To Shoot or Drill: the Rifle Clubs and the Great War 1911-1918 Part 2

This Article is part 2 of an excerpt from Chapter 7, ‘The Great War’ in Kilsby, A.J., The Riflemen, A History of the National Rifle Association of Australia 1888-1988, (Longueville Media, 2013).

Click here for Part 1

In the early months of the war, as gears started to engage and frantic preparations were made to despatch an expeditionary force overseas (the Australian Imperial Force or AIF), riflemen questioned whether they should continue to drill as part of their prescribed Militia units or should instead form their own rifle brigade?  However, as hundreds, then thousands rushed to the colours, rifle clubs began to feel the loss of their ablest and fittest men to the AIF.  But new recruits also entered rifle clubs – some because they could not join up for various reasons but wanted  to be seen to be doing something useful; others no doubt in the hope of avoiding service.  In NSW, for example:
On June 30, 1914 there were only 305 clubs, with a membership of 14,000; on January 1 1915, there were 321 clubs with a membership of 15,430; and the latest figures …show that there are now 390 clubs with a membership of 22,000, and more are being formed every week.[1]
The most overt military use of rifle club men during the war came when the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was mobilised to garrison strategic Thursday Island above Queensland and later, to land in New Guinea and Rabaul to seize German protectorates there.  The AN&MEF contained a high proportion of rifle club men, many of them members of or assigned to the north Queensland Kennedy Regiment, which was the core unit of the Force:
On 4th August, 1914, the Kennedy Regiment, which consisted of Companies at Charters Towers, Townsville, and Cairns, was ordered to mobilize and proceed to its war station at the Northern gateway of Australia.  The Regiment required 386 men to raise it to war strength, sixteen Rifle Clubs being instructed to provide this number between them.  These Clubs at once sent forward 474 medically fit members.  The required 386 were selected from this number, and embarked with this Regiment. The Irvinebank Club from an active strength of 115 sent 90 members; the Herberton Club with an effective strength of 44 sent 41, the remainder of the 16 Clubs referred to sending the balance of 255 men required. [2]
Not all the action, however, was happening overseas.  Some rifle clubs did see some ‘action’ on the home front, just not perhaps as they might have imagined.  Broome, isolated in the far north-west of WA with a population of only 1,200 ‘Europeans’, was the home of the pearl fishing industry.  During the season, it often saw the population of Japanese and ‘koepangers’ (Javanese and Timorese pearlers) swell to several thousand.  Rivalry and mistrust between the two groups finally exploded with a riot by about 400 Japanese on the ‘koepangers’ in December 1914.  Rifle club men, including some of those who had been mobilised as wireless guards when WWI broke out, were immediately called out to help the Police to bring the trouble under control.  This they managed to do, remaining on duty for some time afterwards, with up to 30 being sworn in by the Police as Special Constables.[3]
More famously, a ‘war’ at Broken Hill saw the involvement of rifle club men.  On 1 January, 1915, a picnic train with 1,200 men, women and children on board, left Broken Hill for Silverton.  The 25 kilometre journey was interrupted three kilometres into the journey by rifle fire when two men, described as Turks, opened fire on the train from a culvert near the railway line under a Turkish flag. Four men and women were killed.  Another seven men, women and children were wounded, some seriously.  Armed with a Snider and a Martini-Henry, the ‘Turks’ (later identified as two Afghans) then retreated under Police pursuit. Shooting another man on the way, they occupied a position on nearby hilltop, among large rocks. [4] The pair held off a group of present and former rifle club men, Police and Citizen Force soldiers for two hours before being overrun.  One was killed, the other died of wounds in hospital.  Letters were found indicating that one of the men had recently returned from Turkey where he had been accepted as a soldier.  The men were buried in unmarked graves and that night a crowd burned down the Broken Hill German Club and had to be dispersed peacefully by the same forces which had killed the ‘Turks’, again including rifle club men.  It was the only occasion when rifle club men were called out to ‘defend Australia’ in WWI.[5]
As mentioned, during the war some men of rifle clubs had been allocated as cable or wireless station guards; a few dozen at most were mobilised at strategic points like Darwin. A number of Darwin’s Defence Rifle Club men were employees of the British Australian Telegraph and Overland Telegraph companies (BAT & OT).  The BAT men (called submarine ‘lightning jerkers’) often competed with the OT men (‘the overlanders’).  That these employees were members of the defence rifle club underscored the strategic importance of the submarine telegraph cable which came ashore at Darwin from Singapore via Jakarta – opened in 1871 – and proceeded to Adelaide and beyond through the centre of Australia.
