Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley death details for April 14-20,1919.
The Federal Government is considering the question of granting a war gratuity to the officers and men of the Australian Navy who served during the war period.
It is believed that ABs will receive a gratuity of 5 pounds, plus 5 shillings for each month of service, or 10 shillings for each month of seagoing or overseas service for a period of 48 months.
Lieutenants will receive 45 pounds, plus an additional bonus for each month of service after one year at sea or overseas, or 1 pound per month. Half the amount will be given to those who have not served at sea or abroad.
That is to say, all ratings of the Royal Australian Navy on sea-going rates will benefit through the gratuities.
Other ratings will participate pro rata.
The Tras-os-Montes (formerly the German steamer Bulow, but requisitioned during the war by the Portuguese) has sailed from Plymouth in England for Australia with 1881 officers and men.
The route will be via the Mediterranean.
As the transport passed the inner harbour, the crews of warships manned ship, and cheered vociferously.
The transport's band played popular Australian airs, and great enthusiasm was manifested.
SPECIAL AUSTRALIAN UNIT
The Australian official correspondent reports: Volunteers were readily forthcoming for the new Australian unit, now formed, named the Australian Graves Detachment, consisting of 1000 men from all divisions.
Their work will be to complete the records of the last resting places on many battlefields of Australians who gave their lives during the three years' campaigns in France and Belgium.
The total number of deaths on these battlefields is just over 46,000. The graves of 21,000 of this total were already registered during the war. Of the remainder 11,000 burials are reported, but inadequately registered. The other 14,000 graves must now be located, though in many cases it may be impossible.
Although the British have been identified by means of identity discs, many Australian bodies were found in their areas. Isolated bodies will be exhumed and placed in recognised cemeteries. This work is already being carried out by the British Army, with whom the Australian detachment will work in conjunction.
If possible, the unit will cover the ground where the Australians mostly fought, but they will also be responsible for British graves in the areas allotted.
They will probably work in three parties, the first to search for graves, the second to erect crosses, and the third to take photographs of the graves when found. Already seven photographers are with the unit.
It is intended to despatch to the next of kin a card showing the regimental particulars of the fallen hero, the date of his death, the location of and a photograph of the grave.
A large number of graves lie within countries occupied by the Germans after the March offensive in 1918.
The searchers will be assisted by lists of the probable location, compiled from battalion diary reports, where men killed in action fell, and the bodies were not removed or buried in trenches.
Many graves lie in farmers' fields, private gardens, or about the streets of shattered villages.
The detachment has already moved down to Villers Bretonneux, and expects to work round Pozieres, Proyart, Peronne, Bullecourt, and elsewhere that Australians are buried.
The work will take considerable time, but is regarded as sacred duty by all Australians to their fallen comrades.
THE PEACE CONGRESS
The sitting of the Plenary Council will be held in the Grand Salon of the Foreign Office, at the Qual D'Orsay, instead of in the Salon de I'Horloge, affording better facilities for reporting. When the Treaty is ready it will probably be handed to the Germans privately, and any explanations required will be furnished in camera.
The only public function at Versailles will be the signing of the Treaty. President Wilson, addressing a delegation from the International Council of Women, said that the League's covenant was purposely merely a skeleton, leaving the details to be filled by experience rather than attempting to forecast what might be needed.
The Paris correspondent of the New York Tribune states that when peace is signed, President Wilson will summon representatives of all nations for a conference in Geneva, for the purpose of discussing questions relating to the League of Nations. It has been decided that Geneva in Switzerland shall be the seat of the League.
The Paris correspondent of the New York World states that the Reparations Committee has indicated the manner in which Germany will obtain revenue to pay the reparation. Germany will be allowed the free exploitation of the world's markets, and complete economic independence. A representative of Le Petit Journal has interviewed Mr. Lloyd George's private secretary, who stated that the Allies had reached an agreement as to the peace terms to be offered to Germany.
THE PEACE TREATY
Mr Fraser, the representative in Paris of the Australian Associated Press, reports that it has been definitely decided that the Germans should receive the terms of peace at the Trianon Palace, where the Allied Supreme War Council has its headquarters.
M. Clemenceau, the Prime Minister of France, will read the terms, and then instruct the Germans to be prepared to sign the treaty at the Versailles Palace on May 10th, the anniversary of signing the Frankfurt treaty of 1871. It is not known whether the Germans will be allowed to return to Weimar in the interim, or if they will be compelled to discuss details at Versailles. A summons has been despatched to the Germans to come by special train to Versailles without crossing Paris. It is expected that the party, including advisers, will number 170. They will be kept under strict seclusion during their stay.
A previous message states: Another Council of 18 has made its appearance. The Council of Four suddenly recollected that they were not alone in the world, and the representatives of the eighteen nations who had declared war against Germany were summoned, under the presidency of M. Clemenceau, to give formal approval to the invitation to the Germans to visit Versailles.
