the site but was still not sure - it listed William Pritchard killed Gallipoli next of kin James and Ellen Prichard – not my Grandmother. Then the marriage certificate arrived and I found out that my Great Grandfather was called James and where he lived. If I said it once I must have said it a hundred times that night to my husband "... did you know that my Great Grandfather was called James" - he would just smile and nod.

I was getting so frustrated I emailed everyone on a web site who had a William Pritchard born in London, hoping that I may not have the fully story, but perhaps they might have any information. Most people responded, but of course it was all negative, so when I had the wedding certificate and knew who my Great Grandfather was, I started emailing everyone again, and that is when I got the reply back saying yes it looks like we are related. I explained to her about my Grandfather but she did not have any information either but she said she would try and help me as I had made her curious, but I needed my Grandfather's birth certificate and got that and yes I had finally found part of my Grandfather’s family, so in the space of 2/3 weeks I knew the names my Great Grandfather and my Great Grandmother, I knew where my Grandparents had married, I knew where they both lived before they were married, and from this relation I found all of the names of my Grandfathers brothers and sister. My Father’s side of the tree was now getting full, but there was still the question of Grandfather's death in the First World War.

Late that day the family member that I had found emailed with a link to the Australian Service records and said "look at page 10", when I did I found the next of kin 'James Pritchard' crossed out and in red ink 'Ada Pritchard' added. I then went through the documents that she had found on line for me and on page 25, there it was, Widow Ada Pritchard, dependant William Joseph Pritchard (my father). It even told me how much pension they received, which was £1 every other week for my Father and £2 every other week for my Grandmother, so why did she tell my Mother that my Grandfather was killed at the Somme. I just sat looking at the screen it had been there all the time, but of course how was I to know, I must be honest I cried really cried tears of joy, I had done it I had found him, but I knew very little about Gallipoli. But before I go any further I would like to introduce you to my Grandfather.

He was 5ft 4in tall (not very tall, but one must remember that a lot of people were malnourished in those days), he weighed 10 stone 6lbs, he had a dark complexion, his hair was dark, his eyes were brown and he had tattoos on both forearms and right upper arm as well (oh dear, sorry but tattoos, how could you Granddad!)

He was born in Brick Lane London in 1890. He was 25 years old when he joined the 4th Battalion, A.I.F (yes this was the Battalion that went on the rampage in Cairo!) and served in 'D' Company. He enlisted at Liverpool Camp, New South Wales on 6 November 1914 and left Sydney on the HMAT Seang Bee for Egypt, as a 2nd Reinforcement, on 11 February 1915. This was the day before my father's 1st birthday. He left Alexandria on 5 April 1915 on T.S.S. Lake Michigan for Gallipoli. He was killed between 6 - 9 August 1915 during the attack on Lone Pine, and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial. There was a Court of Enquiry at a place called Fleurbaix, France, which confirmed his death in action but when I asked the Australian Government if they had the papers, they said unfortunately they have no other papers on my Grandfather.

I have no pictures of him at all, no diaries nothing as I said above all I had was a name.

The Attestation Papers give his occupation as a Farm Labourer, but on the Marriage Certificate to my Grandmother he is what we today would call a French Polisher. In fact according to my relative, all the men in that family work with wood and still do today.

It is unclear whether my Grandfather travelled to Australia to enlist – certainly I was told this by my Mother " ... he joined the Australian Army because they paid better than the British Army, and if he was killed, then my Grandmother also got a better pension" - and one must remember that £6 a month in 1915/16 was a lot of money in those days. However, he could have gone to Australia in 1914 to seek a new life and employment on the land, but war upset his plans. My feeling is that he intended that my Grandmother and my Father would settle in Australia with him, I suppose the thought of a bright new future in Australia was very appealing. The family row, oh well that was because his father - James Pritchard wanted some of the pension money! It is unclear why my Grandfather put his father, James, down as next of kin on the Attestation Form. Perhaps he did so in case the Australian Army would not take married men from England. But that is something else for me to look up.

