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Compiled for Darebin Heritage by Brian Membrey

The Great War : Preston : 1,000 Days service

Preston's First Contingent

On 21 July, 1917, the Leader (along with many other papers in other suburbs) published a list of local men that had completed 1,000 days service and thus provided an ideal timing for an interim snapshot of how our original batch of 26 had fared.

Whether the list was complete is uncertain - in the same way that Casualty Lists were compiled, the roster was had been prepared by the Defence Department based on their principle of using the location of the next of kin rather than the serviceman's address before enlisting.

As well as offering an acknowledgment of the men's service, there was also an obvious attempt to boost the flagging enlistment levels with the Department suggesting that if friends or relatives of those listed could find a new recruit, they could nominate the existing serviceman that he would replace.

(There is not a shred of evidence however to suggest anyone was ever specifically returned based on a new recruit's nomination as their replacement).

Included in the Preston 1,000-day roll were Claude Cameron, Vin Cashman, Leo Conroy, William Carlton, Leslie Dredge, Cecil Hendricks, Arch McDougall and Henry Torrens, whilst Will Dyson and John Hopkins were included via their next of kin under Northcote, George Carson ditto at Mornington.

By this time William George, John George and  "Tom" Brewer had been killed in action and "Din" Horwood had died after returning to Australia.

"Charlie" Smith and Harold Marshall had returned wounded, Darcy Gilbert with enteric fever and Arthur Dredge had completed his service with the British Reservists.

Stanley Gilbert (later killed), Michael Flinn (later died) and Alexander Robb had all re-enlisted after originally being discharged, but had not quite completed 1,000 days;  William Keartland had attempted to re-join five times without success.

Missed were Bert Miles (whose connection to Preston was always a little unclear) and "Chadwick" was also a question mark - “W.E” was included on the Seymour list. The only real omission and for reasons unknown was Charlie Aitken who was still serving with the Army Medical Corps.  He was not included on the list issued by the Defence Department published in Melbourne newspapers.

The list also included a number of names not shown as part of "the First Contingent", but who had also sailed with the original embarkations. It is unknown whether these men were accidentally omitted from the original Leader list or whether they entered camp at a slightly later date; there does not appear to be any pattern based on enlistment dates.

Vincent "Vin" Horwood was "Dinny's elder brother, He enlisted on 24 August, 1914 (four days before Dinny) and served at Gallipoli, although little is recorded of his time there.  Despite nominally completing his 1,000 days as a Driver with the First Divisional Headquarters, he spent a considerable amount of time in hospital with various illnesses and in March, 1918 he was transferred back to England for return to Australia. A son, Vincent junior, served in the Second World War.

C. T. Johnson  That was the Leader's variation of Cyril Stanley Johnston, a 19 year-old clerk from 13 South Street. Preston. He enlisted on 18 August and served as 2962, Driver with the Divisional Ammunition Column and by the end of the war had been promoted through the ranks to Lieutenant.  He opted to spend his Special Leave in England to further study engineering and did not return to Australia until November, 1919.

Ernest Marlow was a 24 year-old painter from Edwardes Street, North Preston. He enlisted on 20 August, 1914 and embarked as a Corporal (674) with the First Divisional Train section of the Army Service Corps. He was later promoted to Sergeant and was awarded the Military Medal before returning to Australia on Special Leave in November, 1918. A brother, George also enlisted and was taken as a Prisoner Of War in April, 1917.

Thomas Herbert Manning of Pine Street, Preston Reservoir enlisted on 20 August, 1914 and embarked as 21, Driver with the Sixth Infantry. After serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front, he returned as a Lance Corporal home in December, 1918 suffering from a gunshot wound to the left foot in April. He was shown as a 20 year-old commercial traveller when he enlisted.

Reginald Emberson Moulden  was a son of Edward Moulden, who had an extensive property the north of Edwardes Street that was used in part for the Preston Rifle Club range in the years leading up to the  War. He enlisted as a 23 year-old butcher (alternatively as a cattle dealer) on 18 August, 1914 and served with 2 Field Ambulance in Egypt. He was repatriated home to Australia suffering from malaria in November, 1917 to carry out nursing duties locally and discharged around a year later.  He died from influenza in the Exhibition Buildings emergency hospital on 20 April, 1919 (see In Memoriam).

Frederick William Pears was a 19 year-old bricklayer, son of Frederick senior, well-known for his paint and decorating store in High Street, Preston between Wood and Wilcox Streets.  Pears enlisted on 26 August and served as a Sapper with 2 Field Engineers before returning to Australia in November, 1918 on Special Leave after completing four years' service. A brother, John, also enlisted, returning to Australia in May, 1919 after being wounded in September, 1916.

William Joseph Robinson broke the mould a little as a 34 year-old married motor mechanic with his wife Alice listed at 83 High Street, South Preston. He enlisted on 18 August, 1914 and served as 14, Driver, 2 Field Company Engineers, the same unit as Pears.  He also returned in November, 1918 on 1914 Leave, in his case with the rank of Corporal.

Alfred Ricardo enlisted as a 26 year-old on 21 August. He was shown as a driver, but his father Charles ran a wood yard at 517 High Street, Preston; post-war diversifying with Alfred and another son Claude (also A.I.F) into brass-founding. Alfred served as a Driver with 2 Field Artillery Battery, like others, he returned on Special Leave late in 1918.

Thomas Richard Smith enlisted on 17 August, shown as a 20 year-old driver with his mother Mary at 20 Chetwynd Street, Preston as next of kin (the street no longer exists under that name and in fact had disappeared before the 1920 directory). He served as 858, Private with the 6th Infantry and was wounded twice before returning on Special Leave in December, 1918. Smith faced a Court Martial in July, 1916 on charges of drunkenness and striking a superior officer and was sentenced to 42 days Field Punishment and the loss of 51 days' pay.


Thomas Richard Smith enlisted on 17 August, shown as a 20 year-old driver with his mother Mary at 20 Chetwynd Street, Preston as next of kin (the street no longer exists under that name and in fact had disappeared before the 1920 directory). He served as 858, Private with the 6th Infantry and was wounded twice before returning on Special Leave in December, 1918. Smith faced a Court Martial in July, 1916 on charges of drunkenness and striking a superior officer and was sentenced to 42 days Field Punishment and the loss of 51 days' pay.

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