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Tuesday, 1 July 2008
8th Australian Light Horse Regiment, The Merritt family
Topic: AIF - 3B - 8 LHR

8th LHR, AIF

8th Australian Light Horse Regiment

The Merritt family

 

The Merritt family

[From: Melbourne Argus, 19 January 1915 p. 7.]

 

During the Great War, many families saw all the eligible men enlist for  service. This item deals specifically with the Merritt family which was featured within a small piece published in the Melbourne Argus, 19 January 1915 p. 7.

Family of Soldiers

In the camp at Broadmeadows three brothers named Merritt for one of the notable instances of the three boys of a family bound for the war. They are William Crawford, Charles Cecil and Frank Leslie Merritt of Welshpool, Gippsland. The uncle of the lads, Mr David Crawford, who went through the South African War in Bethune's Light Horse, is also a member of the present contingent, and has been placed in command of the scouts. He was mentioned in despatches in South Africa, and received the "DSO". The family is certainly a fighting one, for Mrs Merritt's father was a member of the British legion that fought in Spain from 1834 to 1840.

 

The following are the military biographies of each man mentioned in the article.

 

Lieutenant David Crawford, Bethune's Mounted Infantry, Mentioned in Despatches 

[From: London Gazette Issue 27459, 29 July 1902, p. 23.]

 

231 Sergeant David Crawford

Place of birth    High Camp, Kilmore, Victoria
School    High Camp State School, Victoria
Religion    Protestant
Occupation    Motor mechanic
Address    26 Anderson Street, Yarraville, Victoria
Marital status    Married
Age at embarkation    37
Height    5' 9.75"
Weight    175 lbs
Next of kin    Wife, Mrs Hannah Mabel Crawford, 22 Richardson Street, Essendon, Victoria
Previous military service    Served in Bethunes Mounted Infantry during Boer War as a Sergeant. Mentioned in despatches.
Enlistment date    21 September 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll    21 September 1914
Place of enlistment    Melbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistment    Sergeant
Unit name    8th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number    10/13/1
Embarkation details    Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria on 25 February 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll    Sergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll    8th Light Horse Regiment
Fate    Killed in Action 23 June 1915
Place of death or wounding    Walker's Ridge,Gallipoli, Turkey
Age at death    40
Age at death from cemetery records    40
Place of burial    Ari Burnu Cemetery (Row C, Grave No. 1), Anzac, Gallipoli
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial    6
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records    Parents: William and Jane CRAWFORD; husband of H. Mabel CRAWFORD, Collins Street, Traralgon, Victoria
Family/military connections    Nephews: 318 Pte Charles Cecil MERRITT, 3rd Machine Gun Squadron, died of wounds, 1 November 1917; 319 Pte Frank Leslie MERRITT, 8th Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 11 April 1916; 28370 Gunner Roy Vernon MERRITT, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 25 March 1919.
Other details    
War service: Egypt, Gallipoli
Proceeded to join Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 May 1915.
Killed in action, Gallipoli, 23 June 1915 (hit by shell); buried, 23 June 1915.
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Lest We Forget

 

318 Private Charles Cecil Merritt

 Place of birth    Camberwell, Victoria
School    Welshpool School, Victoria
Religion    Presbyterian
Occupation    Labourer
Address    Welshpool, South Gippsland, Victoria
Marital status    Single
Age at embarkation    21
Height    5' 9"
Weight    159 lbs
Next of kin    Father, Thomas Merritt, Welshpool, South Gippsland, Victoria
Previous military service    Nil
Enlistment date    24 September 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll    24 September 1914
Place of enlistment    Toorac, Victoria
Rank on enlistment    Private
Unit name    8th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number    10/13/1
Embarkation details    Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria on 25 February 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll    Private
Unit from Nominal Roll    3rd Machine Gun Squadron
Fate    Died of wounds 1 November 1917
Place of death or wounding    Beersheba, Palestine
Age at death    25
Place of burial    Beersheba War Cemetery (Row B, Grave No. 49), Palestine
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial    180
Family/military connections    Brothers: 319 Pte Frank Leslie MERRITT, 8th Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 11 April 1916; 28370 Gunner Roy Vernon MERRITT, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 25 March 1919. Uncle: 231 Sgt David CRAWFORD, 8th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 23 June 1915.
Other details    

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine

Proceeded to join Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 May 1915.

