OPINION: Letters to the editor of the Western Advocate

LOOKING BACK: Researcher Robin Droogleever is seeking information about local men who fought in the Boer War. Pictured is the 1st NSW Mounted Rifles.

LOOKING BACK: Researcher Robin Droogleever is seeking information about local men who fought in the Boer War. Pictured is the 1st NSW Mounted Rifles.

Name should honour Buddy’s history in game

THE new St Patrick's Rugby League Sporting Complex in Hereford Street appears to be rapidly coming to completion.

The St Patrick’s Young Men’s Society (C.Y.M.S.) Club began on February 17, 1944 after Father Leo Grant and eight Catholic youths became the nucleus of the club in its first formative years.

One of these eight Catholic youths was a Laurie (Buddy) Burke, who had an outstanding rugby league football career with the Bathurst St Pat's football teams – first as a player, then as their captain-coach and then as a NSW Country representative in the annual games against the strong Sydney teams. Buddy is also a Bathurst Regional Council Living Legend.

In my opinion, the new football complex should be named “The Laurie (Buddy) Burke St Patrick's Rugby League Sporting Complex”, honouring Buddy's great football career and service to his beloved club.

Jim Grives, Snr, Kelso

Seeking more information about Boer War veterans

I AM a researcher who is keen to contact descendants or interested parties from associations such as history societies, family history groups or genealogical societies who might be able to provide me with primary source material from lads who fought with one of the five squadrons of the 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles in the Boer War.

These were the men who sailed on the steamships Aberdeen and Southern Cross to the war in South Africa in 1899 and 1900.

These were the men who fought at Klip Drift, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Poplar Grove, Abrahams Kraal and Osfontein and later acted as the van of Lord Roberts’ Grand Army that marched from Bloemfontein to Pretoria from April to June 1900.

They were to fight at Diamond Hill and then chase the Boer general Christiaan De Wet, having epic engagements at Palmietfontein, Bothaville and Rensburg Drift, where they captured one of De Wet’s artillery pieces which can be seen today in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

They served a year, but many chose to return to South Africa with successive contingents. They certainly enhanced the reputation of the Australian Mounted Infantryman and their history needs to be written for there is much to create pride.

If you hold a service medal to these men and it has any of the bars of Paardeberg, Driefontein and Diamond Hill, then there is a strong likelihood that he most likely served with the 1st NSWMR. 

It is hoped that some descendants are still living in the district. However, it is also likely that there are descendants of men who served in the 1st NSWMR who moved into the district after the conclusion of the Boer War. In the following list there are also a number of men whose names do not appear on the Honour Roll for Bathurst but who are believed to have had some association with Bathurst: 

APPS, James (A Sq); BARHAM, William (A Sq); BATTYE, Reginald (A Sq); BENNETT, Arthur (A Sq); BLACKMAN, William (C Sq); CORTIS, William Richard (NSWAMC, attached to NSWMR); CRIPPS, William (A Sq);  DAWES, John, (E Sq); DOHERTY, Patrick (D Sq); FERRIS, Hugo (C Sq); FRAZER, John Clarence (E Sq); GRAHAM, John Joseph (B Sq); HANDCOCK, Peter (C Sq); HUGHES, Charles (C Sq); JAMES,  Arthur (A Sq); KELEHER, Charles (A Sq); KITE, Charles (B Sq); KITE, George  (B Sq); LYDIARD, Charles (B Sq); McARTHUR, Ebbie (C Sq); McGLINN, John (D Sq); McINTOSH, Harold (A Sq);  McRAE, james (D Sq); MORRIS, Tom (E Sq); MULLAMPY, James Paul ( A Sq); PALMER, Rupert (C Sq); PAUL, George (B Sq); PAUL, Harold (E Sq); ROLLESTON, George (B Sq); RUSSELL, John Thomas (Tom) (E Sq); RUSSELL, Harold (E Sq); SHARPE, Alfred (E Sq); STEEL, Watson (A Sq); TREVITT, George (A Sq); WALKER, John (A Sq); WALLACE, Arthur (E Sq); WASSON,  John (A Sq); WILSON, Richard (A Sq). 

Included in the location or district of Bathurst is Peel, Sofala and Merriwurra.

I also intend to provide a small biography on every man who served in the five squadrons, all 666 of them, so even if there is no memorabilia of South African service, personal information on the lads will be as valuable if a comprehensive biography is to be provided.

Please contact me on email at jerwfd@optusnet.com.au or write to PO Box 42, Bulleen, Victoria, 3105.

Robin Droogleever