No.619 Private Edgar Graymore
Edgar Graymore was born in 1892 to Edgar (or Edward) Graymore (Snr) and Jessie Nash. They had married in 1887 at Liverpool in Victoria. Young Edgar's birth was registered at Hotham East. His siblings were:
- Elsie Graymore - born 1890 at Carlton (later married Louis Bernhardt)
- Edith Graymore - born 1894 at Hotham East, died 1894 at Hotham East
- Hilda Graymore - born 1895 at Warrnambool
The family grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Between 1893 and 1899 the family lived at 198 Union Street Brunswick, where Edgar Senior was employed as a baker. Then around 1903, his parents Edgar and Jessie Graymore, moved to 26 Herbert Place, South Melbourne, where he continued working as a baker.
Prior to enlisting in the A.I.F., Edgar Graymore was living at Rosedale in Gippsland where he worked as a labourer.
War ServiceEdgar Graymore swore his Oath at Rosedale on 18 September 1914 and went to the Broadmeadows Camp for initial Training. After two weeks in camp he was appointed to the 1st Reinforcements for the 4th Australian Light Horse.
Private Edgar Graymore embarked at Melbourne with the 4th Light Horse Regiment’s 1st Reinforcements, on 22 December 1914, per HMAT Barunga A43, and sailed to Egypt. The Regiment itself had previously sailed from Melbourne on 10 October 1914, and disembarked in Egypt on 10 December 1914.
On 9 February 1915, Private Edgar Graymore was taken on strength with the 4th Light Horse Regiment at Mena (from the reinforcements), and was then allocated to "A" Squadron.
In order to distinguish the several units within the First Division, rectangular shoulder colour patches were introduced on 8 March 1915. Light Horse and Artillery patches were divided diagonally, and the others horizontally. Lower colour red and upper colour white.
Prior to the regiment relocating to Gallipoli, Private Graymore was one 20 men who were transferred from "A" Squadron to the 1st Reinforcements on 15 April 1915. This meant that he didn’t land at Gallipoli with the 4th Light Horse Regiment (who were then dismounted).
[The 4th Light Horse Regiment landed at Gallipoli on 22 and 24 May 1915, and its squadrons were distributed among the Infantry Battalions already ashore, as supports. They spent a large portion of their time at Gallipoli in the area around Ryrie's Post.]
It was not until 27 July 1915 that Private Greymore was able to re-join 4th Light Horse Regiment, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.), at Ryrie's Post on Gallipoli. In the interim time he had been with the 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment.
After about six weeks on the Peninsula, Private Graymore reported sick on 11 September 1915, and was diagnosed as suffering from bronchitis. He was transferred to the 25th Casualty Clearing Station on Imbros Island on 15 September 1915, and they sent him back to the Australian and New Zealand base at Mudros, on 18 September 1915.
Once he had recovered, Private Graymore returned to his regiment at Ryrie's Post on 28 September 1915. They then occupied Leane's Trench and Ryrie's Post until 1 November 1915, when he was transferred to the Regiment’s headquarters.
One month later, on 11 December 1915, the 4th Light Horse Regiment left Ryrie's Post on Gallipoli, and embarked per Princess Ena bound for Lemnos. They arrived there the next day, and marched into camp at Sarpi. The Regiment was then attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade. After a stay of 10 days, the 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment embarked per S.S. Caledonia and returned to Alexandria. Once ashore, they entrained for Helmia and then went to the Racecourse Camp.
Back in Egypt, the 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment performed defence duties in the Tel-el-Kebir area until the end of May 1916, when they were attached to the 5th Australian Division, prior to embarking to France.
Private Graymore embarked at the port of Alexandria with the 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment on 10 June 1916, to join the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) on the Western Front. After a week’s voyage they disembarked at Marseilles and one month later, on 7 July 1916 he was transferred from 4th Light Horse Regiment (L.H.R.) to 2nd Anzac L.H.R. (II ANZAC Mounted Regiment) and posted to "D" Squadron.
"D Squadron" had been formed in Egypt, and along with "B" Squadron, they were sent to the 1st and 3rd Australian Divisions on the Western Front, as divisional cavalry. The Squadrons arrived in France in March and June 1916, and became part of the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment.
