ANZAC Connections: Centenary digitisation project

17 March 2016 by Stephanie Hume

The Australian War Memorial is currently undertaking a project to create a comprehensive digital archive of the ANZACs and their deeds, and of the wider Australian experience of war, through the digitisation of collections held by the Memorial.

The collections are selected from our extensive archive and reflect the experiences of Australian servicemen, nurses, and civilians during the First World War, not just well-known personalities. This project will digitally preserve the Memorial’s collections as well as provide full copies for research on the Memorial’s website.

As part of this project the Memorial is seeking contact with relatives of the people listed below. If you have any further information about these people, or their descendants, the Memorial would love to talk to you. Please contact Meagan Nihill via


As part of PR89/034: Collection of Frederick William Gadsby Annand

S. H. Potts

S.H. Potts wrote to Frederick Annand from Cranson’s Ivanhoe Hotel, Bloomsbury Street, London, W.C.1. The letter is dated 13 May 1919, before Annand returns to Australia on troopship Norman. Potts writes about having transferred their role at the hospital to Miss Duncan, receiving a letter from Annand’s wife, and hope to travel to Australia the next July with Phil.

3171 Private Robert Thomas Ray

Robert Thomas Ray was born c1892 to John and Lucy Ray, in Carlton, Victoria. An engine driver, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 2 October 1916, listing his mother Lucy Ray as his next of kin. Ray was assigned to the 2nd Pionéer Battalion, remaining in the unit until the end of the war. He married Kathleen Moore on 20 January 1919, and returned to Australia with his wife in late 1919. Robert Thomas Ray died in Melbourne on 17 November 1931.

138 Sergeant Alfred John Costello

Alfred Costello was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 30 Jun 1885. In 1904, Costello married Emily Matilda McGiveron in Tasmania. They moved to Melbourne, though by 1910 were estranged, and Emily was living with Robert Henry Jones and his wife, in South Melbourne. In October 1899 Emily and Robert Jones were charged with stealing £23 from Henry Russell of Elizabeth Town. Costello enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 17 December 1914, and was appointed to the 13th Light Horse. After a period of training, he embarked for Egypt on 28 May 1915, onboard HMAT Persic. In March 1916 he transferred to the 2nd Pionéer Battalion. He returned to Australia on HT Kashmir, arriving 30 April 1919, and was discharged in June 1919. According to the 1922 census, Alfred and Emily Costello were living at 40 Dow Street, South Melbourne.

[G.S.H.] Nicholson

[G.S.H.] Nicholson wrote to Frederick Annand from France, on 5 July 1917. He thanks Annand for the 2nd Pionéer Battalion’s help during the heavy times of the fighting at the Somme in 1917.


As part of 1DRL/0220: Collection of Albert Charles Cox

Headley (or Headland) Francis Barnes

Headley (or Headland) Francis Barnes was born in England c1896. A dairy farmer, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 29 July 1915. Barnes was appointed to the 4th Battalion, and was later transferred to the 53rd Battalion in February 1916. He received a gunshot wound to the leg on 5 August 1916, whilst in the field in France, and after returning to Australia in was discharged on medical grounds on 23 May 1917. Barnes re-enlisted on 21 September 1917, and was appointed as a guard at the Holsworthy Internment Camp. Barnes also served in the Australian Commonwealth Military Force in during the Second World War.


As part of 1DRL/0345: Collection of Robert James Henderson

William Leith Blaw

William Leith Blaw was born on 25 January 1899 in Glasgow, Scotland. Blaw enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 1 May 1916 and was appointed to 17th Battalion, and was later transferred to the 13th Battalion. His next of kin was listed as his mother Daisy Blaw, at Daisybank, Whiting Street, Gore Hill, Sydney. Blaw was awarded the Military Medal on 11 February 1919, for his actions near Lihons on 18 August 1918. After return to Australia, Blaw married Margaret Toy Lauder Dickson on 3 November 1923. In 1934 William Blaw enlisted in the permanent Australian Military Force, and saw service during the Second World War, and in the British Commonwealth Occupational Force. Margaret Blaw died on 16 July 1973 in Brisbane, Queensland, and William Blaw died on 14 December 1990, in Brisbane, Queensland.


As part of 1DRL/0288: Collection of Frank Reinhardt Fischer

Abraham Murdoch Gillies

Abraham Murdoch Gillies was born on 15 May 1889 to Murdoch and Jane (née Todd) Gillies in Northcote, Victoria. Gillies worked as a teacher, before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 22 November 1915. After undertaking a period of training, Gillies received his commission on 5 April 1917, and embarked on 4 August 1917, appointed to the 5th Battalion. In 1919, Gillies married Gertrude Theresa Anderson, at St Peter’s Church, Melbourne. They appear to have not had any children. After the war’s end Gillies worked as a publisher.  Abraham Murdoch Gilies died on 12 July 1946.

