Friday, April 25, 2014

Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

George Henry Charles Carrett III &  Charles Arthur S Carrett

Seonaid from Kintalk Family History Blog says:

This is the fourth year that Auckland Libraries and the Kintalk blog have issued a Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.

Stories we'd like to hear about could be about their sacrifice, or the way it shaped or impacted on their family history. Maybe you want to blog from the perspective of those that were left behind?

Your story doesn't have to involve a serviceperson who lost their lives - during times of war, all sorts of loss unfortunately are experienced. 

And you can write about those who also served in other wars, as all who served in Australia and New Zealand are recognised as ANZACs.

Maybe you have written about your ANZAC before, and have more research to add to the story?

To participate:
Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history
Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of this post. 
Or if you don't have a blog then email us your story at
Publish your post by 26 April 2015.

I have shared the above photo of my great-grandfather before on this post.  But I thought I would spend a bit more time reflecting on his service by looking more closely at his service record on the NAA.  You can find it here.

George Henry Charles CARRETT III enlisted 8 May 1916 at the age of 37. He served in the Australian Army Service Corps 5th Division Train as a Driver.  For those of you who, like me, are not familiar with the organisation of the Army, the Service Corps is basically about supplies and transport.  According to this website, "of the 331,781 men of the AIF who embarked in Australia for overseas, 9,735 were AASC personnel."  Volume 1 of Neville Lindsay's book Equal to the Task - The Royal Australian Army Service Corps contains a wealth of information and you can find it online here.

Family and background

George CARRETT was a builder, married to Daisy Mildred CARRETT (nee TAYLOR) of FitzWilliam Road Vaucluse.  They had seven children: Millie, Ethel (my grandmother), Daisy & George - the twins, Rene, Ossie and Nora.   Nora, the youngest, was just two or three years old when he enlisted.  My grandmother Ethel was 11 years old and the eldest Millie would have been twelve.  George agreed "to allot not less than three-fifths of the pay payable to me from time to time during ......upport of my wife and children."  He was 5 foot 7 3/4 inches and weighed 146 lbs.  He had grey eyes and hair which was brown turning grey.  Distinctive marks included I think 2 toes off left foot.  

George was also the eldest son of George Henry Carrett II and Sarah STORES.  He was born in Dubbo in 1879, the eldest of nine children.  His younger brothers Charles (younger by 11 years) and Leslie (younger by 17 years) also enlisted.  Charles record can be viewed here.  Charles enlisted 15 May 1916 - only a week after George.  He joined the 11th Field Artillery Brigade.  He embarked 11 September 1916 from Sydney on the HMAT Aeneas A60.  I have ordered Leslie's service record.

George seems to have embraced life with all that it had to offer.  He was a prolific builder of homes in Sydney's west.  Family lore has it that he went to San Francisco in 1906 to help re-build after the earthquake.  He loved sailing and was a member of the Iron Cove Sailing Club as well as a Brother in the Rose of Petersham GUOOF Lodge.  No doubt the Great War was just another adventure to add to the list.

Service Record

Now I'm not very good at reading these records I must confess so bear with me.  It's due to general ignorance of military abbreviations and understanding of military organisation.  It looks like from May to October 1916 George was with the 22nd Reinforcements and then he was invalided at Victoria Barracks from 8 October to 1st November.  Then he was a Driver with 25th Reinforcements from 2 November until 2 February 1917.  Then from 3 February 1917 until 10 May he was a Driver with 24th Reinforcements.  

Port Melbourne, Vic. 1917-05-11. Starboard side view of HMAT Shropshire (A9) berthed at the wharf. Service personnel, including members of the 1st Division Signal Company, wait to board the ship while their gear is transferred from trucks. From Australian War Memorial Collection.

On 11th May 1917 he embarked from Melbourne and disembarked at Plymouth on 19 July.

There is some reference on the record to his being at No. 4 Camp P'house or Pkhse.  This must be a reference to the Parkhouse Training Depot.

