WA politician joined up to fight at 43
BARTHOLOMEW JAMES STUBBS
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.