Sunday, 18 December 2016

German flag from Fast Hotel Jerusalem

Among the trophies, relics, and souvenirs held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a large German swallow-tailed flag donated in 1922 by Major Wentworth Mainwaring.

German banner from Jerusalem donated to the Australian War Memorial by Major Mainwaring 1922. Viewed 30 November 2016. Accession number RELAWM01545.

Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1869-1933), known in the family as Wenty, was my great-great uncle. He served in the Middle East from 1914 firstly with the 3rd Light Horse and later with the 2nd Stationary Hospital..

According to Mainwaring's account, the flag came into his hands in August 1918, when he was briefly billeted in a Jerusalem hotel called the Hotel Fast, which had been occupied by members of the German general staff before their withdrawal to Nablus in November the year before. The story has the flag rescued from being about to be burned by Corporal Cole. Corporal Cole was probably Thomas Elgin Cole sern 8696 who served with the 2nd Australian General Hospital. It was quite a souvenir.

My grandmother, Kathleen (1908-2013), talked about Wenty's flag once or twice and visited the War Memorial with my father and her sister to view it in the 1970s. (Kathleen's mother was Wenty's sister.)

The flag, large, made of wool with a painted eagle, hung in Kathleen's parents' house in Pennington Terrace in Adelaide for a few years until it was donated to the War Memorial.

The flag is not on permanent display, but my brother and I were recently given a private showing.

Nearly a hundred years after Wenty souvenired his enemy flag, it is still in excellent condition.


from National Archives of Australia: Australian War Memorial; AWM93, Australian War Memorial registry files - First series; 7/4/676 German Flag Donated to the Australian War Museum by L/C Dr. Cavenagh Mainwaring. [Click on image to enlarge]

The Fast Hotel  in 1917.
German soldiers on their way to attend a religious service on Good Friday in Jerusalem, 6 April 1917. The building on the left is the Fast Hotel. © IWM (Q 56676) from the Imperial War Museum image 205082094
The War Memorial initially associated the flag with General Von Falkenhayn.

from the correspondence file concerning the donation of the flag

The flag was displayed in the 1920s.

Australian War Memorial.  Australian War Memorial Museum : the relics and records of Australia's effort in the defence of the Empire, 1914-1918  Govt. Printer Sydney  1927  <>
page 18 from  Australian War Memorial Museum : the relics and records of Australia's effort in the defence of the Empire, 1914-1918 (1927)

It seems unlikely that the flag was von Falkenhayn's. The curator at the War Memorial suggests it is a German foreign office flag. So it seems that the Fast Hotel had probably housed members of the German diplomatic corps, not the military officers.

Wentworth Cavenagh_Mainwaring travelled through Jerusalem in August 191 on his way to take up a post with the 2nd A.S. Hospital.

The Fast Hotel is no longer standing. It was associated with the Australian Imperial Forces in World War 2.

about 1940: Front exterior of the Australian Soldiers Club building, the Jerusalem headquarters for members of the AIF on leave. The building was also known as the Fast Hotel. Australian War Memorial image P02037.016

St. Andrew's House (Fast Hotel), taken July 2, '43 by Matson Photo Services. Retrieved from Library of Congress.

3 February 1941. Aussi [i.e., Australian] soldiers cheering Menzies & Blamey. Photograph by Matson Photo Service. Photo shows the Matson Photo Service store on first floor of building (formerly the Fast Hotel). Photo retrieved from Library of Congress.
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Trove Tuesday: shipwrecked

No title (1987, October 7). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 14. Retrieved from
In 2013 I wrote about the launching of our little boat Titania in 1987.  She was a Sprite dinghy a  class first designed in 1934.

My mother, Greg and I launch our new dinghy.
Not long after the launching, Greg and my father, Rafe, took Titania for a sail on Lake Burley Griffin. The wind came up and they discovered what an unseaworthy little tub she was.

It was blowing a gale. Titania was reluctant to head into an 80 kph wind and, when she was forced to try, the tiller snapped. Rafe and Greg were blown downwind the length of the lake and shipwrecked on Aspen Island.

