Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Organising committee for the Dinner for Returned Soldiers

In my last blog entry, I wrote about the Dinner for Returned Soldiers, held at Coburg Town Hall in December 1919. 

I've now realised that at the back of the program for that event, there is a list of the names of those involved in the organising committee.

As you might expect, it was presided over by the Mayor of the day, Cr. A.G. Campbell. Walter Mitchell, the Town Clerk, was one of the Hon Secretaries. The other was Spicer Sayers, an engraver, then living in Sydney Road. Councillors J. Anderson, G.A. Brown, Dwerryhouse, McAlpine, McDonald and Richards also served on the committee. 

Two local clergymen - Presbyterian John Mathew of The Grove, whose sons served, and Thomas Bowden Reed, of Sydney Road, possibly a Methodist minister whose son also served - represented the churches.

The committee consisted of: 

Mesdames Edwards, Evans, Kirk, Jarvie, Libbis, Lester, Montefiore, Polglase, Richards, Smith, Stephenson, Weir, Wells, Whelan, Yorke and Mayoress, Mrs A.G. Campbell.

Misses Bradley, Libbis, Maag, Norman, Reynolds.

Messrs Arnold, Bush, Batchelor, Dailey, Dredge, Evans, Gibbons, Jukes, Lester, Libbis, Quinton, Reynolds, F.W. Shore, E.M.B. Shore, Sheehan, Thomas, Townsend and Yorke.

Some of these names have become familiar to me through my research into the lives of local servicemen and women. Two sons of the Libbis family served, for example: 9025 Private Leslie Fookes Libbis, 6th Field Ambulance and his brother 1989 Private William Thomas Libbis, 6th Infantry Battalion, who was killed in action on 7 August 1915. Both attended Coburg State School so both are part of Coburg Historical Society's ANZAC Centenary project.

Felix Wentworth Shore (known to many as Wen) was an early enlistee who left with the first contingent and returned to Australia in 1916. An employee of Coburg Council, he went on to become Town Clerk.

Mr (James Edward) Sheehan was the head teacher of Coburg State School and father of 3515 Sergeant John Patrick Sheehan, 13th Field Company Engineers. John Patrick Sheehan was an old boy of Coburg State School.

Mrs (Susan) Montefiore was the mother of 6396 Private Tasman Thomas Montefiore, 22nd Infantry Battalion who was killed in action on 5 October 1917. Mrs Montefiore was a prodigious worker for the community. An article in the Coburg Courier, 13 May 1936, says that she was involved in RSL work, the Austin Women's Hospital Auxiliaries and Red Cross work during World War One and after. She helped nurse victims of the 1919 flu epidemic and was involved in organising the Hard Times Balls during the 1930s Depression.

Mrs (Emily) Jarvie was the mother of 10774 Sergeant Major Leslie Reid Jarvie, 22nd AASC and 3rd Pack Mule Transport and 2515 2nd Class Air Mechanic Walter Keith Jarvie, Flying Corps. 185th RAF. Both were old boys of Coburg State School. Keith Jarvie also attended Coburg High School.

Miss Maag was probably Dagmar, the sister of  5152 Private Thomas Henry Maag, 7th Infantry Battalion, killed in action on 20 September 1917.

There are other stories to be told, but that's for another blog entry!

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