“Rallying The Troops: a World War I Commemoration” is Ku-ring-gai Historical Society’s celebrated four-volume series, commemorating the almost 1800 men and women associated with Ku-ring-gai who served in The Great War.
They came from all walks of life, from labourers to university lecturers, and served in many postings: the artillery, infantry, Light Horse, Camel Corps and Flying Corps; in nursing, medical and dental units; in engineering and tunnelling companies; and as chaplains.
This study that originally focused on one particular locality evolved into one representative of all Australia throughout the 1910s.
The project revealed the diversity and fluidity of our community: originally designed to record the war stories of the men and women associated with Ku-ring-gai, research revealed that they came from more than 80 towns and villages dotted throughout New South Wales, as well as from all over Australia.
Some enlisted in the AIF from afar afield as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Burma, India, Switzerland, Russia and New Zealand. Some travelled overseas to enlist in the British, Canadian, South African and French armies.
Most had origins outside Ku-ring-gai, from other states and other countries – such as the many who were recent immigrants from the United Kingdom – but all had links of one kind or another to Ku-ring-gai.
Of all in these volumes, one in six died, and one in ten was decorated.
Their achievements were many: over 340 were recommended for a decoration, with nearly 170 receiving awards. These ranged from a Mention in Despatches to the Victoria Cross, the highest honour of all, received by Major Blair Wark, VC DSO.
Their losses were great: 300 were killed or died of wounds or disease, and the health of many survivors was compromised. But what all did for their nation is monumental.
Rallying The Troops commemorates these brave souls who defended our nation, with each chapter containing examples of their involvement.
The home effort supporting those on active service was substantial, and Ku-ring-gai residents were prominent in the organisations that provided comfort to the troops.
All four volumes in this incredible series have been painstakingly researched and written by members and associates of Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, and are dedicated to both those who deployed – many never to return – and those who shouldered some of their burdens back home.
Each volume contains appendices on Australian Military Structure in the AIF; an illustrated World War I glossary; lists of those who lost their lives, who were decorated, and where they are commemorated overseas; and those who received honours and awards. Each volume is indexed, and photographs abound – many not previously published.
As reviewed by Russell Linwood ASM, Secretary Military History Society of Australia:
“…Each soldier’s story follows a concise pattern. Their military service and next of kin are followed by their life story, including location and date of death, and where each is commemorated. The labour of love by those who have painstakingly compiled these data is compellingly obvious, and the result is a record of a community’s contribution to war that is probably second to none, especially on this scale and at this level of detail. Where one exists, a photograph of the soldier is included…
“Footnotes for each section are perfectly placed to enable the searcher for deeper enquiry to pursue more information. On its own, Rallying The Troops is an incisive and deeply personable publication; most Australians even today can relate to the collective hurt and commitment by this community. Collectively, the full set provide a remarkable collection that deserves its place, not only on every household shelf in Ku-ring-gai, but in all repositories of first class works of literary art across the nation.”
Highly Awarded Series
The Society is honoured that Rallying The Troops volumes 2, 3 and 4 have each won awards from the Australian Society of Archivists: volumes 2 and 4 have won Category 2A, “The Mander Jones Award for the best publication that uses, features or interprets Australian archives, written by or on behalf of a Corporate body”; and volume 3 was Highly Commended in the same category. This category is aimed at rewarding publications that illuminate archives and archival collections for the community generally, or for a particular community.
The former Governor of NSW, and now Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley has been presented with all four volumes. His Excellency responded “I am very impressed with the depth of research … Your Society’s efforts are a compelling tribute to the men and women, and their families, who served our nation in The Great War.”
All four volumes have been lodged with the Royal United Services Institute Library within the refurbished ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney; as well as with the Imperial War Museum London, and in Ieper (Ypres) at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the In Flanders Museum.
It is wonderful to know that the years of research and writing and editing voluntarily given by our World War I Writers’ Team is appreciated, and will be for many years to come.
- List of all veterans mentioned in Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4
- List of those who gave their lives, and where they are buried or commemorated overseas
- List of women known to have served overseas as Nurses or VADS
- List of those who were decorated
This project has been generously supported by grants from Ku-ring-gai Council and the Federal Government.
Rallying The Troops vol. 1
Volume 1, with foreword by Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, contains the stories of those with surnames A to F – approximately one quarter of all those who volunteered. It comprises five sections, with six support appendices and a comprehensive index.
It includes chapters on Ku-ring-gai as it was at the outbreak of war; on recruiting; enlistment; local rifle clubs; pre-war training; and the early battles in which our veterans were involved – about 20 took part in the seizure of German territory in Rabaul, New Guinea, in September 1914. Wahroonga doctor Brian Pockley was the first Australian officer killed in the war, and over 40 died in the Gallipoli campaign, 13 of these at Lone Pine. Many of those who survived went on to serve in the Middle East and the Western Front.
There is also information on our local memorials, and to the memorials and cemeteries overseas where our dead are commemorated.
Rallying The Troops vol. 2
Volume 2 contains a foreword by Major General Gordon Maitland AO, OBE RFD ED (Ret’d), a distinguished military historian and doyen of the veteran community.
This volume contains biographical entries for Ku-ring-gai veterans with surnames G to K. Other chapters include the extensive training undergone both in Australia and overseas; the Middle East campaign involving the Light Horse and Camel Corps units; the Engineer Officers Training School at Roseville that attracted students from all over Australia; and our veterans’ participation in the major campaigns and battles in the Middle East, and on the Western Front at Fromelles, Pozières, Mouquet Farm and Bullecourt; as well as those fought by the mounted troops in the Middle East at Romani, Beersheba and Megiddo.
“You may and can well be proud of the Aussie infantry. There is none to beat them in the whole world.”
– Bombardier Geoffrey Johnson, MM, of Warrawee, to his father, William Morley Johnson, October 1918.
Rallying The Troops vol. 3
Volume 3 has a foreword by Major General The Honourable Justice Paul Brereton AM RFD, Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW and distinguished Army Reservist.
In addition to the biographies of those with surnames L to R, Volume 3 includes chapters on the 1917 battles of Messines and Third Ypres (which includes Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and the disastrous Passchendale) and on Edgeworth David and the tunnellers.
Supportive chapters include casualty clearance from the battlefield; medical issues, care and support; doctors and nurses; chaplains; the Red Cross and other volunteer organisations, both overseas and in Australia.
Rallying The Troops vol. 4
Volume 4 has a foreword by His Excellency, the Governor of NSW, General The Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (ret’d), and tells the war stories of over 430 veterans with surnames S to Z, including Ku-ring-gai’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross, Major Blair Wark VC DSO.
There are chapters on the main battles of 1918; the German spring offensive; and the Allies’ counter offensive that ultimately led to victory – including the battles of Villers-Bretonneux, Le Hamel, Amiens, Mont St Quentin-Péronne, the Hindenburg Line, St Quentin Canal and Montbrehain.
Other chapters outline the Diggers’ lives away from the front and how, on the home front, Ku-ring-gai residents were prominent in organisations supporting the war effort.
But at home there was also disquiet, with distrust of Germans resident in the area (even though many were naturalised Australians) to the extent that the press referred to Turramurra as ‘Hunamurra’.
Post war, chapters tell of support for the returned men and women with re-education; medical and financial assistance through schemes such as soldier settlement and war service homes; and the ongoing concern by Legacy for the welfare of veterans and their families.
Rallying The Troops - Complete 4-Volume Set
Would you like to purchase multiple copies or the complete set of four volumes? A wonderful gift idea for that someone special! Please contact us for pricing.
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