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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Monday, 7 December 2009
Navigating the National Archives Service File
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

Finding Your Light Horseman

Accessing the Service File

National Archives of Australia

 

Let's start

Following the trail to find your ancestor can be a daunting process if you have never done it before. Because of the sheer volume of information, sites that offer information about Australian service personnel are usually very difficult to navigate. The concentration is on the information rather than window dressing - substance over fluff. Once you get used to it, the processes are easy to follow. 

The following instructions aim to trace a service person from a search term on Google. The process works equally well for Yahoo, Bing and any other search engine that regularly updates internet site information. Google updates the information catalogued from the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre on a daily basis and thus is always current.

 

This page is divided into four sections which can be accessed by scrolling down to the specific heading.

Items:

1. Finding 466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW

2. Finding the Service File at the National Archives of Australia

3. Problem Solving with file searching

4. Reading the Service File - The vital pages

 

 

1. Finding 466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW

 

For simplicity, we will search for one name from beginning to accessing the chronology on the National Archives of Australia Service File.

Go to the Google search page - Google Search Page

Enter in the search box the following term:

466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW

Then press the "Google Search" button.

The result should be similar to the following result displayed below.

 

Google search result for 466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW

 

The result is highlighted by the red box. The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre information is ranked No. 1 as it is the most like the search parameter.

Click on the link.

For the purposes of this exercise, here is the link:

5th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Embarkation Roll, 1st Reinforcements

The following page should open up. Scroll down until you reach the record for 466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW.

 

466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW's record on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site.

 

The record for 466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW is highlighted in red.

466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW's embarkation information contains the following details:

Rank on embarkation;

Full name of the soldier;

Declared age of the soldier;

The last occupation held;

The last address as a civilian;

Enlistment Date; and,

Fate.

This is a very brief outline designed to allow you to find the correct information in a convenient summary form. It allows you to then follow up the information on other sites confident that the information will lead you to your goal, a fuller chronology of service.

 

 

2. Finding the Service File at the National Archives of Australia

 

The National Archives of Australia web site is absolutely full of incredible information but it is difficult to navigate unless you have much experience.

For the first timers and new searchers, the following will make it an easier experience.

First we need to go to the search page. To do that we go to the following link:

Record Search

If this link does not work, try copying the following link and pasting it in the address box on your browser: 

http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/recordsearch/index.aspx

The following window should open.

 


National Archives of Australia Record Search Page

 

When you have reached this page, click on the "Search Now - as a guest"  link.

The following Search Page will open up.

 

National Archives of Australia General Search Page

 

The following steps are necessary to ensure that the information you seek will appear rather than thousands of extraneous results which will only confuse.

To assist, there are three large numbers on the page. At these points, place the information suggested below.

Put the full, correct name of the service person. You will note that included is the service number. This ensures that the record search will be confined to this combination of items. This is the best combination possible to obtain solid results.

Once this information is keyed in, then press the "Search" Button.

The following page will then open.

 


 

National Archives of Australia Results Page

 

This page confirms that the search has been successful displaying one file for  466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW.

Press the "View Digital Copy" link.

The following page should open in a new tab.

 

National Archives of Australia Service File Page 1

 

Once you have this page, then accessing the rest of the file is simple.

To turn the pages, just press the arrow at the top of the page. You can go forwards or backwards.

To go to a specific page, type the page number in the page number dialogue box and press enter and that page will appear.

Once you become familiar with this process, accessing service files will become a relatively simple process. The hardest search is always the first one.


 

3. Problem Solving with file searching 

 

The most frustrating thing in searching is putting in all the correct search parameters and receiving a nil answer.

The common reasons for difficulties in searching the National Archives of Australia search engine are:

1. The soldier used an alias;

2. The NAA used a different record on the Service File to list the details of the person;

3. An enlisted man received a field commission which removed the Regimental Number; and,

4. The NAA recorded the name or number incorrectly;

5. No Record.

 

1. The soldier used an alias

During the Great War, quite a number (between 1-2%) enlisted in the AIF under false names. Some were detected but many were not.