The strategic importance of these Darwin cables was reinforced by the visit in November 1911, of Commander Samuel Augustus Pethebridge, Australia’s Secretary for Defence.  Pethebridge transited Darwin en route for Melbourne as he returned from the Imperial Conference in London. Discussions at the Imperial Conference had included Australian defence measures including the protection and safeguarding of submarine cables to Empire communications in time of war.  Pethebridge was instructed, while in Darwin, to set up a defence rifle club under the new arrangements pertaining in Australia.  He moved quickly to do so, promising free rifles, ammunition and uniforms to those interested, along with an instructor.[6] The Darwin Rifle Club and Cable Guard came into being the following year, consuming the old Port Darwin Rifle Club into its ranks.
An instructor for the Darwin Rifle Club and Cable Guard, a Sergeant Moncreiff, duly arrived in October 1912 and a civil servant and later Sheriff and Chief Clerk of Darwin, Robert James Lewis, became club president.  A lieutenant with the Militia 26th Signals Company (Engineers), Lewis was given the honorary rank of Captain as he assumed the command of the rifle club and cable guard.  When war broke out in 1914, men of the Darwin Rifle Club and Cable Guard were mobilised to guard the landing point of the strategic telegraphic submarine cable.  Subsequently, however, many of the club members enlisted in the AIF, including Captain Lewis. [7]
Elsewhere, rifle club membership began to climb, mostly in response to patriotic appeals such as one to local men in 1915 by the Roseville Club of NSW, calling upon them to join the rifle club:
Men, be efficient…Quit indecision and lethargy. Join this semi military organisation, which indefatigably drills and shoots, in a picturesque locality, and under attractive circumstances. Do not be lulled to sleep by that peace which as yet blesses Australia. Join the rifle club, which is, for most of us, the only possible way in which we business men can demonstrate our wish to get training. By such smaller sacrifices we may pay real though humble tribute to that illustrious army of millions which is gathering in Great Britain. Noble sport! Excellent physical training! Conscientious effort! It anticipates the question – “I have no time. I want to garden, go pleasuring, read, fish, play tennis, see the girl. Will the club interfere with this?” And answers simply – “Yes, a little. But 1914-15 – is this playtime?” [8]
By mid 1916, rifle club membership had reached a staggering 101,000 and then gradually declined to 92,000 by mid-1918 and further to 86,144 by the end of 1918.  From the outbreak of the war until 31st March 1917, 24,735 members of rifle clubs enlisted for service abroad with the Expeditionary Forces.  Around 28,000 had enlisted by the end of the war.[9] Rifle clubs became places for rifle instruction, certainly, but their most valuable contribution to the war effort, other than as a source of recruits themselves, was as recruiting agents and promoters of subscriptions to patriotic funds, such as the Lord Mayor’s patriotic fund in Sydney.  Some riflemen, like Captain Herbert Dakin and Victoria’s Philip Fargher, were already Area Officers under the Universal Training Scheme, and acted as recruiters.[10] Dakin staunchly supported conscription. In comments to the NRA of NSW in early 1916, he said:
Many labourers employed at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory are posing as skilled munition workers to provide themselves with a reason for not enlisting…there was a strong feeling in the district that these men might well go to the front…responsible people were agreed that the only way to reach men of this description was by compulsory enlistment.[11]
Two major recruiting drives during the war were indelibly associated with rifle clubs.  The first was the series of marches originating in country towns. The first of these began in Gilgandra, NSW, with 35 men and ended in Sydney with 230; it was led and initiated by the captain of the Gilgandra Rifle Club.[12] This so-called ‘Coo-ees March’, was quickly emulated by other centres around NSW and Queensland, and rifle club men were often to the fore.
