Private Walter Frederick Bauer of Tiaro

Wedding of Walter Frederick Bauer and Charlotte Jacobsen, 5 July 1916. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 152500.

Wedding of Walter Frederick Bauer and Charlotte Jacobsen, 5 July 1916. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 152500.

A wartime wedding photograph which was recently located in the John Oxley Library collection is that of Private Walter Frederick Bauer and his bride, Charlotte Jacobsen, who were married on the 5th July 1916.  The photograph was incorrectly described as being that of Walter Bauver with a general time frame of 1914 to 1918.  However with some detective work Walter's correct surname, the name of his bride and the date of the wedding could be determined.

Walter Frederick Bauer was born in Maryborough, Queensland, in 1885.  His father was Felix Bauer, a German born emigrant, and his mother was Mary Ann Tighe who was originally from Ireland.  The couple had five daughters and five sons.

Tragically, the eldest child Cecilia, who was a nurse at the Maryborough Hospital, died on the 6th June 1905, while nursing a family who were suffering from pneumonic plague.  She was 22 years old at the time of her death.  Another nurse, Rose Wiles, died at the same time and a brass plaque was hung in the central building of the hospital in 1910 with the inscription:  Erected in memory of nurses Rose A. Wiles and Cecilia E. Bauer who died while devotedly discharging duties in the service of the institution during June 1905".  (Source: Maryborough Chronicle, 16 June 1910, p.6)  In 1966 a fountain was erected in Lennox Street, Maryborough, to commemorate the sacrifice of the two nurses who courageously volunteered to nurse the plague victims.

Cecilia Bauer and her brother Walter, 1902. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 66279.

Cecilia Bauer and her brother Walter, 1902. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 66279.

Nurses tending to plague patients in Maryborough, 1905. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 168821.

Nurses tending to plague patients in Maryborough, 1905. John Oxley Library, Negative No. 168821.

Another tragedy struck the family in 1908 when the mother, Mary Ann (Annie) Bauer, died after a short illness.  Another blow fell in 1910 when the children's father, Felix, was thrown from his horse while rounding up bullocks and died from a fracture of the skull.

Walter Bauer (service no. 7086) was a member of the Gympie Infantry Brigade before the war and enlisted on the 5th April 1916 in the 15th Battalion, 1-23 Reinforcements.  He was 27 years old and was working as a grazier in the Tiaro district.  On his enlistment paper he gave his next of kin as Miss Lottie  Jacobsen who became his wife exactly three months later.   Walter embarked for overseas service on the 25th November 1916 in Sydney on the HMAT Beltana A72 and trained at Codford Camp on the Salisbury Plain in England.

On the 4th June 1917 he was transferred to France where he joined the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion which during this period took part in the fighting in Belgium at Ypres and Polygon Wood.  In 1918 the 15th battalion shifted to France where they fought significant actions around Villers-Bretonneux, Hamel and Amiens.  Walter spent several periods in hospital suffering from various illnesses, including otorrhoea (discharge from the external ear).  He was later wounded in action in France with gas poisoning on the 25th August 1918 and was transferred to England for treatment at the Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol.

15th Battalion Headquarters near Anzac Ridge after the attack to the left of Polygon Wood, Belgium, 26 September 1917. Australian War Memorial photograph, ID number E00904.

15th Battalion Headquarters near Anzac Ridge after the attack to the left of Polygon Wood, Belgium, 26 September 1917. Australian War Memorial photograph, ID number E00904.

After the war Walter returned to Australia in August 1919 on the troopship Argyllshire, and at long last was reunited with his wife, Lottie.  The couple had been separated for over three years and due to Walter's war service had never lived together as man and wife.  They settled in the Tiaro district and Walter worked as a timber getter at Blackmount, and later as a dairyman at Boompa.  He and Lottie had five children; four girls and one boy, Desmond Walter, born in 1923.  Walter died in Tiaro in November 1958 at the age of 73.

Private Arthur Bauer of the 5th Light Horse. "Queenslander", 6 March 1915, p.22.

Private Arthur Bauer of the 5th Light Horse. "Queenslander", 6 March 1915, p.22.

Walter's older brother, Arthur Bauer (service no. 815), also participated in the war.  He enlisted in December 1914 and served with the 5th Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli and in the Middle East.  Arthur appears to have been a colourful character with a healthy disregard for authority.  According to his service records he was continually in trouble for being absent without leave and also for drunkenness.  He was disciplined for entering a sergeant's canteen and falsely representing himself as being an officer.  In November 1918, while intoxicated, he suffered a serious injury to his neck which was thought to be a fracture to the base of his skull.  Fortunately the condition rectified itself and he was able to return to Australia in June 1919.

From one small, misidentified, photograph the story of the Bauer family of Tiaro has unfolded to reveal another Queensland experience of World War I.

Lynn Meyers, QANZAC 100 Content Curator

 

 

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I am the grand daughter of Walter Bauer. My father was Desmond. How exciting to read his service record. I have more information if you are interested .

Dear SoniaIt is lovely to hear from you and to find a descendant of the Bauer family. We would love any more information you may have about the family.Kind RegardsLynn MeyersQANZAC100 Content Curator

I am trying to locate a Nurse Bauer who worked at the Kyoomba Sanatorium in Stanthorpe and was being transferred to the Kangaroo Point Military Hospital. The only reference that I have is from an article dated 11/3/1919 in The Far East. Do you know if she is a relative? Deborah

I am researching all the Bauer families - I am not related.When was Desmond born and who did he marry, please?Marlene

Hello - I am researching my Bauer family too who arrived in QLD in 1909 aboard the Omrah I believe as part of the early Apostolic Church mission. Arthur Hermann bauer & His wife Frieda meta Bauer (Koeppe) and daughter Edith Hildegarde. He was heavily involved in the German Club in Brisbane and was a circus acrobat. Not sure there is any connection here but thought I would make contact. Regards Meg Shields

Dear Lynn I'm watching the Memorial held in Yepres today and remembering my Grandfather Walter who fought there. I have a collection of postcards he sent to my Grandmother and a picture of him.in hospital here in the UK.

He Was born in 1923 and he married my mother June Mears

Dear SonyaThanks for sharing that lovely story about your connection to Walter Bauer. If you are ever looking for a home for your collection of postcards and the photograph of Walter in hospital in England we would be very interested.Kind RegardsLynn Meyers

Hello SonyaI am the grandson of Walter's brother Arthur who is mentioned in the article. I visited Tiaro recently to see Walter and Arthur's names of the Anzac monument.CheersMichael

Hello all. I am Grace Beryl Bird (nee Bauer). I am 91. Walter and Arthur were my uncles. My father was their brother Albert Bauer who married Mary Magnussen. How interesting to read and see this article, with my daughter Jenny Howie.Thank you.Beryl Bird.

Hi Michael Im.not very good with working out how we are related .Walter was my Grandfather ....I never met him..Im 56 yrs .I grew up outside Hervey Bay .....Cane farm ..How about you ?Are we 2rd Cousins ?Sonya

Hi Sonya. Sorry for this very slow reply to your comment. I've only just seen it. Yes your grandfather Walter and my grandfather Arthur (who I never met) were brothers. So your dad Desmond and my dad Denis would have been cousins so I think that makes their children second cousins. I was born in 1955 and grew up and live in Brisbane. I was a secondary school teacher but for the last 15 years have been an author of children's and young adult books. I'm on facebook if you wanted to connect. Cheers.