Sunday, October 26, 2014

Alexander Duncan - Part Three



Alex Duncan married Mary STANFORD in 1920.  (One of the STANFORD girls went on to marry a SPENDELOVE but that's another story).  

Six years later Alex Duncan died as the result of a blasting accident near Nerang in a quarry.  He was working with eight men at the time.  He lost three fingers on his right hand and his right elbow was fractured as well as his ribs on his right side.  The explosion was so severe that the newspaper reports that:


Duncan and Buckley hard hardly a thread of clothes on them.
courtesy of the National Library of Austraila Brisbane Courier 31 March 1926 page 7 


Alex was suffering severely from shock.  He was taken to Brisbane by train but died the following morning.  This article is rich in detail and I recommend reading it.  My husband and I were fascinated to find a mention of Stanley HINDE in it. Stanley was one of my husband's great uncles or his grandmother's older brother.  The article says that:


Stanley ...mounted a horse and rode at full gallop to Nerang to summon the Ambulance Brigade.

I found this photo online as well which has unidentified men working on the road to Beechmont.  I wonder if Alex or Stanely are in the picture.





One of the many articles written about the accident referred to George GIDDY as Alex's mate.  Of course I fantasized that perhaps George was the mate in the first photo at the beginning of this post but I can't find a war service record for a George Giddy that fits.  There is a George Giddy but he died in April 1917.  The George Giddy in the Nerang accident was born in 1870 and was 56 when he died.  

I'm drawn to the Giddys because looking at war records for Giddys I found two brothers - George (who died in 1917) and John James.  John James is described as a timber cutter from Kempsey.  The Duncans were famous for timber getting.  I think it is more likely that Alex Duncan may have been mates with him as they were about the same age.  But these are big fat guesses on my part.  

There is also William Henry Giddy, son of George (who died in the blasting accident at Nerang in 1926).  He seems to be known as Bob just to confuse matters and according to this newspaper article.  

George (who died at Pozieres in 1917) and John James would have been cousins with William Henry Giddy, as their father Esdras was George Snr's brother. Esdras and George were born in Camden in NSW to John Giddy and Hannah STAGG.

So here is my cousin bait.  If you know which man in the photo at the top of this post is Alex Duncan, I'd love to know.  And of course if you know who his mate is, that would be great too!  Over to you.

4 comments:

diane b said...

I enjoyed reading the story of Alex Duncan. You certainly know how to dig up information. It is sad that he survived the war but then died not long after from a civilian explosion.

Alex Daw said...

Indeed...as one of the newspaper articles said...it was an industrial battlefield. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/71159893?searchTerm=A%20Duncan&searchLimits=l-state=Queensland|||l-title=191|||l-decade=192

Mike Brubaker said...

A fine story and history, Alex. I enjoyed reading the extra details too. Industrial accidents used to be very common in the past when safety was usually a secondary concern, if at all, for employers. Working with explosives must have been troubling for veterans of the Western Front too.

Alex Daw said...

Yes Mike. Can you imagine? I think road work was one of the repatriation efforts to employ returned servicemen . I had never considered the rather ironic aspect that they went from digging trenches to digging roads. And yes - still using explosives.