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Saturday, 16 May 2009
The Rifle Club Movement, Contents
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

Contents

 
While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The Commonwealth impetus for funding the Rifle Club Movement came from this conflict.
 
 
Items
 
History
 
 
 
 
 
 
Military Orders
 
 
 
 
Personnel
 

Further Reading:

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: The Rifle Club Movement, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 11:17 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 22 June 2009 12:32 AM EADT
A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

 

Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, a portrait by John Singer Sargent.

 

The following is extracted from a speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902 circulated by Colonel John Charles Hoad, Deputy Adjutant General (DAG), and issued with General Order No. 162 of 13 September 1902. 

While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The result is this letter by Colonel Hoad with his remarks framed clearly withing this context.

 



Military Forces of the Commonwealth

Headquarters

Melbourne, September 1902

In view of the recent Minute on the subject of Rifle Shooting in Australia, issued with GO No 23 of 1st April last, the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth desires to invite attention to the following speech made by Field Marshal Earl Roberts, Commander in Chief of the British Army, when presiding over the prize distribution at the Meeting of the National Rifle Association at Bisley, England, in July last.

By order,
J. C. HOAD, COLONEL,
DAG and CSO

 

Field Marshal Earl Roberts spoke as follows:-

Since I had the honour of addressing you a year ago, I have been able to consider more fully our musketry experiences in South Africa, and I believe that we have arrived at a peculiarly important and interesting stage in the history of rifle shooting. The campaign which we have just passed through bas been a long and arduous one, during which I should be afraid to say how many millions of rounds of small arms ammunition have been expended in the kind of shooting which societies like the National Rifle Association are formed to develop. It seems, therefore, that now is the time for us to consider our position carefully, and decide whether we are working on the right lines as regards the training of our soldiers and volunteers - whether, in fact, shooting, as practised at Bisley, and other kindred meetings, has produced the result which, presumably, they desire - viz., to enable our men to use their rifles with the best possible effect against an enemy. We soldiers most readily bear testimony to the fact that rifle associations have been of the greatest valve in the past, not only in encouraging rifle shooting, but in making those who take an interest in the subject realize the extraordinary power of the Service rifle in the hands of experts. But I venture to think we are not quite up-to-date, and we should now determine whether the class of shooting as carried on at these meetings is in all respects the best suited to the conditions of modern warfare, `which are so different to those of former days, and whether also it may not be necessary to make some radical change in our system of musketry instruction to meet the altered methods of fighting. The experience gained in South Africa will, I think, assist us greatly in coming to a satisfactory conclusion on those very important points. We have learned that fire discipline can be insisted upon to such an extent that it leaves no room for intelligent independent action, and actually prevents men from taking the initiative and using their rifles when circumstances admit of this being done with advantage. We have learned that volley firing can hardly be employed when troops are in extended order, or when they are exposed to a heavy fire. We have learned that a judicious use of the magazine by small bodies of men at long ranges may* often produce important results. And we have learned---sometimes by very bitter experience-that, while opportunities occasionally occur for highly trained experts to fire at individual objects at long ranges under conditions more or less approximate to those which obtain at Bisley, it is skilful snap-shooting at the shorter ranges which is most constantly required, which is of the highest value, and upon which (as I said last year) the results of battles in the future will, as far as we can now see, depend. While, therefore, I most thoroughly recognise the usefulness of careful target practice, I earnestly commend for the consideration of the Council of the National Rifle Association the necessity for gradually introducing such changes in their annual programme a-s will admit of shooting being carried on more in accordance with modern warfare than obtains at present. I am aware that objections may be raised to this proposal, as it entails a greater expenditure of ammunition, and, consequently, there is more wear and tear of the rifle ; but I feel sure that a change in the direction I have indicated is absolutely essential if our soldiers are to make the fullest use of their admirable weapon. For improvements in the other details of musketry which the experience of the late war has taught us, we, to whom the training of the Army is intrusted, are responsible, and we are determined to give them our earnest attention. We must make commanding and company officers, and also musketry instructors, clearly understand that good shooting; is not acquired alone by practice on the range, but that men must be taught in the barrack square to handle their rifles with ease and confidence before proceeding to the range. And we must endeavour to make officers realize that, while fire discipline is as essential as ever, the aim of all teaching must be to secure the prompt interpretation of signals, and intelligent individual action when opportunity offers. And we must not lose sight of the fact that to obtain the full value of the modern rifle a very high order of training is essential. I sometimes doubt whether skill in shooting has kept pace with the improvement of the rifle.