Graham Wilson in his article The relevance of miscellany administrative, support and logistic units of the AIF says

The AASC Training Depot at Parkhouse was a particularly busy establishment. The depot not only trained and despatched 150 ASC reinforcements per month and conducted specialist officer and NCO training, it was also responsible for providing the supplies, transport and barracks services support for the AIF in the UK. Taking into account the AIF HQ, several hospitals, units of AFC and AIF depot complex, Parkhouse was responsible, on top of its training commitment, for the housing, feeding and transporting of about 50,000 men at any given time.

Some photos of the Depot are on the Australian War Memorial site.

 Australian Army Service and Veterinary Corps horse lines at No. 4 Parkhouse camp. 

On 7th November 1917 George left Southampton for France for what looks like to be Rouelles.

View Larger Map

By 14th November he was moved out to 5th Division Train and then on 23rd November he was posted to the 10th AASC.  According to the Unit Diary for the Division they seemed to be moving around Belgium or Flanders as it was referred to then.  Dranoutre, Haegedorne, Locre and Brulooze are some of the places mentioned.

View Larger Map

He stayed with this unit until 1919.


According to Neville Lindsay's timeline my great-grandfather would have been involved in Holding the Line during the Flanders Winter, the Defence of Amiens from Mar - July, Hamel in July and the Final Offensive from August - October.


George's service record shows two periods of leave - I think from 8 December 1918 until 3 January in Nice.  He took some more leave in April from 15th April to 8 May 1919 which he spent in the UK.  

End of Service and Medals

View Larger Map

By 10 June 1919 George was moved out to Number 2 Group at Sutton Veny.  You can read more about Sutton Veny here.

Three days later he was moved out to Number 5 Group at Weymouth and returned to Australia on SS Frankfurt leaving 1 July and disembarking 20 August 1919.   

Here is a picture of her coming into South Australia.  I was fascinated to read on this site that Frankfurt was one of the first ships to capture the Titanic's distress calls in 1912 but her offer of help was refused by the radio operator.

The SS 'Frankfurt' arriving at Outer Harbour, South Australia with passengers, possibly soldiers, crowded on to the decks courtesy of National Library of Australia and State Library of South Australia

And here is an article from The Argus on 20 August calling for motor cars to help transport the 800 troops landing at 9am.  George would have had to catch a train from Melbourne to Sydney before he could be with his family.

The Argus 20 August 1919 courtesy of the National Library of Australia 
George Henry Charles Carrett was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. 

He was not a hero as such.  But, like his Corps motto - Par Oneri, he was equal to the task.

Once again, many thanks to Neville Lindsay for helping me find a suitable conclusion to this post....from A.B. "Banjo" Patterson's poem The Army Mules which you can read in full here.


Sharon said...

Very well researched and written. I really like the addition of maps too.

Totally understand not being able to interpret many of the records. I like it when they type up the information as some of the handwriting is dreadful. I have often wondered how the records were kept? I would have thought that they were too busy during the war to keep accurate records?

TravelGenee said...

I have found lots of records for my fathers uncle that died in WWI. From the UK, NZ and Australian resources. Some have different papers. Some are hand written and others appear to have been retyped so keep looking as you might find more.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Sharon! I can't believe how long it took to write that post. My husband just doesn't get how long it all takes...poor love...all he sees is the back of my head lately! And yes, keeping a diary at the time must have seemed a big ask.

Alex Daw said...

Hi TravelGenee - thanks so much for visiting my blog. I am interested to hear what you have to say. I shall have to investigate further.

Diane Hewson said...

thank you for sharing this story, I too have had a lot of trouble reading the records, and back of post cards. I have a couple of postcards from WWI that have parts rubbed out. I am presuming this was part of the army censorship.

Peter Carrett said...

Hi Alex
I accidently came across this blog. It is great. My name is Peter Carrett and I am the author of the Dubbo historical notes you have read. I have done a recent update correcting lots of errors and adding much more information. I would be happy to send you a PDF file of the 72 pages of the story to date. As you are descended from the "City Carretts" as I call them I would love to add some of your information to the chapter on George. Just so you know I am for real and not a crook My great great grandfather was Charles Alfred. My email address is

Alex Daw said...

Hi Peter - I am so glad you like the blog. I will be certain to email you shortly.