Darragh Christie, 14 February 2016 · # · · Comment [1]

Mosman’s boy mascot company commander and the Valentine’s Day mutiny

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…

Read more

Bernard de Broglio, 18 January 2016 · # · · Comment

Lucky 13: Dibbs at the front

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.

Read more

Darragh Christie, 14 September 2015 · # · · Comment [1]

“That spirit of restlessness”: Charles Ulm (Jackson) enlists

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.

Read more

Darragh Christie, 9 August 2015 · # · · Comment [1]

Godley’s abattoir

George W Lambert
Cartoon for ‘The charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek’

One hundred years ago Light Horse regiments attacked well-entrenched Turkish positions at “The Nek.” Their fate — charging into certain death — lives large in the Australian psyche. Among those killed that day was Major Thomas Harold Redford of Holt Avenue, Mosman.

Read more

Darragh Christie, 19 May 2015 · # · · Comment

The death of a gallant and erudite soldier

Studio portrait of Major General Sir William Bridges KCB CMG. Photographer: Alice Mills, Melbourne. (AWM A02867)

“Anyhow, I have commanded an Australian Division for nine months…”

These are the reported last words of Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges on board the hospital ship Gascon en route to Cairo on the 18th of May 1915. In the words of C. E. W Bean1, “he knew he was dying.”

A few days earlier, he had been picked out by a sniper in Monash Valley. The bullet had severed several major arteries in his thigh. Now gangrene had set in. His doctors knew that immediate amputation for this 53 year old man would be fatal, and it was better for nature to take its course, which in William Bridges’ case was 3 days.

His last recorded instruction “was that his regret should be conveyed to the Minister for Defence that his dispatch concerning the landing was not complete — he was too tired now.”

We can only surmise as to the mental processes of this proud man as he slipped in and out of consciousness. He may have remembered his life experiences and those closest to him, memories of time spent with his family and friends around Sydney’s foreshores, in particular his posting to Middle Head.

Read more