Sunday, December 4, 2016

Clarence Raymond Moore Riley

Serial Number and Rank: 5441, Private
Birth: 5 October 1897 Milton
Baptism:  9 November 1897 St Peters & St Pauls Milton
Parents:  William & Mary Riley nee Moore
Enlisted: December 1916
Next of Kin:  Fa: William Riley (Mayor)
Service:  61st Battalion, RTA October 1917
Death:  1969
Honour Rolls:  RSL Honour Roll, Milton Town Memorial, Milton Primary School
Notes:  Mentioned in newspaper reports

It breaks your heart to see so many thousands of your comrades being killed before your eyes. France November 1916: 56th Battalion.

The 56th Battalion saw most of the severe fighting in France, and has worthily maintained the reputation of the Anzacs but at very severe cost. In May 1923 there were war guns located in front of the Milton Town memorial; this would have been the 3 inch (75mm) trench motor and others, which was given to the people of the Milton Ulladulla Community by the NSW Trophy Committee. It had been captured by the 56th Battalion at Bellecourt on October 29, 1918.  Many of our local lads served with the 56th Battalion including Bruce Wynter Warden, Henry Cooley, Oswald Nelson and Clarence Riley.

Clarence Raymond Moore Riley born in 1897 at Milton, the eldest son of William Riley and his wife Mary nee Moore.  His father William was born at Applegrath Milton in the early 1850s and he was the Mayor of Ulladulla 1900 – 1919.

Clarence enlisted in February 1916 and was assigned to the 4th Battalion; he embarked for overseas HMAT Ceramic A40 on April 14, 1916. In May 1916 whilst fighting in France was transferred to the 56th Battalion. He contacted scarlet fever in October 1916 and sent back to England for convalescing. Meanwhile his mother had him sent a parcel of goods which was received by the 56th Battalion.

She received a letter back from the 56th battalion in France dated 25 November 1916. Dear Mrs Riley, Your son left this Company some time back, and went sick to Hospital, and; we have not heard from him since. His parcel arrived today, and in consequence of his absence was opened by us and distributed amongst the Company and on behalf of the various recipients I am writing to thank you very much for them.

The letter continued that the weather awful, raining almost daily and so very cold. Dry clothes are very welcome, for in the trenches we have no shelter whatever, and what with the rain coming down from above and the muddy water almost to your knees, you can imagine how eagerly we look forward to a change into dry clothing. I sincerely reciprocal your wishes for a speedy closure of this awful war. It breaks your heart to see so many thousands of your comrades being killed before your eyes, but one can do nothing but wait and pray for your own preservation. Again thanking you for the comforts and wishing you and yours a very happy and bright New Year, Yours sincerely. E. J Collins. QM Sgt C Company 56th Battalion.

In March 1917 Private Clarence Riley was transferred to the 61st Battalion, returning to Australia in December 1917 and was medical discharged. Clarence’s name is listed on many of the local war honour rolls: Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll, Milton Town Memorial and Milton Primary School Honour Roll. Clarence’s brother Sidney Howard Riley also served in WW1.

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