Wyndham History

Warwick Calmady Cayley (1898-1987)


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Warwick Calmady Cayley (1898-1987)





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World War One Veterans Item Type Metadata


Warwick Calmady Cayley

Birth Date

Service Number

WW1 78709
WW11 VX21910

Next of Kin

Mr Frederick Cayley,
Werribee, Victoria.

Address at time of Enlistment



Marital Status


Death Date

Place of Burial


Biographical Text

No.78709  Warwick Calmady Cayley
Warwick Calmady Cayley served with the A.I.F. in both World War One and World War Two.

Warwick Cayley was born on 6 September 1898 to Frederick Cayley and Sara Jane Wood at Outtrim, near Northcote, Victoria.
His siblings were:
  • a sister "E. Cayley", born at Outtrim in 1900;
  • Frederick Wood Cayley, born at Outtrim in 1903; and
  • Francis James Cayley, born at Werribee in 1906.
On his World War One attestment papers he stated that he had spent four years with the 69A Cadets at Werribee and achieved the rank of sergeant. He also spent two years with the Citizens Forces. This was with the 69th Infantry at Werribee, and the 29th Light Horse at Geelong.

On his World War Two record of service, he stated that he had spent six years with the Citizen Forces, five months with the A.I.F., and one year with the Militia.

After leaving school he worked as a butcher, possibly in his father’s local slaughter yard.

Warwick first came to public prominence when he played the role of the butler, in a performance of "Bubbles", which was staged in the Parish Hall by the St Thomas’ Amateur Dramatic Society.  That one night performance occurred on the 28 February 1916 and was reported in The Werribee Shire Banner, on 2 March 1916 p.1. 

This was followed in July of the same year when he played the principal character in a re-staging of "Bubbles" by the St Thomas’ Amateur Dramatic Society. He also took a small part in "Brown with an E.", which was on the same bill.  This was reported in The Werribee Shire Banner, 6 July 196, p.2.

He showed his sporting prowess at a large Carnival held at Werribee on Saturday 19 February 1916.  This was held by the local Red Cross Society, and included many and various events. Two of those were military themed races, and both were won by Warwick Cayley.

The recruiting of more men into the services was the subject of a large public meeting which was held at Werribee on 7 February 1917 and reported in the Werribee Shire Banner, 8 Feburary 1917, p.2.  This resulted in the establishment of a local committee, whose purpose was to assist in the winning of the war.  Its members included the following:- Mr Morrow, Mr Tyzack, Mr Cayley (Warwick’s father), Rev Johns, Mr Little, Mr & Mrs Rowan, Cr Jas Browne, Mrs Newton, Mr & Mrs Fall, Mr Cations, Mr & Mrs Jas Ball, Mrs Lay, Mr J Shaw, Mr Blackwell, Mr Lyndon, Mr & Mrs C Campbell, Mr & Mrs Phillipe, Cr & M’Murray, Mr Whelan, Mr Muirson, Miss Sewell, Cr Bayley, Cr Canny, Mr W Hansford, Mr Barnes, Mr & Mrs E.M. Walter,, Cr Comben, Mrs Densley, Mr & Miss Grigg, Mr George Troup and Mr B.J. Maher.

On Thursday 27 April 1917, a local branch of the "Snapshots from Home League" was formed in Werribee. Mr Percy Bayley was elected as the president, and Warwick Cayley was the secretary. The league was incorporated with the Y.M.C.A., and its aim was to bring home-life to the boys at the front.  One of the services offered was to anyone who had a friend or relative at the front, or in camp overseas.  You could have your photo taken at no charge, and have it sent to your nominated soldier.

Warwick’s parents were active supporters of Werribee’s Returned Soldiers’ Committee. This was the group who organised the presentation of gold medals to all of the returned soldiers, and organised welcome home functions.  Mr and Mrs Cayley were both elected onto the committee in May 1917, and re-elected in 1918.

