• The McGuire boys from South Australia

The South Australian McGuire Family of James and Mary McGuire included 8 sons and 2 daughters. Of these sons 4 were sent overseas as part of our ANZAC contingent and one served in Army offices in Adelaide. Of these 4, Reginald was the first to enlist on 25 August 1914, followed by Stanilaus on 28 November 1914, Julian on 4 May 1915 and Eugene on 26 May 1915.Reginald, born 21 December 1884, was killed at Gallipoli on 29 April 1915, a part of the Ordering party at the landing, in the 10th Battalion 'G'company. Red Cross records reveal from a witness's statement that he was 'badly wounded at Schrapnel Gully on Wednesday 28 April 1915'. In these records are letters between his brother Julian seeking information and the Red Cross in Cairo, including Julian's reply on 3 April 1916expressing his grateful thanks to the Society for their efforts in providing information to the families.Julian, born 29 March 1892, was a member of the Field Ambulance 4, Reinforcement 8, and was killed at Corbie, France on 26 August 1918.Stanilaus, born 22 October 1893, was part of 12th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements, a member of the Landing party at Gallipoli and was killed in the fighting at Pozieres, France between 19 and 22nd August 1916.Eugene, born 11 April 1896, was in the 27th Battalion 'A' company and the only brother to return to Australia returning 28 March 1919.These are some of the excerpts recovered from newspaper stories discovered via Trove that the brothers sent home to their family.-to a younger brother due to leave Australia: 'Meha Camp, February 13, 1915. Dear — , Just a note to try and put you wise. You will no doubt come to Egypt, and I may not see you here. Now, your health is your first consideration, and in hope that you will take no risks here I am writing. When you land you will find the natives very anxious to sell you liquor. The bottles 'have bona-fide labels, and are securely corked, but the contents are real poison. The Egyptian traders burn a hole through the bottle with a hot wire, and substitute the real stuff with a mixture of their own. You cannot buy good beer or spirits in Egypt, except at army canteens, so dodge drinking after you leave Australia. I don't think you will take it on, so thisis only a warning for your companions. The real trouble here are women. The natives are bad enough, but the worst evil are the French and Italian girls. - They are very good looking, and come into the streets and kiss you, and hang on to your neck. You want to dodge these like poison. They are in hundreds in Alexandria and Cairo. Now. I know you will take thiswarning in the spirit it is meant. Dodge everything in this line. They have whatthey call 'Can Cans.' This is a native dance by nude women. They are not worth seeing, and I know you have brains enough to let them slide with the rest. Youought to get mother to make you at least three big flannels, and buy some good socks over and above your army kit. Pneumonia is prevalent among us, and we have lost at least a score from it.' [from The Register, Adelaide, Friday 19 March 1915,page6].In The Register of Wednesday 9 June 1915, page 8, story titled 'The Eve of History Making' : The following is an extract from a letter received by his parents from the latePte. R. F. McGuire (son of Mr. J.McGuire of Largs Bay), dated April 24(the day before the landing at the Dardenelles):— 'We will be -where the whipsare cracking tonight — and I know we will pull through. Our job will stand no half measures. It simply 'has to be done, even at the cost of every man. We all know it and I might say no one of us would miss it! We have tonight a chance to make a name for Australia to be proud of. Moreover, the 10th Battalion has the honour to be the covering party for the division. But long 'before you get this you will have heard how the 10th came through.' Pte. McGuire was killed in action at the Dardanelles on May 26.[Actual records show that he died on 29 April, 1915.]The Advertiser, Adelaide, of 2 October 1915, page 16, had the story titled 'Brave Stretcher Bearers' and includes an extract to his father from one of his sons at the front, Private S.G.McGuire: - "It is impossible to over-estimate the Value of the work of the ambulance and medical men here. Their duties call for greater daring and demand greater risk than those of any other rank, and they- perform them toa man, without a flinch. In the days of peace, when one walked the streets of dear old Adelaide, and saw and mingled with the mixed masses of young manhood, little did it suggest itself to one that such qualities as are displayed here in and around the trenches lay dormant in the breasts of so