Cummings Brothers: Cummings, Roy Lytton (Second Lieutenant, b.1893 - d.1918); Cummings, Eric Douglas (Wing Commander, b.1896-d.1979); Cummings, Mervyn Harold (Second Lieutenant, b.1891 - d.?)

Places
Accession Number PR83/181
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 7.5 cm; Wallet/s: 3; Oversize: 1
Object type Letter, Notebook, Souvenir, Postcard, Document
Maker Commonwealth of Australia
Cummings, Eric Douglas
Cummings, Mervyn Harold
Cummings, Roy Lytton
Unknown
Place made Australia, Egypt, France, Iraq, United Kingdom
Date made 1906-1952
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM315 419/103/055
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition
Description

Collection relating to the First World War service of the Cummings brothers: 5561 Second Lieutenant Roy Lytton Cummings, No. 5 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps; 1026 Second Lieutenant Eric Douglas Cummings DFC, No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps; and the First and Second World war service of 131/1457/N272662 Second Lieutenant Mervyn Harold 'Laddie' (or 'Lad') Cummings MM, No. 5 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps; Australia, Iraq, Egypt, France, United Kingdom, 1906-1952.

Roy Lytton Cummings originally enlisted with the 3rd Field Ambulance and saw a short period of service in the last months of the Gallipoli campaign. In January 1916, he successfully applied to be remustered as a Driver and saw service in France with No 4 Ammunition Sub Park at Rouen until July 1917, when he applied for a transfer to the Flying Corps and was accepted on 29 September 1917. Assigned to No. 5 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (based at Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire), in early 1918, Cummings quickly displayed an impressive flair for flying. Second Lieutenant Cummings passed his instructor's course in May 1918, and actively trained student pilots at Minchinhampton until he was killed several months later in a flying accident.

Wallet 1, folder 1 contains a collection relating to Second Lieutenant Roy Lytton Cummings, No. 5 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, 1913-1919 (formerly PR83/181). It consists of:
- 1 x note dated 18 June 1913, written to Roy from J.W. Riseley to Roy thanking him for his assistance during his ‘time in need’;
- 1 x black faux leather pouch with silver clasp, with black-covered notebook inside. Within the notebook are Cummings’ name and hand-written notes about pay;
- 2 x postcards from Egypt, c.1914-5, one depicting two traditional feluccas with the pyramids in the background, and one depicting Mohammed Aly Mosque. The postcards, when combined, form a letter written by Roy to his mother. The letter discusses his brother Mervyn and the cars that his unit is working with;
- 1 x insurance certificate dated 21 March 1914 from the ‘South British Insurance Company’ for the insurance of his FN motorcycle;
- 1 x postcard from Mervyn (signed as Ladeline) to Roy from Heliopolis discussing family affairs;
- 6 x letters written from Roy to his mother spanning the period 4 October 1915 to 20 August 1918 (eight days before his death). The letters discuss time spent in France, planned leave for Paris, news of his brothers, and training for the AFC;
- 5 x letters spanning the period 31 August to 27 October 1918 from various friends and relatives to the brothers’ parents expressing their sympathy and discussing details of the funeral and grave site;
- 3 x newspaper cuttings, one discussing an action fought by Roy where he downed two German planes in a morning, and 2 obituaries;
- 1 x notice announcing a commemoration ceremony on 24 November 1918 at the Leigherton cemetery where Roy was buried;
- 1 x letter dated 31 December 1918 addressed from the War Records Section to the brothers’ father mentioning a ceremony held on 17 November at Leigherton cemetery commemorating the war dead buried there including Roy, and associated general booklet of service for several similar events for the same day;
- 1 x note containing extracts from a letter sent by a ‘Mrs. Hartford’ local at Leigherton to Lieutenant Colonel Walter Oswald Watt expressing her condolences for those lost from the squadron and offering to maintain the graves of the fliers in the cemetery and answer and communication the families wished to send her;
- 1 x letter from (indecipherable) to the brothers’ father discussing Mrs. Hartford’s work;
- 2 x letters from Mrs. Hartford dated January 14 and June 4 (presumably 1919) to the brothers’ parents expressing her sympathy;
- 1 x commemorative scroll for Roy’s death;
- 1 x form relating to the inscription of Roy’s name for official purposes including on “war graves”, the “nation’s histories,” and the “roll of honour of Australia”; and
- 1 x form from the Imperial War Graves Commission relating to cemetery registers.

