Burra's Response to World War 1

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Burra SoldiersBurra Soldiers

Burra Soldiers: Earnest Stasinowsky (19 yo) and his brother Benjamin (25 yo) and their older brother, Earl

Fund raising activity in Market Square, Burra, during WWI

Fund raising activity in Market Square, Burra, during WWI

Navy Band in Burra on Navy Day, October 16, 1918

Navy Band in Burra on Navy Day, October 16, 1918

Societies

As indicated earlier, various societies were formed during this period.  These included:-

a sub-branch of the British Red Cross Society

the Cheer-Up Society and the Burra Cheer-Up Ladies' Band

a Soldiers' Aid Society.  The function of this group was very similar to the Cheer-Up Society and it is said that they, "...did splendid work for the men, and in collecting funds." (Back to Burra" Official Souvenir Programme of October 24th to  31st, 1925)

Burra and District displayed great patriotism to the "mother country" during the Great War.  According to the "Back to Burra" Official Souvenir Programme of October 24th to  31st, 1925:

 "...a perusal of the records reveals a spirit of extraordinary devotion to the King and Empire.  When the call came from the Old Land for men to offer themselves for the field of battle, the response was immediate and eager."

This is shown clearly as seen in the following minute by the Town Council, which was recorded on August 17, 1914:

"That this Council places on record its loyalty and warm devotion to the King and Empire on the present grave crisis in Europe, and pledges itself to do all in its power to assist in every way possible, and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to His Excellency the Governor."

Before the month had ended, a Town and District Patriotic Fund was inaugurated, and at the first meeting £140 was raised.  Following hard upon that, a sub-branch of the British Red Cross Society, with the Mayoress (Mrs E.W. Crewes) as President, was formed, and it contribution to the Fund was over £2,000.

The men of the towns and district also sprang to answer the call and a Light Horse Contingent consisting of 17 men and officers was organised, and these, with three infantrymen, were farewelled on September 4, just one month after the declaration of war.  In a little more than a year, according to the Mayor's report, the Burra had sent 220 men, two chaplains, five nurses, and two doctors to the front, and had subscribed £13,968.

Burra and District War facts according to the aforementioned publication:-

600 men were sent to the front (including those who joined the Light Horse Contingent), along with;

17 nurses;

four chaplains;

three doctors;

Amount subscribed to the various war funds was £60,000;

Amount subscribed to War and Peace Loans was £156,000;

Burra also presented to the Military Department four ambulance motors costing approximately £2,000.

Thousands of gifts were sent to the men at the front and given to the men on their return

The above generosity was viewed as a record for a district with the population of Burra.

Burra Branch British Red Cross Society

Peace in Burra!

Extracted from the Burra Record,
November 13, 1918

When the news reached Burra on Monday evening about 9:30 that Germany had signed the armistice, that hostilities had ceased and that, practically, peace had come, within a very few minutes the town was seething with excitement.  The first loud-voiced intimation of the glorious news was the ringing of the fire-bell and soon there was a regular pandemonium of noise.  Within a quarter of an hour Market Square was thronged, the Ladies and Men's Band in combination had turned out and the great crowd were silent whilst the National Anthem was being played.  At the call of the Mayor the Doxology was most reverently sung and cheers were given for The Allies, for General Foch, for Our Boys and for The King.  His Worship then made a short speech, followed by Mr Winnall, and after a number of patriotic airs by the bands the celebrations were adjourned until next day, although it was the small hours of the morning before the town had resumed its nightly calm.

On Tuesday a holiday was observed and the town was decorated with innumerable flags.  By 10:30 everybody had assembled in the Square, a platform had been erected and numerous seats provided.  At somebody's very excellent suggestion a procession the like of which had never been seen in Burra before, a procession of nearly a thousand thankful men, women and children. It extended the whole length of Commercial Street from Messrs C.J. Pearce and Sons to Mr E.J. Harris's and was headed by Returned Soldiers, the Mayor and Councillors and Ministers of the town and the combined bands.  Cheer after cheer greeted the returned men and were repeated with redoubled enthusiasm at the call of the Mayor after which Lieut. Phillis made a suitable little speech in acknowledgment.  Then, as was but fit on this greatest day in history, a short service of thanksgiving was held.  After the National Anthem the people, with the Rev. H.H. Hopton leading, reverently united in The Lord's Prayer, following which Mr Hopton read several beautiful collects.

Market Square, Burra 1918

Market Square, Burra 1918

Peace in Burra, 1918

Peace in Burra, 1918

The Hon. W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia, unveiled the Burra and District Fallen Soldiers' Memorial in Market Square in 1922.  The plaque on the memorial record the names of 102 men from Apoinga, Booborowie, Burra, Hallett, Hanson and Mt Bryan areas who gave their lives in World War I. 

The construction of the Fallen Soldiers' 
      Memorial in Market Square, Burra,the Fallen Soldiers' 
      Memorial in Market Square, Burra, during its 1922 unveiling

The construction of the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial in Market Square, Burra, on the left and its 1922 unveiling on the right

P.M. "Billy" Hughes at the unveiling of 
      the Soldiers' Memorial in Burrathe Burra War memorial now

P.M. "Billy" Hughes at the unveiling of the Soldiers' Memorial in Burra and the memorial now on the right

Market Square, Burra, and the Soldiers' Memorial  in the 1920s

Market Square, Burra, and the Soldiers' Memorial  in the 1920s

Listed below are the names inscribed on the plaque:-

Arnold, W.E. Bass, H.J. Bell, W.
Bishop, C. Bruhn, W.G. Burrows, P.C.
Burton, C.S. Camp, J. Canny, J.F.
Carey, L.H. Collins, B.E. Collins, W.G.
Cox, C. Cruikshank, J. Davey, H.E.
Davidson, A.L. Dawes, E. Dearlove, T.A.
Dew, A. Dixon, T.W. Dolan, J.
Duell, J. Duldig, O.R. Egan, A.E.
Ferguson, L.R. Finch, W.G. Fitzgerald, F.G.
Flower, R.J.C. Gallagher, A.W. Gilbert, F.F.
Gilbert, J.L. Gillett, A.C. Green E.O.
Green, H.T. Griffiths, L. Hammer, W.R.
Harris, H. Hawkes, W.R. Hill, G.
Hill, S. Honan, J. Hoole, H.
Howells, F.C. Humphrys, C.M. Inglis, F.
Inglis, K. James, C.H. Jeffery, A.
Jesser, T.L. Johnson, R. Jones, W.F.
Josephs, W.C. Kelly, E. Kelly, F.
Kemble, R. Killicoat, P.D. Kilmartin, F.J.
Kuchenmeister, C.A. Lacey, E.R. Lackman, A.H.
Lawler, E. Lee, A.S. Leighton, A.H.
McBride, N.H. McDonald, D.C. McWaters, H.H.
Meyer, W.C. Muller, J.F.W. Munt, H.
Needham, C. Neimann, O.C. Noyes, K.H.
Ockenden, H. Oram, J. Pearce, W.S.
Pearse, B.W. Pederson, W. Prior, A.J.
Riggs, E.A. Roach, E.M. Rogers, F.J.
Rule, E.T.J. Sandland, M.R. Schuyler, F.L.
Seigert, C.W. Skinner, H. Sommerville, J.R.
Stasinowsky, S.C.R. Stephens, L.C. Thomson, G.W.W.
Tiver, C.P. Tiver, F.H. Tolhurst, H.R.
Tralaggan, FG. Tregonning, W.C.D. Treloar, P.C.
Trevilyan, H. Turner, H.H. Turner, L.J.
Williams, G.A. Winders, A.T. Woollacott, R.J.