The second effort was the push in 1916 to recruit men into the so-called ‘Sportsmen’s Thousand – to show the enemy what Australian sporting men can do’.  Using the exhortation of ‘join together, train together, embark together, fight together’, these recruiting campaigns were moderately successful.  The best known of these units was the ‘Carmichael Thousand’, named after Ambrose Campbell Carmichael, a NSW Parliamentary MLA: ‘Meetings were addressed in city and country by N.R.A. executives and club officials. Clubs held street parades to recruiting centres.  It was estimated that to the ‘Carmichael Thousand, approximately 600 volunteers were enlisted from Rifle Clubs’.[13] Carmichael himself was no stay-at-home – he enlisted with his unit, was wounded in action and won a Military Cross in France. On returning in 1918 he raised another ‘Thousand’ and led them to France as well.  It is not known how many riflemen joined Carmichael’s second unit.
While these few units had an unusually high number of rifle club men in their ranks, rifle clubs themselves never formed complete units as some might have anticipated, given the stated role of reserves before war actually broke out.  Within units individual rifle club men were sometimes recognised as potential sniper material, and employed accordingly.  Private Billy Sing, perhaps the best known of the Great War snipers, had at one time been a member of the Proserpine rifle club in Queensland, but it was supposedly his experience as a kangaroo hunter that gave him the edge when firing at fleeting targets at distance rather than any skills learned on the rifle club firing mounds.[14] One anecdote from Gallipoli however, illustrates the tactical usefulness of former rifle club men as snipers; in this case related by the commander of the 7th Battalion there, Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Edward (‘Pompey’) Elliot:
The following incident which occurred about the end of June, 1915, may be taken as an illustration of the great keenness which animated our snipers and observers on Gallipoli, and also of the great value which attaches to the trained and picked riflemen in position warfare such as then prevailed….many casualties occurred at the hands of Turkish riflemen who were firing …from the left rear of Steele’s [Steele’s Post]. To cope with this nuisance, a sniper’s post was constructed one night facing the danger zone and carefully camouflaged.  Amongst the permanent garrison told off for its occupation were Carne, a Bendigo ex-King’s prizeman; Young, formerly the crack shot of the St. Arnaud Rifle Club; and Fisher, another well known militia shot.[15]
They were supplied with field glasses, telescopes, verniers, telescopic and peep sights, and all the other gadgets favoured by the target rifle shot, and speedily proved their value by gaining complete mastery over their opponents…they sniped a Turkish officer who had been a regular visitor to the Turk trenches; recorded in the 7th Battalion diary.  C.E.W. Bean in his Volume II of the official History of Australia in WWI says that Mustapha Kemal, Commanding the Turkish 19th Division, had been planning an attack on the Australian lines at Russell Top with the 18th Regiment commanded by a highly regarded officer; it was this officer who was sniped and the attack went badly.
Time and date fixed his identity, and while we may deplore the loss of a very gallant foe thus obscurely and untimely slain, we may nevertheless congratulate ourselves upon the results which flowed from the untiring watchfulness and deadly skill of our own men, which saved us from a possible disaster at the hands of the enemy.’ [16]
How many former rifle club men became casualties in the Great war will never be known. Some States like NSW and Queensland kept reasonably accurate records – these noted nearly 1,200 who died on active service, roughly about 10 percent of enlistees from rifle clubs from those States.  An extrapolation would give an estimate of about 2,600 who died in WWI, plus many hundreds of others assumed suffered wounds or illness resulting from their service.