Captain Eric Douglas Cummings was an Australian World War I flying ace credited with nine aerial victories while flying for the Australian Flying Corps. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery. Postwar, he was an integral part of fundraising campaigns to care for his fellow Australian military veterans. He then served in the Royal Air Force reserves until reactivated for service during World War II where he rose to the rank of Wing Commander.

Wallet 1, folder 2 contains a collection relating to 1026 Wing Commander Eric Douglas Cummings DFC, 2 Squadron Australian Flying Corps, 1914-1924 (formerly PR83/187). It consists of:
- 2 x postcards written by Eric to his mother, one dated 1914 and depicting a ship (presumably the one his embarked upon, but with the name censored), written while on his journey to the Middle East, and the other incorrectly dated 1912, but likely 1916, depicting Soliman Pasha Square in Cairo. Both discuss family affairs;
- 2 x letters written by Eric to his mother, dated 27 January and 21 August 1918. Both discuss training, leave, and mention his other brothers;
- 1 x ‘special emergence card, soldier or sailor’ for rations, dated 7 July 1918, belonging to Eric;
- 1 x unused ration book belonging to Eric dated 19 November 1918;
- 1 x letter from an unknown person congratulating Eric on receiving his Distinguished Flying Cross;
- 2 x cards inviting Eric to a Masonic hall for a dance, one dated 7 May (likely 1919), the other dated 16 may 1919;
- 1 x letter of receipt and 1 x receipt for payment for a Itala brand car issued to Eric, dated 31 May 1919;
- 1 x Australian Army Reserve membership card belonging to Eric dated 10 July 919;
- 1 x postcard depicting Eric’s Sopwith Pup, flown to promote the purchase of war bonds. The cover is signed by Eric, and the verso has the details of an E Leeson, dated September 1919;
- 4 x newspaper cuttings relating to Eric’s promotional flight to fund war bonds over various towns in Tasmania;
- 1 x letter dated 26/?/1924 from Eric to his mother while aboard HMS Argus in Gibraltar. The letter discusses various places he has visited and how much he misses his family;
- 1 x undated invitation for Eric and his wife to visit Government House (presumably in Hobart) from “His Excellency & Lady Allardyce” (presumably Sir William Lamond Allardyce, Governor of Tasmania 1920-2); and
- 1 x undated envelope with ‘Capt. Cummings / Franklin’ written on the cover.

Second Lieutenant Mervyn Harold 'Laddie' Cummings was the oldest of the three brothers. He originally enlisted in the Army and saw service on the Western Front being awarded a Military Medal for his actions there. He transferred to the Australian Flying Corps and flew with No. 5 Training Squadron. He returned to Australia in 1920 and went on to pursue a career in aviation.