Admitted to New Zealand Field Ambulance, Gallipoli, 28 June 1915 (bomb wounds, both legs); transferred to Hospital Ship, 28 June 1915; admitted to No 2 General Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, 8 July 1915; to No 2 General Hospital, Mena, 4 August 1915; to Anzac Convalescent Camp, Helouan, 5 August 1915; transferred to Zeitoun for duty, 11 August 1915.

Admitted to No 3 Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 28 September 1915 (dysentery); transferred to No 4 Auxiliary Hospital, Abbassia, 28 September 1915; to Anzac Convalescent Camp, Helouan, 16 October 1915; discharged to duty, 29 March 1916; marched into Convalescent and General Base, Zeitoun, 30 March 1916.

Transferred to 3rd Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron, Moascar, 1 August 1916.

To Imperial School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 27 October 1916; passed as 1st Class Machine Gunner in Lewis Gun Course.

Admitted to 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance, Belah, 31 March 1917 (diphtheria); transferred to 34th Casualty Clearing Station, 31 March 1917; to Convoy Station, 31 March 1917; to No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, El-Arish (tonsilitis), 2 April 1917; discharged to duty, 11 April 1917; rejoined unit, 23 April 1917.

Admitted to 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance, Shellal, 17 June 1917 (diarrhoea); transferred to Casualty Clearing Station, 19 June 1917; to Hospital Train, 20 June 1917; to No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, 20 June 1917; to Base Hospital, 21 June 1917; to 24th Stationary Hospital, 21 June 1917; to Citadel Military Hospital, Cairo, 23 June 1917; to Convalescent Depot, Abbassia, 20 July 1917; discharged, 3 August 1917; taken on strength, 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment, Moascar, 3 August 1917.

Detached to Imperial School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 26 August 1917; passed as 1st Class Machine Gunner; returned to duty, 15 September 1917.

Transferred to Machine Gun Details, 15 September 1917; taken on strength, Machine Gun Training Squadron, 15 September 1917.

Transferred to 3rd Australian Machine Gun Squadron, 19 September 1917; taken on strength, 22 September 1917.

Wounded in action, Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917; admitted to 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance, 31 October 1917 (bomb wound, chest); transferred to Australian Receiving Station, 1 November 1917 (bomb wounds, thorax and abdomen); died of wounds, 1 November 1917; buried, 1 November 1917.
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

In the evening at Tel el Saba, 31 October 1917, while Beersheba was falling, there was an air raid on the men as they moved to their positions. Those killed came from "C" Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment and the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron. 

See: The Battle of Beersheba 

 

Roll of Honour

499 Private William Irvine HUTCHINSON, 8th Light Horse Regiment

3255 Private James Lowry BODKIN, 9th Light Horse Regiment

1497 Private John Currie CUMMING, 8th Light Horse Regiment

318 Private Charles Cecil MERRITT, 8th Light Horse Regiment

2815 Private Claude Michael LEAHY, 9th Light Horse Regiment

2939 Private Donald James MORRISON, 9th Light Horse Regiment

Lest we forget.

 

319 Private Frank Leslie Merritt

Date of birth    11 June 1897
Place of birth    Buln Buln, Victoria
Religion    Presbyterian
Occupation    Hairdresser
Address    Welshpool, Victoria
Marital status    Single
Age at embarkation    19
Height    5' 8"
Weight    140 lbs
Next of kin    Father, Thomas Merritt, Welshpool, Victoria
Previous military service    67th Infantry
Enlistment date    15 September 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll    16 September 1914
Place of enlistment    Meeniyan, Victoria
Rank on enlistment    Private
Unit name    8th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number    10/13/1
Embarkation details    Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria on 25 February 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll    Private
Unit from Nominal Roll    8th Light Horse Regiment
Fate    Returned to Australia 11 April 1916
Family/military connections    Brothers: 318 Pte Charles Cecil MERRITT, 3rd Machine Gun Squadron, died of wounds, 1 November 1917; 28370 Gunner Roy Vernon MERRITT, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 25 March 1919. Uncle: 231 Sgt David CRAWFORD, 8th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 23 June 1915.
Other details    

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli

Proceeded to join Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 May 1915.