The records held by clubs are also patchy, but some club examples will give an idea.  The Melbourne Rifle Club had 99 ‘active’ members in 1914. By 1919, 39 had volunteered for active service, 29 were accepted and of these, eight did not return. [17] In country NSW, the Katoomba Rifle Club recorded in July 1918 that it had 67 members.  By then five members had been killed in action, one had died of wounds and one of disease, and six had been invalided home; 13 were still at the front with another two members en route, while two were on home service.  Altogether about a third of the membership had enlisted.[18]
The Cottesloe-Claremont Rifle Club in WA had 188 men on their roll in June 1915 (not all active).  By the end of 1918 they had 110.   A total of 91 men had enlisted, and seven did not return while many others were casualties.  The club’s annual report of 1918 said: ‘During the year we have had the great pleasure of welcoming back from the Front several others of our members [the report listed six men]. We all sincerely trust that none of these fellows will suffer any permanent ill-effects from the injuries or sickness by reason of which they were invalided home, or discharged.’[19]
In Tasmania’s Old Launcestorian Rifle Club, by the end of 1914, 53 men had joined the club, of which 19 had joined the ‘expeditionary force’, two were commissioned, and four were later noted to have been killed or died on active service.[20] In SA, the Cyclists Rifle Club enlisted 28 members during the Great War; six were killed and ten returned to the club.[21] The Palace Emporium Rifle Club, in Sydney, had 262 men pass through the rolls during the war.  Of these, 75 enlisted and ten did not survive the war.  This rifle club was typical of clubs established around a work place, and the losses would have been keenly felt.[22]
In addition the rifle club rank and file, over 20 former delegates or office holders in the CCRAA served during the war.[23] Several received decorations and awards, rising to senior ranks.  Two were killed in action – Major Leslie Barnard Welch took the Western Australian 11th Battalion to Gallipoli and then to the Western Front, where he was killed by enemy artillery fire at Pozieres, France, in 1916. Probably the most prominent of the delegates to the CCRAA who became a casualty during the war was Lieutenant-Colonel William Holmes, DSO. Holmes commanded the AN&MEF which captured Rabaul, German New Guinea. In early 1915 he was given command of the 5th Brigade. He saw service in Gallipoli and France including at the battles of Pozières and Flers.  In 1917 he was promoted major-general and commanded the 4th Division at Bullecourt and Messines.  Holmes died of wounds from artillery fire in July 1917. He had been appointed CMG, awarded the Russian Order of St Anne, and been mentioned in dispatches four times.[24]
Back in Australia, rifle club activities continued but some suspended matches altogether while others acted as fund raisers.  When modern service rifles were withdrawn for service in the AIF, the clubs had few of these rifles anyway:
The difficulty of obtaining rifles for such a large body of men as that now enrolled in the ranks of rifle clubs has not yet been fully overcome.  All the rifles that can be turned out at our small arms factory are required for the Expeditionary Forces; but this has not deterred men from joining the clubs. Any old kind of rifle does to teach a man how the weapon is to be handled, and more than one club drills with rifles of out-of-date pattern, or with miniature rifles, until as such time as the club can be supplied with the latest thing in lethal weapons.[25]
While the rifle clubs were in some ways more active in terms of members than even at the peak of the Boer War, the actual rifle club movement as such did not advance much in terms of organisation, development or activities during the Great War, sidelined as it was by the AIF and the war abroad from fulfilling its home defence role. The rifle club movement simply marked time, waiting for the war to end, perhaps assuming that it would then be a return to business as usual.  But as it was to find out, the Great War had changed everything, including the standing of the rifle club movement within Australia’s Defence paradigm.

[1] Hill, E.J., ‘The Rifle Club Movement in Australia’, Lone Hand, New Series v.3, No.6, May 1915, p.356.
[2] Jackson, A. T., Southern Queensland Rifle Association Jubilee, 1877-1927:  a brief History of the Association during the past Fifty Years, Southern Queensland Rifle Association, Brisbane, 1927, p.68. CCRAA delegates who served in the AN&MEF included George Pierce Foot and Arthur William Skewes. Foot, who described himself as a ‘bushman’ on enlistment, had mobilised with the Townsville Rifle Club in August 1914 and proceeded to Thursday Island with the AN&MEF.  On return he re-enlisted with the 5th Light Horse Regiment, served at Gallipoli, and then with the 2nd Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron in the Gaza campaign.  There he was badly wounded and repatriated to Australia in 1917.   Skewes, from the Charters Towers Rifle Club, served on Thursday Island for four months before enlisting in the 41st Battalion for service on the Western Front.  Lieutenant Skewes was killed in action in late 1917, in Belgium. Riflemen other than Queenslanders joined the AN&MEF as well. Major Robert Henry Beardsmore went to Rabaul with the force and returned with a German Mauser to present to the NRA of NSW Council.  Beardsmore went on to the Western Front.  He was wounded at Fromelles in 1916 where he was awarded a DSO.  He was made commanding officer of the 32nd Battalion and was mentioned in dispatches in 1917.  In 1918 he was transferred to the general list on account of his health, and was placed in charge of the 5th Australian Division base depot at Etaples – see Argent, A., ‘Beardsmore, Robert Henry (1873 – 1959)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp.231-232.
[3] The West Australian, 14th December 1914, p.8.
[4] The Argus, 2nd January 1915, p.9.