My Grandfather's death in the period 6 – 9 August occurred when the 4th Bn. of the 1st Australian Division were engaged in bitter fighting at Lone Pine. An action in which seven VC were awarded. The attack is well chronicled – C E W Bean devotes no less than 40 pages to it in The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. He records that the attack began at 5.30pm on 6 August, on a narrow front with the first troops filing into tunnels, which extended some fifty yards beyond the front line. The attacking troops reached the Turkish front line but found it roofed over with heavy logs, which the Australians tried to remove while others went further forward and then worked their way back along the communication trenches. Much of the fighting took place in semi-darkness with attacks and counter-attacks that lasted until 9 August.

Another author, Alan Moorhead, comments in his book Gallipoli '... it is really not possible to comprehend what happened. All dissolves into a confused impression of a riot, of a vicious street fight in the back alleys of a city, and the metaphor of the stirred-up ant heap persists ...'

What we do know is that 1st Australian Division lost over 2,000 men during the battle. The 4th Battalion, in which my Grandfather, served went in with 20 officers and 722 other ranks and suffered the loss of 15 officers and 459 other ranks killed wounded or missing (63% of those engaged).

After years of wondering and searching I now have my answers to my questions, but sometimes, I can’t believe that I found him, and several 2nd cousins into the bargain as well. I must be honest it is all so overwhealiming to have found my Grandfather, but some of his family as well. So I have now arrived at Gallipoli, a different journey to my Grandfather, but we both arrived at the same place.

Just a foot note, my Grandmother emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1973, I wonder, as she walked down those roads/streets, did she think of her first husband, my Grandfather.

William Pritchard
4th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
Regiment No. 1422
Killed Gallipoli 6th – 9th August 1915
Granddad, you have laid forgotten for many years, but not by me.
Now I have found you and you are forgotten no more
Your Granddaughter

mikebroe
13-07-2009, 4:17 PM
Lone Pine,

What a fantastic story. I am researching my relatives that fought in WW1. Like yours my grandfather fought at Gallipoli as did his two brothers. He served with the Kings Own Royal Lancaster regiment, one brother with the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the other was attached to the Royal Australian Navy from the Royal Navy and served on HMAS Sydney during the first sea engagement of WW1. My father tells me that his father told him that whilst at Gallipoli one brother relieved the other and passed in the trenches although he could not remember who was going to the front. Luckily all three survived.
I have three other members of the family who did not survive and I am in the process of researching them.
As you say they shall not be forgotten. They deserve to be remembered and it is our duty to make sure that happens.

Mike

daisycakes
13-07-2009, 4:19 PM
What a story...you must be so happy you have found him at last. Theres nothing quite like the elation and I think only family researches understand that... for myself some friends just glaze over when I mention family history.

Ann D:)

Jillychris
13-07-2009, 4:30 PM
Congratulations on finding out so much about your Grandfather.

My Grandfather died when I was a little over a year old always knew about him and had many photo's but not until I started researching my Family History did I find out he was also at Gallipoli.

It wasn't until I sent off and received Grandad's Service Record that I made this discovery. My Aunt told me her Father said he was wounded and was found in the boat with the dead she didn't know anymore that that. His Service Records states he was shot badly in the chest and also in both feet, so I think this story is probably true seeing his injuries he went into the boat with the dead until .... I don't know someone saw him move maybe.

I hope you find out more and maybe get a photo of him one day, you never know I have photo's of past relatives I never thought I would see.

Regards
Jill

v.wells
13-07-2009, 7:39 PM
What a truly touching and well articulated story of your grandfather, Lone Pine. I appreciate you putting it all down for the world to see as he is certainly worthy of it. Perhaps when you continue finding your other family members there will be a photo. I hope so, for you deserve it. |hug|

Neil Wilson
13-07-2009, 7:51 PM
Well Lone Pine, that is truly a tear jerking story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lone Pine
13-07-2009, 8:53 PM
Thank you for all your lovely words, but my story has really not ended there, because of my Gandfathers death I was able to join an Association (not sure if I am allowed to post the name) and this year for the first time ever that someone from the family attended the ANZAC day celebrations in London.

