Saturday, August 18, 2018

M9 Meet The Rellies - A Unique World Honour Lieut Alfred Gaby VC

Meet the Rellies

Eleven Whiteway Girls

The combination of the families of Robert Whiteway, Joseph Ryan, Ann Larkins and Ellen Wigmore accounted for 11 young ladies.   There must have been something in the "waters" at Bothwell, to ensure not one son was to be born.

Robert Whiteway and Ann Larkins

Mary Ann Whiteway                          Simon Arnett
Tamar Whiteway                                William Maskell
Sarah Jane Whiteway                         Josiah Triffitt and Thomas Kemp
Rebecca Whiteway                             Isaac Blake

Ellen Wigmore and Joseph Ryan

Elizabeth Ryan                                      Charles Sims

Robert Whiteway and Ellen Wigmore

Ellen Whiteway                                     John Jillett
Sophia Susan Whiteway                        Robert Alfred Jillett
Catherine Frances Whiteway                 Charles Andrews
Adelaide Whiteway                                Alfred Athelstone Gaby
Emily Louisa Whiteway                        Richard Robinson
Robert Whiteway                                   Mary Solomon

The Bowden Family

Edward Bowden and Diana Ayres lived in Bothwell
He was born in Norfolk and was transported on the Governor Ready arriving in 1827. 

Edward Bowden was born in Norfolk, England. He married Diana Ayres in 1816 and they had several children born in England before he was transported. After his arrival in Tasmania they were granted permission by the Lieut. Governor to join him. The children were Jonathon, Mary, Harriet, Sarah and Edward. Three other daughters - Eliza, Henrietta and Ann - were born in Tasmania.

They had several children including:

Jonathan Bowden         1816 - 1880      m         Mary Mirry
Mary Bowden               1818 - 1861      m         Robert Blake     Son Isaac Blake m Rebecca                                                                                                                        Whiteway
Harriet Bowden            1821 - 1893      m         Thomas Gaby   Son Alfred Athelstone Gaby m                                                                                                      Adelaide Whiteway
Sarah Bowden              1823 - 1881      m         William North  m  Kezia Lillian Gaby d of above
Edward Bowden            1825 - 1908      m         Sarah Allen
Eliza Bowden               1830 - 1900      m         James Neptune Warren
Henrietta Bowden         1833 - 1898      m         Thomas Lewis
Annie Bowden              1835 - 1885      m         George Goddard  Son Edward Bowden Goddard m                                                                                                                  Ella Grace Jillett                                                                              daughter of John Jillett and Ellen Whiteway

The Family of Robert Blake
In Wiltshire and other communities in 1831, there were those who went about damaging farm property in order to voice their concerns about machines replacing labour.

Although the statistical sample is obviously quite small, the general trend is that the larger the family a labourer was supporting, the more likely he was to have committed poaching. In addition, only two of the above transportees convicted of poaching in Wiltshire were village tradesmen - an unmarried twenty five year old shoemaker named Robert Blake (who became a wealthy pastoralist on the Central Plateau) and a married thirty year old carpenter/joiner named Robert Willoughby (who returned to England after receiving a free pardon). All the rest were ploughmen and farm labourers at the bottom of the rural economic scale. These crude but quite dramatic statistics support the view that poaching - in Wiltshire at least - was primarily driven by economic distress.

Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870), Tuesday 14 April 1868, page 2

(From our own Correspondent.)

An accident of a painful, if not of a serious nature, occurred about four o'clock on the afternoon of Good Friday, on the estate of Woodspring in this municipality. Joseph and Robert Blake, sons of Mr. Robert Blake, an old and respected resident of this township, were out shooting; the former fired at a kangaroo, distant about forty yards, discharging both barrels almost simultaneously; it seems that, unknown to him, his brother was concealed by a tree not more than thirty yards away, and unfortunately stepped forward into the line of fire at the moment Joseph pulled the trigger, receiving a large portion of both charges of No. 1 shot in his body, from his face to his feet.
His escape from fatal injury was indeed providential; and though suffering much pain from wounds on the left thigh and knee, he was sufficiently well to bear removing the same evening to Hobart Town for medical treatment, under which it is to be hoped he will soon be restored to his wonted vigorous health. Poor Joe  was terribly alarmed, and " could scarcely believe his eyes" when he saw his brother wounded and  bleeding.

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Friday 26 August 1870, page 2

NARROW ESCAPE AT BOTHWELL.-An accident occurred on the afternoon of Monday the 22nd inst., within a few miles from this township, to a lad named Alfred Blake, aged 14 years, son of Mr. Robert Blake, a very old resident here, which had well nigh resulted in a horrible termination. It appeared that the lad, accompanied by Mr. Shaw's two boys, was out in the bush on what is called the Lime-kiln run, kangarooing, having guns with them ; and the string from which Blake's powder flask was suspended when he set out having broken, he very thoughtlessly put his powder flask, which at the time contained nearly half a pound of powder, into his right hand trousers pocket, in which were a knife and some lucifer matches. Shortly after, as might naturally have been expected, whilst Blake was in the act of running, a sudden explosion took place, which blew the flask to atoms, and set the owner's clothes on fire.