[5] The Argus, 4th January 1915, p.6.
[6] The Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 3rd November 1911, p.2.
[7] Scottish-born Lewis had served in the Boer War with the 13th Hussars, and had six clasps to his Queen’s South Africa medal. He led a Darwin contingent to enlist, as captain adjutant of the 27th Battalion. After service in Gallipoli, he was promoted to company commander and major on the Western front, only to be killed by a sniper in Belgium in June 1916. His wife, the matron of the Darwin Hospital and staff Sister in the Army, whom he married just before embarkation, had by this time volunteered for active service and was at sea for England when he was killed.  Their daughter had been born when Lewis was on Gallipoli. Gertrude Lewis also lost her brother on the Western Front.
[8] The Advertiser, 11th February 1915, p.8.
[9] Year Book Australia, No.11, Section 28, Defence, Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra, 1918, p.1020 and Year Book Australia, No.12, Section 28, Defence, Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra, 1919, pp.1004-5.
[10] It is curious that they appear to be the only rifle club men to be so appointed, and that both were prominent members of the NDL in their respective States.
[11] Sydney Daily Telegraph, 3rd February 1916, as reported in Griffiths, T., Lithgow’s Small Arms Factory and its People, Vol.1, 1907 to 1950, Toptech Engineering, Terry Hills, NSW, 2006. p.147.
[12] Meredith, J., The Coo-ee march: Gilgandra – Sydney, 1915, Macquarie, Dubbo, NSW., 1981, p.11.
[13] Cromack, C. H., The History of the National Rifle Association of New South Wales,1860-1956, Utility Press, Sydney, 1956, p.52.
[14] O’Connor, John Michael, Shooting awards and prize medals to Australian Military Forces 1860-2000, Kingsgrove [N.S.W.], John O’Connor, 2002, p.67 and Jackson, A. T., Southern Queensland Rifle Association Jubilee, 1877-1927:  a brief History of the Association during the past Fifty Years, Southern Queensland Rifle Association, Brisbane, 1927, p.75..
[15] Percival Reuben Carne and Ernest Sydney Fisher from Bendigo and Harold Henry Young from St. Arnaud, Victoria. Both Young and Fisher were wounded twice, each at Gallipoli and France; Fisher served with the 5th Australian Infantry Regiment before the war.  All three returned to Australia.
[16] Elliott, H.E., ‘Sniper’s Bullet Broke Turkish Plans’ [reprinted from The Reveille 31 March 1930], The Victorian Bullseye, February 1992, p.6.
[17] Melbourne Rifle Club: Thirtieth Annual Report for the Year 1914, Thomas Urquhart & Co., Melbourne, 1915, p.8 and Melbourne Rifle Club: Thirty-Fifth Annual Report for the Year 1919, Thomas Urquhart & Co., Melbourne, 1920, p.5.
[18] Roberts, C., From Cascade to Wentworth Creek : a History of Katoomba Rifle Club1893-1988, Katoomba Rifle Club Committee, Lawson (NSW), 1988, p.37.
[19] Cottelsoe-Claremont Rifle Club Reserve No. 164: Annual Report for year ending 30th June 1918, Perth, W.A., 1918, pp.9-18.
[20] ‘Old Launcestonian Rifle Club – Register of Members 1 January 1914 – 30 September 1915’, Archives Offices of Tasmania, Item NS523/1/2.
[21] Ramsey, A.M., ‘Early History of the Cyclists’ Rifle Club’, The Bullseye, No.64, August 1994, p.17.
[22] The Palace Emporium Rifle Club – Fifth Annual Report 1918-1919, np, Sydney, 1919, npn.