Great efforts are being made to improve the shooting in the Army. The number of rounds allowed for practice has been considerably increased, and additional ammunition has also been provided for the training of recruits and Volunteer Cadet Battalions. Then 95 new ranges have been completed during the last thirteen months, and 22 more are in the course of construction ; while to meet the difficulties attendant on suitable open ranges in populous districts, plans for safety and miniature ranges, such as fire largely made use of by other European powers, have been approved and published. Safety and miniature ranges may not be as useful as open ones, but they are a long way better than no ranges at all, and men can become good shots b careful practice at them. I think too that such ranges close at hand, where they can be constantly used, by must contribute more to efficiency than an open air range at a distance, and, therefore, not always possible to get at."


Further Reading:

John Charles Hoad

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902

Posted by Project Leader at 11:09 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:19 AM EADT
A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG, 26 March 1902
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG.

 

Colonel John Charles Hoad.

 

The following is extracted from a memorandum circulated by Colonel John Charles Hoad, Deputy Adjutant General (DAG), and issued with General Order No. 23 of 1 April 1902. 

While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The result is this letter by Colonel Hoad with his remarks framed clearly withing this context.

 

 

Military Forces of the Commonwealth

Headquarters

Melbourne, 26 March 1902

The Secretary,

(... Insert name here ...) Rifle Association


The General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth requests that you will promulgate to the members of your Council copies of this minute containing his observations as regards the development and changes necessary in the rifle practice of the future. Copies should also be forwarded by you to the Secretary of each Association in affiliated with you.

(1) The modern rifle, with its extreme accuracy and length of range, renders necessary a more advanced form of instruction, and of practice, ill rifle shooting than has hitherto pertained. It is obvious that the practice of rifle shooting, as initiated 50 years ago, on the first introduction of the breech-Ioading rifle, must now be modernized so as to utilize to the fall the vast developments which have been made, and which are now taking place. The recent campaign, moreover, has very clearly indicated that the "sporting" element of rifle shooting is an important factor towards success in the individual or scattered formations of all modern battlefields, and especially such as those upon which our troops have been engaged in South Africa, where there are so many conditions of special interest to us in Australia. The excellent shooting which has given such advantages to our enemies in South Africa is the result of constant warfare against savage peoples, and continuous experience in the killing of game. The Boer has thereby acquired by tradition, by practical knowledge, and by mature experience a facility in the practical and ready use of his rifle, and a broad knowledge of its capabilities, which few of us in Australia can hope to achieve except by artificial means.

(2) In order to obtain the result above indicated, it will be advisable to divide rifle practice into 'two classes, namely:

(a) The Elementary Stage, which includes shooting at a fixed mark on a measured range, and, where ordinary ranges are not available, practice by means of miniature ammunition on a miniature range.

(b) The Advanced Stage, which comprises shooting at all object moving at varied rates of speed and at measured distances, and at appearing and disappearing objects.

(3) It is evident that if the full value is to be obtained from our modern rifle, and if we are acquire excellence under the conditions which we know to prevail on the modern battlefield, it will not be sufficient to confine our instruction in, or our practice of rifle shooting to the elementary stage, no matter to how scientific a point that elementary stage has been brought.

(4) It is essential that the higher scientific knowledge, and the more expert skill with the rifle under conditions of actual war, which the Boer possesses, should be acquired, and, with this object in view, we must devote the greatest possible attention, and the most important prizes with a view to attaining the highest standard of excellence in the advanced stage referred to in 2 (b). It is obvious that to hit an object moving, laterally (or advancing and retiring) at a given distance and at a given speed, requires not only all the expert knowledge possessed by the man who fires in the elementary stage at a fixed mark, but, in addition, the scientific knowledge and the tried experience which will enable the firer to calculate the pace at which the object moves, and the distance and time required for the bullet to travel in order to reach that object.