One of his companions, who was a dozen yards or so off, ran up and attempted to extinguish the fire by rolling Blake over on the ground; presently the other came up, and taking out his knife quickly cut off the trousers of Blake, at least all that remained of them, for a portion had been blown to " smithereens. " Fortunately, and by a miracle as it were, young Blake was not so badly injured hurt that he was able to walk some considerable distance to his brother Charles's farm at Grantham, from whence he was brought in a cart to his father's residence on the township, where he now lies confined to bed. On examination it was found that the whole of the right leg was as black as ink from the scorching, and blistered in small patches, and he is also severely burned all" round the lower part of the body. It is a remarkable circumstance that two other sons have experienced accidents from this "vile gunpowder." It is rather better than a year ago that one was accidentally shot by a companion in the bush, and had to be removed to the hospital, there being at the time no medical man here, a " hiatus" still requiring to be filled up, and " devoutly to be wished for" ; and the third son referred to has had either a thumb or a finger shot off.

Alfred Gaby and Adelaide Whiteway had a family of ten children.

1.      Reginald Wigmore Gaby           1876 - 1971      m  Mary Bald
2.      Ernest Alfred Gaby                    1877 - 1971      m Hilda Blee
3.      Emily Gaby                               1879 - 1888
4.      Louis Gaby                                1881 - 1886
5.      Frank Gaby                                1884 - 1943
6.      Charles Gaby                             1886 - 1970      m Lily Hannan
7.      Ellen Harriet Gaby                     1888 - 1969      m  William Roy Marsden
8.      Thomas Bowden Gaby              1890 -  1982     m  Florence Anderson
9.      Alfred Edward Gaby                  1892 -  1918
10.   Percy Frederick Gaby                1894 -  1971     m   Lois Vera McLaren

Their sons Reginald and Ernest both served in the Boer War, with Ernest enlisting in New Zealand.
Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), Tuesday 7 August 1900, page 6

TROOPER (GABY RETURNS TO SCOTTSDALE. SCOTTSDALE, Monday. About 5.20 p.m. to-day information was received that Trooper Gaby was on this evening's train, consequently- a large crowd assembled at the station, including a squad of the local defence force under Lieutenant Downie. The military formed' a guard to keep the public from the front of the platform. On arrival of the train Trooper. Gaby was escorted to the front, where Lieutenant Downie heartily welcomed him on behalf of the corps, and Mr.. Jas. Stewart, on behalf of the inhabitants, gave him a cordial welcome, also intimating that on Monday night next a social would be tendered him. The children sang "Home, Sweet Home" and "Soldiers of' the Queen." Cheers were given for the gallant trooper, and he was driven homewards amidst renewed cheering.
A Family story reveals a little more information
When he was twenty-three years old, Reg volunteered to join the First Tasmanian Contingent to support the Empire in its fight against the Boers in South Africa. Reg was single and worked as a miner at Scottsdale.

Boer war service. He first served from 27 Oct 1899 till 07 Dec 1900 as a Private with 1 Tas contingent service number 32. Second tour of duty was from 21 May 1902 till 28 Jul 1902 as a Sargent with the 8 Bn Australian Commonwealth Horse ( Tas ). His service number this time was 255.

1909 Nabageena, Tasmania, Australia
Reginald and his wife Mary at their home

North-Eastern Advertiser (Scottsdale, Tas. : 1909 - 1954), Friday 17 December 1909, page 2


By Smiler
We have many hard-working and pushing men settled on the land throughout this district—men who start work early every day, and men that are prepared to work long after the eight hour man has knocked off and is walking about talking politics, and as a rule these men's farms are a credit to them.
These farms are all well worked, and contain some of our best chocolate soil. Mr. Alfred Gaby is another of our good farmers, and his stock and crops are always in the pink of condition. I think Mr. Gaby grows the finest crops of mangolds[1] in our district, excepting, perhaps, John Beattie, John McBean and Sam Ranson. J. and D. McGilp. Archie Campbell, and Frank Shearer, of Jetsonville, are good cultivators of the soil and so are William Bald and Alfred Brewer, while Mr. J. B. Hayes, who has not been settled in this district for many years, is a great believer in potato growing, and has done all he could to-wards trying to get the Sydney market thrown open to our farmers for the sale of their potatoes.

Charles Gaby lived in West Australia, and enlisted for World War I.
Alfred and Percy enlisted in Tasmania.

North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tas. : 1899 - 1919), Friday 1 November 1918, page 3


LONDON, Wednesday. — A London 'Gazette' announces that the Victoria Cross has been awarded to Lieutenant Alfred E. Gaby, 28th Batt., son of Mr. Alfred Gaby, Natone, Tasmania. Lieut. Gaby was killed in action in France on August 11.

