Lake Macquarie History

Lake Macquarie's First Casualties of WWI

Gallipoli saw the great loss of many Australian soldiers. Lake Macquarie did not escape unscathed. Ten men associated with our city are recorded to have died at Gallipoli, the first two were Victor Emanuel Farr and Allan Cameron MacLean. Another, 26 year old Thomas George Woods, died in May at Alexandria, Egypt as a result of injuries sustained at Gallipoli. The average age of those who lost their lives in this battle was 22 years 6 months; the youngest was Horace Douglass from Dora Creek, who was 19, the oldest at 26 was John Mowbray from Dudley.

Victor Emanuel Farr

photo: victor farr

On the 29th August 1914, after England, and thereby all the British Empire, had declared war on Germany earlier in the month, the almost 20 year old, Victor, answered the call of the Australian Government to enlist. Although born in Tamworth, Victor's next of kin is recorded on his enlistment papers as his mother, Mrs M. Drummond, Middle Camp, Catherine Hill Bay. These papers also list his occupation as miner. As Catherine Hill Bay was a small mining community, it is assumed that this is where Victor was employed.

His service records contain correspondence from his mother to ascertain his whereabouts. Initially Mary Drummond was notified in June 1915, that her son was wounded. In October that was amended to "Wounded and Missing". In an attempt to find out more information, Mrs Drummond wrote to a number of people, including a J.P. and the local member of Parliament, Mr Charlton, who pleaded with the Army for more information on her behalf. Reading her letters one can feel the anguish she must have felt in not knowing where Victor was. His service records can be viewed here.

In a Court of Enquiry, held in Egypt on January 11, 1916, Victor's status was further amended to "Killed in Action" from between 25-29 April, 1915. In April 1916, Mrs Drummond received official notification of her son's death. It was almost two years later before Mrs Drummond received his personal effects. Although his body was never recovered, he is memoralised at Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey.

Allan Cameron MacLean

Scottish born Allan Cameron MacLean also died at Anzac Cove that fateful day. Allan was the son of Norman and Jessie MacLean, who it appears from records, emigrated to Aguilas, Spain shortly after Allan's birth. In the 1911 English Census, 18 year old Allan MacLean is listed on the household of the MacGrigor Barracks in Aldershot, part of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Some time after this Allan left the United Kingdom for Australia's shores, where, according to his service records, he was employed as a boundary rider. No address is given for Allan on his service records, but Hunter military historian, David Dial, cites West Wallsend as his place of association (Newcastle Herald, July 28, 2014). His next of kin was his father, in Aguilas Spain.

Like Victor Farr, his final resting place is unknown and is also memoralised at Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli. His service records can be found here.