[23]Lieutenant-Colonel Bernard James Newmarch, VD, who had been a delegate to the 1898 Federal Council, enlisted in 1914 at the age of 58.  He took the 1st Field Ambulance to Gallipoli, then served on the Western Front as commander of the 3rd Australian General Hospital.  During the war he was promoted to colonel, awarded the CMG, CBE, and was mentioned in dispatches.  Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Dean became chairman of a 4th Military District committee charged with selection of officers for the AIF and later commanded the 13th Light Horse at Gallipoli.  Evacuated ill he left the AIF in 1916 but served on as officer commanding troops on transports.[23]   Lieutenant-Colonel John James Hanby, who had won the first Victorian Queen’s prize in 1881, served in WWI as a sea transport officer, aged  60.  Major-General J. M. Gordon served in the British Army, commanding the 92nd Brigade and the 10th Reserve Division in England over 1914-15, was an inspector in the Ministry of Munitions in 1916-17, and in 1919 was with the army of occupation in Cologne, Germany.[23]  Delegate to the Federal Council in 1896, Major John Joseph Byron, had served with distinction in the Boer War and had subsequently settled in South Africa. During WWI he was appointed colonel in the South African forces and held commands in German South West Africa, German East Africa and Central Africa. He was made a temporary brigadier general in 1916. In 1917 he commanded a British artillery group on the Western Front and was then appointed second-in-command of the Dunsterforce Caucasus Military Mission. His war honours included the DSO and the Légion d’honneur, as well as several mentions in dispatches – see Serle, R. P. , ‘Byron, John Joseph (1863 – 1935)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp. 519-520.
Colonel J. S. Lyster was inspector of equipment in Australia – see McIntyre, D., ‘Lyster, John Sanderson (1850 – 1930)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, 1986, pp 191-192. Lieutenant S. W. Parker served as Quartermaster at the Royal Park Camp in Melbourne, where thousands trained before embarkation.  Western Australian R. R. Rodgers joined the 11th Battalion in France in 1917 at the age of 43.  Repatriated with the effects of trench fever, the now Staff Sergeant-Major of the 16th Battalion was killed in an accident in 1921. Another Queensland delegate to the CCRAA to serve was Captain W. H. Berry who in 1913 was in command of the 3rd Australian Service Corps.  Berry went to Gallipoli briefly in 1915 with the 1st Light Horse Brigade Train (5th Australian Army Service Corps) and then to the Western Front with the 5th Division Train, where he was awarded a DSO and was mentioned in dispatches.  Colonel G. G. H. Irving was commandant in SA when war broke out.  He became ‘General Officer Commanding Australian Troops in Egypt’, with temporary rank of brigadier was transferred to command the 14th Brigade in 1916; for a time he commanded the 5th Australian Division.  He was relieved of command for a poorly organised route march of troops and returned to SA where he took up his old post again in June 1916 – see Coulthard-Clark, C. D., ‘Irving, Godfrey George Howy (1867 – 1937)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, pp. 441-442.
Major F. B. Heritage saw service with the AN & MEF in 1914-1915, was promoted lieutenant-colonel and served through 1916 as Director of Military Training in Melbourne. He then saw active service with the 1st AIF in France, with the 2nd Division at Bullecourt and the 4th Division at Messines. In 1917 he commanded the Anzac and the Australian Corps Schools but in early 1918 was invalided home, ill. On resuming duty in late 1918 Heritage served as Director of Personnel. For distinguished service in France he was awarded the Croix de Guerre – see Finlay, C.H., ‘Heritage, Francis Bede (1877 – 1934)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, pp.269-270.  Arthur Rupert Cross, a ‘stereotyper’ by trade and who would be a member of the CCRAA Executive Committee representing Queensland in 1920, served in the field artillery from 1916.  He was wounded in action (gas) in Belgium in 1917 but recovered and was repatriated home in 1918.  Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. Semmens formed and took the 6th Battalion from Victoria to Egypt, but was repatriated after the physical and nervous strain took its toll; he ended his war in command of the AIF Camp at Castlemaine. Lieutenant-Colonel J. J. Paine from NSW at first escorted troops embarked for Egypt in 1915.  He then returned to Egypt where he commanded the Mounted Division base and AIF Headquarters in Egypt, before returning to Australia in early 1917 – see WWI Service Records, NAA Canberra, Series B2455, J J Paine.  Major C. E. Merrett became the acting CCRAA secretary during the war: ‘To his disappointment he was not to go overseas in World War I, but served instead on the selection committee for officers of the Expeditionary Forces.’ –  Vines, M., ‘Merrett, Sir Charles Edward (1863 – 1948)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, 1986, pp. 486-487.
[24] Travers, B. H. , ‘Holmes, William (1862 – 1917)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 9, Melbourne University Press, 1983, pp. 349-351.
[25] Hill, E.J., ‘The Rifle Club Movement in Australia’, Lone Hand, New series v.3, No.6, May 1915, p.356.

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