The lively 1913 soccer season saw the two retail giants of West Wallsend, Vaisey’s and the Co-Op, play on a winter Saturday. Team Vaisey won. Storeman James Corbett and shop assistant Lomas Bird scored. Baker James Leckie played well.
Harold Gibson, the Bird brothers, James Corbett, Mark Walton and James Leckie appear in the Vaisey Football Club’s 1914 photograph. Fit, healthy and victorious, they seem ready to play many more successful seasons.
World War I started on 28 June 1914. Gibson was the first to enlist in August 1915. He served with the 3rd Battalion in Europe.
Corbett was killed in action in the muddy fields of Flanders. Records suggest that he survived a battle around Passchendaele on 12 October 1917 that decimated Newcastle’s 35th Battalion, only to lose his life on 17 October.
Leckie had been killed in action 3 months earlier at nearby Messines while serving with the 34th.
Doris Lawson wrote anxiously from South St West Wallsend to learn more about the gunshot wound Harold Gibson suffered in 1917. Gibson was recovering in a hospital in Birmingham. The news that her father John had been killed in Belgium near Hill 60 had just been received. She wrote again asking to meet Gibson’s transport. He returned to Australia in May 1919.
Their relationship didn’t survive the experience of war. Doris married another WWI veteran Alexander Anderson in 1921.
Lest we forget.
This work by Lake Macquarie City Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License