War Service
Warwick Calmady Cayley (not quite 20 years old) enlisted in the A.I.F. at Melbourne on 9 September 1918 as a Private, and was sent to the Recruit Depot Battalion at the Broadmeadows Camp, for training.
Not long after, his name first appeared in the Roll of Honor, The Werribee Shire Banner, 12 September 1918, p.1.

On 1 October 1918, he passed the Light Horse Riding Test, and volunteered for service in Egypt. His services were not required though, and he was discharged on 24 December 1918, following the demobilisation of the A.I.F. He had returned home to Werribee prior to that date, as he was reported as winning a race at a sports day there on 8 December 1918. 
The Werribee Shire Banner, 12 December 1918, p.2.

Post War
His name first appeared in the Electoral Rolls in 1919.  He was the only Cayley living in the Division of Corio, Sub-division of Werribee.  His last entry on the rolls was in 1980.

In 1920, Warwick was playing in a tennis tournament at the Metro Farm tennis court.  He continued playing for the Church of England teams through the 1920s.

The family home on Ballan Road was completely destroyed by fire in January 1922.  All of the families clothing and furniture being lost.  This resulted in his father putting the 80 acre farm on the market, and it was bought by Mr F. Paul.

The Werribee Agricultural Society Show in November of 1922 saw Warwick first exhibiting and winning prizes for his livestock. He received three first prizes; an Ayrshire Bull (1 year or under), an Ayrshire cow (3 years or over), and an Ayrshire heifer (1 year or under). The following year saw him gain 3 first prizes and a second for his Ayrshire cattle.  These were from his property in the irrigation area of Digger’s Road.  He repeated this success in following years.

On 24 November 1923, Warwick Cayley married Amy May Philippe at Werribee.  It was not reported in any of the newspapers.

At a meeting of the Werribee R.S.S.L.L.A. in October of 1924, it was stated that many ex-soldiers who had not been overseas, had shown sympathetic feeling towards their Association.  Two in particular who had rendered valuable assistance in the construction of the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall were Mr Attewell and Mr W Cayley.  They were eligible to be associate members of the organisation.  When he attended their annual meeting and banquet in July 1928, Warwick entertained the group by singing them a song.

A Committee of Management was formed in May 1929, for the new recreation reserve at the mouth of the Werribee River. It comprised of three trustees, and 12 residents (one being Warwick Cayley).

Warwick Cayley received recognition for his work as proprietor of the "Riversdale" Ayrshire Stud in Diggers Road, in August 1929.  Under a Government Controlled test, his cow "Joy Queen of Riversdale" produced 13,214 lbs of milk and 603 lbs of butter fat in one year. Other cows in his herd produced similar figures.  His heifers and young bulls were in strong demand.

In October 1929, Warwick is recorded as being the secretary of the Werribee South Bush Nursing Association.  They conducted a field day at the State Research Farm to raise funds towards the purchase of a car for the use of the nursing sister.  He retained the position of secretary and treasurer of the association until 1933.

Competitions for irrigated farms were popular in the late 1930s, and there was one held at the Werribee Irrigation District in the summer of 1919-30.  The judges commented that "Mr Cayley, a returned soldier, has in his herd the highest producing Ayrshire cow in Victoria". [He did not actually serve overseas in WW1].

Starting in the 1930s, Warwick’s name began appearing in the results of golf tournaments.  He first won a monthly medal in August 1930.  In April 1933, Warwick was elected as the President of the Werribee Golf Club for one year.

1930 saw a report on the beginning of Warwick’s political career.  He was one of four delegates appointed by the Werribee South Branch of the Victorian Country Party, to attend the Unity Conference in Melbourne on September 23, 1930.  Mr W.C. Cayley was elected as secretary and treasurer of an electoral council (in February 1931), to try and win the Corio Seat for their Country Party candidate.  In 1935 W.C. Cayley was appointed president of the Geelong District council of the United Country Party.

