Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley death details for 12-18 May, 1919.
A meeting of the peace celebration committee was held at the Newcastle Council Chambers on Thursday afternoon, Alderman Gibson, the Mayor, in the chair. It was decided to hold a combined service on King Edward Park on Sunday afternoon, and with that end in view, the Ministers' Association and the heads of the Roman Catholic and other churches are to be asked to meet the Mayor for the purpose of formulating a programme. Discussion ensued as to the form the celebration should take on the following day. Eventually it was decided that the day should be given over to the children.
The secretaries were instructed to communicate with the military authorities, asking that a salute be fired from Fort Scratchley at noon on the second day. It was also decided to ask the harbour authorities to illuminate the harbour, and the Railway Commissioners to illuminate the railway station. An appeal is also to be made to the business people to decorate their premises. Arrangements are being made for a big procession in the evening, in which the firemen, police, returned soldiers, naval and military units, and patriotic and sporting bodies are to be asked to take part. It is expected that all the bands will assist. Mr. Cannington suggested that something in the shape of a permanent memorial be inaugurated. He felt sure that the public would subscribe money for the upkeep of a home for returned soldiers. A sum of 8300 pounds had been subscribed in Newcastle for Jack's Day, and he was confident a like amount could be raised towards the erection of a soldier's home.
The departure of the Australian troops from the Continent practically marks the end of their co-operation in the war, and as such is an event worthy of more than passing note. It should be a source of pride and satisfaction to Australia to know that the men who have represented the Commonwealth on many a bloody battlefield have also earned a high reputation for their kindness and assistance to the unfortunate people in the invaded areas, and have also won the praises of Imperial officers for their discipline and bearing during the months that have succeeded the termination of active operations. Both in France and in Belgium the Australians leave behind them an imperishable memory of their splendid bravery and endurance. Their departure evokes sorrow, many of the people being affected to tears. In France there is a similarly warm appreciation of the Australian troops. While it is not yet possible to assign a definite date, it may now be hoped that by the end of the next three months, if not earlier, the last batch of Australian troops will be on the way home.
With nearly three years' service in France and Egypt, Private A. W. Crebert has returned home to Mayfield. Private Crebert is one of four brothers who enlisted, two of whom have sacrificed their lives for their country, one having been killed, and the other dying while a prisoner of war in Germany.
After over two years' service, Private Vince Crocket returned home on Wednesday evening. He was met at the Newcastle railway station by members of the Waratah Welcome Home Committee, and taken to his home in Dora Street, Mayfield where a large number of his friends had gathered. Mr. Conlan, vice-president of the committee, occupied the chair. Alderman D. Hughes proposed the toast of Private Crocket, whom, he said, he had known since childhood. He could quite understand his grit, when, after several times trying to get away, he had succeeded at the finish. Private Crocket was too indisposed to speak, Mr. S. Crocket responding on his behalf. Private Crocket enlisted when he was 16 years of age.
Private Andrew Pardey, who returned home after over three years' service abroad at the front with the 30th Battalion, was met at Newcastle railway station by a large gathering of friends and escorted to the residence of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Johnson, of Wickham Street, Wickham where there was also a large gathering. Alderman R. Bond presided, and extended a hearty welcome home to the returned soldier on behalf of his parents and friends, making reference to the active part that the soldier's mother (Mrs. Johnson) had taken in patriotic movements, and the great sacrifice she had made in giving all three of her sons to the Empire's cause, and all sincerely regretted that two of them had paid the supreme sacrifice. Private H. Pardey, of the 17th Battalion, and Private L. J. Pardey, of Newcastle's Own, had both been killed in action. The chairman's remarks were endorsed by Messrs. Hughes and Walker. About 80 guests sat down to refreshments, during the course of which Alderman Bond presented Driver Pardey with a gold albert, sovereign purse (well filled), and a fountain pen on behalf of his parents and sister and brother-in-law. Private Pardey suitably responded. The health of the parents and their soldier son was drunk with musical honours and cheers. The remainder of the evening was spent in harmony.
