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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day 2012
On this 2012 Remembrance Day
 the members of the Ryde Goes to War Project team 
remember all our Australian service men and women,
especially those with a connection to
the Ryde Municipality.

Monday, 5 November 2012

WWI Nurses with a connection to Ryde District

In our research to-date we have found eight Nurses, Sisters or Matrons on our lists for the Ryde Municipality.

Much has been written about Matron (Mary Anne) Bessie Pocock, 
who was born in Queensland and grew up in the Grafton area of New South Wales. Pocock did her general nursing training at Sydney Hospital from November 1890 and continued on the staff as a sister until  she joined the New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve in 1899 and enlisted for service in the South African War. She returned to Sydney Hospital in June 1903 until she was appointed matron of hospitals for the insane at Newcastle in 1907-11 and at Gladesville in 1911-14.
In September 1914 Sister Pocock enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and took up duty as senior sister of the 2nd Australian General Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, she then served as matron at the temporary hospital for the wounded at Ismailia, on the Hospital Ship Assaye and in France & Belgium, the Australian convalescent hospital, Cobham Hall, Kent, England and the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England before returning to Sydney on 30 October 1919. After the war she resumed her position as matron at Gladesville Hospital.
Bessie Pocock was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd class.

While there are numerous photos of, and lots of published material dealing with Matron Pocock's WWI service, very little is known of the other seven women who served and to-date we haven't found any photos of them.

If you have any information that would add to our research project we would love to hear from you.

Nellie Frances
Charlotte Louisa
Elizabeth Ellen
Emmeline Anne
Mary Anne Bessie
Evelyn Maud

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Project Up-date October 2012:

We currently have 20 helpers working on different letters of the alphabet to identifying the combined list of names we have collected from various Honour rolls, war memorials, embarkations rolls, local newspapers, etc.  that have been found to have a connection to the Ryde district before or during World War I.

The current total number of names is 1842 Service people ; and so far we have been able to identify with full names and service numbers 1044  ; with 798  still to be identified.
The number who didn't come home is currently 341 and we have photos of 107 of their headstones or memorials.
We have also made contact with the families of 38 service people from our list and have found photos for 125 of them.

The number of Nurses, Sisters, or Matrons found on our list is currently at 8.  

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ryde's Conference Trading Table.

Between September 14 -16, six members of the Ryde District Historical Society & Family History Group attended the 2012 NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Annual State Conference at Gymea, NSW.

There, we were able to meet other Societies and share our Ryde goes to War Project and to find out what other groups are doing across the State.

In the past month we had also found that by using the ADFA search site
we could tick the next of kin's address option and the results gave us whole new list of names, many we had already found by other means but at this stage there appears to be a lot more soldiers and a few nurses who have a connection to the Ryde district during WWI.

Marg & Kim cross checking lists!

Marg & Kim took some time out during Friday's Conference Expo (not just to put their feet up and enjoy the Tradies Members Lounge!) but to cross-check our soldiers lists -- instead of eliminating duplicate names - we have found a whole lot more to add!

We have also added a 'My Blog List' to the left hand column of this blog and are adding other WWI Blog projects we find.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Private John Forrest - a Ryde soldier among those recently identified at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, France.

 In July 2012  nine Australian World War One soldiers were given final honour on 96th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles at a headstone dedication ceremony .

One of those nine, Scottish born, John  Robertson Forrest (3064) was living in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde when he enlisted. He was 'Killed in Action' on 19 July 1916. We had already identified him as one of our 'Ryde goes to War' soldiers because his name is listed on the Eastwood War Memorial, the memorial in St Anne's Anglican Church Ryde and the Ryde Council Memorial Book (located in the Ryde Civic Centre). We only recently discovered that he was among those recently identified at Pheasant Wood and finally given a headstone.

The dedication ceremony, Fromelles, France.
Photo: Kim Phillips, July 2012.

Address at Enlistment
Occupation at Enlistment
Place of Enlistment
Date of Enlistment
Age at Embarkation
Marital Status
PTE John Forrest
54th Battalion
North Ryde, Sydney NSW
Liverpool NSW
2 Jul 15
Born in Scotland
Previous service in 6th Gordon Highlanders, British Army
 Further details:

John Forrest, joins another 'Ryde goes to War' soldier already identified with a headstone Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, France. Laurence Harriott (4509), also a member of the 54th Battalion was also  'Killed in Action' on 19 July 1916.  A photo of Laurence is available on the Australian War Memorial Website.

Laurence Harriott headstone
at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, France.
Photo: Kim Phillips, July 2012.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


 No we haven't gone to sleep or stopped here - all our volunteer research team have been busy for the last month or two trying to identify all the names we have found and trying to turn them into a serviceperson, who can be identified with a connection to the Ryde Municipality.

