Monday, 5 May 2014

Felix Wentworth Shore

This one’s for you, Harvey.

189 Private Felix Wentworth Shore, 7th Infantry Battalion, A Company.

Known as Wen or Wentworth, Felix Wentworth Shore, son of Edwin and Annie of Waterfield Street, Coburg, was a nineteen year old clerk working for the Coburg Council when he enlisted on 18 August 1914. Even though it was only eight days after voluntary recruitment began, already a number of Coburg men had joined up. Wen Shore joined at a Patriotic Meeting at the Public Hall in Coburg, called by Major H.J. Richards. He was the first Council employee to enlist.

Wen Shore left with the first contingent of the AIF on 19 October 1914 on board HMAT Hororata. 

The 1st AIF boarding HMAT Hororata, Port Melbourne, October 1914.
Image courtesy AWM. Image C02491.

Wen Shore had been in the Coburg Boys’ Naval Brigade since its inception in 1908. The boys travelled to Williamstown to learn rowing and seamanship, not really skills he would be asked to employ during his war service. After his three years with the Brigade, he spent four years in the Commonwealth Military Forces in the 60th Infantry. He had also spent three years as a buglar in the 1st Senior Cadet Corps. So he was better prepared than many young men who joined up.

Coburg Boys’ Naval Brigade, c. 1908. Wen Shore is in the second row from the front, fourth from the left  in the dark cap.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

No amount of preparation could help him once he arrived at the war. Although he had passed his medical with flying colours, Wen was plagued by ill health from the time of his arrival. He spent long spells in hospitals in Malta, France and England and on various hospital ships off the coast of the Dardanelles suffering from chronic bronchitis and influenza. Eventually, at the end of August 1916, he was returned to Australia and discharged.

At some stage Wen Shore's medals were put up for sale on EBay. These images courtesy A. Silverson.

In September 1917 Wen resumed his career as Coburg’s Assistant Town Clerk.

Wen Shore, Assistant Town Clerk, Coburg, c.1920. 
Images courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

In 1948 he was promoted to Town Clerk, a position he held until 1958. 

Wen Shore, c.1950. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Coburg librarian H.A. Gregory, deputy librarian Mrs Purves-Smith, Town Clerk Felix Wentworth Shore. Coburg Library, 1955. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society. 

Wen Shore did not marry and after his retirement moved to St Kilda. He died of stomach cancer at Heidelberg in 1970.

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