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John Oxley Library

Buried Treasure - Gallipoli Casualty List

By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 27 November 2014

Uncovering collections that relate to World War 1 is part of the brief for the Q ANZAC 100 team. Recently when a client requested the retrieval of a collection, observant staff noticed an item that deserved a closer look.

Casualties of 9th Battalion, 25 April 1915, pt.1

Entitled - "List of the first casualties of the 9th Battalion, A.I.F., at Anzac" it certainly drew our attention. The handwritten list in pencil, is in two parts and has been mounted in protective card. This list was sent by Lieutenant William John Williams, the Signal Officer to Captain Arthur Graham Butler, the Regimental Medical Officer for the 9th Battalion. It details those officers and men who were killed, wounded, missing or injured on or about the 25th April 1915.

Casualties of 9th Battalion, 25 April 1915, pt.2

This item was presented to the John Oxley Library by a Mr Roland Mills. Discovering the link between the donor and the list has been a journey of discovery.Using service records from the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia, we tried to put the three men together, to find the connection. They all enlisted in the AIF in August 1914, all from Queensland, embarked on the same ship and all served in the 9th Battalion on Gallipoli. But how did it come into the hands of Roland Mills?

Finally the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography for Captain Butler shed light on the mystery. In 1904 Doctor Butler married Lilian Kate Mills, the sister of the donor Roland Mills.

Lt. Col. A.G. Butler, AWM H18932

Captain, later Lieutenant Colonel Butlerdistinguished himself as a senior Medical Officer during the 9th Battalions' service in Gallipoli, later commanding the 3rd Field Ambulance Brigade in the Western Front, the 3rd Australian General Hospital in Abbeville from 1918-1919, as well as service with the War Records section, AIF in London. After his return to Australia he relinquished his private medical practice and moved to Canberra to write the Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services 1914-1918. Two brothers and a sister also served in the A.I.F. Colin, David and Ethel.

Lieutenant William (Jack) John Williams was a schoolteacher from Rockhampton and already had served 2 years as a signalling officer with the Militia when he enlisted in the AIF aged 29. He married his Welsh sweet heart Nora in Cairo on 25 February 1915 before his battalion embarked for Lemnos then Gallipoli. He was part of the dawn landing on the 25th April and as the Casualty List indicates, he was the author of the note. His service with the Battalion was cut short in 1916 after being dismissed for drunkeness in Cairo. He returned to his life as a school-teacher, he and his wife raised two sons and a daughter.

Corporal Roland Mills described himself as a 'bushman' when he enlisted age 37 in the AIF. He served with the 9th Battalion and 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, in Gallipoli and France. He returned to Australia in 1918 to marry Norah Jones and took up the abandoned 'Belldoon' orchard in Targinnie, North Queensland and became one of the first to successfully farm citrus in the region.

Further Reading:

Marg Powell | QANZAC 100 Content Technician   State Library of Queensland


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