The reasons for enlisting under a false name were as varied as the men themselves. However, there were some consistent reasons, the main of which were:

1. Universal Service conscripts who deserted from Militia service. From 1912 onwards, all eligible Australian males were compelled to serve within the Militia. This was very unpopular amongst certain groups and the men conscripted either failed to be inducted or once inducted, deserted. Since this was a criminal offence, the Militia authorities notified the police and the names of the deserters were gazetted. Many thousands of names appeared in the various state's District Orders as a consequence of the failure to comply with Universal Service laws. The men in this situation joined the AIF under a false name to avoid being arrested and prosecuted for draft evasion or desertion.

2. Men who abandoned their families and domestic liabilities.  The next largest category included men who sought not to have their wage allotted to a family member, be that person a parent, a spouse (either legal or common law), or any children. There were many different combinations of family events but at the heart of the matter was a refusal of the soldier to have his income applied in support of a family member as was required under law.

3. The stigma of Germanic origin drove many from this background to enlist under an Anglicised for of their name or another name altogether.

4. Escaping debts, prosecution or imprisonment by the civil authorities.

There were many other causes but these were the four principle reasons for a person enlisting within the AIF and utilising a false name.

In relation to the NAA Service File, the listing may be under the alias, or the real name, or a combination of both. The NAA listings are rather capricious in the entry protocols for the file so it is necessary to try all if possible.

 

2. The NAA used a different record on the Service File to list the details of the person

During the period of the Great War, a person attesting with the AIF may have received anything up to a half dozen Service Numbers or more. The Service Number you might hold could be different from that used on the Service File record with the NAA. The problem of multiple numbers was capriciously dealt with by the NAA: on some entries, all the different Service Numbers are used; on others, the Service Number from the first Attestation Paper in a series of different Attestation Papers; or a number was selected from a group of papers that might have appeared to be correct.

Whatever the reason, this can be a major source of frustration. One solution is to just place the full name of the serviceman in the appropriate search box without the service number. There might be multiple results as a consequence but these can be examined until the correct entry appears.

 

3. An enlisted man received a field commission which removed the Regimental Number

When a soldier received a commission as an officer, he no longer carried a Regimental Number.

The NAA's policy on recording the circumstance of an enlisted man receiving a commission again is capricious. Sometimes the number is recorded and at other times it is not. The result is that if the Service Number is used in a search and it returns no result, then you should enter just the full name of the serviceman in the appropriate search box without the service number. There might be multiple results as a consequence but these can be examined until the correct entry appears.

 

4. The NAA recorded the name or number incorrectly

During the process of entering file details, errors occurred. At the moment, a collation of errors detected by this site indicates that there is an error rate of about 2-3% on all file entries. This can be extremely frustrating as this problem is the most difficult to rectify. The consequence of an error could be in the Service Number - transpositional errors being the most common. It could be in the name where a misspelling occurred or letters was transposed.

Solving this takes a bit of ingenuity. Sometimes just putting in the Regimental Number with the first name produces a result. Other times the Regimental Number with state from which the serviceman came can give a result. Other times using the first names and the state of origin works. There is no set answer. It is just a matter of persisting at this point. Most files can be found.

 

5. No Record

There are cases where the record for the Serviceman just does not exist for one reason or another. To date this site has discovered only a few such records out of some 40,000 examined so this is not a likely circumstance.

 

4. Reading the Service File - The vital pages.

 

Some service files are very brief while others are very lengthy and detailed. There are a couple characteristic pages which are essential in determining the outline chronology of the service person. For Great War files, the following pages are essential for building an intelligible chronology. They might be anywhere in the file and there may be many duplications, but regardless, these are the necessary items.

The following summary details the information contained on the pages.

 

466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW, Attestation Paper, p. 1.

 

The front cover of the Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad provides the reader with the following information:

  • Service Number,
  • Surname,
  • Given Names,
  • Age,
  • Employment,
  • Married or Single,
  • Next of Kin Relationship,
  • Next of Kin Name and Address,
  • Enlistment Date.

This information is vital as it identifies the specific soldier and in case of death or injury, allows the relatives to be informed. The next of kin was important for another reason. Each soldier was compelled to give an allotment of their daily wage to the person nominated as the next of kin. This was an essential financial consideration.