It started at 5:15 am at the ANZAC (Australian one) Memorial at Hyde Park (I must be honest I did have moan to my Grandfather "well fancy landing at Gallipoli at this time in the morning, honestly Ganddad could you not have landed at 10am, at least it would have been after breakfast"), Anyway the sevice was very moving I yes I did cry so much. Then we had a service at St. Pauls Crypt at the Gallipoli Memorial (yes there is one) and from there, the part I was dreading the most, a walk (can't march, so called it a walk) past the Cenotaph, god I was so nervous as I waited in line to start the parade. I was told to get in the middle of the line in the middle row and then if I made a mistake it would not notice, but no no, they shoved me in the second line on the outside, so off we went, god my heart was hammering so fast, I thought I would have a heart attack (I could just imagine the headlines, War Verterans Granddaughter has heat attack at the Cenotaph) as we walked out, oh my god there were people there watching us, anyway in the end managed to get myself under control and off I went. It was a beautiful service and then the walk back past the Cenotpah. Then onto a service in Westminster Abbey and after that lunch with the Association.

I also managed to get replicas of my Grandfather medals, the ones my Dad threw in the bin with the retort of "I wanted a Father not bl**dy medals and a picture".

So I feel that I have righted a wong done to my Granddad oh and next year everything crossed, guess where I am going, yeap Lone Pine Gallipoli, and I shall paddle in ANZAC Cover and hopefully, health permitting, make it to the 4th Batallion Prade Ground.

"Granddad I'm coming"|woohoo|

Mary Anne
13-07-2009, 8:55 PM
Lone Pine

How wonderful that you found him. And thank you for sharing your story with us. :)

If you haven't found it yet, I can recommend The Great War Forum. Lots of knowledgeable folks who may be able to fill in additional details for you about your Granddad's battalion and about the battle at Lone Pine. (just google "The Great War Forum" and you'll find it)

It was through a similar forum concerning soldiers who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force that I was able to find my father's diaries. I was also fortunate to be able to attend the re-dedication of the monument at Vimy Ridge in 2007 and also to follow in my father's footsteps through the battlefields of France, with his own words to guide me. I would highly recommend that you visit the memorial at Lone Pine, if you can.


Mary Anne

Mary Anne
13-07-2009, 8:57 PM
Ah, we cross-posted, Lone Pine. So glad you will be going there... you will not regret it, believe me!

Barnzzz
13-07-2009, 9:18 PM
Thank you for sharing this story Lone Pine.
Sue

margarita
13-07-2009, 9:24 PM
What a wonderful story, Lone Pine.

I went to Anzac Cove some years ago. whilst I was travelling to Istanbul.

It was one of the saddest and most moving places I have ever been to. I was there on a beautiful, calm summer's day and I was hard to imagine the bloody history of the area. I don't think any one got back on to the coach with a dry eye.

Regards,

maggie

spison
15-07-2009, 7:07 AM
Lovely story Lone Pine,
Terrific story - great research and persistence too. Well done you must feel wonderful.
Jane

GAFFER1
15-07-2009, 7:33 AM
Lovely Story and you have been very lucky to be able to find out the information. I have been trying to find my fathers story about GALLIPOLI . But all I have are as below from his MIC.-
Name Edwin Evan Williams
Regiment ASC DRV T4/058342
Egypt 17/5/1915
Story is 'He was associated with ' Lawerance' and his horses.
Managed to get Malaria and was hospitalised , demobed 1919.
Can anyone fill the gaps as I am unable to work out which Convoy he was actually with, which would be a start.
Gaffa

Lone Pine
16-07-2009, 11:17 AM
Hi Gaffer1

Have you tried Ancestry and the WW1 records, they don;t only list dead soliders but ones that were discharged as well, as I found my Great Uncles on there and he survived the WW1.

Lone Pine