The Werribee Settler’s Dairying Co-Operative Company Ltd., held its A.G.M. in March 1932. Mr. W.C. Cayley retired from the Board of Directors by effluxion of time. The chairman advised that they had just taken out a lease on the Federal Milk Company’s factory and would treat and pasteurise their own milk there from now on.  At the general meeting of shareholders in November 1933, W.C. Cayley and two others were re-appointed as directors of the Co-op.

On ANZAC Day in 1932, W.C. Cayley gave an address to students of the Higher Elementary School in Werribee.  As part of the ceremony, a wreath was placed on the school’s Honor Board, and the soldier’s names were read out.
To highlight Werribee South’s need for an additional water storage reservoir, after the change over from lucerne growing to dairying and market gardening, the farmers took action in June 1933.  A committee, including W.C. Cayley, was appointed to organise a monster deputation, to meet with the Minister for Water Supply, and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission.  The feeling was unanimous, in that a more reliable supply of water was needed for Werribee South farmers.  In July 1933, the Minister made a visit to the Werribee South farmers, and explained that the capacity of the Melton Weir could be increased by 2,000 to 3,000 acre feet.

In April 1939, Mr W.C. Cayley of Werribee South was elected as president of the Metropolitan Milk Producers Association. He immediately asked the Minister for Agriculture for an extension of the Board’s powers to improve the industry.

After the start of World War Two, W.C. Cayley from Werribee South enlisted for active service abroad.  He enlisted at Fitzroy on 3 June 1940, and stated that he was a Grazier at Werribee, and that his next of kin was his wife, Amy May Cayley (nee Philippe).  His first posting was to the No.1 Ordnance Field Park at Williamstown.

A list of those who volunteered appeared in The Werribee Shire Banner of 20 June 1940, and included his name.  He was appointed as a sergeant (on 14 June 1940), and was given a big send-off at a social in the Diggers’ Road Hall.

On 1 July 1940 he received his Commission, and was appointed as a Lieutenant. [Army List No. VV0438]
There was a further send-off in October, held in the Werribee Drill Hall, where Lieut. W.C. Cayley responded on behalf of the local soldiers who were present.

His first overseas tour. Warwick embarked from Sydney for the Middle East on 29 December 1940, per "Queen Mary", with the 1st Ordnance PK Company.  They sailed via Fremantle, and disembarked at Trincomalee in Ceylon on 12 January 1941.  After further travelling, they disembarked at a Middle East location on 1 February 1941.
During this time he was with the 2nd Echelon of the A.I.F., and was promoted three times:- on 8 March 1941, he was promoted to Captain; on 15 January 1942 to Major; and on 28 October 1942, to Lieutenant Colonel.

His postings while in the Middle East were:
  • 1 February 1941 to 23 May 1941 – Appointed to the 2/1st Ordnance Field Park Coy (1 OFP) at Barbara Camp, in support of 7 Division in North Palestine and Syria.
  • 23 May 1941 to 10 September 1941 – He was detached for Special Duties (No details given - possibly to the Tel El Kebir base in Egypt)
  • 10 September 1941 to 22 January 1942 - Appointed to the 2/1st Ordnance Stores Coy at Barbara. This camp was located in Palestine, near the village of El Majdal, and it opened on 16 April 1940
  • 22 January 1942 to 13 May 1942 - Appointed to the 2/5th Ordnance Stores Coy in Palestine.
  • 13 May 1942 to 25 June 1942 - Appointed to the 2/2nd Ord Stores Coy at Rafah Training Camp. (Now on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip)
  • 25 June 1942 to 07 August 1942 Returned for Duty in Melbourne, per “Rajula”. This coincided with the beginning of the 9th DIV’s move from Syria to the Western Desert.
After returning to Australia, he completed No.15 Ordinance Stores Course with the A.A.O.C. School at Broadmeadows.  The course ran over October and November of 1942.  At this time he was with the 4th Australian Division, at the 3rd Australian Corps., and his appointment was ADOS 4th Australian Division.

