Military   Home Page   Family History          20 June 2012

Earlier Military 

World War I

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Background to War

Robert Smith   Militia

William Tall   Somme/Passchendael


Harry Tall         England
Role Tall       Persia (Iran)

Denis Tall      Battle of Gaza    Killed

Bert Tall                                  Injured

Lieut. Alfred Charles BALL M.C. MC

Robert Ball  Royal Navy

Edgar Ball         1916               Killed

William Panter  New Guinea

Edwin Ball         In Navy

Ted Panter   Army in Australia


Capt Alfred Charles Ball  MC               MC

Bill Nichols         Airforce

David Nichols  Afghanistan 

David Nichols

Tommy Vaughan Egypt

Charles William Nichols            Killed

Bob Vaughan      M.Navy

  Frank Vaughan   Miner at Somme    

Medals WWI


   Medals WWII

General Web pages:
WW I      

Edgar Ball:    Killed in action in France; shot through the helmet by a sniper‘s bullet. Died Friday, 23 June, 1916; age 18, according to the memorial in Laventie Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France. He is listed as 3081 lst/5th BN., Duke of Cornwall‘s Light Infantry. The Illogan Cemetery monument inscription contains his name.  The date of  his death on 22 Jun 1916, age 19 is on his and his parents' grave stone. According to his brother, Edwin, Edgar was the first soldier in the Duke of Cornwall‘s Light Infantry Regiment to die in action in WW1.   First buried in Laventie Cemetery, France; the following year moved to Illogan Cemetery, Cornwall, England.
More About EDGAR BALL: 
Burial: Illogan Memorial Cemetery, Illogan, Cornwall, England
Military service: 1916, Killed in action in France, WW1, Duke of Cornwall‘s Light Infantry Regiment, in France
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Edwin Ball:  

During WW1, Edwin served on H.M.S. Henry Ford, name later changed to H.M.S. Boadicea 11, a trawler, patrolling the coast of Cornwall: 

Edwin said the ship had an impressively large gun, a twelve pounder, on the foredeck, but they couldn‘t fire it because the recoil would have torn it from its moorings! 

While on watch, he reported a ship sinking in the distance. Because he had a lower perspective, the Captain could not see the ship on the horizon and was dubious about pursuing the notification. Edwin, however, kept reporting the incident and the Captain was required to follow it up. 

A number of survivors were saved from the sinking vessel. High waves made rescue difficult. One man was just inches from Edwin‘s hand when a large wave lifted the boat away and the man was pulled down into the trough of the wave to his death.  The ship was later salvaged and the crew obtained a share of the salvage monies.  In addition to the War and victory medals, Edwin should have received the Mercantile Marine medal.         Top of Page


Robert Ball:   Robert joined the British Royal Navy in about 1804. The first ship, which he joined as a volunteer, appears to have been the Plover.    The Plover was armed with eighteen 6-pounders and eight 12-pounder carronades patrolled the Channel the ship was commanded, in 1805, by Captain R.T. HANCOCK.   In May 1805 he joined the Zealous, where he served as an ordinary Seaman until 1808.  Then he joined the Christian the Seventh.  Robert was wounded in the knee in February or March of 1810.  It was around that time that the ship was involved in a battle with nine French gunboats during the Peninsular Wars. Robert was sent to Haslar Hospital, near Portsmouth: On May 23, he was discharged out of the navy.

The introductory web page entitled: SHIPS OF THE OLD NAVY provides a history of the sailing ships of the Royal Navy by Michael Phillips. Phillips lists all the vessels sailing in the Napoleonic wars and describes the major actions in which they were involved.  The warships were rated according to the number of their guns. CHRISTIAN VII, captured at Copenhagen on 7 September 1807, was classified as a 3rd rate ship of the line having 80 guns. In 1808 Sir Joseph Sydney YORKE was Captain. The frigate accompanying her was the ARMIDE and had 38 guns (Captain Lucius HARDYMAN). The following account describes the events leading up to and including the fight where Robert was wounded:

  In January 1810 ARMIDE and CHRISTIAN VII were stationed off the Basque Roads and on the morning of the 10th they sighted a small convoy on passage from Ile d'Aix to Rochelle. The boats of the two ships, under the command of Lieut. GUION of CHRISTIAN VII, within grape and musket range of a shore battery, captured a chasse maree of about 30 tons and , since the ebbing tide made it impossible to bring them off, a brig, burnt a schooner and a chasse maree which were fully laden with wine, brandy, soap, rein, pitch, candles, etc. 
On the evening of the 20th a convoy of about 30 vessels was seen coming from the Maumusson Pass, between the Ile d'Oleron and the mainland, and making a run for La Rochelle. The boats again gave chase and attacked the convoy.  Five chasse maree ran aground close under the batteries and, under a heavy fire of grape and musketry, one was taken and four burnt.  They carried similar cargo to the previous convoy. One of ARMIDE's seamen was wounded and two of the enemy were killed. 
Another convoy of ten vessels sailed from the Charante in thick weather on the night of 12 February and three chasse maree went aground on the reef off the Point de Chatelaillon between La Rochelle and Ile d'Aix.  Three boats each from ARMIDE and CHRISTIAN VII and two from SEINE put off to destroy them.  The stranded vessels were protected by nine French gunboats each carrying a 12-pounder carronade and six swivels and rowing between twenty and thirty oars.  Lieut. GUION of CHRISTIAN VII, who was in charge, pretended to retreat to lure the enemy out of range of its shore defences.  They obliged but fled when the British boats turned on them. Lieut. ROBERTS of ARMIDE pursued two of the gunboats on to the beach and kept up a steady fire on them within pistol shot.  Another gunboat was taken by Lieut. GUION. The three chasse maree were burnt. 

The captain's formal report of the above action described in Marshalls Naval Biography, Part II (1828, p. 444-446)   ( states:
"Three vessels, being part of a convoy of ten sail, laden with brandy, &c. that sailed last night in thick blowing weather, wind W.S.W. from the Charente, bound to Northward, having got on the reef that projects from the point of Chatelaillon, between Aix and Rochelle, I directed the boats to the squadron to destroy them. This was forthwith attempted to be executed, when the enemy made a movement to prevent it. Our boats were eight in number, and the enemy's nine; our's armed in the usual way, their's more formidable, all of them being gun-boats, each carrying a 12-pounder carronade and 6 swivels, and rowing from 20 to 30 oars. "Lieutnant Guion, who directed the operations, made a faint of retreating, to decoy the enemy from their shore defenses, when suddenly turning on them, they fled. The barge of this ship, in which he was, beeing the fleetest boat, advanced most gallantly along the rear of the enemy's line to their third boat; but finding from circumstances that the rear boat was the only one likely to be successfully attacked, he boarded and carried her sword in hand. Two others were closely pursued to the beach by Lieutnant Roberts, of the Armide, and must, from his steady fire within pistol-shot, have lost men. The gun-boat take by Lieutnant Guion had 2 killed and three wounded; among the latter was her commander, severely.  The vessels alluded to above were then burnt.
(Signed) "Joseph S. Yorke

Lieutnant Guion was made a commander, and appointed to the Philomel brig of 18 guns, on the Mediterranean station, May 17, 1810.

Robert was entitled to the medal on the right.    4 medals were claimed by the crew of the Christian V11  Basque Roads-12 Apr 1809-off St. Nazaire, France Naval General Service Medal with clasp-Basque Roads .

Naval General Service Medal 

Description: (obverse) the Young Head profile of Queen Victoria; (reverse) Britannia with her trident, seated on a sea horse.   Bars with the name of the action e.g. 'Trafalgar', 'Basque Roads' or its date  

The 1848 Naval General Service Medal was awarded retrospectively in 1849 to naval personnel who had served between 1793 and 1840. The medal was originally intended to cover naval engagements of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) but was almost immediately extended to cover all naval actions from 1793-1840. A committee of flag officers determined the actions for which it could be claimed. The closing date for applications was 1851 and relatives could only apply if the original applicant died after 1 June 1847. Bars were awarded for some 176 warship actions, and a further 56 for what were known as boat actions (British Battles and Medals — Campaign Medals from 1588, by Major Lawrence Gordon, Gale and Polden, 1962).