A similar expert knowledge and continuous practice is required in order to achieve success in firing at comparatively small objects which appear and disappear. The General Officer Commanding, therefore, desires to appeal to the expert at shooting at a fixed mark to devote all his knowledge, all his experience, and all his scientific training to firing at moving and disappearing objects under the very difficult conditions which he must meet with in actual war, bearing in mind that he has yet to acquire the knowledge and the instinct which is inbred in the Boer, and which is the result of the experience of generations in shooting at game and in fighting their enemies.

(5) The General is well aware that there are many difficulties in adopting means to the ends in view, and that some expense and no little ingenuity will be required in order to arrange moving targets which at a given distance shall maintain an unvaried speed and in making a system of appearing and disappearing targets which shall meet the requirements without undue expense. Suggestions on this head will be circulated at an early date.

(6) It is also most desirable that every encouragement should be given by Rifle Associations to riding and shooting combined. The special characteristics of the Australian make skill in horsemanship and marksmanship specially consistent with his value as a citizen soldier. In this respect, also, valuable lessons may be learnt from our gallant enemy in South Africa. The General desires that the Associations will carefully consider the best means of encouraging this speciality of the Australian Military Forces. Competitions might, in his opinion, be arranged without difficulty for (a) single horsemen; (b) groups of 4 men; and (c) troops of 12 men and an officer. A course of about 1½ miles might be laid out with three firing points at comparatively short ranges - 300, 400, and 500 yards - and competitors started to gallop over the course; points being given for marksmanship, time, and horsemanship. In this connexion it may be remarked that the single horseman would require to tether his horse on the plan adopted in the North-Western Provinces of Canada, namely, by attaching the bridle to the stirrup-iron or girth, or by the use of a linker; by groups - 3 men dismounting, and the fourth holding the horses and by troops - three-fourths dismounting, and one-fourth remaining mounted.

(7) The General Officer Commanding proposes during the ensuing winter to invite the attendance of the Commonwealth Council representing the State Rifle Associations to discuss the above-named points, and to ask them for suggestions as to how the foregoing developments may be best carried out in the interests of rifle shooting, and to the increased benefit of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth generally.

J. C. HOAD, COLONEL,
Deputy Adjutant General

 


Further Reading:

John Charles Hoad

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG, 26 March 1902

Posted by Project Leader at 10:37 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:20 AM EADT
John Charles Hoad
Topic: Militia 1899-1920

John Charles Hoad

Biography

Colonel John Charles Hoad.

 

The following biography is extracted from the article by Warren Perry, 'Hoad, Sir John Charles (1856 - 1911)',  published in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, Canberra 2006, ISSN 1833-7538. The photograph has been added from a private collection and is not part of the original ADB text.

 

Biography

Sir JOHN CHARLES HOAD,  (1856-1911), soldier, was born on 25 January 1856 at Goulburn, New South Wales, son of George Hoad, labourer and later baker, and his wife Catherine, née Kearney. Nothing is known of Hoad's boyhood or education, but it is believed that at 6 he was orphaned and brought up by relations in the Wangaratta district of Victoria.

On 1 January 1878 he entered the Victorian Education Department and was appointed head teacher at Gooramadda State School; in September he became an assistant at Wangaratta School and in April 1881 head teacher at Wangaratta North. Interested in sport, Hoad proved himself a keen horseman and good cricketer, footballer and athlete. His last teaching appointment was at Brighton Road, St Kilda, school.

On 5 December 1884 Hoad became a militia lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Victorian Rifles. He resigned from the Education Department and joined the permanent staff of the Victorian Military Forces on 11 February 1886. Posted first to the Cadet Corps, on 4 June he became adjutant of the Victorian Mounted Rifles commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Price. A captain since March 1887, Hoad was promoted major in April 1889.

In October Hoad left Melbourne for England where he underwent training courses in signalling, military engineering and musketry. He returned to Melbourne in March 1891 and in January 1892 was appointed second-in-command of the Victorian Mounted Rifles. He pushed ahead in the service and consolidated his position. In March 1895 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel and appointed assistant adjutant general at Victorian Headquarters—a post which had hitherto been reserved for a British Army officer.

