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BACCHUS MARSH & VICTORIAN BOER WAR MEMORIALS
There is a drinking fountain in Bacchus Marsh (outside the Post Office) commemorating the locality's fallen from contingents of the Victorian Mounted Rifle Regiment in the Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1901.
Bacchus Marsh's Avenue of Honour is among the finest and most splendid (but not the largest) of such avenues of elms. These avenues are a proud memorial to the fallen of World War 1. Many Victorian towns and regional centres have Avenues of Honour. So does Brisbane, Queensland. Do other States have them? Does New Zealand?
The Avenue of Honour was opened on a Saturday in mid-August 1918, when 281 Canadian elms were planted alongside more than two kilometres of road leading into the town. A bugle call allowed simultaneous planting to begin, The fallen were remembered in alphabetical order (allowing family members who died overseas to be recalled to mind, together in groups). The MLA for Ballarat West, Maj. Matthew Baird, a veteran of the Western Front, officiated. Like elms elsewhere, the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour trees now require regular attention for elm disease and dead branches.
Bacchus Marsh's own Victoria Cross winner was Rupert Vance Moon of the 58th Battalion, 1st AIF (at Bullecourt, France, 12 May 1917). Can anyone provide information, photos, of him ?
Frank Noonan has kindly provided copies of R. V. Moon's service records:
HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officer:-
Lieutenant RUPERT VANCE MOON
For most conspicuous bravery during an attack on an enemy strong point. His own immediate objective was a position in advance of the hostile trench, and thence against the hostile trench itself, after the capture of which it was intended that his men should co-operate in a further assault on a stong point further in rear.
Although wounded in the initial advance, he reached the first objective.
Leading his men against the trench itself, he was again badly wounded and incapacitated for the moment. He nevertheless inspired and encouraged his men and captured the trench. Lieutenent Moon continued to lead his much diminished command in the general attack with the utmost valour, being again wounded, and the attack was successfully pressed home.
During the consolidation of the position, this officer was again badly wounded, and it was only after this fourth and severe wound through the face that he consented to retire from the fight.
His bravery was magnificent and was largely instrumental in the successful issue against superior numbers, the safeguarding of the flank of the attack, and tha capture of many prisoners and machine guns'
by (his proud step-neice) Leanne Johnstone
HUGH JOSEPH BOTTLE Private 2575 died on 21 November 1916. Age 25 Son of Joseph Henry and Susan Bottle. Born at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia.
Hugh was aged 23 years and 9 months when he enlisted in the A.I.F. on 10th July 1915. His occupation was listed as an Engine Driver. His next of kin was listed as his sister Miss Mary Bottle, C/- 1 York St, North Richmond, Vic (at this time his father was living in Tasmania). His name was listed on his Attestation Papers as Hugh Joseph Bottle, and not Hugh Benjamin. He enlisted in the 21st Battalion, 6th Rifles and embarked at Melbourne per HMAT "Moldavia" on 5/10.1915.
According to his Medical Examination on enlistment, he was 5'7" tall, with a sallow complexion, brown hair and eyes, and his religion was listed as Roman Catholic. He had a scar on the left of his chin, and a mole in the centre of his stomach.
On 7/1/1916 he was 'taken on strength' at/to Tel-el-Kebir, and proceeded to join the British Expeditionary Forces from Alexandria on 19/3/1916. He disembarked in Marseilles France on 26/3/1916. He was killed in action in France on 21/11/1916.
On a further copy of his Attestation Papers, it is stated that his war medals were sent to his father, Mr J. Bottle, C/- Post Office, Burnie, Tas. His next of kin was still listed as Mary, but the address had changed to C/- H. Love, Bacchus Marsh, Vic (crossed out). Also the address of 91 York St, North Richmond, Vic (not 1 as previously) had been crossed out (This was the address she gave in a letter of 2 March, 1917). So too had the address for Mary of C/- Sir John Franklin Hotel, Victoria Parade, Collingwood, Vic (the address given on a letter to Mary dated 19 October 1920). The address of Victoria Hotel, Bourke St, Melbourne had been circled for some reason.
Judging from further correspondence, upon Hugh's death the Army had tried to contact Mary to ascertain whether or not Hugh's parents were still alive, or if not, if there were any older siblings to recieve his war medals and personal effects. According to the "Deceased Soldiers Estates Act 1918" they had to ascertain whether there were any closer blood relatives than herself still living, so they could dispose of the War Medals. "The provisions of a Will have no bearing upon the distribution of the Medals unless they are specifically mentioned therein...". As no response was elicited from Mary, an advertisement was placed in the press looking for Hugh's next of kin.
A note from the Kit Store of the AIF in London listed the inventory of Hugh's effects, which were forwarded to his sister Mary (C/- H. Love, Bacchus Marsh, Vic). The effects were 3rd Echelon No. 6172, disc, letters, photos, wallets (2), scapulas, notebook and a badge. They were received ex "Thermistocles".
In his will Hugh left the whole of his effects to his sister Miss M. Bottle, Normanhurst, Denmark St, Kew, Vic. (dated 25 April 1916).
In a letter to Hugh's father (Joseph Harry Bottle) it states: 7th June 1921 Dear Sir I shall be much obliged if you will kindly let me know whether communication addressed as this is will find you, so that I may forward to you the 1914/15 star, issuable on account of the service that your son, the late No. 2572 Private H.J. BOTTLE, 21st Battalion. Thanking you in anticipation of an early reply Yours faithfully Captain Officer i/c Base Records (Addressed to Mr J. Bottle, Post Office, Burnie, Tas.)
Joseph Bottle (Hugh's father) signed for receipt of a Victory Medal on 15 February 1923, a Memorial Plaque on 15 May 1922, a Memorial Scroll on 18 November 1921, a British War Service Medal on 29 November 1921, and a 1914/15 Star on 14 July 1924. Also on 16 February 1926 a package containing 1 cigarette case (damaged), identity disc and coins (2 francs, 50 centimes) which were recovered from Hugh's body were forwarded to Joseph.
In February 1926, Hugh's body was exhumed from a point about 1 mile south of Ligny-Thilloy in France, and interred in the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. (plot 28, Row D, Grave 19)
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