Every name tells a story of war
HISTORIAN and Cottesloe RSL president Neville Green says it is forgotten just how many Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park teachers enlisted for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) of World War I.
“We had a very small population in 1914, and most of the teachers who went from WA were all from Claremont Teachers College,” Mr Green said.
The stories of the 997 people whose names are on the suburbs’ World War I honour boards, including three women who served in the army, navy, nursing and flying corps in the four-year conflict are in Mr Green’s book NotJustaName.19141918Servicemenandwomen launched at Cottesloe Council recently.
The names were gathered using boards in churches, councils, schools, businesses and forgotten dusty hiding places in research sponsored by Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park councils in the past 15 months.
At the Anzac Cove landings, three Cottesloe Surf Life Saving members were killed, including recent Maltese migrant Charles Bonavia, whose battlefield possessions included his lifesaving bronze medallion.
Mr Green said throughout the war whole community groups would enlist, including the Mosman Park-based Ocean Beach 29th Troop Boy Scouts, from which seven were killed.
The youngest to enlist from the three suburbs was Peppermint Grove schoolboy Earnest Waterhouse, aged 15 years 11 months, who wrote to his mother while serving with 11th Battalion at Villeret, northern France on September 18, 1918.
“Life is worth nothing now, so if I go under, you know I have done my duty. Do not grieve as we will meet in the new world. Love to all,” he wrote.
Earnest returned, married, had five children and became the Shire of Goomalling’s first president.
Cottesloe staff nurse Ellen Butterley (then 32) served with the AIF in Egypt, hospital ships and an Australian military hospital in the UK before being discharged in 1918.
About 47 per cent of those who enlisted locally were either killed or physically injured. “The sadness of it includes teacher Hugh Cannal, an AIF sapper who became a Royal Flying Corps pilot and was shot down and killed in what is now Iraq on October 31, 1918 – 11 days before the end of the war,” Mr Green said.