In England again in 1897, Hoad attended Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations in London and served on the personal staff of Lord Roberts and the Duke of Connaught. He returned to Melbourne in October. On 28 April 1899 he attained the rank of colonel.

During the South African War Hoad served as a special service officer, and on arrival at Cape Town on 26 November 1899 was given command of the 1st Australian Regiment, the first force composed of troops from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. The regiment moved to the Orange River on 1 December and joined the Kimberley Relief Force. At Bloemfontein in April 1900 when the regiment was absorbed into the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade, Hoad became assistant adjutant general to the brigade under Major General Sir Edward Hutton. In July Hoad was evacuated to hospital in Cape Town and from there was invalided to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 26 August. For his services he was appointed C.M.G., awarded the Queen's Medal and mentioned in dispatches. He was aide-de-camp to the governor-general from August 1902 to October 1906.

During Hutton's period in command of Australia's military forces after Federation, Hoad was his principal staff officer with the title of deputy adjutant general and chief staff officer. From November 1903 to January 1904 he temporarily commanded the 6th Military District (Tasmania). Early in 1904 relations between himself and Hutton became strained because, against Hutton's advice, the Deakin government sent Hoad for attachment to the Japanese Army, as an observer, in the Russo-Japanese war in Manchuria. For his services he received the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd class, and the Japanese War Medal.

When the Military Board was set up in January 1905 Hoad became its principal military member with the title of deputy adjutant general. In September 1906 he was appointed, temporarily, inspector general with the temporary rank of brigadier general. In January 1907 he was promoted major general and confirmed as inspector general.

In 1908 Hoad was sent to England to discuss the creation of an Imperial General Staff at the War Office, London, and to take part in the autumn manoeuvres of the British Army. Hoad was an ambitious officer and adept at cultivating friends in high places. During his absence in London (Sir) William Bridges's appointment as first chief of the Australian General Staff in January 1909 did little to improve their long-standing antipathy.

On Hoad's return in May (Sir) George Pearce, minister for defence, recommended that Hoad's recommendations for an Australian section of the Imperial General Staff be accepted and that Hoad be appointed chief of the Australian General Staff vice Bridges who was posted to the Imperial General Staff, London. On the creation of the Imperial General Staff Hoad, though not a staff college graduate, became concurrently, on 1 July 1909, chief of the Australian section of the staff.

On 21 December 1909 Hoad met Field Marshal Lord Kitchener at Darwin and accompanied him on his exhaustive tour of inspection of Australia's land defences which was completed in Melbourne on 12 February 1910. Later, while immersed in the planning for introduction of Australia's universal training scheme, his health deteriorated and he went on sick leave on 1 June 1911. On the occasion of the coronation of King George V on 22 June Hoad was appointed K.C.M.G. He was unable to attend the official opening of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in June and died in Melbourne of heart disorder on 6 October 1911. He was buried with military honours in St Kilda cemetery.

By ambition, industry and sustained work at high pressure Hoad held the two highest posts open to an officer of his time in Australia's military forces. He had spent most of his official life as a staff officer as few opportunities existed in his time for a regular officer to gain command experience. Despite a 'spare military figure' Hoad was 'full of suppressed energy', and his manner was quiet, tactful and unpretentious. He was a good listener; he spoke little but at the appropriate time had 'a ready flow of speech'.

Hoad had married a widow, Sarah Denniston Sennetts, née Brown, at Wangaratta Post Office, with Wesleyan forms on 22 December 1881. They had a daughter, who died as a child, and two sons.

Their younger son OSWALD VICK (1888-1963), was born on 30 July 1888 at South Melbourne and educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School. He was commissioned in the militia in February 1907 and in May 1909 became an honorary aide-de-camp to his father. In 1910 he transferred to the staff of the permanent military forces.

In 1913-15 he was an exchange officer with the Canadian Army. After staff postings in Victoria and Tasmania he was seconded to the Australian Imperial Force as a captain and in 1917-18 saw active service on the Western Front with the 21st and 22nd Battalions. He was wounded in action on 5 October 1918 and invalided to Australia in May 1919.

