Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

100 years ago the lads from Goorambat signed up for WWI

Jack Frawley remembered for his service with the 4th light horse bridge at Lone Pine, Gallipoli and the charge of Beersheba, Palestine.

LIBBY PRICE August 22, 2014 4:00am

Goorambat local John Frawley signs up to the 4th light horse 100 years ago 19 August 1914, serving in Gallipoli and Palestine



It was 100 years ago this week that two young men from Goorambat signed up to join the 4th Light Horse regiment: 19-year-old John (Jack) Frawley, one of 11 children; and his mate, Harold Wallace.

Jack regularly wrote home and his family have collected various memorabilia to commemorate his service in Gallipoli, where he survived the battle of Lone Pine in 1915, and later the charge of the 4th Light Horse brigade at Beersheba, Palestine in 1917.

In a letter dated December 6, 1914, Jack wrote from the ship SS Wiltshire on the way to Alexandria, Egypt of the rough trip from Albany in Western Australia and of how they had to sail at night to avoid the German cruiser Emden which was eventually sunk off the Cocos Islands by the HMAS Sydney, with the loss of 133 German lives.

Jack wrote, ‘‘Harold Wallace is getting all right again and all the others are well. It was a shock to us about Percy Dunlop. It is about 10 hours’ run from here to Alexandria. We will go by train to Cairo. I was glad to hear that Doll and all the dogs are well. How is Peter getting on? Tell him to write. Don’t forget to write often as it is all the news we get. We are anxious to hear how things are going. By the time you get this Christmas will be over. It will be a day or two before we see Goorambat again ... With best love to all at home, your loving Brother Jack.’’

While serving in Egypt, Jack found what he thought was a stranger in his bed in the tents they were living in. It turned out to be his younger brother, Peter, who pulled the stunt to surprise his brother. Peter had signed up 18 months after Jack.

Both survived the war and returned to Goorambat. Jack tried to sign up for World War II as a signalman but was rejected. He refused to talk of the war on his return, though always marched on Anzac Day.

— Information and photographs contributed by Jack Frawley’s grandson, Mick McKenna

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