The 18 unanimously concurred. It is understood that a courier with the summons has left for Germany.
17TH BATTALION FUND
At the final meeting of the Newcastle branch of the 17th Battalion Comforts Fund, the president, Miss G.J. Short, took the chair. Correspondence was read from Lieut-colonel Sadler, OC 17th Battalion, acknowledging the receipt of 13 cases of Christmas cheer, 200 pairs socks, and a draft of 60 pounds, for "extras," sent by the Newcastle branch, which reached the battalion in time for their last Christmas dinner at the front.
In concluding his letter, Lieutenant-colonel Sadler says: "The boys are very grateful to all the members of the 17th Battalion Comforts Fund for the unstinted and whole-hearted support given them, and on their behalf I beg to offer to you and all the members of the fund, our very grateful thanks for the comforts received."
The secretary, Miss J. Holden, reported that during the three years and seven months of the branch's existence, they had sent to the 17th Battalion 968 pairs socks, 42 shirts, 160 pairs mittens, 100 caps and mufflers, 340 fly veils, and 1100 sand bags, and 78 cases of Christmas cheer. A total of 113 cases of garments and foodstuffs had been despatched from Newcastle, also goods had been posted, and drafts of money sent. Thanks were passed to Mr Scott for the use of the depot; Mr Shea for his whole-hearted assistance at all times; the Mayfield Girls' League for regular cheques; all who donated money and goods, the knitters, those who organised entertainments and street stalls, the press, auditors, and all who helped in any other way.
The president thanked the girls' committee for their loyalty, industry, and harmonious work, and expressed the hope that their energies would now be directed into other useful channels.
Gunner J. Considine arrived home on Wednesday after four years' active service. He was met by members of the Southern Cross Girls' League, and the Welcome Home Committee upon his arrival in Newcastle, and escorted to the residence of his brother in Hargrave Street, Carrington.
A reception was accorded him, and also to Driver T. Considine, who arrived home unexpectedly a week ago. Several musical items were rendered during the evening and toasts proposed. Driver T. Considine is an Anzac, and was in the 2nd Battery Field Artillery. Gunner J. Considine was in the 3rd Battery Field Artillery.
Mr W. Oswald, senior, of Regent Street, Cessnock, has been advised by Base Records that his son, Sergeant-major W. Oswald, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
During an advance on a village, this warrant-officer was in charge of his company, a mopping up party. Perceiving a gap of about 400 yards in the attacking line, he immediately led his party into it, and bringing fire to bear on the enemy machine-guns, enabled the battalions to close up again.
Later his company was subjected to galling enfilade fire, but steadying his men, he led them forward, and while they were digging in moved freely about, encouraging them in their work. He was of great assistance to the C.O. in setting the new line and distributing the men.
Mr G. Oates, of Elcho Street, has received word that his son, Signaller H.H. (Bluey) Oates, is returning by the transport Euripides, which is expected to arrive at Melbourne about the 23rd April.
Signaller Oates, who enlisted in February, 1917, when he was 16 years and five months of age, and attached to the 7th Light Horse, was formerly employed as an apprentice engineer at the Government workshops, Honeysuckle Point.
Private John Brown, of the 35th Battalion, received an enthusiastic welcome home on Friday.
He was met at Hamilton station and conveyed to the residence of his parents, Mr and Mrs David Brown, Chinchen Street, where there was a large gathering of relations and friends.
Mr J. Bowditch, of the welcome home committee, presided, and expressed the citizens' welcome and appreciation of the services rendered by the men now returning.
He explained that Private Brown joined the 35th Battalion in January, 1916, and in August was taking part in the fighting at Armentieres.
He continued with his battalion in all their engagements until wounded at Bray, in August, 1918.
His father, David Brown, enlisted in the 1st Battalion of Pioneers in May, 1916, and went to the front, and after 15 months' active service was invalided home in January, 1918.
Sapper F. Bateson, signal engineer, has arrived home from the front after an absence of three and a half years in Egypt, France, and Belgium.
He was met at the Newcastle railway station by the Mayor, Alderman Charlton, and after a few words of welcome he was driven to his residence in Elder Street, where he was welcomed by a large gathering of relatives and friends.
Later in the evening an adjournment was made to the Coronation Hall, which was tastefully decorated.
The Mayor, who occupied the chair, expressed his pleasure at their guest's safe return. He hoped that he would soon be restored to his usual health. Sapper Bateson thanked the Mayor for the welcome accorded him, and assured them that he was pleased to be once more among his relations and friends.
The tables were then cleared, after which a pleasant evening was spent in dancing, interspersed with singing.
Sapper Bateson enlisted in the 31st Battalion. He was twice wounded, the first occasion being in the Fromelles engagement, when the 5th Division was almost wiped out, and the second occasion was in the Hamel battle on the Somme.
He was transferred to the signalling engineers 11 days previous to the armistice being declared.