Resuming duty with the permanent forces in June 1919, Hoad was promoted major in November and in October 1920 became one of the original officers of the newly formed Australian Staff Corps. From February 1921 to July 1922 he was director of drill at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. During World War II Hoad occupied staff positions in Australia; he was promoted temporary brigadier in 1942 and retired in March 1946. He died at Southport, Queensland, on 12 September 1963. On 10 June 1913 at St Peter's Church, Melbourne, he had married Sheila Mairi McDonald; there was one son of the marriage.

 

Select Bibliography

R. A. Preston, Canada and ‘Imperial Defense’, (Durham, NC, 1967);

C. D. Coulthard-Clark, A Heritage of Spirit, (Melbourne, 1979);

W. Perry, ‘The military life of Major-General Sir John Charles Hoad’, Victorian Historical Magazine, 29 (1959), no 3;

Lithgow Mercury, 18 October 1907;

Punch (Melbourne), 30 Decemeber 1909;

Age (Melbourne), 19 January 1912.


Print Publication Details:

Warren Perry, 'Hoad, Sir John Charles (1856 - 1911)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, pp 311-312.


Further Reading:

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: John Charles Hoad

Posted by Project Leader at 10:11 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:21 AM EADT
Rifles Clubs, Charles William Prott, 1851 - 1926
Topic: MilitiaRC - NSW

Rifles Clubs

Charles William Prott, 1851 - 1926

 


CW Prott and G Lindsay from NSW came 1st and 2nd respectively at the Victorian Rifle Association "Queen's Cup".

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 23 December 1899, p. 38.]

 

Born 1851 at Bad Vilbel, a town near Frankfurt am Main in Germany, Charles William Prott was the son of George J (d. 1879) and Mary Margaret (d. 1903) Prott. His siblings were Frederick (d. 1919), Elizabeth A (d. 1922), George J. (d. 1916), Andreas Boysen (d. 1935). The Prott family emigrated to Australia on the "Commodore Perry" and landing at Sydney but settling in Kiama.

Charles William Prott found work with the New South Wales Post Office. He worked in Sydney and then Parramatta. 

In 1876 Charles William Prott met Sarah Parsons in Parramatta where he was living and working with the New South Wales Post Office. Later that year Charles William Prott married Sarah Parsons in Parramatta. 

A few years later Prott moved his family to Lithgow where his job took him. It was here, some nine years after their marriage that Sarah gave birth to their only child, William Charles in 1885 (d. 1970).

The Prott family eventually settled in Wollongong making it their home. It was here that Prott worked his way up to becoming the Wollongong Post Master.

The passion that consumed Prott was rifle shooting. He was instrumental in establishing the Wollongong Rifle Club, which came into being on 20 September 1893. Prott soon became the President of the Wollongong Rifle Club.

Rifle shooting in New South Wales was seen as a quasi military activity so many were affiliated with a Militia unit, and in this case, it was the Headquarters Company of the 2nd NSW Infantry Regiment. It was a member of the Southern Rifle Association located at Mossvale.

Over the years it was seen that the Southern Rifle Association was not able to represent the shooters on the south coast of New South Wales. In response during 1899, the local shooters formed the South Coast Rifle Association located at Kiama.

In the same year, he won the Victorian Rifle Association "Queen's Cup". The Age of 20 November 1899, p. 10 gave the following summary:

The winner, Mr. C.W. Prott, is about 48 years of age, and a native of Germany, but a colonist of very old standing.  He has long been a devotee of rifle shooting, and during the past five years organised the Wollongong Rifle Club, which has made great advances under his tuition and encouragement.  Mr. Prott won the New South Wales Championship in 1894, and carried off the Tasmanian Championship in the same year by very brilliant performances.  In 1898 he won two challenge matches in connection to the infantry regiment to which he is attached, and also was the principal member of the champion team of the year.  He is a very moderate smoker and drinker, and has a nerve as cool and steady as the best marksman to be found.

Mr. Lindsay, the runner-up, for the Queen’s, is of middle age, and, like the winner, has some very good performances to his credit, amongst them, being the New South Wales Championship, which he won in 1897.