They were obliged to walk back to the car and trailer several kilometres away. In their absence a Canberra Times photographer took this dramatic picture.

When a neighbour casually mentioned the picture of a boat in the newspaper a few days later, Greg had a look at the image proofs. He remembered furling the sails carefully; in the photograph the sail is 'whipping from side to side'.

The photographer had freed the jib and main to create a more lively and interesting picture.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ripon War Memorial: remembering Vyvyan Hughes (1888-1916)

Yesterday we visited Beaufort, 50 kilometers west of Ballarat. The daffodils planted around the War Memorial were at their best. On the memorial I noticed the name of my great great uncle Vyvyan Hughes (1888-1916).  I have previously written about his war service and death.

Beaufort war memorial August 2016

BEAUFORT'S FINE RESPONSE. (1916, February 7). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1878; 1914 - 1918), p. 4 (DAILY.). Retrieved from

The Hughes family had two sons and a son-in-law serving in World War I. The son-in-law was my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny.

Vyvyan and Olive Hughes shortly before Vyvyan's departure in April 1916.

No title (1916, May 5). Dunolly and Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser (Vic. : 1915 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved from

In August 1918 an Avenue of Honour of 500 deciduous trees was planted at Beaufort. The war service of both Vyvyan and his brother Cedric was commemorated in this avenue. Each had a tree.

The Beaufort War Memorial was unveiled in 1927 by Brigadier-General Robert Smith, formerly of the 5th Brigade, AIF. Vyvyan Hughes was one of 70 fallen soldiers whose names are recorded on the memorial.

"BACK TO BEAUFORT" CELEBRATIONS. (1927, April 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 11. Retrieved from

In the Victorian Heritage Database the Beaufort memorial is said to be a one-third size replica of  the Salisbury Plains memorial.

In fact the design is based on a monument called the Poultry Cross in the main street of the city of Salisbury. The Poultry Cross is a market cross constructed in the 14th century and modified in the 18th century.

BEAUFORT. (1920, July 27). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), p. 6. Retrieved from

Salisbury, Market Cross - - 763900
 The Poultry Cross in Salisbury photographed by Row17 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The 1828 census: John Horsley

I have previously written about John Horsley (1776-1834), who married my 5th great-aunt Maria Champion de Crespigny (1776-1858).  Their marriage broke down and John Horsley emigrated to Australia in 1814. Maria remained in England.

In November 1828 the first census of the colony of New South Wales was held. There were 36 598 non-indigenous inhabitants. 20,870 of these were free and there were 15,728 convicts. 23.8  percent of the population had been born in the colony. 24.5% of the population were women. There were 25,248 Protestants and 11,236 Catholics. Aborigines were not counted.

There are two copies of the 1828 census: an Australian copy, which had been locked away and only became available for viewing in the mid 1970s, and an English copy that has more errors and slightly less detail than the Australian copy.

John Horsley was among those counted in 1828.

1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (Australian Copy) for Jno Horsley retrieved from (click on image to enlarge)
John Horsley was aged 52 (born about 1776), living at Liverpool. He had arrived on the Broxbournbury in 1814. He was employed as coroner. He was free (not bonded), and his religion was Protestant. He had 700 acres of land, of which 340 were cleared and 17 were cultivated. He had one horse, 47 horned cattle and no sheep. In the same household were
  • Fanny aged 12
  • John aged 10
  • Mary Morris aged 8
  • Caroline aged 7
  • Charles William aged 4
  • Eliza Vivian aged 2
  • George aged 1
The mother of John's children, Jane Horsley formerly Cross née Jackson, is listed as Jane Cross, aged 38. She had also arrived in 1814 on the Broxbournbury. Her occupation is given as housekeeper for John Horsley, Coroner, Liverpool.

The English copy of the census record for John Horsley and his children is easier to read but doesn't give the information about his land or cattle.