A pleasant evening was spent at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Williams on Saturday night, when the friends of Private Hugh Ashcroft, at the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, assembled to welcome their friend home, after undergoing such trying times for the two and a half years prior to the armistice while in captivity in Germany. Private Ashcroft gave a brief resume of his life in Germany, which was much appreciated. Many instances were extremely pathetic, but prison life, according to the speaker, had its humorous side, and the main object in life for the prisoners was to work up jokes, as the speaker put it, "to beat Jerry," or, in other words, to contrive ways and means of duping the Germans and get a temporary rest. Unfortunately, however, some poor fellows had to go to extremes to attain those objects, and not a few were actually forced by the dreadful surroundings to inflict bodily harm upon themselves before they were sent to hospital, where slightly better treatment and rest prevailed.
Mr. T. P. Prince, of James Street, who himself served with the A.I.F., has received word that his son, Signaller H. R. Prince, M.M., of the 45th Battalion, is on his way home by the Armagh, due in Melbourne about the 20th May. This is Mr. Prince's third son to return. His eldest son, Rifleman C. W. Prince, of the Rifle Brigade, Imperial Forces, and one time assistant stereotyper in the "Newcastle Morning Herald" office, was with the Salonica forces throughout that campaign, and according to his last letter was at Kars, having been conveyed there by the Australian steamer Katoomba from Salonica to Batoum, via The Dardanelles and Bosphorus. He stated that it was very cold there, with three feet of snow on the ground.
Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Ryan have been advised that their son, Gunner A. Ryan, is returning to Australia by the transport Trasos-Montes, due in Melbourne on the 18th May. Gunner Ryan, who has been twice severely wounded, will be the second son to return out of four who have been nearly four years on active service.
Mrs. C. Foster, of Hereford Street, has been informed that her son, Sergeant J. Foster, is returning by the transport Trasos Montes, which is due to arrive in Melbourne on the 18th May. Sergeant Foster sailed with the 2nd Reinforcements of the 18th Battalion in June, 1915. He served at Gallipoli, Egypt and France, and was at the evacuation of Gallipoli. He was wounded at Pozieres. His younger brother, Private Isaac Foster, was killed at Pozieres, in July, 1916, after twelve months' service with the 4th Battalion. Prior to enlisting, Sergeant Foster was in the employ of Messrs. Barnes, Limited, Newcastle, with whom he served his term of apprenticeship as a bootmaker.
The foundation stone of the monument to be erected in honour of the soldiers who enlisted from the Junction, will be laid by the Mayor of Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
The brothers S. and C. Wickham arrived home this week after serving four and three years at the front. On arrival they were met at the railway station by the patriotic bodies and escorted to the school of arts, where the band played selections. There was a gathering of citizens. Councillor J. Johnson extended a welcome to them on behalf of the townspeople, his remarks being supplemented by Mr. J. Campbell. They were then driven to the residence of their sister, Mrs. Anderson, where their relatives and friends awaited them, and refreshments were partaken of.
Sergeant Albert Graham arrived home on Tuesday and received a warm reception. He had been attached to the 5th Pioneers, and had seen three years' service. After the usual welcome at the school of arts he was driven to his mother's residence, where he received a hearty welcome from his friends.
Mrs. J. O. Cherry, of Brooks Street, secretary to the West Wallsend Girls' League, has received a cable message that her husband, Warrant Officer J. O. Cherry, of the 35th Battalion, has embarked for Australia aboard the Karagola on April 30th.
Private James Ferguson, who returned home this week, was met at Newcastle by Alderman, R. Bond, on behalf of the Mayor. At the residence of his mother, Mrs. H. Bunt, the refreshment tables were decorated with the returned soldier's colours. Private Ferguson, who was attached to the 21st Machine Gun Company, was on service three years. He was twice slightly wounded, and was ill for weeks in hospital suffering from the effects of poisoned water left behind at Proyart by the Germans when they evacuated. Sixty men died from the effects of the poison.