WA politi­cian joined up to fight at 43



Great-great-great-grand­fa­ther of

Emily and Char­lotte Briggs

Bartholomew Stubbs gave up a ca­reer as a State politi­cian — and even­tu­ally his life — to be­come one of the old­est West Aus­tralians to en­list for World War I, aged 43.

Stubbs mar­ried Alice on

November 11, 1897, at St Mary’s Cathe­dral in Perth, be­com­ing step­fa­ther to Alice’s two chil­dren, Wil­liam Frances Ged­des, 11, and Edith May Ged­des, eight. In 1905, they took in Alice’s or­phaned niece, five-year-old May Stephens, and in 1911, rep­re­sent­ing the Aus­tralian La­bor Party, he was elected as Su­bi­aco MLA.

He won his seat again in 1914, but a strong sense of duty led him to en­list as a pri­vate in the AIF, train­ing at Black­boy Hill where he was pro­moted to sergeant. He was then se­lected for of­fi­cer train­ing at Royal Mil­i­tary Col­lege Dun­troon, grad­u­at­ing as a sec­ond-lieu­tenant.

In December 1916, Stubbs left Fre­man­tle on the Ber­rima in charge of the 8th Re­in­force­ment of 51st Bat­tal­ion. His younger brother, Michael, was one of his troops. While serv­ing on the Western Front, he was pro­moted to lieu­tenant and when asked to re-con­test his seat in par­lia­ment, he was elected un­op­posed in 1917.

His Dun­troon class­mate Lt Barnes de­scribed him as “a brave, ca­pa­ble and con­sci­en­tious of­fi­cer”.

Stubbs was shot and killed by a sniper dur­ing the Bat­tle of Poly­gon Wood in Bel­gium on Septem­ber 26, 1917.

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