 

The next year, from 12 - 16 June 1900, the South Coast Rifle Association held their first of many Annual Prize Meeting at Kiama. As a contestant, Prott was quite successful. Below is a listing of the events in which he took part.

The "Maccabe" on the 400 yards and 500 yards ranges with 7 shots at each. Prott 12th, prize money, £1.

The "Illawarra" on the 500 yards and 600 yards ranges with 7 shots at each. Prott 2nd, prize money, £4.

The "Campbells" on the 500 yards and 600 yards ranges with 7 shots at each. Prott 2nd, prize money, £4.

The "Illawarra" on the 500 yards and 600 yards ranges with 7 shots at each. Prott 2nd, prize money, £4.

The Rifle Clubs' Match included 14 teams. The Wollongong Reserves comprising CW Prott, G Lindsay, M Byron, T Byron and W Harrigan won 1st prize of £15. 

The President's Match on the 800 yards with 10 shots. Prott 1st, prize money, £6.

The "Roberts" on the 900 yards with 10 shots. Prott 20th, prize money, £1.

The "French" on the 400 yards kneeling, 500 yards prone with 7 shots at each. Prott 1st, prize money, £5.

Rapid Firing, 500 yards kneeling or sitting with 10 shots in 100 seconds at targets 6 foot by 4 foot. Prott hit with 9 shots, prize money, £1.

Volley Firing, 10 volleys at unknown ranges, first five volleys in any military position, second five volleys kneeling or standing, open to teams of five and a commander from any squadron, battery, company, or rifle club in accordance, with the conditions governing the Rifle Clubs' Match, to be completed in 10 minutes. The Wollongong Rifle Club team was given a 5% handicap and came 4th, prize money, £4/10/-.

South Coast Champion Aggregate included all scores in all matches except the Teams and Beginners. The winner of the Gold Medal and £10 was Prott with a score of 370, 16 points ahead of his next rival, Private ER Armstrong of Kiama.

Prott's total prize money for the competition was £42, almost half a year's income for the average worker. This gives a good insight into Prott's ability as a shot.

 

The South Coast Rifle Association 500 yard range with shooters.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 23 June 1900, p. 26.] 

 

Prott's wife, Sarah died in 1914.  

When the Great War broke out, the Prott family faced a major dilemma. At the outbreak, anti-German feeling ran high with many Germans being abused, insulted and assaulted. Others lost their jobs.

While Charles William Prott had been naturalised in Sydney on 18 August 1903, making him a British subject, it would appear that he never lost his German accent. To save himself some trouble, so to those who asked him about the accent, Prott told them that he was from Belgium. Rather than evoking the usual anti-German sentiment, he was seen as some sort of hero.

Things began to unravel when the Belgium Consul in Sydney heard of these claims by Prott through people wanting to ascertain their accuracy. They wrote to the Department of External Affairs on 16 February 1916 seeking clarification of the status of Prott. The truth came out although it is unsure as to the actual impact on Prott's life. There is no indication that the Belgium Consul actually pursued the subject any further.

In 1917, Prott remarried. His new wife was Ethel Mary James. The marriage too place in Burwood. Prott returned to Kiama where he spent the rest of his life, dying in 1926.

The legacy of Charles William Prott in the Rifle Club movement in the early twentieth century was quite profound. His shooting style was excellent and this inspired many men to copy his techniques and so improve their own shooting. Prott's active promotion of shooting also brought him into contact with many different levels of New South Wales with an impact that is hard to guage but certainly was regionally immense in his lifetime.

 

Acknowledgement:  Thanks to the assistance from Andrew J. Kilsby, the author of, The Bisley Boys - The Colonial Contingents to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee 1897 - The Victorian Rifle Team, (Melbourne 2008). Copies of this book may be obtained directly from Andrew who may be currently contacted at:

kilsbya at optusnet dot com dot au

 

Further Reading:

New South Wales Rifles Clubs, 1893 - 1901

New South Wales Rifles Clubs

 


Citation: Rifles Clubs, Charles William Prott, 1851 - 1926

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 18 May 2009 12:32 AM EADT

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