The official record of the deeds for which Lieut. Gaby was awarded the V.C. is as follows:— When the attack which Lieut. Gaby was leading reached the wire in front of the enemy trenches, strong opposition was encountered from the enemy, 40 yards distant. Lieut. Gaby found a gap in the wire and approached a strong point singlehanded, despite machine gun and rifle fire. Lieut. Gaby, running along the parapet alone, emptied his revolver point blank, and drove the crews from their guns. He compelled 40 Germans to surrender with four ma-chine guns. Three days later Lieut. Gaby was killed during an attack by a sniper while walking along the line posts, encouraging his men to consolidate quickly. 

Lieut. Gaby is the 10th Tasmanian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the present war, the others being Lieut. Colonel H. W. Murray (who enlisted in West Australia, and has also received the D.S.O. and a bar, and the D.C.M.) ; Captain J. E. Newland: the late Captain P. H. Cherry. M.C. ; Sergeant J. W. Whittle, D.C.M. ; 2nd Lieut. J. J. Dwyer; the late Sergeant Lewis McGee; Sergeant S. R. McDougall, M.M. ; Sergeant. W. E. Brown, D.C.M. and bar (enlisted in New South Wales) ; and Sergeant Percy Clyde Statton.

Alfred Edward Gaby

When he was a boy in Tasmania, Alfred Gaby (1892-1918) had seen his brothers go to the Boer War. He later served in the local militia before joining the AIF at the beginning of 1916. He was commissioned the following year.

The large-scale action in which he won his Victoria Cross was one of the most successful that Australians were ever engaged in. During the advance, in a lone attack, he got through the barbed-wire and drove the enemy off, capturing four machine-guns and 50 men. He then led the company on to its objective. Three days later, while walking along the line to encourage his men, he was killed by a sniper.

Alfred Edward Gaby, VC (25 January 1892 – 11 August 1918) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Born in Tasmania, Gaby worked as a farmer and then a labourer before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916 and volunteering to serve overseas. Serving initially in the ranks, Gaby was quickly promoted, having previously served as a part-time soldier before the war, and was commissioned in 1917. He was one of 64 Australians to receive the award for their actions during the First World War, receiving it for his actions during an attack around Villers-Bretonneux in France during the Battle of Amiens that took place at the start of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive. He was killed three days later, at the age of 26, while leading another attack around Lihons.
Born in Springfield near Ringarooma, Tasmania, he was the seventh son of Alfred Gaby, a farmer, and his wife Adelaide, née Whiteway. While working on the family farm, he joined the militia and served for three years with the 12th Infantry Battalion (Launceston Regiment). Two of his brothers had served overseas during the Second Boer War.

Military service
Gaby was labouring in Katanning, Western Australia, when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in January 1916. He had been twice previously rejected for enlistment. He embarked from Fremantle on board HMAT A38 Ulysses in April 1916, and was assigned to the 28th Battalion – an infantry battalion that was formed mainly from Western Australian recruits, which was assigned to the 7th Brigade, 2nd Division – as part of the unit's tenth draft of reinforcements.[2] Over the course of the next twelve months while in the frontline on the Western Front, he was promoted through the ranks at a rapid speed, reaching sergeant before being selected for officer training in the United Kingdom. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in April 1917 and graduated from the course in May. Further promotion came in September when he made lieutenant. On 29 October, Gaby was gassed during the 28th Battalion's involvement in the Battle of Passchendaele.

Victoria Cross details

Alfred Gaby's grave in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France

Gaby was 26 years old lieutenant when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). On 8 August 1918, at the start of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, Gaby was acting as commander of his battalion's 'D' Company, which was committed to an attack around Villers-Bretonneux, France during the Battle of Amiens. When the advance was checked by a large German force about 40 yards beyond the wire, Gaby found a gap and approached the strong point under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. He emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their guns and captured 50 prisoners and four machine-guns. Three days later, on 11 August 1918 while leading his men during an attack at Lihons, he was killed.

His VC citation from the London Gazette of 30 October 1918 reads:

For most conspicuous bravery and dash in attack, when on reaching a wire in front of an enemy trench, strong opposition was encountered. The advance was at once checked the enemy being in force about 40 yards beyond the wire, and commanding the gap with machine guns and rifles. 

Lieutenant Gaby found another gap in the wire, and, single handed, approached the strong point while machine guns and rifles were still being fired from it. Running along the parapet, still alone, and at point blank range, he emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their guns, and compelled the surrender of 50 of the enemy with four machine guns. He then quickly reorganized his men, and led them on to his final objective, which he captured and consolidated. Three days later, during an attack, this officer again led his company with great dash to the objective. The enemy brought heavy rifle and machine gun fire to bear upon the line, but in the face of this heavy fire Lieutenant Gaby walked along his line of posts, encouraging his men to quickly consolidate. While engaged on this duty he was killed by an enemy sniper.

He is buried at the Heath Cemetery in Harbonnieres, France. He was unmarried at the time of his death.  The Alfred Gaby ward at the former Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood was named in his honour.[

Lest We Forget

In Perspective he is the cousin of Blanche Jillett/Charles Louis Jillett/Walter Race Jillett/Eliza Grace Jillett

[1] Cow feed, similar to a large turnip

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