On April 25th, 2015 it will be 100 years since the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed at Gallipoli. 620 Australians lost their lives on that day. There was much more bloodshed to come.
The War That Changed Us and The ANZAC Girls are two TV series that have been running for a few weeks. Although we don’t have any WWI nursing sisters that I’m aware of in our family, the series gives us a really good understanding of the role the sisters played during the war. They would have to be the best TV series I’ve ever seen about WWI and possibly the first one about the sisters and their role. And rightly so!
During one episode of The ANZAC Girls, a young nursing sister was grieving terribly about the loss of her fiancé and she refused to believe that he was dead. Perhaps he had been taken prisoner and was still alive somewhere as his name wasn’t on the missing rolls, nor was it on the list of prisoners of war. The Red Cross were involved in keeping the lists of the dead, missing and wounded. It reminded me of Private Augustus Campbell, brother of Zenobia Lymburner (Campbell) who was missing on the Dardanelles April 26, 1915, and not declared dead until over 12 months later. A court of enquiry in France on November 3, 1916, found that on the second day of the Gallipoli campaign, Private Augustus Campbell was killed in action on the Dardanelles. His body was never found and there is no known grave, although he has been commemorated on Panel 24 of The Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey.
Augustus was born in New Zealand in 1873, the fourth child of Neil Campbell and Anne Green. His Regiment No. was 207, he was aged 34 years, 5’7″ tall and weighed 154 lbs, married and address at enlistment was that of his mother Mrs Ann Campbell of 263 City-road, South Melbourne, Victoria. Augustus was a Presbyterian and enlisted on August 17, 1914 with the 66th Infantry for which he would be paid 5s per day. Previously he had served 2 years in Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Volunteer Rifles in South Australia.
He served overseas in the 5th Battalion, B Company which embarked from Melbourne, Victoria on board transport A3 Orvieto on October 21, 1914. The 5th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914, recruited in Victoria and embarked two months later. A brief stop in Albany, Western Australian, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, landing on 2 December. It later took part in the Anzac landing on April 25, 1915 as part of the second wave.
Augustus’ brother Neil Campbell, made a statutory declaration on January 10, 1921, in order to claim the medals due to him as their father Neil Campbell had died at South Melbourne about the year 1891. Their mother Ann Campbell died at South Melbourne August 28, 1915, from a heart attack just four months after Augustus went missing. Another son Zeno had died in Melbourne on March 20, 1915. Was it all too much for her?
Augustus was married to Nellie Henderson but they didn’t live together and according to a letter that his brother Neil had written to the AIF, he didn’t know where she was and that she was leading an ‘immoral life’!
The National Archives hold digital copies of the Attestation Papers, letters, telegrams etc. One letter amongst Augustus’ file is from Miss K Campbell who would be his eldest sister Keturah. She wrote to the Military Headquarters on April 25th, 1916 asking for information regarding her brother. The last they had heard of him was when he was reported in the press amongst the missing and wounded at Gallipoli. Keturah was at the time, living at Manilla House, 433 Bourke Street, Sydney.
On April 28th, 1916 Keturah received a letter from the Officer in charge of base records stating that there was no further information to hand. “Those taken prisoner and interned in Turkey included 8 officers and 53 men of other ranks, but no Private Campbell. The missing list is revised daily at Alexandria and it was hoped that more information would be afforded shortly.”
An Inventory of his Effects was sent to his mother’s address in South Melbourne. The effects were a watch, cap stud, sleeve link, eraser, strap, chamois bag, pipe & case. However, his mother was no longer there. These must have eventually been forwarded to Keturah as she has signed a receipt for consignment from the Defence Department November 13th, 1917. Keturah must have left her home in Bourke Street Sydney as several attempts were made to find Augustus’ next of kin.
January 15, 1921, Neil Campbell, living at 42 Freeman Street, North Fitzroy, Victoria declares that he would now be the next of kin and asked that any medals due to Augustus, could be handed over to him. Communication on February 18, 1928, reads that the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals and the Memorial Plaque and Scroll have been sent and a receipt was signed recording same had been received.
R.I.P Private Augustus Campbell
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”