World War I for King and country in Milton Ulladulla
World War I began on July 28, 1914 and Ellen Hughes had just applied for a Hotel license for the new Harbour View Hotel at Ulladulla. Within two months the impact of war was effecting the region with a couple of district sawmills are closing down, also the Ulladulla tannery, consequent upon altered trade conditions brought about by the war. As well as many farms stopped working
In September at a patriotic meeting at Milton with £103 odd was subscribed in the room. Sergeant James Murray, of the Ulladulla Squadron Australian Light Horse failed to get a place in the Expeditionary Force, much to his regret; Trooper Norman Stanley Davis of Milton will be the only representative from the squadron going to the front at this time.
There was however, several Milton lads, resident in Sydney, that already had enlisted and going to the front.
Mr. John Faust of Milton received a letter from his son Peter, who was a fireman on board the HMS Australia. The letter is dated ‘ At sea, August 21st, 1914′ (the censor prevents the locality being mentioned). He was rather amused and the yarns that appeared in some of the papers concerning the fate of the Australia, and asks his people to believe nothing unless from an official source.
A letter received from Charlie Hession, another Milton, boy, who is on board the ‘Encounter’ is dated from Bussell Island, which is north of New Guinea, where they had destroyed the Germans’ wireless station. He also wrote of a valuable prize ship they captured and the names other British ships of war nearby.
The NSW Chamber of Commerce War Food Fund was sent one box of butter from the Ulladulla Dairy Co-op. The fishing industry was very much alive at Ulladulla in 1914, with five launches and all were said to be doing well, along with the lake fishermen at Conjola and Burrill. A big motor lorry ran regularly from Ulladulla to Nowra from whence the fish were been sent on to the city by train.
By November 1914, the shortage of money consequent on the outbreak of war was responsible for putting out of work a number of men engaged in getting sleepers and girders in the Milton districts.
By the end of 1914 some of local men who had enlisted into the War were Rupert Frederick Cork with the 6th Light Horse, Norman Stanley David with the 1st Battalion, Clifford George Francis who served at Gallipoli with the 1st Division Ammunition Column and carried out the unloading of ammunition off Anzac, Alick Francis Poole with the 1st Light Horse and Bruce Wynter Warden (pictured) also with the 1st Light Horse.
At the start of the war Milton had several small committees, but it was ultimately found by amalgamating that better results could be obtained and there were much fund raising and war effort events held around the district.
In February 1917 Milton done remarkably well in fund raising with the war effort with the collections for Australia Day totalled £609, Lord Mayor’s Fund £130, War Cheat £235; Allies’ Day £76, Y M.C.A. £68, Lady Dudley and Belgian Funds £419, Children’s Day (Milton, Ulladulla, Croobyar, Yatteyatah, Burrill schools) £200, Mother’s Day £100.
The Mayor, William Riley was the president of the Milton Patriotic Committee and War Service Committee with Mr. C. Buchan proving to be an energetic secretary of the patriotic funds. Street collections were held, on referendum and show days, when £15 and £18 respectively were raised.
Ulladulla Public School had been doing useful work conducting a babies’ kit class, where, under her direction of teach Miss Gruer and Mrs Redfern, clothes are made up for the destitute families of the Allies. The school children also materially assist. A great deal of work has been accomplished, and letters of thanks received from unfortunate mothers In Belgium express gratitude for tho handsome and useful articles of clothing forwarded from this small village in faraway Australia.
By April 1917, the Termeil region which was mainly supported by the timber industry, so far 20 men had thrown the axe aside and shouldered the rifle. One father with two sons at the front had already tried twice, and although so far unsuccessful on account of age, he had hoped of still getting away to do his bit for King and country.
By early 1917 over 170 men from Milton and natives of Milton have been fighting at the front. Many of our returned soldiers received the gold medal, inscribed with Milton District War Service Medal and their names when they came home.
The Milton War Memorial was unveiled before a large gathering on Saturday May 5, 1923. The Mayor introduced Major General C. F. Cox who performed the ceremony. There were 91 names the memorial, including the names of 13 soldiers who were killed. Five gained distinction. One nurse from the district was killed in action, and gained the Royal Red Cross. The monument cost £300 with about £90 was raised at the unveiling. General Cox handed the deeds of the property to the Mayor as the council is to be the trustee.
Milton War memorial is one of only two memorials in Australia that feature rank of the servicemen and women..
To Our Fallen Comrades
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.
Lest We Forget