Monday, 11 April 2016

The names on the Brooweena bridge (1)

There are nine names on the Brooweena memorial, all from World War One - but there are also 38 on a separate memorial, these ones commemorating local men who served overseas and returned.

The Australian soldiers' records often include letters and other correspondence which don't appear in NZ soldiers' records on line, and they can make for very sad reading.

The first name is that of Wm C Sorrensen.

I found him hard to track down because there were three other Sorrensens who lived locally, but actually he was William Charles Sorensen, born 25 October 1882 in Laidley to Niels and Anne Sorensen (and registered at birth as Wilhelm Carl). He was a farmer,  married to Sophie, with two children and an address given as Brooweena Gayndah Line. 

William Sorrensen enlisted in Brisbane on 28 September 1915 with the 26th Australian Infantry Battalion. He died on 2 September 1918, aged 36. A handwritten note on his records says: Buried isolated grave in field near Mont St Quentin ½ mile north of Peronne, but he is now buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Peronne, Picardie, France. His effects sent to his widow included 1 Match Box Cover, 1 Diary and 1 Testament (Bible).

The next name is Carl E.O. Dombrow. 

Carl Edward Oswald Dombrow was born in Miva (south east of Brooweena) to Frederick and Henrietta Dombrow. He was a stockman and enlisted at Maryborough on 26 September 1916. He arrived in France May 1917 and was killed in action on 4 October 1917, aged 23. His name is on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. 

His effects were a Prayer Book and Handkerchief, but his mother, Henrietta, wrote to the Records Office asking if his other belongings had been found. 

“Dear Sir, I received today 1 package from you containing my Son’s the Late No 6062 Private C E O Dombrow’s... Prayer Book and Hankerchief...
My late Son also had a wristlet watch which I myself gave to Him, when he was leaving for the Front. Also he had a pocket wallet and other little things and a diary, which I would very much like to have; and I would feel very grateful and very very thankful to you if you could get those articles for me…
Yours Faithfully,
Henrietta Dombrow”

The third name is R Wm Dukes. 

Robert William Dukes was born in Maryborough to Robert and Elizabeth Dukes of Brooweena, Queensland. He was a farmer and enlisted in Maryborough on 9 April 1915, aged 18. He was in Egypt, then arrived in France in May 1916. He died of wounds 13 November 1916, aged 20 and is buried at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban, France, under a headstone that reads: “The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away” (an epitaph chosen by his mother, Mrs E Dukes, Brooweena) 

His effects included Disc, Knives 3, Fountain Pen, Money Belt, Keys, Chain, Testament, Letters, Cards, Photos, Diary, Wallet and Coins 2. 

Because Robert Dukes was so young when he enlisted, his father had to give permission in writing:

You can only wonder how he felt, writing this letter less than two year later:

“Dear Sir, I am writing to ask you could give any more information about my sons death No 307 Driver Robert William Dukes… I was informed on the 5th of December that he Died of wounds on the 13th of November 1916 in France, could you let me know what front he was on when he got wounded and what he was doing at the time. also could I get a photo of his grave as his Mother is an invalid and she would like to know where he was buried if possible as he is our only Son.
I remain
Yours obediently
R Dukes”

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