We will meet together in August to discuss all the finds --- so keep checking for further updates on the project!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Project up-date - May 2012:

By the end of April 2012 we have added more names to our list with a possible connection to the Ryde District prior to WWI.

To date:
  • We have found a total of 1819 names ( but many are still just a surnames and initials)
  • We have identified 992 by finding their full names and/or service numbers - that's 54.5% found!
  • It leaves 827 names still to be identified.
  • From the total - we have also found 339 (- that's 18.6%) were killed in action or died of wounds.
But just identifying them isn't enough, our volunteer team have divide the list and started looking for any more information they can find to connect them to the Ryde district.

We have started a points system for the information we find - each connection to the District we find gives them more points!
 - so far the leading lad is David Chestnut (see - A Gallipoli story ... the previous Anzac week blog)

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Gallipoli story - David Chestnut a “local hero” before and after WWI :

In August 1915, Ryde local paper, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers’ Advocate printed : 'Private David Chestnut of Ryde is now officially reported to be “missing”. '

David was already a local hero prior to his enlistment. Described as an all-round athlete, he had captained the Ryde Football Club in the previous year and he had also rescued a boy from drowning in the Parramatta River, for which he had been honoured with a life-saving certificate. David Chestnut’s story is but one of the many we are searching to uncover in the Ryde goes to War Project.
Private David Chestnut
born 1890, Ryde
When David enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on 7 September 1914, he was 24 years old. The son of William & Lizzie Chestnut, fruitgrowers from Regent Street, Ryde, he was working as a carpenter. He left Australia in board the Transport A38 Ulysses on 22 December 1914, as part of the 13th Battalion. From Alexandra he departed for the Gallipoli peninsula.
After surviving the Gallipoli landing, it was during one of the following nights that David went missing. He was reported as leaving his dugout on Pope’s Hill to fill water bottles and never returned. He was formally listed as missing in action on 2 May 1915, but it was not until after a Court of Inquiry held at Serapeum, Egypt in April 1916 that David was officially listed as Killed in Action on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
David’s personal effects which included a Housewife (mending kit), 3 brushes, prayer book and postage stamps were subsequently returned to his mother, Lizzie in Ryde.
David’s contribution was remembered on 4 different war memorials within the Municipality of Ryde:

·         The Ryde Public School Honour Board

·         Ryde Wesley Uniting Church Honour Roll (at the time of WWI- it  was the local Wesleyan Methodist Church),

·         Ryde Town Hall Honour Rolls,

·         Ryde Civic Centre Memorial Book.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Relatives Info form

If your Ryde ancestors went to WWI & you would like to print this form to mail in
 - rignt-click and select : print picture - otherwise email us the deatils.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In 1914 the Municipality of Ryde was a semi-rural district in Sydney's north-western suburbs. It is located between the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. The Sydney Sands Directory for 1914 estimated the area of the Municipality to be 7359 acres and it had 1,553 houses. At that time, Eastwood/Marsfield had separated from Ryde. The Eastwood Municipality was estimated to cover an additional 3520 acres and it had 237 additional houses.

So far a total of  1708 possible names have been identified with some connection to the Ryde area. This list of names has been compiled from the local war memorials & honour boards, embarkation rolls, etc. many contain just a surname and initial and part of our identification process is to sort out any duplication and errors.

To date 910 names have been identified (so that's 53.3%), we are still trying to sort out and identify 798 names. Of those found 16.2% died during the conflict.

At the time of World War I - parts of our suburb of West Ryde were called Ermington, therefore we have included names connected to Ermington in the Project.  Half of our suburb of Gladesville is in the Ryde Municipality but the remainder is in Hunters Hill Municipality, but as both Gladesville war memorials are located with in Ryde Municipality, we have also included all Gladesville connections.

To date-- we have about 20 volunteers to help with this project, if you have any information that could help our research project -- please contact the Ryde Goes to War Project Coordinator - Kim Phillips :


Friday, 9 March 2012

The Ryde Goes to War Project began in 2011 when members of the Ryde District Historical Society began a project of identifying all men and women from the Ryde Municipality who participated in World War I.

 The Ryde Municipality is part of the Sydney region NSW, Australia and today includes the suburbs of Ryde, North Ryde, Macquarie Park, Chatswood West, Marsfield, Eastwood, Denistone, Denistone East, Denistone West, West Ryde, Melrose Park, Meadowbank, Putney, Tennyson Point, Gladesville and East Ryde.

To date a large list of names collated from various war memorial, honour boards, service records, etc. has been compiled with the view to identifying these men and women and collating any pictures and information relating to their connection to Ryde.

This is an ongoing project and we will post up-dates on this blog as it develops.

If you have any information that could help or would like to help our research project -- please contact the Ryde Goes to War Project Coordinator   -  Kim Phillips :