Charles Henry Gould

Charles Henry Gould was born on 13 April 1884, in Red Cliffs, Victoria. Gould was working as a sign writer before he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 16 December 1914, embarking on 19 February 1915. He was appointed to the 6th Battalion, and shortly received a commission. Gould was awarded the Military Medal on 27 October 1916 for his actions at Cape Helles and Steele’s Post. Whilst on the Western Front, Gould co-edited the 6th Battalion’s newssheet "Ca ne fait rien” with Frank Noonan, with Gould producing most of the artistic artwork. Gould married May Dorethea Wilson in 1926, they had no children. He was made a Member of the British Empire on 5 January 1968 for services to the community. Charles Henry Gould died on 10 October 1968. More can be read about him here.

George Simpson

George Simpson was born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, c1893 to David and Hannah Jackson (née Holmes) Simpson. After immigrating to Australia, Simpson lived in Mildura, Victoria, and was employed as a labourer. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 30 August 1914, and was appointed to the Australian Army Service Corps, before receiving his commission and being appointed to the 6th Battalion. George Simpson was killed in action on 23 August 1918, at Cerisy, France. He is buried at the Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery. George Simpson’s brother James Marsden Simpson was killed on 9 May 1916, in France, serving with the 173rd Tunnelling Company, Royal Enginéers. He is buried in Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery. Their brother Clarence Jack Simpson married Lena Rose Doyle on 12 November 1920, they had three children.

Donald William MacLachlan

Donald William MacLachlan was born 14 June 1886 in Inverness, Scotland. After immigrating to Australia, he worked as a bank manager in Brighton, Victoria. MacLachlan enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 24 July 1915, and after a period of training became a commissioned officer and was appointed to the 6th Battalion. MacLachlan was awarded the Military Cross on 26 November 1917 for his actions at Ypres on 4-9 October 1917. He married Ida Irene Jeffrey on 2 August 1919, they appear to have had no children. Ida Irene MacLachlan died on 26 August 1924, Donald William MacLachlan did not remarry and died in 1962. They were buried together in Brighton General Cemetery.

Harold Francis Darby

Harold Francis Darby was born on 28 March 1894 in Launceston, Tasmania to Robert and Sarah Anne Jane (née Huxable) Darby. Harold Darby worked as an accountant in Melbourne before receiving a commission in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1916. Darby was granted leave without pay in 1919 to undertake accountancy training at G. Reynolds and Son, London, and also for agriculture at Lord Farnham’s estate, County Caven, Ireland. Upon his return to Australia he married Viola Tavener, they had three children, Ian, Hugh and Janet. Harold Darby died 30 May 1988.

Thomas Giles Paul

Thomas Giles Paul was born c1883 in Surrey, England. After immigrating to Australia in 1913, Paul was undertaking studies in theology before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 21 August 1914. He received his commission on 28 January 1916. Thomas Paul was awarded the Military Cross on 1 January 1919 for his work as the 6th Battalion’s transport officer and brigade transport officer during the AIF operations between February and September 1918. He was recommended for Officer of the Order of the British Empire for this same action. In 1924, he was reverend at St Paul’s, Stockton, and in 1927 was rector at St. John’s Anglican Church, Camden. As of July 1943, he had spent 16 years in service at St. John’s, Camden.

George Walter Carter

George Walter Carter was born on 29 November 1867 in Oxford, England. He immigrated to Australia as a youth to study law, though later decided to study for the ministry. He was ordained deacon in 1892 and priest in 1894. He married Daisy Mary Delany; they had one son, Basil Delany Carter in 1894. George Carter enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 1 December 1915, and embarked on 5 January 1916. Upon his death on 29 October 1949, Archdeacon George Walter Carter was Vicar-General, Archdeacon and Registrar of the Diocese of Wangaratta, and director of the Church of England Home Mission Fund.

Louise Marion Brockwell

Louise Marion Brockwell (née Digby) was the mother of Frederic George Brockwell, who served in D Company, 6th Battalion, with Frank Fischer. Louise Digby married Frederick Leopold Brockwell in 1898, their son Frederic George was born the same year. In 1906, Louise Brockwell adopted Eric Harris, who was later fostered by her son Frederic Brockwell. In 1930 Eric Harris Brockwell was convicted of the manslaughter of taxi driver Horace Thomas Warpole. Frederic Brockwell died in 1964, in Mont Albert, Victoria.