Edward Tracey

Honour roll location: Pillar 8C

Feature story location: Pillar 4D

Ted Tracey- a baby at war.

Leaving his parents and community, Private Edward (Eddie or Ted) Tracey joined the 38th Battalion in February 1916 at just 19 years old. After training in England, Ted left for France on the 22nd of November, 1916. Three short months later, Ted was shot in the chest. According to Fred Perry, he only lived a few minutes after he was hit.

Ted Tracey. Image courtesy of East Loddon Historical Society.

The Bendigonian newspaper reflected on how the entire district mourned the loss of Alex Dalziel and Ted, reporting that a ‘gloom was cast over the district’.

The local State school flag was flown at half-mast high all day on Saturday as a mark of respect to the memory of the two brave boys [Ted and Alex Dalziel] who so nobly answered the call of their King and country, and died, not as shirkers, but as heroes. One must admire the spirit of these lads, for Private Edward Tracey was not 21 years of age, and he fought for older men who should be there doing their duty. Australian “babies” fighting for the older Australian eligible men is the saddest spectacle in this war of the world.

‘Two Country Soldiers’, Bendigonian, 22nd of March 1917, p. 9

 

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George Mossop

Honour roll location: Pillar 7B

Feature story location: Pillar 4A

Always a smile, even in ice, mud and slush.

After enlisting and being discharged as medically unfit early in the war, George Mossop re-enlisted with his mates. This time he was successful. He trained in England before he was sent to the front line in France. He wrote home whilst camped near Stonehenge:

There is some beautiful scenery in old England,  but still Sunny Australia will do for me.

George Mossop. Image courtesy of East Loddon Historical Society

George died on the 13th of January, 1917. He had only just re-joined his unit after suffering from the mumps. According to a letter sent to his parents from Captain J. A. Ackroyd, he was on sentry duty when the Germans began shelling their company. Ackroyd wrote:

A minenerfer shell landed quite close to his post, throwing him a considerable distance into another larger shell hole, and killing him.
His mates miss him greatly, as he was one of the cheeriest souls we had. Even when up to his knees in mud and slush, with ice thick upon the surrounding water for 10 or 12 hours, he could still raise a smile and a cheery word – one of the best.

George was buried at the Cite Bonjean Cemetery in Nord, France. His gravestone says “A devoted son & brother. Upright, loving & brave Mizpah”. Mizpah is a Hebrew word that has come to signify an emotional bond between two people.

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Edward Kerr

Honour roll location: Pillar 6C

Feature story location: Pillar 4B

Every day, every step was a constant reminder of the atrocity.

Along with all returned servicemen the scars of war were not always physically obvious. Eddie was reminded of his sacrifice every time he took a single step during the next fifty years of his life. Every day, in order to go out and face the nation he protected, he battled with this contraption. We can only begin to imagine what went through his mind each day. A remarkable donation from the Bears Lagoon community of £100 towards an ‘artificial leg’ enabled Eddie to walk again. This is one of many prosthetic legs crafted for Eddie during his lifetime.

Edward ‘Spud’ Kerr. Image courtesy of the East Loddon Historical Society.

Edward Kerr was born on the 1st of October, 1896 in Bears Lagoon to parents John and Maria. He lived at Janiember East, Victoria at the time of enlistment. He was also part of the Church of England. Edward weighed 59.69 kg and was 165 cm tall. His enlistment record states he had brown eyes and hair with a fair complexion. Eddie’s service number was 109 and his next of kin was his father John Kerr.

Edward, also known as Eddie or ‘Spud’, enlisted in the war at the age of 21 in Melbourne, Australia on the 1st of March 1916. He left Australia on the 20th of June 1916 on the HMAT A54 Runic. Edward was in the 38th Battalion (machine gun section).

HMAT Runic. Image from Discovering Anzacs.

War involved not only weaponry and rations. While in the field, Eddie was admitted to the hospital with the mumps. He became ill on the 28th if November 1916 and remained in hospital until the 31st of December 1916 when he rejoined his unit.

Eddie was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on the 23rd of April, 1917. A little over 4 months later, he received a gunshot wound to the leg on the 13th of October 1917 which left him stranded in a trench for 3 days. When he was finally rescued, the damage to his leg was too great. The effect of having multiple gunshot wounds to his leg meant that it had to be amputated. Soon after, he was transferred to the 16th General Hospital at Le Tréport, France on the 17th of October, 1917. After a month of recovery, he was transferred to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham, England on the 6th of November, 1917.

Despite the fact that his condition was improving, Edward was not able to fight in the war again. He embarked headed for Australia on the 10th of January, 1918, arriving on the 3rd of March 1918.

In a true display of care and appreciation, the Bears Lagoon community donated £100 to purchase Eddie an artificial leg. The article to the left from the Bendigo Advertiser notes the presentation of the gift, noting the great bravery and sacrifice Eddie showed while at war. Councillor Mahony, who presented the wallet to Spud read from a letter written by his nephew, one of the Marlow brothers. He relayed his nephew’s sentiments to the crowd:

“Spud” Kerr had dug him out at very great risk to himself, and said he was one of the whitest and bravest soldiers serving his country.
‘Returned Soldiers’, Bendigo Advertiser, 12th March 1918, p. 5

After Eddie returned from the war he met Vera Maud Brandie and they were married on the 8th of October, 1921. They had two daughters. He later worked as a valuer for the Frankston Council.

Edward died on the 4th of May 1970 at the age of 75. He is buried with his wife in the Springvale cemetery.

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