On 18 March 1943, as a Temporary Lieut Colonel, he was appointed as A.D.O.S. (Ordnance) at the 2 Australian Division H.Q., taking over from T/Lt.Col. J.A. Stubor.  At this time Warwick was admitted to the 110 Australian General Hospital (A.G.H.) at Hollywood in Perth, Western Australia, suffering from scabies.  After treatment he was discharged on 20 June 1943, and taken back on strength at the Headquarters of the 2 Division in Western Australia on 26 June 1943.

On 4 October 1943, Warwick was transferred to the 3rd Australian Division in New Guinea to take up duties as A.D.O.S., L.H.Q. SIG.

On his second overseas posting, Warwick embarked for New Guinea on 18 October 1943 and flew to Port Moresby, via Townsville.  After just one month in the tropics he was flown back to Australia and admitted to the 2/6 Aust. General Hospital on the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, suffering from cystitis.  After treatment, he returned to his unit on 29 December 1943, and stayed with them for three months. On the 22 April 1944 he flew back to Melbourne for three months, before returning to Lae in New Guinea.

His final overseas posting saw him embark for New Guinea on 7 July 1944 and returned to Australia on 3 January 1945. While serving with the H.Q. 3rd Australian Division, Warwick was sent by plane from Lae to Bougainville, on 31 October 1944.  It was during this tour that Warwick was awarded a Mentioned in Despatches for his service in the South-West Pacific Area (between 1 April 1944 and 30 September 1944).

In December 1944, Warwick was medically assessed as 'B1 Skin' – Unfit for service in hot humid climates, and relinquished his appointment of A.D.O.S., H.Q. 3rd Australian Division.  On the 14 December 1944 he was evacuated to the 109 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, and transferred to the ‘X’ List.  After treatment of his dermatitis, he was evacuated to the hospital ship "Duntroon", on 29 December 1944, and it took him to the 112 Military Hospital at Brisbane, where he was admitted on 3 January 1945.  He was Medically assessed as "B1" (Skin) as Unfit for Service in hot humid climates.  On the 13 March he was moved to the 115 Australian General Hospital at Heidelberg in Melbourne.

After taking sick leave on 19 April 1944, Warwick was appointed C.O.O. of the 7th Australian Advanced Ordinance Depot.  He stayed there until 5 July 1946 when he relinquished his appointment, and was placed on the R.S.L. (retirement).  His Commission was withdrawn on 7 August 1946, and he was transferred to the RofO (AAOC) (3 M.D.) on 8 August 1946.

Back in civilian life, W.C. Cayley presented an illustrated public lecture on his travels and experiences in the Middle East, in August of 1947.  It was well received by members of the Combined Churches Club in Werribee.

Warwick was a well-known racing identity, and in September 1949 he was nominated for a position on the committee of the Werribee Racing Club.

On 22 October 1957, there is a record of Warwick Calmady Cayley sailing from London to Melbourne per the P. & O. ship "Arcadia". He was unaccompanied, and listed his occupation as Director.

The artist Max Middleton submitted a portrait of Warwick C. Cayley in the 1962 Archibald Prize competition, and it was accepted as a finalist.

His name appeared continuously on the Victorian Electoral Roll until 1980.

His middle name is spelled Calmady and Culmody in his war records in the National Archives of Australia.

He died on 24 October 1987, aged 89, and is buried in the Werribee Cemetery with his wife Amy.

Medals & Entitlements:
  • 1938/45 Star
  • Africa Star
  • Pacific Star
  • Defence Medal
  • War Medal
  • A.S.M.
  • Mentioned in Despatches (S.W.P.A.)
AAOC – Australian Army Ordnance Corps.
ADOS – Active Duty Operational Support
AIF – Australian Imperial Force
RAAOC – Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps
SWPA – Southwest Pacific Area
3MD – 3rd Military District


Federation Index Victoria 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913 CD
Marriage Index Victoria 1921-1942 CD


“Warwick Calmady Cayley (1898-1987),” Wyndham History, accessed September 22, 2023, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1677.


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