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John Oxley Library

Manfred Cross Collection Digitised @ SLQ

By JOL Admin | 6 January 2016

Manfred Cross Collection, Acc: 29965, item 12.

A recently digitised World War I collection held by the John Oxley Library is that of Private Manfred Cross of the 9th and 49th Battalions.  Manfred Cross (no. 2364) was born in 1895 at Spring Creek, Killarney, Queensland.  At the outbreak of war he joined the Australian Expeditionary Forces for the campaign to capture German New Guinea, boarding the troopship Kanowna at Thursday Island on the 16th August 1914.

First troops leaving Townsville, bound for Thursday Island, on the troopship "Kanowna" as part of the New Guinea Expeditionary Forces, 3 August 1914. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 25535.

At the outbreak of war the Kanowna had been requisitioned by the Australian military to transport 1000 soldiers to German New Guinea.  The ship sailed from Townsville on the 8th August 1914, was anchored off Thursday Island until the 16th of August, and did not reach Port Moresby until the 6th of September.  By this time the vessel was short of essential supplies such as food and water.  The firemen and stokers, working in the hot boiler rooms, refused to work without an adequate supply of water and went on strike.  As a result the ship was forced to return to Townsville.

As a result Manfred did not take part in the successful capture of German New Guinea and was discharged from military service on the 18th September 1914.  Upon their return to Australia many of the men on board the Kanowna enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and went on to serve at Gallipoli, Palestine and the Western Front.

Private M. Cross. "The Queenslander", 22 May 1915, p.23.

Not to be deterred Manfred Cross enlisted again on the 2nd March 1915 at Blackall at the age of 19.  He was working as a postal assistant at the time.  He joined the 9th Battalion, trained at the Enoggera Military Camp in Brisbane and embarked on the 20th August 1915 in Sydney on the H.M.A.T. Shropshire.  He trained at the Zietoun Training Base in Egypt before being transferred to Mudros in Greece.  In September 1916 he was transferred to the 49th Battalion serving in France.  He was wounded in action on the 7th June 1917 at the Battle of Messines, with a severe gunshot wound to the right hip and was invalided to England for treatment and convalescence.  Manfred returned to France and re-joined his unit in December 1917.  In March 1918 he was transferred to the 4th Australian Division Signals Company as a sapper and returned to Australia in April 1919 on the troopship Warwickshire.

Third Australian Divisional Field Dressing Station at Kandahar Farm, in the Messines area, on the afternoon of 7 June 1917, during the Battle of Messines. Australian War Memorial Image: E00482.

After the war Manfred resumed his work with the post office, working as a telegraph operator in Brisbane.  He married Mary Deerness McLennon in 1921 and died on the 13th August 1955.

The collection includes Manfred's World War I medals; a framed address on fabric entitled "The Great War 1914-16, M. Cross, Honored Patriot, presented by the residents of Killarney, Queensland"; a pictorial collage which includes a photograph of Manfred Cross in uniform, surrounded by sketches of Lord Kitchener, General Jofre, Admiral Jellicoe, General French, and the ship H.M.A.S. Australia, and entitled "He Served His Country"; and an address in memory of the Australian dead by the Bishop of Amiens in the Church of Long (Somme), November 4th 1918.

Manfred Cross Collection, Acc: 29965, Item 11.
Manfred Cross Collection, Accession 29965/10
Manfred Cross Collection. Acc: 29965, Item 1.

The material was donated by the family of Manfred Cross and is a wonderful addition to our World War I collections.  The Manfred Cross Collection, Accession 29965, may be viewed at:

Lynn Meyers, QANZAC100 Content Curator








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