Immediately on joining the 2nd Anzac Mounted Regiment (M.R.) (or the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment), Private Graymore was appointed as a Driver. He joined another local boy in the regiment who came from Bacchus Marsh, who had also previously served in the 4th Light Horse, No.403, Driver Charles Rupert Edwards.
[When the Infantry Divisions of the A.I.F. moved to France in 1916, each Division included a divisional mounted reconnaissance squadron. Three squadrons were formed from the 13th Light Horse Regiment, and two squadrons from the 4th Light Horse Regiment. The two squadrons from the 4th Light Horse Regiment joined with a New Zealand unit to form the II ANZAC Corps Mounted Regiment. They became part of the British XXII Corps, and carried out traffic control, rear area security, prisoner escort and reconnaissance duties.]
Battle Honours of the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment include:
- Messines Ridge, 7 June 1917 to 14 June 1917
- Ypres, The third battle, 31 July 1917 to 10 November 1917
- Broodseinde. Part of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, on 4 October 1917
- Passchendaele Ridge, on 12 October 1917.
- Lys (in Flanders). Part of the German Spring Offensive between 9 April 1918 and 29 April 1918.
- Kemmel (in Flanders). German Spring Offensive between 17 April 1918 and 26 April 1918.
- Marne. Counter attack on the Germans in the Champagne region between 20 July 1918 and 2 August 1918.
- Tardenois. Counter attack against the Germans in the Andre Valley between 20 July 1918 and 31 July 1918.
- France and Flanders, 1916 to 1918. Unofficial honour acknowledging Australia’s contribution over the whole campaign on the Western Front.
In July 1916, the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment provided support to the 5th Australian Division at Fromelles. A deployment of men was used on traffic control, and others were appointed as unit runners.
On 30 December 1916, Driver Graymore reported sick to hospital in France suffering with influenza. After being treated by the 3rd New Zealand Field Ambulance he was then transferred to New Zealand Divisional Rest Station (NZ D.R.S.) for one week, before returning to duty.
The poor conditions in the field were having an effect on him, and on 13 January 1917, he was admitted to hospital suffering with scabies - skin condition caused by mite bites. He was treated by the 2nd New Zealand Field Ambulance, who at this time were in the Northern Zone, near the Sailly-sur-Lys Sector Trenches. They passed him to the 3rd New Zealand Field Ambulance and the New Zealand Casualty Clearing Station. He was able to return for duty with his regiment on 3 February 1917.
In March 1917, the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment were very active in a mobile phase of the war, following the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. The role of the regiment was to conduct special patrols in front of the advancing troops, and it was during the advance to Baupame that the only recorded combat between mounted troop of both sides took place. Neither side claimed victory in the encounter.
The regiment was widely deployed in the Battle of Messines at Ypres in Belgium. This fighting on the Messines Ridge occurred between 7 and 14 June 1917, and included action at Wytschaete.
Driver Graymore reported sick again on 7 October 1917, suffering with chronic bronchitis. (This was possibly the effects of exposure to poison gas, as later his death was attributed to exposure to gas during the war.) He was treated by the 35th Field Ambulance (Royal Army Medical Corps) and transferred to the 63rd Casualty Clearing Station at Bandringhem (Belgium). On 12 October, he was admitted to the 8th Red Cross Hospital at Le Touquet, and on 19 October 1917 he was evacuated to England per Hospital Ship Newhaven.
After arriving in England he was admitted to the Brook War Hospital at Woolwich, and then transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford. He remained under treatment until 12 December 1917, when he was discharged on a two week furlough, and then to report to the No.1 Commonwealth Depot at Sutton Veny. There he was classified as Class B1A2 (Fit for overseas training camp in three to four weeks)
As part of his recovery, Driver Graymore marched-in to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverell on 16 January 1918 for ten days, before being transferred to the Candahar Baracks at Tidworth for three months.
On 22 April 1918, Driver Graymore proceeded overseas to France via Southampton to re-join his regiment. It was at this time that the XXII Corps Mounted Regiment suffered heavy losses in the fighting around Mont Kemmel, which became known as the Battle of the Marne.
Then between August and September 1918, the Regiment was very active in the allied offensive, which hastened the end of the war. This action became known as the "Hundred Day Offensive."
