James White

Honour roll location: Pillar 8D

Feature story location: Pillar 5C

Like many young farmers from the East Loddon district, James ‘Jim’ White took up the call to arms, serving his country by enlisting in World War One.
Jim was born in Dingee, Victoria and later moved to ‘Edgeworth’ at Janiember East. He went to Pompapiel North State School. His father, John White, is listed as his next of kin on his enlistment records.

When Jim enlisted, he was 24 years and 7 months old. He was a fit and healthy young man, standing at just over 170cm (5 foot, 7 inches) and weighing in at about 60kg (9 stone, 8 pounds.) In his enlistment records, he is described as having a fair complexion and blue eyes. Jim was single, though his two brothers- Robert George and William Marshall- were married while he was away at war. He had his whole life ahead of him.

James White. Image courtesy of East Loddon Historical Society

Embarking from Melbourne on the HMAT Borda, James may have felt as though this was his chance to see the world and serve his country at the same time. He spent over a year at the training camp in Codford, Salisbury, England.

Jim was a driver, using his experience from the farm to assist horses through the battlefields. He proceeded to France on the 31st of May, 1918 and was posted to the 26th Company on the 23rd of July. He was part of the 4th divisional train reinforcements from the base depot.

Jim White sent this photo home to his sister. Image courtesy of East Loddon Historical Society.

During his service in France, Jim was temporarily promoted to Corporal in March 1919 before reverting to Lance Corporal in April.

Though he was overseas for some time, Jim was fortunate not to sustain any severe injuries while on active service. His records show no casualties.
On the 9th of July, 1919, Jim began the journey home aboard the HMAT Prinz Ludwig.

Jim was a well-loved man who fortunately returned to Australia and went back to farming on the family farm at Janiember East. The East Loddon and District Historical Society still have in their possession a pudding bag from a gift sent to gift while he was on active service. This pudding from R. Chappel of Calivil was sent to Jim with great care in a homemade wooden box. The sentiment was evidently of great value to Jim, who clearly kept the bag and brought it home with him, even retaining it after his return.
Jim is remembered on the Pompapiel North and Serpentine Honour Rolls.


Walter Hopper

Honour roll location: Pillar 6A

Feature story location: Pillar 5C

Walter Hopper (a.k.a. Walter Whitfield).
Image taken from Discovering Anzacs

Early to enlist

Walter Hopper was a motor mechanic from Mitiamo. He enlisted very early in the war on the 29th of August. His elder brother Hugh also served in World War One.

Private Hopper served in Gallipoli as part of the 1st Battalion, G Company. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in late 1914 and again to Corporal in 1915.

Shortly after his last promotion, Walter was sadly killed in action on the 19th of May, 1915. He is remembered at the Lone Pine Cemetery in Turkey.

False name

Walter Hopper enlisted under the false name ‘Walter Whitfield’. Later, his brother Hugh wrote a letter to the AIF notifying them that the assumed name had been chosen for ‘family reasons’.

It may seem unusual that someone would use a false identity when choosing to go to war. However, it is predicted that as many as 15, 000 servicemen used an alias (around 3.5%).

Usually, soldiers chose an alias if they were trying to avoid attention. For example, they may have been too young to enlist. Perhaps their family disapproved of their enlistment or they may have even had extramarital relationships they didn’t want to expose.

It is unclear as to why Walter Hopper took on an assumed name. The information provided above is general information but does not attempt to explain why Walter chose a false name.


Florence Emily Grylls

Honour roll location: Pillar 5C

Trailblazer and passionate advocate for children’s health.

Daughter to John and Elizabeth (nee Wearne), Florence was born in Raywood in 1888. She later worked at the Bendigo Hospital. After enlisting in 1917, she served in Bombay, India for two years.

The Gerald Freeman Thomas hospital in Bombay where Florence served. Photo from Australian War Memorial.
The interior of the Freeman Thomas war hospital in Bombay, India. Photo from Australian War Memorial.

After her discharge in 1920, Florence worked at the Pioneer Health Centre at Peckham, London in 1926. This health centre was part of a leading study into preventative health care. Florence was particularly interested in improving the health of babies and children.

Florence travelled from the north to the south of Africa by herself in 1927. She gave lectures in Australia on the history of the British Empire and her observations from her travels.

Florence later worked as the sister in charge at the RSL Children’s Health Bureau at ANZAC house for 12 years upon her return. Following her passion for helping others, Florence worked in infectious disease hospitals.

She eventually founded the Victorian Branch of the Save the Children Fund, which is now firmly established throughout Australia. Florence worked tirelessly to raise awareness, funds and relief for children and families. She was a passionate advocate for preventative health and wrote many letters to newspapers sharing her views. At the time of her death, Florence was the national president of the Save the Children Fund. She was 74 years of age. The organisation now has a scholarship in her memory for research in the field of maternal and child health.

Florence never married. Her two sisters- Mary Ann and Marion Patience Grylls- had married local men John Thomas and Ernie Old in a double wedding ceremony at the Dingee Methodist Church in 1905. Her brother John was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Anzac Cyclist Battalion and returned to Australia in 1919.



Effie Mary Garden

Honour roll location: Pillar 5C

Feature story location: Pillar 5A

Effie Garden was a capable nurse who was entrusted with jobs that women often were not permitted to undertake. She was from Serpentine. At age 25 she enlisted in June 1915 after having passed her nursing examinations in May 1914. She nursed in Bendigo until she was sent overseas.

Effie Garden as pictured in The Age, 21st of April 1984, p. 20

Effie said she enlisted because,

“I just felt it was my duty to go”

(The Age, 21st of April 1984, p. 20).

Removing shrapnel by herself
Stationed in Egypt first, Effie was impressed by the way all the nurses got on so well. They were moved around often and could be sent anywhere at any time, taking care of both themselves and wounded troops. Never concerned for her own safety, Effie worked at the British No. 12 Casualty Clearing Station in Proven, France as part of a surgical team. She was often required to use a scalpel to take out pieces of shell. This was unusual for the time; nurses were not normally taught how to do these procedures.
Effie also helped to open a new hospital for infectious diseases. There the nurses had to scrub their instruments and boil them to stop the spread of infection.

Royal Red Cross Medal
Effie received the Royal Red Cross medal (2nd class) in September 1919. It was awarded for her ‘valuable service with the Armies in France and Flanders’.

Royal Red Cross Medal

Upon her return home in 1919, Effie witnessed first-hand the dramatic effects the war had on nurses, with some unable to ‘return to nursing’.

Effie later married John Garfield Fussell in 1920.