Many men having died in the interim, some clasps had only single recipients, and for seven there were no claimants.

                                                                                                        Migration Record       Top of Page

David Nichols

The only information available on David Nichols, Stephen and Bessie's son, is the photograph on the right.

David is clearly standing in front  of a caterpillared vehicle with what appears to have a cannon mounted on its far side.  There does not appear to be any protective armour on the vehicle.

Maggie is David's sister Margaret who subsequently emigrated to Australia.

David's brothers:
Frank declared unfit
          (bad heart)
Tom    no information

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William Panter joined the army at age 18. When he was 19 he fought for 18 months in the Jungles of New Guinea.  When asked about any medals he received, Bill Panter ignored the Pacific Star, War medal and Australian Service medals (Instituted in 1949 and awarded to the members of the Australian Armed Forces, Merchant Marine and civilians serving overseas for at least 18 months between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. About 177,000 medals were issued) simply stating "As far as bravery medals, the nearest I got was that I was with Edward Kenna when he won his Victoria Cross."  Ted Kenna is shown on the second from the right below:  

The conditions for fighting were atrocious:

Unfortunately the troops in New Guinea not only had to fight and survive against the Japanese; Malaria and scrub typhus were also serious threats to the soldiers.

Scrub typhus uses mites from rats to move on to humans. After an incubation period of approximately 10-14 days symptoms such as fever, generalized rash, chills, headaches and muscle pain become evident and the blood pressure can drop to extremely low levels and cause heart failure. We all know what malaria is so I won't go into detail on that. But despite having three main enemies to contend and fight with, the soldiers had the friendship and help of the locals - famously known as the fuzzy wuzzies who helped them through the jungles and informed them of the Japanese movements etc.

And the enemy was determined:

On the night of 9/10 May bridging of the creek was completed and the tanks moved into position.

The attack on Wewak Point was timed for first light, but heavy rain and bad light put the start time back to 6.10 am. Under a barrage by tanks and artillery the infantry moved up, crossed the narrow spit and over-ran the 20-mm. gun before it had time to open fire. By 7 am the first objective had been gained and rapid exploitation quickly secured a strong platoon position at the south-eastern base of the headland.

The Japanese were well dug in and was resisting strongly. But the infantry, supported by tanks and flame-throwers, wiped out the pockets. Snipers were very active. Positions which could not be reached from the land were dealt with by the naval force. In some cases the cliff-face was collapsed on the defenders, sealing them in the vaults they themselves had constructed. By nightfall the greater part of the headland had been seized. The attack was renewed at first light on 11 May, and by noon the headland had been cleared.

Of the Japanese garrison which had been defending this stronghold only three escaped. Resistance had been fierce and fanatical. The men of the 2/4th Battalion who had carried out the final assault were justly proud when they hoisted the Union Jack on a shell-scarred observation tower over-looking what had once been a strong Japanese base.

The battle involving Bill and Ted Kenna, where the latter won his VC,  followed a few days later:

Private Edward Kenna, 2/4th Battalion, 2nd Australian Imperial Force
15 May 1945, near Wewak, New Guinea 

In the final months of Pacific war the 2/4th Battalion, Second AIF faced the Japanese defences on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. After two days of hard fighting the enemy vacated the town, but still held strongly fortified positions on higher ground.

On the morning of 15 May Private Kenna’s company was given the task of clearing the Japanese from the Wirui Mission area. The Australians met heavy machine gun fire and took cover. Ted Kenna’s platoon was ordered to deal with one of these troublesome guns, but as members of the platoon tried to get round it, another machine gun in a previously unseen position fired on them.

As Ted Kenna saw some of his comrades fall wounded, he fired his Bren gun at this new threat but was unable to hit it. To get a better shot he rose in full view of the enemy and fired until out of ammunition. The enemy’s fire was so accurate that bullets, the citation states, ‘actually passed between his arms and his body’. Unable to put the bunker out of action with his Bren gun, Kenna called for a rifle and, still in full view, managed to kill the enemy gunner with his first shot. When another tried to take this man’s place. Kenna shot him with his next round.