Just as the 1st and 4th Australian Divisions were preparing to attack the Hindenburg Line, General Monash received a cable from General Birdwood on 12 September 1918, advising him that ships were available for all men who had enlisted in 1914, and that some must sail immediately, for home leave. After protesting the decision, Monash relented, and released 452 men from the two Divisions for two months’ home leave. *
One of those men released was Driver Graymore, who embarked from France on 12 October 1918, and on 23 October 1918 he sailed for Australia per Port Lyttleton D30, classified as "Special Leave 1914."
After celebrating the Armistice at sea, he disembarked at Melbourne on Christmas Day of 1918. Two months later, on 23 February 1919, he was discharged from the 3rd Military District at the "Termination of period of enlistment."
The Gippsland Times, 13 January 1919, p.3 reported: "Driver Graymore, who enlisted from Rosedale four years ago, returned home on Tuesday last, and looks none the worse for all of the hardships that he has experienced." Despite this optimistic report, Edgar joined the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Association, and remained a member until his death.
On 22 January 1919, Private E. "Graymour" [sic] was presented with a Werribee Shire gold medal at a function in the Mechanic’s Institute. He was one of 14 local returned men who were honoured at the celebration.
Werribee Shire Banner, 23 January 1919, p.2.
In March 1919, Edgar applied for a farm at Werribee South to grow lucerne and to operate a dairy. On 1 May 1919, he was issued with a permit under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act 1917, to purchase Allotment 91A, Section D in the Parish of Deutgam, which comprised of 30 acres. The cost was £821.16.00.
On 9 July 1920, Edgar Graymore married Mary Ferguson in the church at the Metropolitan Farm at Cocoroc. After the ceremony they held a large reception, described as an "...excellent dejeuner...", in the Mechanics' Hall in Werribee. A detailed account of the day’s events, including a list of all of the wedding gifts was published in the Werribee Shire Banner, 22 July, 1920, p.3.
Between 1925 and 1937, the Electoral Roll’s record that Edgar and Mary Graymore, were dairy farmers living at Diggers Road, Werribee.
In 1937, Edgar bought E. J. Latham's Soldier Settlement block (Allotment 26 Section G Parish Deutgam, of 46 acres) which was valued at £726. At the time, he listed his assets as 40 dairy cows, five horses, one bull and numerous items of farming equipment.
In 1941, a year before his death, Edgar Graymore began to leave his farm, and moved to Salisbury Street in Werribee. A Clearance Sale of his dairy cattle, farm and dairy plant was held on his property in Diggers Road.
Werribee Shire Banner, 7 August 1941, p.2.
The full inventory of animals and equipment was published in The Argus, 16 August 1941, p.9.
On 3 March 1942, Edgar Graymore died at the Caulfield Repatriation Hospital, Campbellfield, Victoria, aged just 49 years. His death certificate (No. 1942/1972) listed his father as Edgar and his mother as Jessie Nash. His obituary attributed his cause of death as the after effects of being gassed during the Great War.
An obituary was published in the Werribee Shire Banner, 5 March 1942, p.2. stating that the R.S.S.I.L.A. were unable to hold their usual march, but the flags of the Shire Hall and State Bank were lowered as a mark of respect. He was survived by his widow, and three children: Elsie, June Ethel and Jack.
There is a photo of the two Graymore girls at the Werribee South School in 1929 at http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/11237534?q=Graymore+werribee&exactPhrase&anyWords¬Words&requestHandler&dateFrom&dateTo&sortby&c=picture&versionId=13170088
After the death of her husband, Mrs Mary Graymore continued to reside in Werribee, living at 1 Gibbons Street.
On 17 November 1944, the title of his Soldier Settlement blocks (Deutgam, 91A D and 27 G) was sold by his executor (Mr John William Sheahan, 58 Duncan's Road, Werribee)
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914-15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
The name "Graymore, E." never appeared in the Werribee Shire Banner’s Roll of Honor, which was published continuously throughout the Great War.
Edward Graymore married Jessie Nash at Liverpool in Victoria in 1887.
Edgar's three service medals (along with three of his son's medals from WW2) were sold on 30 October 2014. His son was Leading Aircraftsman Edgar John Graymore, No.117740, who enlisted at Werribee on 27 August 1942.
* The Last Fifty Miles by Adam Wakeling, p.189.
Embarkation - https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/
Unit War Diary - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection
Service Record – National Archives of Australia
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Marriage Index 1921-1942 CD