We received this email from Laurita Smith.
Many thanks to the Library for these WW1 Boards. Through them I have been able to find out so much of my mother’s heritage – she and her twin sister were children of William Leonard Turner, the brother of Arthur Magnus Turner, and Pte. Jack Aubrey Turner whose photos are included on the Boards, together with records of their family. My mother and her sister had very little contact with her father (divorced from her mother when only very young) – but finding this family contact has led me to discover that these Turner men, are direct descendants of Edward Turner, who was transported to Australia for playing a leading role in the Pentrich Revolution in Derbyshire UK in 1817. Edward Turner’s story and the Pentrich Revolution is well publicised on the Web – and I just thought I’d like to thank the Library staff for putting up the Color Boards. Without the information provided with the photos, I would never have known (as neither did my mother) that there were other relatives (aunts and uncles) she never knew, and that her father’s family linked back to the early days in Sydney, to the Stonemason’s Arms in Broadway/Wattle Street, and the colourful story of Edward in his new life in Australia. I have certainly been taken on a fascinating journey to my heritage roots.
In February 1916, Patrick Gordon (“Bill”) Taylor had been stationed at the AIF Liverpool training camps for over a month. Like other lads his age, he had been caught up in the enthusiasm to sign up and “do his bit”, so as to not miss out on what was thought to be at the time the greatest adventure of his generation.
Liverpool camp, October 1916. (Image: AWM C01206)
This was the life he had chosen; and he could only assume it would get him a lot closer to the action than his parents’ plans for him to study medicine at Sydney University.
But camp life at Liverpool was to fall short of expectations for both this 18 year old, wide-eyed, second lieutenant from Raglan Street, Mosman, and for the army of volunteer recruits, from all over Sydney, and from all types of backgrounds.
“Bill” Taylor recalls…
Smith’s Weekly, 1 December 1923, p. 26
‘Most Expensive Airman of the A.I.F.’ said popular tabloid Smith’s Weekly in 1923.
Mosman pilot Eric Dibbs reckoned he’d crashed 13 aircraft in his time with the flying corps. If the tale is a little tall in the retelling, who can begrudge a man who made it back from the Western Front?
He wasn’t an ace but took his chances over the trenches — and won.
Original plans for the seating and positioning of guests, dignitaries and members of the public for the HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast ceremony at Bradley’s Head have been rediscovered and photographed in high resolution and are now available online.
Charles Ulm with his mother and father, 1914
One hundred years ago, today, a 15 year old Mosman boy signed up for the A.I.F. It was the start of an adventure that would make him a household name.