1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (TNA Copy) for John Horsley retrieved through

Related post 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Trove Tuesday: Leslie Leister died at Fromelles 19/20 July 2016

Leslie Leister (1894-1916), the half-brother of my husband's grandfather, was one of the 2,000 soldiers  killed at the battle of Fromelles one hundred years ago on 19 and 20 July 1916 and one of the 250 soldiers who were buried in a mass grave by the Germans after the battle.

I have written before about Leslie at F is for Fromelles and about the delays in his parents finding out about what happened to him at K is for King and Country .

There are now more newspapers digitised and available through Trove.  Among more recently digitised newspapers is the Western Champion from Parkes, New South Wales, Leslie's home place. The Western Champion includes a photograph of Leslie in its article about Leslie's fate. 

The article also explains the creation of the list that Leslie was included on which was compiled by the Germans from the identity discs of the soldiers they buried. It was only in late 1916 that soldiers were issued with two identity discs.  When the Germans buried Leslie and the other soldiers they took the identity discs to compile the list and notify the British that they had done so. Thus there was no disc with the body.

In 2010 Leslie was among the soldiers identified when the mass grave created by the Germans in a hurry during the battle was excavated. A cousin's DNA was used to identify him. He has been reburied in the new cemetery at Fromelles.  The inscription we chose for his grave is the same one used to remember him on his family's grave at Parkes.

FOR KING AND COUNTRY. (1917, March 29). Western Champion (Parkes, NSW : 1898 - 1934), , p. 8. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Trove Tuesday: death of Captain W. A. P. Dana

William Augustus Pulteney Dana (1826-1866) was my 4th great uncle, the eighth of the ten children of my 4th great grandparents William Pulteney Dana (1776-1861) and Charlotte Elizabeth Dana née Bailey (1795-1846). He was one of the brothers of my great great great grandmother Charlotte Frances Champion de Crespigny née Dana (1820-1904).

Superintendent William Dana

William, then superintendent of police at Geelong, died suddenly on 5 October 1866.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1866. (1866, October 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), , p. 5. Retrieved from
CURRENT TOPICS. (1866, October 6). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), , p. 2. Retrieved from
Items of News. (1866, October 10). Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser (South Melbourne, Vic. : 1860 - 1870), , p. 2. Retrieved from

LOCAL INTELLIGENCE. (1866, October 11). Kilmore Free Press and Counties of Bourke and Dalhousie Advertiser (Kilmore, Vic. : 1865 - 1868), , p. 2 (MORNINGS.). Retrieved from

His funeral was reported in the Geelong Advertiser of 8 October 1866. Thousands of people, it was reported, viewed the long cortege. Philip de Crespigny, William Dana's brother-in-law and my great great great grandfather was one of the principal mourners. Also among these principal mourners were his nephews, George and Augustus Dana.

CAPTAIN DANA'S FUNERAL. (1866, October 8). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), , p. 3. Retrieved from

Images of Captain Dana's grave in the Geelong cemetery at Find-A-Grave: These were kindly taken by Find A Grave contributor Ron M following my request to the site.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Trove Tuesday: S. A. Women's Golf Championship

27 June 2016, yesterday at the time of writing this post, was the 108th anniversary of
the birth of my grandmother Kathleen Cudmore (1908-2013).

One of Kathleen's hobbies was golf. In 1934 she won the South Australian Women's Golf Championship.
New Woman Golf Champion (1934, August 9). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), , p. 35. Retrieved from

Ladies Golf Championship of S Australia 1934 won by Kathleen Ch de Crespigny
NEW WOMAN GOLF CHAMPION (1934, August 4). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from (click on image to enlarge)
This newspaper clipping is from Kathleen's clipping book. The same photo appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser of 4 August 1934 on page 20 with the caption "LOSER PRESENTS CUP. Mrs. E. Britten Jones, as president of the South Australian Ladies' Golf Union, presented the women's championship cup to Mrs. G. de Crespigny, who defeated her in the final round at Kooyonga yesterday, 1 up. The championship ended with a most exciting round."
Chiefly Out of Doors (1934, April 19). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), , p. 37. Retrieved from
"ASSOCIATES from the Kooyonga and Royal Adelaide Golf Clubs held their annual competition for the Cudmore Challenge Cup at Seaton yesterday.Some of the competitors photographed daring the match. Left:—Mrs. G. de Crespigny driving off" from (1934, June 2). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from
The Advertiser TUESDAY. JUNE 19. 1934 (1934, June 19). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from
Front page news: Golf Finalists (1934, August 3). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), , p. 1. Retrieved from

