Friday, 2 May 2014

Peter Stanley’s Lost Boys of Anzac

Lost Boys of Anzac has only just been released and it promises to be a very interesting read. So much has been written about the war fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula but what I like about Peter Stanley’s approach in all his books is that he looks at the stories of the men who were there and shows us the human face of war.

In this book, Stanley looks at the men who died on 25 April 1915, a day writ large in our national psyche. He reveals that 101 men died that day.

I have already written in this blog about one of them, Ernest Smith. 

Ernest Smith. Image courtesy AMW. Image PO5248.123.

Three other Coburg men, all members of the 7th Battalion, died that day: Archibald Alexander (who was shot and fell into the water as they attempted to land), Frank Kiely (who was at first reported MIA) and Clement Lane (son of local Anglican clergyman H.W. Lane). Alfred Love (of the 14th Battalion), whose diary can be read online at the State Library of Victoria, died on the 27 April.

Another man who died that day was  418 Lance Corporal Arthur Mueller (Joe) Pearce, 7th Infantry Battalion, D Company. Although he was from Bendigo, Joe Pearce played cricket for Coburg and was remembered in the local paper for his contribution to the Club.

Image from Wikipedia

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 18 June 1915, p.2. In memory of Arthur Mueller Pearce, killed in the landing of the Australian Expeditionary Forces at Gallipoli, aged 30 years. Inserted by fellow members of the Coburg Cricket Club.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 18 June 1915, p.2. 'Corporal Pearce was a playing member of the Coburg club and his presence with the team was always hailed with delight by his club mates. Being a total abstainer and a strong adherent of the Church of England, was unreservedly a general favourite of all denominations of the club.'
Another article on the same page:
'The flag was flying half-mast on the Coburg cricket ground last Saturday, in memory of Arthur Pearce, who was killed in action at the landing of the Australian troops in Gallipoli. Pearce was a member of the Coburg Second Eleven in the year prior to the outbreak of war, and rendered valuable service both with bat and ball. He will be remembered by football followers as Melbourne's full back over a period of 10 years, and in his last year he captained the side. Pearce was a vestryman of the Anglican Church, Jolimont, and a member of the AMP staff for 13½ years. His father is Mr A.J. Pearce, the well-known principal of the Bendigo Grammar School.'

A tribute to Joe Pearce can be found on the Shrine of Remembrance website.

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