Category Archives: Countries

William Harringay (Henry) Neate

William Harringay Neate
Private 1343

5th Battalion Australian Infantry A.I.F.

 Division 6

William Harringay Neate, is recorded as William Henry Neate, on the headstone of the family grave number 6789.  The inscription states that he was “Killed in Action at Anzac” on 19th May 1915 aged 32.

It is believed that his father, also called William, served in the British Army prior to the Great War, he was born in Bradfield, Berkshire and his sister, Sarah, who lived with the family in 1901 was born in Tilehurst, Reading.  William’s mother was Mary A Neate. It has not been possible to discover futher details about William Harringay Neate although in 1901 he was living with his mother and father in Gosport. He was then 19 but no occupation was given.

 The Gallipoli landings took place on the 25th April 1915.  Until 6th May there was persistent heavy fighting with serious losses on both sides.  It became obvious by the 9th May that the troops would need time to reorganise and strengthen their positions.  Among the heat and flies and constant sniper fire the Anzacs dug to improve the depth of gullies and trenches.  For safety periscopes were in constant use.  In many places the front lines were only yards apart and in No-Mans land the decaying bodies of Turkish soldiers rotted in the sun.  The Turkish commanders Essad and Kemel gave up their vision of driving the Anzacs into the sea and planned, instead, to mount a full scale attack.  40,000 Turks were assembled quietly during the 18th May in gullies and valley’s along the front line.  During the 18th the Turkish guns became eerily silent and reports from aircraft informed the allies that Turkish reinforcements were moving across the peninsula.  The attack was set for 3.30a.m. but,  forewarned of an imminent attack because of the light gleaming from fixed bayonets, the Australians themselves began firing at 3a.m.  All along the line the Turks were met with rifle and machine gun fire, many Australians jumping on the parapets to get a better aim.  By noon the attack was called off and Turkish casualties numbered 10,000 including 3,000 dead or grievously wounded in No-Mans land.  The cries of the injured and the stench on the dead was so appalling that on the 20th May an Australian Colonel hoisted a Red Cross flag.  The Turks shot at the flag but shortly after sent out men to apologise and Red Crescents were raised, an Armistice was agreed and in the following days the battlefield was cleared. 

William Henry Neate was killed during the attacks. He is buried at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Turkey, Location Plot III. Row C. Grave 15.

Shrapnel Valley (or Shrapnel Gully) runs from the west side of the Lone Pine Plateau, behind Maclagan’s Ridge, south-westwards to the sea near Hell Spit (Queensland Point).  The upper part of Shrapnel Valley was called Monash Gully (after Sir John Monash, then commanding the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade). The main valley obtained its name from the heavy shelling of it by the Turks on the 26th April, 1915. It was an essential road from the beach upwards. Wells were sunk and water obtained from it in small quantities; on the South side of its lower reaches were camps and depots; and gun positions were made near the mouth of it. The cemetery was made mainly during the occupation, but partly after the Armistice by the concentration of isolated graves in the Valley. There are now nearly 700, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 80 are unidentified and special tablets are erected to commemorate 21 soldiers from Australia and two from the United Kingdom for whom there is evidence of burial in the cemetery. The cemetery covers an area of 2,824 square metres and the South-East side which borders the gully is enclosed by a concrete retaining wall.

Charles Edwin Moores Weller

Charles Edwin Moores Weller
Private 255768
46th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan)

Division 26 

CIMG2165 CIMG2164

Charles Edwin Moores Weller was the  son of Charles Weller, of 127, Queens Road, Reading.  He is commemorated on the headstone of the grave of Fanny Briden and Charles Weller.  Grave number 8711. Charles was the eldest son of this marriage.  The inscription, which is now very feint,  states that he was killed in action at Passchendaele on 26th October 1917, aged 37.

 The 26th October marked what was officially designated  the 2nd Battle of  Passchendaele. The action began at 5.40 in the morning.  British divisions were either side of the Menin Road.  Along the Passchendaele ridge and the Passchendaele to Broodseinde road were the 46th Canadians and the 18th Australian Battalions. They moved forward in the early mist and later steady rain.  The Canadians and Australians took there objectives.  However,  the Canadians paid heavily with 70% casualties and because two different units had been used in the capture of Decline Copse, and each left it to the other unit to consolidate, the Germans were able to mount a successful counter attack and they were not ejected for a further 24 hours. 

 Charles Weller was first reported missing and his father had many appeals for information published in local papers, it was not until March 1918 that he was confirmed as killed. 

Charles Weller’s body was lost and therefore his name was commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Panels 18-26-28. His name is listed in the Canadian Book of Remembrance.

George Viner Wicks

George Viner Wicks
2nd Lieutenant
Australian Flying Corps..

Division 35

CIMG2118 CIMG2119

The grave of George Viner Wicks is a CWGC War Grave but the headstone is not a war pattern headstone but a small  stone cross, it can easily be overlooked because it is under a holly bush.  The grave number is 13395.

 He was the son of William Henry and Alice Mary Wicks, of 3, Anderton Street., Marrickville, New South Wales.  He was born in Fremantle, Western Australia.

 George Wicks died of  injuries in an aeroplane accidentalon 13th October 1918, he was 28 years old.  The full circumstances of his death are not known by the author.