Once this information was gathered, the second page dealt with an oath to the King. The next page to give information was page 3.

 

466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW, Attestation Paper, p. 3

 

The third page of the Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad provides the reader with the following information:

  • Height,
  • Weight,
  • Chest Measurement
  • Complexion,
  • Eyes,
  • Hair, 
  • Religion.

The health of the potential soldier was important as the life was particularly strenuous. The ability to carry heavy weights for great distances was most important.

The next form that is most common in the Service File is the B103, the  Casualty Form - Active Service. Every movement of the soldier is recorded. The reasons for this are fourfold.

1. The location of the soldier at any one time was essential to establish where his rations were to be drawn.

2.  The form established the entitlements to drawing pay at a particular level. A soldier in the field was allowed to draw pay but when in hospital was not allowed to draw their pay as it was considered that everything to assist the soldier's recovery was provided.

3.  By tracking the movements of the soldier, it allowed early detection of desertion if that were to occur.

4. At the end of the war, the chronology of this form was used as the basis for post war entitlements such as medals, pensions, repatriation assistance, access to hospitals and any other service available for an ex-serviceman for the rest of his life.

The B103 may be as simple as one sheet or multiple sheets. It depended upon the individual serviceman.

To assist in understanding this particular form in relation to the men from the 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource, a list of terms and names are available at the Index to Common B103 Terms. The link is below.


466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW, B103, p. 1.

 

The front of the B103, the  Casualty Form - Active Service provides the reader with the following information:

  • Regiment
  • Rank on Enlistment,
  • Terms of Enlistment,
  • Embarkation Date,
  • Embarkation Port,
  • Embarkation Ship,
  • Date Taken on Strength.

As can be seen, the form is a chronology of the man's service in the AIF. All B103 forms in every service file is similar. 

In this case the man has two pages to the form. To finish his story, the page will be turned over. 


466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW, B103, p. 2

 

The back of the B103, the  Casualty Form - Active Service provides the reader with the following information:

  • Chronology,
  • Fate,
  • Date.

For a Glossary of B103 Abbreviations for Light Horse files, see:

B103, Index to Common Terms  

 

Once the B103, the  Casualty Form - Active Service was completed due to the expiration of service, any transactions during subsequent to service were recorded on a flimsy called Transferred to Australian Imperial Force D and it was here that all post service information was maintained.


466 Private Herbert HOUNSLOW, AIF D, p. 1.

 

Page 1 of the Transferred to Australian Imperial Force D provides the reader with the following information:

  • The last rank held in the AIF,
  • The date of Discharge,
  • The place where Discharged,
  • The eligible medals awarded to the serviceman.

Information on this form depends upon the individual. This particular form can at times run into many pages.

 

Further Reading:

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: Navigating the National Archives Service File

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 11 July 2010 8:39 PM EADT
Sunday, 6 December 2009
General Service Reinforcements, Outline
Topic: AIF - DMC - GSR

GSR, AIF

General Service Reinforcements

Outline

 

By late 1917, the pool of Australian volunteer recruits had dried up. This created difficulties for individual battalions and regiments as recruiting was specific to that particular formation. To overcome this problem, it was determined to place recruits into a pool from which the battalions and regiments could draw their reinforcements. In the latter part of 1917 and throughout 1918, men who enlisted with the Light Horse became part of this reinforcement pool known as the GSR (General Service Reinforcements).

For men who embarked with the latter regimental reinforcement, from the 33rd Reinforcements, the men in these cohorts were sent into the General Service Reinforcements pool and thence allotted on the same principle as those who entered specifically the GSR through the recruiting office.

As they arrived in Egypt, the men were allotted to a Light Horse Training Regiment, one being established for each of the four Light Horse Brigades. This system lasted until July when these training regiments were abolished and a single training camp was established for new recruits at Moascar, known as the ATD & DC (Australian Training Depot and Details Camp). From there they were allotted to a regiment, usually a regiment of the state from which the man originated. While this did not overcome the manpower shortages in the regiments, it was a system that allotted men according to the greatest need.

