Thursday, 10 October 2013
As we approach the centenary of World War One, we have come across other projects similar to those we are undertaking in Ryde and to a certain extent there will be some duplication across the country, with everyone wanting to claim some connection to the famous and infamous.
At this point our project’s main focus is on those men and women who have any connection to the Ryde Municipality before or during WWI. The connection might be like that of David Chestnut (in our first blog story), a lad who was born and educated locally, with strong family ties to the district that left his name recorded on 4 different war memorials within the Municipality.
Others, like Henry Oscar Nelson, were born in New Zealand and only moved to Ryde in the years before the war. Some names that have made our lists contain only a brief connection to the district with the only connection being found to be their birthplace, or the address of their next of kin. There are still a number of others that remain for us to puzzle out what their connection could be.
What we have found is that many can be claimed by more than just the Ryde district, also having connections to other regions, both before and after the war. Two of our more famous names fall into this category.
Matron Bessie Pocock, was born in 1863 at Dalby, Queensland. By 1876, her family had settled to a small acreage at The Punchbowl, near Grafton, NSW. She first joined the New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve in 1899 and enlisted for service in the South African War. Later in life she became the Matron of Gladesville Hospital between 1911-14. After the war she resumed her position as matron at Gladesville until 1924 when she established a convalescent hospital at Chatswood. While the Ryde district is not her place of birth or death, her connection to our district is remembered by her listing on the Gladesville Hospital Honour Board, Ryde Town Hall Honour Rolls and on Christ Church Memorial Gates at Gladesville.
Another example is the poet, Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, who was born in Orange, NSW, in 1864. He spent much of his school years with his widowed grandmother, poet Emily Barton, at her home, Rockend Cottage in Gladesville. Banjo’s connection to our district is also remembered on the Ryde Town Hall Honour Rolls. His connection to the Orange District has also been made with a recent post on their “Centenary of World War One in Orange” site:
Where we find any similar WWI projects, we will add them to our blog watch list or list the links. Everyone on our list has a story to tell, some are just local, others national, we mightn’t get to them all but in the coming years we hope to find and share many of their stories.