Admitted to Hospital Ship, 16 August 1915 (shrapnel wound, stomach); disembarked Alexandria, 25 August 1915; admitted to No 2 Australian General Hospital, Cairo, 25 August 1915; transferred to Mena Hospital, 1 September 1915; transferred to Montasah Convalescent Camp, 3 September 1915; to British Red Cross Convalescent Camp, Montasah, 3 September 1915 (enteritis); transferred to Mustapha Base, 25 September 1915.

Admitted to Anzac Convalescent Camp, Helouan, 28 October 1915 (influenza); transferred to No 2 Australian General Hospital, Ghezireh, 5 November 1915 (tonsilitis); to Anzac Convalescent Camp, 12 November 1915; to No 2 Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 22 February 1916 (diarrhoea and varicocele); to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 10 March 1916; marched out for return to Australia, 10 April 1916.

Commenced return to Australia from Suez on board HT 'Runic', 11 April 1916; disembarked Melbourne, 12 May 1916; discharged, 7 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
British War Medal and Victory Medal marked returned, 10 May 1923.

 

320 Private William Crawford Merritt

Religion    Presbyterian
Occupation    Labourer
Address    Welshpool, South Gippsland, Victoria
Marital status    Single
Age at embarkation    22
Next of kin    Mother, Mrs A Merritt, Welshpool, South Gippsland, Victoria
Enlistment date    24 September 1914
Rank on enlistment    Private
Unit name    8th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number    10/13/1
Embarkation details    Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria on 25 February 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll    Private
Unit from Nominal Roll    8th Light Horse Regiment
Fate    Returned to Australia 28 April 1915

28370 Gunner Roy Vernon Merritt

Place of birth    Black Flat, Victoria
Religion    Presbyterian
Occupation    Student
Address    Welshpool,South Gippsland, Victoria
Marital status    Single
Age at embarkation    18
Height    5' 6.25"
Weight    129 lbs
Next of kin    Father, Thomas Merritt, Welshpool,South Gippsland, Victoria
Previous military service    64th Infantry
Enlistment date    25 May 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll    25 May 1916
Place of enlistment    Melbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistment    Gunner
Unit name    Field Artillery Brigade 12, Reinforcement 7
AWM Embarkation Roll number    13/39/3
Embarkation details    Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 25 October 1916
Rank from Nominal Roll    Gunner
Unit from Nominal Roll    14th Field Artillery Brigade
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular    Brothers: 318 Pte Charles Cecil MERRITT, 3rd Machine Gun Squadron, died of wounds, 1 November 1917; 319 Pte Frank Leslie MERRITT, 8th Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 11 April 1916. Uncle: 231 Sgt David CRAWFORD, 8th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 23 June 1915.
Fate    Returned to Australia 25 March 1919
Other details   

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 25 October 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 28 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 15 August 1917; marched into Australian General Base Depot, Rouelles, 18 August 1917.

Taken on strength, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, and posted to 53rd Battery, 27 August 1917.

Evacuated, 2 October 1917 (gassed); admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 3 October 1917; transferred to 1st Aouth African General Hospital, Abbeville, 4 October 1917; embarked for England, 11 October 1917; admitted to Reading War Hospital, 12 October 1917 (mustard gas); transferred to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 2 November 1917; discharged, 6 November 1917; marched into No 4 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 13 November 1917; marched out to Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, 19 January 1918.

Marched out to Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery, Heytesbury, 5 February 1918.

Proceeded overseas to France, 13 March 1918; marched into Australian General Base Depot, Rouelles, 14 March 1918; rejoined 14th Field Artillery Brigade, 19 March 1918.

To England on leave, 26 January 1919; reported to Headquarters, 12 February 1919.

Admitted to 1st Australian General Hospital, Sutton Very, 26 February 1919 (sick); discharged, 27 February 1919.

Commenced return to Australia from England on board HT 'Fort Denison', 25 March 1919; disembarked Melbourne, 10 May 1919; discharged, 25 July 1919 (medically unfit).

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal.

 

Source: Information for this post was extracted from AUSTRALIAN ANZACS IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

 

Further Reading:

8th Light Horse Regiment, AIF

8th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment, The Merritt family


Posted by Project Leader at 11:23 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 20 August 2010 8:39 AM EADT

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The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.

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