The Adelaide Mail of 24 November 1934, page 6, reported on What Women Golfers Do in Summer.
Mrs. Geoffrey de Crespigny, State golf champion, combines a little golf on cooler days with tennis in the summer time. She finds golf quite pleasant when it is not too hot. Although the ground on most links is dry off the fairways, these are kept well watered.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

William Robert Young (1876 - 1942)

William Robert Young (1876 - 1942) was the second youngest child of George Young (1826 - 1890) and Caroline Young née Clarke (1835 - 1879).

photograph  from Noel Tunks inscribed  on front Billy Young and on back William Young m// Julia

William married Julia Kenny (1871-1950) in 1916. They had no children.

He died on 3 January 1942 at Warburton, Victoria, two days before his younger brother Ernest.

Obituary (1942, January 17). Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic. : 1900 - 1942), p. 4. Retrieved from

Monday, 20 June 2016

20 June 1756 Black Hole of Calcutta

On 20 June 1756 Patrick Johnston(e) (1737-1756), my 7th great uncle, died in the prison of the Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah, later known as the "Black Hole of Calcutta" in India.

Three years previously, at the age of sixteen, Patrick had joined the East India Company as an accountant. He was eighteen when he died.

Memorial to the victims, St John's Church Calcutta
Photograph in 2011 by Pdr123 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Patrick's name is listed on a memorial to victims.

One of the prisoners, J. Z. Holwell, wrote an account of the incident. He reported that 146 were imprisoned and in a room only 4.30m. x 5.50 m (14 feet x 18 feet) 123 died overnight from overcrowding. It is suggested that Howell exaggerated these numbers and that probably only 69 men were imprisoned. Howell listed P. [Patrick] Johnston in his account.

Patrick was the thirteenth of the fourteen children of Sir James Johnston.

In 1753 Patrick Johnstone petitioned to be admitted as a writer, that is, a junior clerk, in the East India Company and on 31 October 1753 he was approved as a writer for Bengal.

In his petition to join the company Patrick stated that he had been "educated in writing and Accompts," and he presented a certificate showing he had undergone "a complete course of Mathematick and Book keeping" with a teacher in Edinburgh.

Also at the age of sixteen, Patrick's older brother John (1734-1795) had been admitted as a writer in 1750.  Two of John's maternal uncles gave their security for his appointment. John's teacher in Edinburgh certified his capacity to be able to discharge his duties as a clerk. John arrived in India in 1751.

Patrick's appointment in 1753 was on the security of two London merchants: Peter Linehup of St George's Hanover Square and Alexander Grant of London, Merchant. Lord Elibank, the brothers' maternal uncle, seems to have declined to provide security for Patrick. Lord Elibank had previously provided security for Patrick's older brother John.

From 1741–1846 the East India Company required a bond for faithful service. Becoming a Writer was the passport to great riches but riches were not always acquired without dubious dealing and corruption. A young man who survived ten years, exiled in a trying and dangerous climate, expected to go home rich and the East India Company allowed leeway for creative personal trading as long as its own profits were not affected.

In September 1755 Patrick wrote to his brother William (1729-1805):
My very worthy brother Johny & I are trying to establish & carry on a Good Trade Tho We want Money to make it an extensive one. (Rothschild, The inner life of empires, page 27)

When the fighting began in 1756 in the so-called 'Carnatic Wars', a three-way conflict between the local rulers of the Moghul Empire and the French and British East India Companies, John and Patrick were captured. Patrick was imprisoned and died. John, however, was in Dhaka in East Bengal, and was released into the custody of the French.

John later fought in the 1757 battle of Plassey in which the British East India Company under Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal.

Further reading