About Me

My photo
NSW, Australia
I'm made it past 50! married for over half my life, have 3 kids all grown and I'm loving this part of my life.I was a nurse in my younger days but an unhealthy dose of rheumatoid arthritis put a damper on my career,so I'm at home with the internet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A digger in the family

Now that Danny is in the army we have taken an interest in past family members and their war service.I was stumped for a graduation present and Danny expressed an interest in any medals , so for a graduation present we are having replicas of his great grandfathers medals made so he can wear them on ANZAC day and other formal army occasions.

Daintree Edwin Trevo De Vere was my husbands grandfather,b 1889-d 1970 this is a bit of history of the units and battles he was involved in. I don’t have any photos of him, only some of the units.

The New South Wales Irish Rifles were formed during the unpaid military volunteer movement which swept NSW in 1895.

The Sydney Irish community(funny we all thought he was french!!seriously,it was thought the family had french origins,they were circus people and now it appears the name is a non de plume) held meetings and formed a separate Irish corps. The NSW Irish Rifles, was always an entirely unpaid volunteer force, and ceased to exist when the Australian Army was reorganised in 1912.
Daintree’s record states he was in the Irish rifles for 3 years,Australian 1yr and a half. His service number was 477, but when he reenlisted after returning from New Guinea, his number was changed to 1920.

He was definately a part of the AN&MEF.

Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

The AN&MEFwas formed on 6 August 1914 to capture the German New Guinea's capital.It was separate from the Australian Imperial Force and was the first combined Australian Navy and Army expeditionary force of voluntary enlisted men ever to leave Australia , with its own ships, under the command of Australian officers.
Daintree joined the expiditairy on 11 Aug 1914.
It comprised one battalion of infantry , 1,000 men enlisted in Sydney—known as the 1st Battalion, AN&MEF+ 500 naval reservists and ex-sailors .The objectives were the German stations at Yap in the Caroline Islands, Nauru and at Rabaul, New Britain.

TWO WEEKS after enlisting.......On 19th aug 1914 the expeditionary force of 1500 men embarked on the troop ship Berrima and stopped at Palm Island for training and acclimatisationon.
On 11th September the Australian fleet entered the harbour of Rabaul, while the troops disembarked some few miles away at Kokopo and Kabakaul, to capture the wireless station at Bitapaka, where they met resistance from German forces. The total Geman force consisted of 51 reservists and some partly trained white settlers, plus 240 trained natives.

The actual location of the wireless station was,thought to be some miles south of Kabakaul, but information was provided and the troops proceeded along a jungle track where they encountered mines laid across the track, and trenches from which they were fired on.

Able Seaman William G V Williams was killed .An Australian Army Medical Corps Doctor, Captain Brian C.A Pockley,,gave his Red Cross arm band (which signified that he was a non-combatant) to the stretcher party conveying Williams. A short while later he was himself killed by rifle fire.
As the troops advanced along the thick jungle track towards the wireless station some five miles inland from the stone wharf, four more Australians were shot dead. German dead were estimated to be one officer and 30 native troops.

Three days later, Australia's first submarine, AE1, disappeared near the adjacent Duke of York Islands, with the loss of a crew of 35, and has never been found. After the battle for the radio station the fighting was over. The Germans were out numbered,they could not be resupplied and so they surrendered. The australian men went on to garrison duty. Some returned to Australia, joined the AIF itself and went on to Gallipolli.
Daintree spent 6 months there and returned to Australia on the 19 feb 1915.He was discharged on 4 march 1915 ,reenlisted next day in the AIF .. 3rd reinfts 18th batt ....... .

He was only 4ft 4 and a half!!! He was a 26yr old horsman who had married at 21 in 1910 , Les's grandmother was born 1911, but the couple had separated by 1912 and his mother raised the child.

His record says he embarked from Australia on 9/8/1915 other records state they left earlier but he disembarked at Gallipolli Penisnsula with the 18th Battalion on 20/8/1915.His signup term was for “war and 4 months”

The 18th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. It left Australia in early May, trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, and on 20 August landed at ANZAC Cove.The battalion had not been ashore a day when it was committed to the last operation of the August Offensive - the attack on Hill 60 - which lasted until 29 August and cost it 50 PER CENT casualties. For the rest of the campaign the 18th played a purely defensive role, being primarily responsible for holding Courtney’s Post.

Daintrees record shows that while at Courneys Post on 20/11/16 :CRIME..conduct prejudicial to military discipline and good order by failing to obey a command given by NCO in the course of his duty.
written after this is AWARD 7 days fatigue by Capt R.M Sadler. 7 days off doesn’t sound like punishment!Maybe he was at the end of his tether? or maybe it means they relieved him of 7 days pay?
The last members of the battalion left Gallipoli on 20 December.

After further training in Egypt, the 18th Battalion proceeded to France. Landing there on 25 March 1916.
2 months later Daintree became ill with influenza and was at the 7th Australian Field ambos on the 20/5/1916 then sent to the 2nd div rest station for a week before returning to the unit.

It took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 25 July and 5 August. The battalion returned to the Pozières trenches for a second time in late August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division including the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 18th Battalion was spared from having to mount an attack across the quagmire that the Somme battlefield had become, but did have to continue manning the front through a very bleak winter.After another winter of trench duty, the spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive that the 18th Battalion helped to repel. With this last desperate offensive turned back, the Allied armies turned to the offensive and the 18th participated in the battles that pushed the German Army ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October.
He was appointed Driver on 3/8/1917 and injured on 25/10/1917.He had a compound fracture of the right tibula and fibula(lower leg) and was transferred between various field hospitals in France until he got to London then then was on furlo for a month until he had to march in and he returned to Australia on 10/4/18. He was discharged medically unfit on 26/7/18.
Casualties of the 33rd Batt:1060 killed, 2453 wounded (including gassed)

Daintree received the1914/15 star #43/1229/2542 after New Guinea, and the The British War Medal and the Victory Medal at the end of the war.


  1. This bit of history was fascinating to read but I love what you are doing with the medals for your son. That is so very special. Nice touch.

  2. So interesting. I loved all the pictures. It's so touching. Great post!

  3. what a cool gift! my husband would be fascinated with something like that!!

  4. What a meaningful gift for your son!

  5. Really cool, I'm such a history fan but I know virtually nothing about Australian wars/conflict. The replica medals are a great idea, I'm sure your boy will love them.

  6. Wow you sure found out alot. Maybe i should have you do some reserch for me

  7. BB, thanks, I always wonder if the history bits are a bit boring for people.

    climb, thanks

    steph, it only took a little googling and research to find the info.

    Belle, yep he really likes the idea

    cake, i love history,so i know a a bit about aussie history, but not from elswhere.

    kisartle, I don't mind, I love the research, so give me details and I'll dig for you :)


I lurve comments, if popped in ,say Hi :)