Tuesday 19 February 2008 by Janette Condon. No comments
Personal Stories, Collection, First World War

Mention is sometimes made of personal events in the war diaries of the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF), currently being digitised by the Research Centre. Of all the activities of members of the First Light Horse Brigade at Gallipoli, one of the more unusual was the wedding of Sergeant Ernest Alfred Lawrence to his bride Clarice Jessie Daley on 21 October 1915 on the Greek island of Lemnos.

P01360.001 Clarice and Ernest leaving the tent in which they were married through an arch of drawn bayonets.

This event is not mentioned in the official diary, but a record of the event was made in the form of a marriage certificate (0.15Mb PDF file). While some would argue that a marriage certificate is an official record, the neatly handwritten certificate recording the marriage of Clarice and Ernest is housed in the Memorial's diverse collection of private records. A selection of First World War private records are also being digitised at present. 

Thanks initially to the age old appeal of weddings to a photographer's lens, we have in the Memorial's photographs collection two images taken shortly after the event. We can only speculate as to when romance blossomed between these two people.

P01360.002 The minister and witnesses gather around Clarice and Ernest after their wedding at Church Camp.

From the Embarkation Roll for the Orvieto we know that Ernest embarked early in the war with Colonel H.G. Chauvel as commanding officer of his unit. Clarice embarked in May, 1915 as a staff nurse bound for the Third Australian General Hospital on Lemnos. From his personal service record (see page 32 of 39) it is apparent that Ernest spent time in hospital in July 1915. Perhaps it was then that they met.