No for­get­ting our lost boys

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - On Re­mem­brance Day this Satur­day, Novem­ber 11, Co­bram Ba­rooga RSL will re­mem­ber sev­eral Co­bram and district sol­diers who lost their lives dur­ing the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele. Oc­to­ber 2017 marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the great World War I bat­tles of 1917

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

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