Honour Roll stories : Kellyville

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette 9 Nov 1917 reported that Richard Orchard, Federal Member for Nepean, had recently unveiled the Kellyville Roll of Honour on the Kellyville Public School wall facing Windsor Road. Originally framed in oak and covered in glass, the maple board now hangs with two others in Kellyville Recreation Centre, Memorial Avenue Kellyville. It lists 32 soldiers, many related or close friends who enlisted together. A Maltese Cross beside 4 of them indicates they were killed in action.

Arthur Russell's brother, William Russell (who had enlisted with him) was also killed in action in September 1917, as was Samuel ABBOTT in March 1919. Their deaths were added in a new marbled board called the Kellyville Honour Roll that hung in the Kellyville Memorial Hall until it was demolished in the 1990s due to lack of parking in a busy thoroughfare. The third board hanging at Kellyville Recreation Centre is Kellyville Honour Roll 1939-1945.

Kellyville Memorial Hall had been built in 1924, on the northern corner of Windsor Road and Memorial Avenue, from local fundraising. Cumberland Argus 15 Aug 1914 reported the formation of the Kellyville / Rouse Hill Red Cross branch whose members donated and sold eggs, chickens, jam, etc. and packed parcels for soldiers throughout World War I. There were 64 members between 1914 and 1916 including office bearers from the Terry, Redden and Pearce families. Doris Bennett became Treasurer in 1919 and was ‘Hall Queen’ at the Memorial Hall opening. Patrick Rocks, Kellyville school principal (1911-1928) and father of three soldiers, Patrick, Leslie and Oswald, was also actively involved in activities.

Kellyville Rouse Hill Red Cross Medal:

The Cumberland Argus regularly reported Kellyville Red Cross activities such as welcome home gatherings and presentations of inscribed gold medals to local soldiers including, Edward Hickman, George O’Brien, and Richmond John Louche (from Annangrove) in Mar 1918, and William Paterson in Aug 1918. James Josiah Agnew received his Kellyville Rouse Hill Red Cross medal (illustrated below) on 17 Dec 1919. 

AgnewRedCross_01_large.jpg         AgnewRedCross_02_large.jpg

One of the earliest World War I volunteers was Norman Matthew Pearce, a Kellyville grazier, born at Stanhope to Matthew Squire Pearce and Alice, nee Jenner. He was a veteran of the Boer Wars, having served as Captain in NSW Lancers and the 3rd NSW Mounted Rifles (see photo). In c1914 he became engaged to Kathleen Rouse.

Norman enlisted on 22 Sep 1914 with the 6th Light Horse Regiment and saw action in Gallipoli (Jul 1915), Malta (Dec 1915) and Egypt where he was killed by a Turkish sniper on 29 Jul 1916.

Norman Pearce

Agnew Family from Kellyville:

About 1910 John Agnew and his wife, Emily Janes bought 9 acres of land at the corner of Windsor Road and President Avenue Kellyville. They had five children: James (Jim) Josiah, Theophilus, William Francis, Samuel Alan (Alan) and Mildred (Millie). They had previously lived in Queensland, New Zealand and at Newcastle. The family ran an orchard (mostly peaches) and a poultry farm at Kellyville.

The Agnew family c1912
Back row left to right: Frank, Jim, Theo and Sam.
Front for left to right: John (died 1916 and was buried at Rouse Hill Cemetery), Millie and Emily

Agnew Farm at Kellyville:

A few years later Jim Agnew bought five acres of land at the corner of Windsor Road and Wrights Road Kellyville, where he started a poultry farm. He intended to make this his home, but the outbreak of war changed his plans.

Charles King & Millie Agnew at the Agnew Farm Kellyville 1916

On 15 Jul 1915 James Josiah Agnew enlisted and after initial training became World War 1 soldier No. 2270. Three of his Kellyville mates also enlisted in the 17th battalion at the same time: Patrick Bede Rocks No. 2271, Leslie Rocks No. 2272, and Benjamin Bryant No. 2273. Jim's brother, Samuel Alan Agnew, enlisted on 24th January 1916 with John Francis Andrews in the 4th Battalion.

James Agnew 1915

On 30 Sep 1915 friends Jim Agnew, Patrick and Leslie Rocks and Ben Bryant had all embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire. Jim, a Lewis machine gunner and night scout, was involved in battles in northern France and Belgium. He also saw action defending the Suez Canal and Alexandria.

Agnew Family letters:

Jim Agnew wrote many detailed letters to his family and in particular to his mother and sister Millie. He was concerned about his mother having to manage the farm after his father died in 1916. Jim also mentioned other soldiers from Kellyville whom he met in various theatres of war.

29 Oct 1916: Dear Millie,....Before this card reaches you, we will have been
in some big fighting, and I hope all the Kellyville boys come out of it safely.
Goodbye Mill from Jim xx

2 Nov 1917: To Jim from Mum and Millie with love - keep
 this in your pocket until you return and I hope that will be
 soon and peace restored,
Your loving Mother XXX

Interestingly, Norman Trowell, who enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, nominated Emily Agnew as his next of kin and corresponded with her, referring to her as "Mother".

