History D-Day – Bribie Remembers those who answered the call

By Barry Clark Bribie Island Historical Society

History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

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Tags: History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

The eleventh HOUR…..of the eleventh DAY…..of the eleventh MONTH…..we pause to remember those who gave their lives in War.

Men and women from all over Australia fought on distant shores in two world wars, to defend our freedom. This month’s History Page tells of those from Bribie Island and surrounds who “Answered the Call”. Two Bronze Plaques were unveiled in 2015 and for this “Remembrance Day” a commemorative book will be launched.

Featured Image(above): ANZAC Memorial with Wreaths


For Australia, the First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties. From an Australian population of fewer than 5 million, over 416,000 men enlisted, of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. Most remarkable, is that when Bribie Island and surrounds had a population of less than 50 people,18 men “Answered the Call”.

Australia’s involvement in the First World War began when Britain and Germany went to war on 4 August 1914. The Australian Government pledged full support for Britain. The outbreak of war was greeted in Australia, as in many other places, with great enthusiasm. On 25 April 1915 members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) landed on Gallipoli in Turkey with troops from New Zealand, Britain, and France.

This began a campaign that ended with an evacuation of allied troops beginning in December 1915. The Middle East campaign began in 1916 with Australian troops taking part in the defence of the Suez Canal and the allied re-conquest of the Sinai Desert. Throughout 1916 and 1917 losses on the Western Front were heavy and gains were small. In 1918 Australians took part in a series of decisive advances until Germany surrendered on 11 November 1918.

Remembrance Day this year is the 100th anniversary of that event.

History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

ANZAC Unveiling event


In 1914 the resident population of Bribie Island and surrounds was less than 50 people, so it is remarkable that 18 men “Answered the Call” to fight in the War to end all Wars. The enlistees had a variety of backgrounds. There were fishermen, labourers, tradesmen and farmers, a bullock driver and a horse breaker. They all enlisted with the enthusiasm shown by so many at the outbreak of hostilities in both world wars. Some of their names and families are still around us today in streets names and places such as Campbell, Bishop, Dux, Freeman, and Gollagher, to name a few.

All but 3 of the 18 returned after the War, with 2 killed in action and one died of wounds. From the small community of families, 3 were Freemans, 3 were Mills and 3 were Storr. Harold Francis STORR was allocated to 15th Australian Infantry Battalion and embarked from Melbourne on 22 December 1914 on board A40 Ceramic. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion arrived in Egypt in February 1915. They landed with the 4th Brigade at ANZAC late in the afternoon of 25 April 1915.

Harold STORR was wounded on 31 May 1915, admitted to hospital and returned to his unit 12 October 1915. He remained with the battalion and served on the Western Front before returning to Australia in October 1918. George Leslie GOLLAGHER, a bullock driver from Toorbul enlisted on 2 November 1916, at the age of 22 years and was allocated to 31 Australian Infantry Battalion and served on the Western Front. George left Australia on 23 December 1916 for France. In early 1917, the German Army withdrew to the Hindenburg Line allowing the British front to advance. His Battalion participated in follow-up operations and later played a major role at Polygon.


As part of the British Empire, Australia was among the first nations to declare war on Nazi Germany. Between 1939 and 1945 nearly one million Australian men and women served in campaigns against across Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Pacific. Over 993,000 Australians served in the armed forces and 27,000 died or were killed in action , 23,500 were wounded, and 30,500 were taken prisoner. Australia sent Royal Australian Air Force aircrews and a number of Royal Australian Navy ships to fight for Britain.

During the years 1939-1941, Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Germans, Italians and Vichy French in Europe, Egypt, Libya, Syria, the Lebanon, Greece, Crete and the Mediterranean. Japan carried out pre-emptive strike on the US Naval Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. The United States declared war on Japan and also Germany and Italy. Japan followed up their success at Pearl Harbour a series of victories, resulting in the occupation of most of south-east Asia and large areas of the Pacific by the end of March 1942.

Singapore fell in February, with the loss of an entire Australian division. After the bombing of Darwin that same month, all RAN ships in the Mediterranean theatre returned to defend Australia. In response to the heightened threat, Australia also expanded the army and air force to mount a total war effort at home. In March 1942, Japan’s southward advance began to lose strength, easing fears of an imminent invasion of Australia.

The threat of invasion receded further as the Allies won a series of decisive battles in the Coral Sea, at Midway, the Kokoda Track, and at Milne Bay and Buna. Nurses had gone overseas with the AIF in 1940. However, during the early years of the war women were generally unable to make a significant contribution to the war effort in any official capacity. Labour shortages forced the government to allow women to take a more active role in war work and to establish the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

At the same time, the navy also began employing female telegraphists, a breakthrough that eventually led to the establishment of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) in 1942. The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) was established in October 1941, with the aim of releasing men from certain military duties in base units in Australia for assignment with fighting units overseas.

Outside the armed services, the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was established to encourage women to work in rural industries. Other women in urban areas took up employment in industries, such as munitions production. On 7 May 1945 the German High Command authorised the signing of an unconditional surrender on all fronts: the war in Europe was over.. On the 14 August 1945 Japan accepted the Allied demand for unconditional surrender. For Australians, it meant that the Second World War was finally over.

History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

AAMWS Women’s Service Sign


We have identified 19 people from Bribie and surrounds who served in World War 2. 12 from Bribie Island, 5 from Toorbul and 2 from Donnybrook. Three were women namely Kathleen Boothe. Mary Durvall and Edith Grant. Some names are still reflected in local families and remembered in street and place names such as Crouch, Freeman and Shields. Of the 19 people most went into the Army, with two in RAAF and one in Navy.

Two were taken Prison of War, but all 19 returned after the war. George Henry BOOTHE had already enlisted for service in World War One in 1916. He served in France and was discharged September 1919. He was living at Toorbul when he enlisted for World War Two in May 1940 at the age of 56 years. He was allocated to No1 Garrison Battalion in Brisbane responsible for the maintenance and administration of a home base. He was discharged on 31 October 1944. Kathleen Violet BOOTHE was George’s daughter who also served.

She was living at home in Toorbul when she enlisted in December 1942, aged 18 years. She served in the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS) in Brisbane and was discharged in February 1944. AAMWS later became the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps. John Allan DUKE was a farmhand living at “Creeklands” when he enlisted and served in 2/15 Australian Infantry Battalion in the Middle East and was a “Rat of Tobruk”. After his discharge in 1945 he returned to Toorbul, married and had a family and died in August 1975.

History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

Troops depart on Commonwealth

History. D Day. War. Military. Historical. WW2. WW1

John Duke


The Bribie Island Historical Society has received funds from the Queensland Anzac Centenary Spirit of Service Grants programme, for the “Digitisation of a publication focusing on the 37 local enlistees from the First and Second World Wars, as represented on the Bongaree recognition plaques dedicated in 2015”.

This article has touched on just a few of the enlistees whose stories are told in a new book to be launched at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum on Friday 30th November 2018 at 10;15am, and followed by morning tea. Descendants and families of several of these man and women will be at the book launch, and the general public are most welcome. For catering purposes please notify the museum by phone 3408 0007 or email [email protected] or Historical society at [email protected].

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