Two metre measuring tape : Staff Sergeant A D Whitling, 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, AIF

Accession Number REL41964
Collection type Technology
Object type Technology
Physical description Nickel-plated brass, Steel
Maker John Rabone & Sons
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1911
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918

Circular steel cased 2 metre metal tape measure, with centimetres on one side and inches on the other. A button in the centre of one side releases the tape. The rim of the case is impressed 'John Rabone and Sons, Birmingham England'.

History / Summary

Tape owned and used by 14529 Arthur Dumas Whitling, born 1876 at Parramatta, NSW, a civil servant who was 38 years old when he enlisted on 13 July 1915. Assigned to the Australian Army Medical Corps, Whitling was promoted to Corporal the day after his enlistment and Lance Sergeant (Clerk) on 12 August 1915. He joined the Australian Convalescent Depot departing from Sydney aboard HMAT Orsova on 14 July 1915.

Although Whitling was promoted to Staff Sergeant on 7 September 1915 and to Warrant Officer Class 1 on 1 March 1916, these appointments were never confirmed, resulting in Whitling's rank and dates of promotion becoming the subject of an internal AIF investigation. The result, in late 1919, was confirmation of his rank as Staff Sergeant but not a Warrant Officer. Whitling had a few things to say about this, and in his correspondence states 'As showing the muddle the records in my case were, I may instance the fact that whilst I held the position of Chief Clerk at the No 1 Australian Aux Hospital, Harefield Park, England, the OC Records London wrote for particulars, regarding me "as we have no trace of this man on record". That was strange, as I was one of the original members of the London Staff and had been paid at Headquarters for over a year!!'

'I subsequently had to reattest, notwithstanding that I personally handed over the attestation papers of myself & others on or arrival in London over a year previously.' A letter from Victoria Barracks written in 1921, querying Whitling's eligibility for the Victory Medal, notes: 'Whitling states that he enlisted specifically under Lieutenant Colonel Flashman, AAMC, on 5 July 1915, and embarked on Special Service.'

Whitling disembarked in London on 12 August 1915 and was taken on strength of Admin HQ, Medical Section at AIF Headquarters, Horseferry Road, London before being transferred to 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield on 25 August 1916. In accordance with the mess his records were in, Staff Sergeant Whitling wasn't allotted a regimental number until 17 January 1917. On 4 March 1918 Whitling was admitted to 1 Auxiliary Hospital with a medical condition which resulted in him being discharged from service with a 'debility'. He embarked from England board the Hospital Ship Kanowna for return to Australia, and was discharged on 26 June 1918, upon his return. He married Brenda on 16 September 1919 and died in 1973.

Arthur Whitling appears to have purchased a Verascope stereoscopic camera (REL41962.001) by 1911 at the latest, and used it well into the post Second World War period. This measuring tape was used with the Verascope stereoscopic camera as the Verascope had a the focus fixed at 10 feet so that all objects beyond 10 feet were in focus and supplementary lenses were required for nearer objects.

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