Thanks to Kenna’s brave and prompt action the position was taken with few casualties. He was awarded the VC for ‘his magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety’. Three weeks after his heroic action at Wirui Mission Kenna was severely wounded by an explosive bullet which hit him in the mouth and tore his flesh to his shoulder. He required months of surgery at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

In another web site, Ted's own words are quoted in an interview: 

GEOFF HUTCHISON: In the Victorian western district town of Hamilton, many sons and brothers answered the call to join up in 1939.  It's perhaps something of an irony that one fellow who hesitated because he didn't much like being told what to do is today the town's most famous son.

On May 15, 1945 at Wewak in New Guinea, Ted Kenna stood in full view of the Japanese enemy and fired his Bren gun until its magazine was empty, all the while a hail of machine-gun fire passed incredibly between his arms and body.
Kenna called for a rifle and with extraordinary calm knocked out the enemy gunner.

TED KENNA, VIETNAM VETERAN: As I was getting ready to go forward, another one turned up on me left in another position.  So, I engaged that and somehow managed to put that out and after that we went forward and we took the hill.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Ted Kenna's life was to change from that moment.  The young plumber from Hamilton was now a war hero -- not that it meant much at the time.

    What did your mates around you say?  How did they react to what had gone on that day?

TED KENNA: A couple of them just said, "Good shooting, Ted" -- Ned they called me then in the army -- "not bad shooting, Ned".

GEOFF HUTCHISON: It was just another day?

TED KENNA: Another day to them, yeah.  We lost a few men.

Official Record:

An attack was to be launched on the second strongpost, Wirui Mission, from which the Japanese had been shelling Australian troops during the advance on Wewak Point and the capture of the airstrip. The 2/4th Battalion attacked towards Wirui Mission on 15 May. When the attack was held up Private Edward Kenna took the initiative and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry. The citation for his award states:

In the South West Pacific at Wewak on 15 May 1945 during the attack near the Wirui Mission features, Private Kenna's Company had the task of capturing certain enemy positions. The only position from which observation for supporting fire could be obtained was continuously swept .by enemy heavy machine-gun fire and it was not possible to bring Artillery or Mortars into action. Private Kenna's platoon was ordered forward to deal with the enemy machine-gun post, so that the Company operation could proceed. His section moved as close as possible to the bunker in order to harass any enemy seen, so that the remainder of the platoon could attack from the flank. When the attacking sections came into view of the enemy they were immediately engaged at very close range by heavy automatic fire from a position not previously disclosed. Casualties were suffered and the attackers could not move further forward. Private Kenna endeavoured to put his Bren gun into a position where he could engage the bunker, but was unable to do so because of the nature of the ground. On his own initiative and without orders Private Kenna stood up in full view of the enemy less than 50 yards away and engaged the bunker, firing his Bren gun from the hip. The enemy machine-gun immediately returned Private Kenna's fire and with such accuracy that bullets actually passed between his arms and his body. Undeterred, he remained completely exposed and continued to fire at the enemy until his magazine was exhausted. Still making a target of himself, Private Kenna discarded his Bren gun and called for a rifle. Despite the intense machine-gun fire, he seized the rifle and, with amazing coolness killed the gunner with his first round. A second automatic opened fire on Private Kenna from a different position and another of the enemy immediately tried to move into position behind the first machine-gun, but Private Kenna remained standing and killed him with his next round.

The result of Kenna's magnificent bravery in the face of concentrated fire, was that the bunker was captured without further loss. The company attack proceeded to a successful conclusion, many enemy being killed and numerous automatic weapons captured. There is no doubt that the success of the company attack would have been seriously endangered and many casualties sustained, but for Private Kenna's magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety. His action was an outstanding example of the highest degree of bravery. (London Gazette 6 September 1945)     from


Other medals awarded:

1939/45 Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, 1939/45 War Medal, Australia Service Medal, QEII Silver Jubilee medal, QEII Golden Jubilee wedding


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