Wallets 2 and wallet 3, folder 1 consists of a collection relating to 131/1457 Second Lieutenant Mervyn Harold ‘Laddie' (or 'Lad)’ Cummings MM, No.5 Training Squadron Australian Flying Corps, and Second World War 1906-1952. (formerly PR83/186). They consist of:
Wallet 2:
- 1 x notebook green fabric-covered notebook used by Mervyn while undertaking pilot training in Oxford, whilst staying at Christ Church Collect, c.1918. The contents include training notes on aviation, physics, use of instruments, etc.
Wallet 3, folder 1:
- 1 x postcard dated 20 February 1906 addressed to Mervyn showing the area of the sender’s previous house;
- 1 x newspaper clipping announcing Mervyn’s Military Medal;
- 1 x used (Hobart cancel) Australian 1914-1938, loose 2d orange KGV head, off-centre, perforated OS overprint stamp;
- 1 x 1934 used (Surrey cancel) KGV head photogravure 1½d maroon, off-centre, stamp;
- 1 x letter from Mervyn to his parents discussing the French front and his driving duties;
- 1 x cablegram from Mervyn to his parents wishing them a merry Christmas, postmarked 27 January 1917;
- 1 x ‘indent for ordnance stores’ form dated 24 October 1917;
- 1 x letter to Eric from Eric discussing a dog fight he got into with 15 German planes;
- 1 x copy of a form certifying Mervyn as fit to be a pilot dated 31 July 1918;
- 1 x postcard depicting Christ Church College quad, Oxford University, dated 2 October 1918;
- 1 x empty envelope, c.1918, addressed to Mervyn while he is attending Christ Church College;
- 1 x letter dated 13 September 1918 from ‘Lol’ to Mervyn expressing his sympathy over the death of Roy;
- 3 x letters from Eric to Mervyn spanning the period 16 October to 19 November 1918 discussing a dog fight, Eric’s DFC, and his embarkation for Australia;
- 3 x empty envelopes addressed to Mervyn, dated October and November 1918;
- 1 x AIF pay book belonging to Mervyn spanning the period 30 November 1914 to 25 September 1918;
- 1 x letter to Mervyn from ‘Jade’, dated 18 (month?) 1918;
- 1 x summary of Mervyn’s pay during the First World War;
- 3 x telegrams dated c.August 1918 expressing sympathy for Mervyn’s accident;
- 1 x label dated 8 September 1920 with ‘OHMS / VALUABLE DOCUMENT – WITH CARE (sic)’ on the cover;
- 5 x general receipt for Mervyn dated 1920;
- 1 x Southern Tasmanian Agricultural and Pastoral Society member’s ticked made out to Mervyn, dated 20-21 October 1920;
- 13 x tags with messages written on them for Mervyn’s wedding to his sweetheart, Beatrice;
- 1 x Royal Automobile Club of Australia honorary membership card made out to Mervyn, dated 1922;
- 1 x letter accepting Mervyn to the ‘reserve of officers’ of the ‘Australian Military Officers’ official ‘On His Majesty’s Service’ used envelope;
- 1 x postcard wishing Mervyn and Beatrice a Merry Christmas from his aunt Alice dated Christmas 1929;
- 1 x clothing ration card belonging to Beatrice, dated after June 1944;
- 1 x discharge interim certificate, dated after 1948;
- 1 x military driver’s license dated 7 September 1950;
- 1 x membership card for the NSW RSL & AILA club dated 1952 with membership payment receipt and 1 other, similar receipt;
- 1 x undated card inviting Mervyn to a sergeant’s mess;
- 1 x undated, used envelope addressed to Mervyn;
- 1 x undated postcard depicting Thirroul, NSW, addressed to Mervyn;
- 1 x letter to Beatrice from the Department of Trade and Customs mentioning Mervyn, dated c.1930s; and
- 1 x miscellaneous card with Mervyn’s details.

Wallet 3, folder 2 contains miscellaneous documents relating to the Cummings family:
- 1 x King’s message to the Royal Air Force, dated November 11th 1918, congratulating soldiers;
- 1 x small watercolour of a tall ship in a bay;
- 3 x empty and blank envelopes, held together with “Croxley opaque”;
- 4 x empty envelopes addressed to various friends and family;
- 1 x undated article discussing transport units;
- 1 x Egyptian State Railways invoice possibly for a journey between Port Said and El Kantara;
- 1 x letter addressed to the brothers’ father
- 1 x letter written to an unknown brother (likely Mervyn) asking him to come to tea, dated 1 November (unknown year), addressed from Oxford;
- 1 x obituary for the brothers’ father, dated 2 October 1923;
- 1 x booklet dated 20 December 1920 with the dated and “Hobart” “BR” “MC” on the cover, containing signatures;
- 10 x pieces of miscellaneous ephemera; and
- 4 x small pencils, likely originally for a diary.

Oversize:
- 3 x temporary commissions to the rank of Second Lieutenant, one for each brother; and
- 1 x partial copy of the 'Smith's Weekly', dated 29 March 1919, with an article featuring details about the action leading to Eric's DFC in a story of anecdotes relating to the AFC.