One peculiarity in recording the details of these men who enlisted within the Light Horse GSR that did not occur for the other GSR, no Embarkation Rolls were created as they existed for the infantry. This has meant that these particular soldiers do not show up in the major institutional data bases. It is through intensive research of individual service files held by the National Archives of Australia, the various unit Routine Orders and available ship rolls that the Light Horse GSR rolls on this site can be re-constructed and placed in their present form. The consequent rolls are a living monument to the research dedication of a small group of volunteers.

 

Further Reading:

General Service Reinforcements, AIF

General Service Reinforcements, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: General Service Reinforcements, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 December 2009 10:56 AM EAST
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

War Diaries and Letters

Site Transcription Policy

 

War Diary and Letters Transcription Policy

There are many philosophical difficulties faced by a person transcribing the War Diaries and letters. Each of the issues is addressed in this policy guideline.


Source

The War Diaries used by the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre have a single source to ensure consistency. The War Diaries transcribed on this site are specifically sourced from the collection held by the AWM (Australian War Memorial) and may be found online.

Since the AWM changes its web site locations of documents, it is difficult to give a long term definitive address. Hence the entries contain no AWM web link as the currency of any link is not guaranteed. Hence, while the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre makes reference to the War Diaries at the AWM, should the individual reader wish to follow this up, they are encouraged to access the AWM sit and then conduct a search. Currently they are to be found by following these steps:

 

The Home Page of the Australian War Memorial.

 


1. Access the AWM site at:

http://www.awm.gov.au/


2. At the left side bar go down to the button “Collections Search” and click on this button.

Finding the War Diaries section


3. On the Collections page, to the right of the left side bar there is a discrete column under the Search Box which states “Collection resources”. Go down this column until reaching the item:

“Australian Army war diaries"

"Browse images of selected Australian Army war diaries."

 

Finding the Great War AIF War Diaries.


On the new page that opens, a selection of War Diary Categories are opened and the appropriate diary may be found.


Other Sources

In addition to the Australian War Memorial, British unit war diaries have been accessed from the War Office collection at Kew in the United Kingdom.

Private and public letters and diaries also are incorporated and these are documented accordingly.  Similar principles are followed in their transcription.

 

Referencing

For those seeking to reference the entries, there are two solutions.

Each War Diary Entry is designed to stand alone. At the bottom of the page is a citation link. The is designed to assist any researcher to quote the item in accordance with convention.

At the commencement of the Diary Entry, there is a picture of the actual page extracted from the original diary as held by the AWM. This allows authentication of the transcription by allowing the document to be read in the item itself or the reader to access the document at the AWM. As mentioned above, the steps to access the original document have been properly detailed to allow a person to find the original document and reference that particular item. The choice is entirely for the individual to determine that which is appropriate.

However, one thing must be kept in mind. To utilise the transcription on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site is not to cite the War Diary verbatim. The discussion of policies and methodologies employed relating to this issue are detailed below. Thus the transcription is unique to this site.


Verbatim or Expansion

The first obvious issue is whether to give a basic verbatim transcription – an as is – transcription. The problem with this lies with the underlying assumptions of the War Diary authors. They were military men writing notes about the day’s activities at night or early morning within a day or two of the events reported. Consequently, the War Diary was seen by many authors as just another pointless task demanded by the military bureaucracy and consequently tackled with minimum effort. Most of the War Diaries illustrate this frustration. In addition, being military men, short cuts were used by employing acronyms and other shortened terms which made sense to the authors and the immediate readership, all being contemporary military men. Ninety years later, all those with this knowledge have long since departed for the long sleep and there is no living knowledge of these underlying assumptions of understanding. Hence some of the paragraphs filled with arcane expressions can appear nonsensical or mystifying to our current audience and thus the information contained in them is missed by all except a few specialists.

Philosophically, verbatim presents the truest account but it also presents the most unreadable account for the modern audience.

To overcome this and make it readable to a non military audience some ninety years later, certain conventions have been followed.

1. All military ranks are given in full. Eg, “Lt” is Lieutenant.

2. All unit and formation contractions are expanded. Eg, 1 Bn is 1st Infantry Battalion.

3. All acronyms and capitalizations are expanded. Eg, “EEF” is “Egyptian Expeditionary Force”. The exception relates to expressions subsequently and currently employed as general or proper nouns and understood as such today. An example is the word Anzac.

