No forgetting our lost boys
Albert ‘Snowy’ Baldwin
4513 Private Albert Victor Baldwin of the 29th Battalion AIF lived with his mother Louisa in Barooga when he enlisted on October 10, 1916.
Albert had played football with Boomanoomana during 1914 and his father had died two years previously.
He was very fair with blue eyes, and gave his occupation as a miner. Like many fair-haired Australians of the time he was known as ‘Snowy’ to his mates.
Albert left Australia in December 1916 and after many months training in England joined the 29th Battalion in France on October 26, 1917.
He survived only six weeks before he was mortally wounded on December 12, 1917.
He suffered severe shrapnel wounds to his left arm, left knee and right arm. He died a few hours after being taken to a casualty clearing station.
Aged 28, Albert was given a decent burial by a padre in the Trois-Arbres Cemetery, near the casualty station in France.
His mother placed the following notice in the Cobram Courier one year later:
‘‘BALDWIN – In loving memory of Private Albert Victor Baldwin 29th Battalion, beloved son of Mrs L. Baldwin, Barooga, who gave his life to the Empire in Belgium on the 12th December 1917, aged 28 years.
‘‘Died of wounds, say the cables,
‘‘That is all the tale they tell
‘‘Of the brave young lad who loved us,
‘‘Of the lad we loved so well.’’
Charles ‘Ray’ Thompson
388 Private Charles Raymond Allardyce Thompson, 22nd Company Machine Gun Corps AIF, killed in action on September 14, 1917, aged 27.
Known as Ray, his parents were Charles and Elsie Thompson, of ‘Elsieville’, Main St, Cobram.
Ray was born and raised in Cobram where he was taught at the Cobram State School by his own father, the teacher at the time.
His father taught in many of the local schools and was a highly esteemed citizen. Thompsons Beach and Thompson Avenue are named after the family.
Ray enlisted in May 1916 and arrived in England in September 1916.
He trained in England for almost six months and was posted to the 22nd Machine Gun Company in March 1917.
His mother said Ray ‘‘was able to go through an 80-mile march with full kit while at Belton Park in England, before going to France. He stood six foot in his socks, weighed 13-anda-half stone and himself well.’’
Ray fought with his unit in France and Belgium for six months before he was killed near Westhoek Ridge in Belgium.
His mates knew him as ‘Thommo’ and stated he was killed when he was carrying ammunition into the line with a group of several men when a drop short British shell exploded on them.
He died while being carried to a dressing station and his mates buried him about 100 yards away. Although his grave was marked it was subsequently lost and he has no known grave.
His proud mother stated on his Roll of Honour form, ‘‘His chums said he was one of the bravest, he had been struck on the helmet near Vaulx while working his machine gun and fired 4000 rounds at the enemy in revenge.
‘‘He was proud to have kept a clean record. He would not study for promotion as he preferred to go to France as men were needed there.’’
Elsie Thompson wrote at least half a dozen letters to the AIF from 1921 to 1923.
She had not received his identity disc, his watch or other personal belongings. She also wanted a photograph of his grave, which unfortunately had been lost forever.
She never received any satisfaction to her requests.
‘Thommo’ is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, which records the names of 55 000 missing British soldiers. carried