Jim Agnew suffered from the effects of mustard gas poisoning from which he never fully recovered. While in England he met Kathleen Shinner whom he married on 18 May 1919. They returned to Australia and Jim was discharged from the Army in March 1920 medically unfit.Interestingly, Norman Trowell, who enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, nominated Emily Agnew as his next of kin and corresponded with her, referring to her as "Mother".

He resumed working on the orchard farm until 1923 when he bought land at Maroota and grew citrus and passion fruit. Ill health often saw him admitted to military hospitals in Sydney. He later became a successful farmer and orange orchardist at Kincumber. Jim died in 1962 aged 77, and was survived by his widow Kathleen, five sons and three daughters.

Grieve Family from Kellyville:

Kellyville fruit growers, Michael and Agnes Grieve, nee Turnbull were married in 1885. By 1907-09 the family owned 19 acres in Kellyville and were tenants on another 24 acres there.

Alexander James Turnbull Grieve was born 1889 at Kellyville, enlisted 14 June 1915, and was attached to the 17th Battalion. He saw action in Egypt, Gallipoli, France and Belgium. In 1916 and 1918 Alex was wounded in action. He returned to Australia on 9 March 1919 and married Thelma Gee in 1928. The Australian Electoral Rolls 1933-1954 show them living at “Seatondale” Dural. He died in 1970.

James Turnbull Grieve

James Turnbull Grieve was born 1893 at Kellyville, enlisted on 16 February 1915, and was attached to the 18th Battalion. He saw action in Egypt and Gallipoli where he was killed on 27th August 1915. James is commemorated at The Lone Pine Memorial at Anzac, Turkey.

Letter from James T Grieve to Kellyville
Gallipoli, August 27 1915 (the day he died)

Dear Mum and Dad
… we left Lemnos at about 6 o’clock on Thursday afternoon on the 19th and arrived at the Dardanelles at about midnight the same night. It took us till nearly daylight to unload our Battalion and all our gear and ammunition, and it was the hardest bit of work I have done since I joined the army ... At two o’clock on Sunday morning we were all roused out of bed and told that we had to make a charge ... a good number of our boys were bowled right out … It was marvellous how I came out without a scratch, but I expect it was my luck … After the charge I got into a trench which about 60 of our Batt were in and there we had to stop for almost 35 hours … We were in such a cramped position … and I would have given all I possessed in this world for a real good drink of water … I never wish to have the same experience again. Since coming out of the trench we have only been sapping and digging trenches … it isn’t too bad … Well Mum and all back home I hope this note finds you all well and that you do not think I am forgetful for not writing sooner … Remember me to all at Kellyville and tell Ag to give my best love to all the girls down at the Palace … From your ever loving son.

(From the Australian War Memorial Collection PR91/079)

Bryant Family from Kellyville:

Weeden Bryant and his wife Elizabeth moved their family to Rosebery Road Kellyville in the early 1900s. Three of their sons enlisted:

Henry (known as Harry) Bryant born 1886 enlisted on 14 June 1915 and was attached to the 17th Battalion like Jim Agnew. Harry was killed on 26 July 1916 at Pozieres, Somme Sector France, aged 20. His death was witnessed by his friend Jim Agnew, who wrote home about it. He is buried in Sunken Rd Cemetery, Contalmaison, France.

Henry Bryant

Benjamin Bryant also attached to the 17th Battalion, saw action in France and was wounded. He returned to Australia in Jan 1919.

George Bryant enlisted 24 January 1916 and embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A55 on 3 June 1916. He was attached to the 4th Battalion and saw action in France. George suffered a gunshot wound and returned to Australia on 20 April 1919.

Harry Eyles and May Bryant:

Henry Eyles, known as Harry, was born 1881 to Walter and Catherine Eyles. His enlistment on 6 August 1915 showed he had worked five years as a baker for George Whitling owner of Aberdoon House and the Rouse Hill General Store (pictured below in c1940).

May Bryant, sister of the Kellyville Bryant brothers was his next of kin. Harry and May married soon after he returned on 8 April 1919.

Harry embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915 and saw service in Egypt and France as a driver with the 5th Machine Gun Battalion and was also attached to the 3rd Battalion.

In 1924 he partnered with Arthur Whitling, son of George, to open Arthur’s second general store in Castle Hill on the eastern corner of Crane and Old Northern Roads.

Rouse Hill General Store

James Family from Kellyville:

Oliver George James was born 1877. His parents Eliza and Henry George James established a coach service and general store at Kellyville on corner of Windsor and Wrights Roads (below).

Corner of Windsor and Wright's Rd, Kellyville

Oliver married Ida May Gallard and at aged 38 enlisted on 15 October 1915 serving in the Middle East in the 6th Light Horse Regiment. He was discharged on 15 December 1917 due to medical unfitness.

Matthew James was born at Kellyville to Matthew and Rebecca James in 1894. His grandfather John Hallagan of Riverstone was next-of-kin on his enlistment on 20 Nov 1915 in 20th Battalion. Matthew served in France and Belgium and was wounded twice. He was discharged on 18 May 1918.

Matthew James