Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin July 2015 Contents 35
The exploits of the ANZACs was all too apparent when we visited
the cemeteries and memorials on the shoreline or close to the
shore at North Beach Anzac Commemorative Site, Ari Burnu, and
The cemeteries and memorials on the first and second ridgelines
and the heights of Lone Pine, and Courtney’s, Steele’s and Quinn’s
Posts and onto the Nek and Walker’s Ridge all contain fantastic
prescriptive bronze plaques.
Some of these plaques were originally put together years ago by
Dr Ross Bastiaan AM RFD, a periodontist and Australian Army
Reservist Colonel from Brighton in Victoria. Unfortunately many
of these plaques had been stolen in October 2014 by persons
unknown and believed to have been sold to scrap metal dealers
for their bronze content. Once again Dr Bastiaan came to the
rescue and arranged to have nine bronze plaques each weighing
63 kilos re-cast in record time by a foundry in Melbourne and
reaffixed to new huge reinforced concrete blocks by heavy duty
steel chain in March of this year.
soMe distant relatives at gallipoli in 1915
However, with so many stories to tell of my trip I have chosen to
concentrate on some of the men that served – two great-cousins
of mine, and relate the story of one of Steve’s relatives and some
stories of some Western Australians on our tour whose great uncle
was with the 10th Light Horse and was killed at the Nek.
My relatives were first cousins to each other and hailed from
Singleton in NSW. They were Privates John T. Doohan and Bert
R. Doohan, and had enlisted very soon after WWI was declared,
joining in late August 1914. They were both in the 2nd Battalion
and had very low service numbers, being 36 and 35 respectively.
They both landed at Gallipoli in the morning of 25 April. Bert
Doohan was reported wounded on 2 May 1915 but he was
mixed up with his cousin John as they looked similar and were five
months apart in age, with John being listed as wounded on the
same day. Yet John may in actual fact have been wounded or killed
a few days beforehand as A and D companies of the 2nd Battalion
had been involved in some very heavy action against the Turks over
this period. Bert on the other hand had actually been evacuated
to the hospital ship “Clan Mac” and sent to Malta and then onto
England for further treatment. Despite evidence from a fellow
soldier that he had seen John Doohan evacuated. (See the official
copy of a statement Pte W J Edgar 2nd Battalion at John Doohan’s
coronial inquiry). This was not the case as John Doohan was never
found. In early 1916 his service record was amended to missing in
action (MIA) on the date of 2 May 1915, and eventually this too
was changed in May 1916 to killed in action (KIA).
The author with Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson Min for
Veterans’s Affairs at a wreath laying ceremony at Beach Cemetery
Anzac Cove Gallipoli on 22 April 2015.
Copy of a statement by Private W J Edgar 2nd Battalion made
at All Saints Hospital Malta on 18 Dec 1915 as to Private John T
Doohan being mixed up with his cousin Bert R Doohan and John
being believed to have travelled to England for treatment of his
wounds. This document was in John T Doohan’s Service record.
Private John T Doohan’s name is inscribed on the Lone Pine
Memorial together with the other 4,227 Australians and 708
New Zealanders who were killed at Gallipoli but have no known
graves or are not mentioned on any of the other memorials on the
Bert Doohan remained in England after recovering from his
wounds and was transferred to the Anzac Provost Corp (Military
Police) in England in late 1916. He met an English girl and they
married in early 1918. Bert was posted back to the 2nd Battalion
in northern France as Australian units were being very much
depleted with few new volunteers coming through from Australia.
Many units in 1918 were at half strength yet were still considered
to be viable fighting units. Bert had only been married for six
weeks before he died of German gas poisoning on 24 May 1918.
So like many other Australians of that age and generation WW1
had killed two close cousins. Yet their other cousin Sgt Henry J
Wilkinson of the 3rd Battalion (my grandfather) survived but was
mentally and badly physically scarred for the rest of his days.
This then ends Part 1 of my story on Anzac Day – Gallipoli 2015.
In next month’s News Bulletin I will describe the very moving
experiences I had on 25 April 2015 at the Dawn Service and then
at Lone Pine, and relate some other stories conveyed to me by the
relatives (who toured with me) of those who fought and/or were
wounded and/or died at Gallipoli. Amongst other things I will
tell you about a highly decorated Australian doctor on Gallipoli
and being able to catch up with his granddaughters at the Lone
Pine Memorial. Also I’ll tell you a story about a dentist who was
wounded at Gallipoli but became famous for certain other exploits
with the Australian Light Horse later on in WW1, as well as
looking at the valour of the Anzacs during the August offensives.
ADA HR Advisory Service
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