George answers the wartime call from Down Under – part three
As the centenary of the signing of the armistice to end the First World War approaches, the Argyllshire Advertiser is publishing a series of extracts from a wartime diary with a difference.
The diary belonged to blacksmith and engineer George Kennedy, who emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1912, aged 31, with his wife and baby daughter. George, and many others, answered the call to return to Britain and did so in 1917 to help the war effort in the manufacture of munitions.
George Kennedy was the uncle of Inveraray woman Jenny Speirs, who kindly allowed the Argyllshire Advertiser access to her uncle’s records.
His diary records an arduous and eventful three-month journey back ‘home’. A fleet of transport ships was leased by the Commonwealth government for transporting the Australian Imperial Force personnel to their overseas destinations. These ships were also used to carry various goods to Britain and France. The fleet was made up of British ships and captured German vessels.
George Kennedy as a young man before emigrating to Australia in 1912.
Above, the Suffolk HMAT A23 troopship which collided with George Kennedy’s ship ‘Ulysses’ in Durban harbour.; and right, George Kennedy’s neice Jenny Speirs, still hale and hearty and living in Inveraray.