Sep 26, 2014

Book of Remembrance at the Essendon Historical Society

A book recording the names of soldiers who died during the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War has just been donated to the Essendon Historical Society. This book was donated by the 58th/32nd Battalion.

The Book of Remembrance is being exhibited at the Essendon Historical Society's museum, the Moonee Ponds Courthouse museum (cnr of Mt Alexander Rd and Kellaway Ave, Moonee Ponds). Open Sundays 2-5pm.

For more on this story see the Herald Sun article, and also the clarifying note by local historian Lenore Frost(see comments below).


Lenore Frost said...

I feel there is some confusion here between the 58th Infantry Battalion AIF, which created the Memorial Book, and the local 58th Infantry (Essendon Rifles), a Citizens Military Force which did not serve overseas, though many of its members did when they joined AIF battalions.

The 58th Infantry Bn AIF was formed in Egypt in 1916, after the Gallipoli campaign. The AWM website says that it was formed in part from fresh recruits from Australia, and veterans from the 6th Infantry Bn which had served on Gallipoli. Some local men served in the 6th Battalion and probably transferred to the 58th Infantry Bn in 1916, but as far as I know no-one has established exactly how many, nor how many subsequently died. It is not likely to be a very large number.

The 58th Infantry (Essendon Rifles) CMF provided many recruits for the 7th Infantry Battalion AIF which did serve in Gallipoli and many died. After troops were evacuated to Egypt, half of the 7th Infantry Battalion were transferred to the new 59th Infantry Battalion AIF, not the 58th.

My research into the local AIF volunteers shows that only 32 locals joined the 58th Infantry AIF directly from Australia, though others will have transferred from the 6th Infantry Battalion in Egypt. The numbers would not have been very large, as only 100 locals embarked with the 6th Inf Bn in time to be involved in the transfers in 1916 – and not all of those would have transferred.

The association of the 58th Infantry Bn AIF with Essendon occurred after the war. The book memorializes men came from all over Victoria.

Moonee Valley Library Services said...

Thanks Lenore, for this valuable clarification! Julia