4. All grammatical and word contractions are expanded. Eg, “+” is “and”; “E” is “east”.

5. Spelling of proper nouns is corrected according to issued maps of the time and aligned to these maps. Eg, “Belah” is “Deir el Belah”. This ensures that the reader can readily find the location through referencing alternative sources.


It is felt that should a person wish to refer back to the original War Diary entry in the verbatim form, a picture of the original entry is attached to each specific War Diary transcription which allows the reader to access the original item held by the AWM and then read it in its contemporaneous form.


Ultimate Aim

At the end of it all is the aim to make the War Diary as readable to the contemporary audience and so make accessible the story contained in the entry. Each entry should stand alone and be intelligible to any non-specialist of the era. It is hoped that this goal is achieved for the ordinary reader.

 

Further Reading:

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2011 11:51 AM EADT
Saturday, 5 December 2009
General Service Reinforcements, Roll of Honour
Topic: AIF - DMC - GSR

GSR, AIF

General Service Reinforcements

Roll of Honour

 

Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men from the Australian General Service Reinforcements known to have served and lost their lives during the Great War.

 

Roll of Honour

 

Clive Edgar AFFLECK, Died of Disease 27 October 1918.

Joseph AUGER, Died of Disease 21 September 1918.

 

Stanley John Redvers BARKER, Died of Disease 29 November 1918.

Douglas Bruce BLACK, Died of Disease 12 December 1918.

 

John COLLINS, Died of Disease 13 October 1918.

Daniel Ruben CURTIS, Died of Disease 23 February 1919.

 

Matthew William DAWSON, Died of Accident 27 January 1919.

 

Alfred Sydney Douglas James Priestley ELDRIDGE, Died of Disease 25 November 1918.

 

John Frederick FERRY, Died of Disease 13 July 1919.

 

Alfred Edgar GRAY, Died of Disease 28 October 1918.

 

Henry Edgar HARE, Died of Disease 13 March 1919, and subsequently was buried at sea.

Robert Rueben HARVEY, Died of Disease 11 June 1919.

 

Walter James LEWIS, Killed in Action 25 September 1918.

 

William John Henry MARCH, Died of Disease 4 December 1918.

Roy Louis McGUIRE, Died of Disease 24 July 1918.

James Egbert MORRELL, Died of Disease 24 November 1918, and subsequently was buried at sea.

Stanley Robert MUDDELL, Died of Disease 14 October 1918.

 

William James RIDOUT, Died of Disease 28 November 1918.

Joseph Edmund RYAN, Died of Disease 4 December 1918.

 

Charles SMITH, Died of Disease 19 November 1918, and subsequently was buried at sea.

George James STODDART, Died of Disease 26 September 1918.

 

John TACHON, Died of Disease 22 October 1918.

Percival Stapleton THOMSON, Died of Disease 29 November 1918.

 

Marines Cornelius VAN DER KAADEN, Died of Disease 20 October 1918.

 

Lest We Forget


 

Sources Used:

National Archives Service File.

Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.

Collected Records of Steve Becker.

 

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Steve Becker who provided much of the raw material that appears in this item.

 

Further Reading:

General Service Reinforcements, AIF

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: General Service Reinforcements, Roll of Honour

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Monday, 7 December 2009 9:39 PM EAST
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 4th Field Ambulance War Diary
Topic: BatzG - Anzac

The Battle of Anzac Cove

Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

4th Field Ambulance War Diary 

 

War Diary account of the 4th Field Ambulance, AIF.

 

The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the 4th Field Ambulance, AIF, of their role in the landings at Anzac during April 1915.

 

27 April 1915

Sent Bearer Subdivision ashore.


28 April 1915

Tent Division disembarked on Trawler Parthian 328 on boats all night and continued next morning. Reported to Assistant Directore Medical Services on Mandey who directed us to gully rear of ????? Army Corps.

"A" and "B" Section at work "C" resting.

???? to heavy shrapnel fire had today in positon for tent for wounded. One man hit.

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 4th Infantry Brigade, Roll of Honour 

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, AIF, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 4th Field Ambulance War Diary

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2010 8:33 AM EADT

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A note on copyright

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.

Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.

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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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