many of the young fellows. And yet familiar Adelaide faces are continually passing this way and that way near me, bearing on their uniforms that symbol of charity and love—the Red Cross. They are usually in pairs. with a stretcher between them, and it seems, too, that the face of the occupier is more often familiar than not. Let me tell you that if the dimensions of this war were smaller, and individualacts came more under the eyes of the higher officers, that much-coveted prize, the Victoria Cross, would be taken back to Adelaide by many a one of these stretcher-bearers. The least and the most that can be said of them is that they are heroes in every sense of the word." The Advertiser of 29 September 1916, page 9 in recording the death of Stanilaus who, 'went through thewhole of the Gallipoli campaign, being wounded, once, in the leg and losing his teeth in the Lone Pine engagement', went on to quote:- Mr. James McGuire, the Acting, Railways Commissioner, has received avery interesting letter from his son, Julian, who, writing from "Somewhere in France" on July 21, says: -"I am quite well myself, and am glad to be able to inform you that I have seen Stan (his brotherl, but only for about two minutes His division was the first lot of Australians to go into this big advance, which, no doubt, you are hearing all about in the papers. A few days back I happened to be on my way up just as he was coming out, and luckily he heard that my unit would be coming along, and would be passing through a certain village, and he got permission to wait a few minutes to see me Along we came hot, grimy, and dusty after a pretty fair march, and as we turned out of a certain road who should I see but Stan, and I can tell you I was pleased to see himwell, and it was a great relief to know that he has got through this 'Big Push' safe and sound. It has been a wonderful push, and naturally entail many casualties, we being on the offensive, and I can say I was a trifle worried about Stan while I knew he was in it, so it did me good to see him. He was pleased to see me too, though he said I was going the wrong direction to his liking. However, I am still quite O.K., and hope to continue so. Fighting is very fierce out here, and Germany is stopping at nothing to check us, but so far has hardly been successful for all their cowardly actions. The Australians have maintained, and are more than maintaining, their reputation as fighters of the finest quality. Nothing seems to daunt them. Some are just wonderful. -Last night I carried one man, who had been caught in the German entanglement, and was held there for five days before he could be brought in by the' stretcher bearers. He had a ghastly wound in his leg, and this had turned septic throughexposure. He had been without food and water all that time and exposed to everything, our shells tearing up the German trenches just behind his head; bombs, rifles, machine guns, and everything else! Yet except for his wounds, you would think he had just come from a picnic. He was wonderfully patient, never murmured a word, and' bore the pain marvellously. He is only one of such men. What must men like that think of those wonderful creatures who are still hanging on to Australia?''The Advertiser of Friday 27 October 1916, page 13, quotes from James McGuire about his boys and the Army:- "A captain, in writing to me recently, stated that the Australian detachments were going out skeletonised for the want of more men, and that he could not understand what the authorities in Australia were doing in not bringing in conscription and sending reinforcements to the Front." "A major,' in writing to me and condoling with me on the death of my second boy killed at the Front, said he was again going into the trenches with a very depleted company, and that reinforcements were badly needed. "One of my own boys, in writing, stated that he had been on duty between 60 and 70 hours, during' which time he only had eight hours' sleep, due to wantof reinforcements. "Another boy, writing of the pluck and determination of the Australians, mentioned a case where one man had been caught in German entanglements and held up for three days, suffering from a severe wound in the leg, which, by the time he was discovered, had- turned septic Notwithstanding all he had gone through, his spirit was so indomitable that the remark was made that he looked more as if he had just come from a picnic instead of having gone through such, agony. He added-'There were many of such Australians at the Front, but what must such men think of the glorious creatures who are still hanging on to Australia?' "These parts of letters serve to show the spirit felt by our young men for their fellow soldiers, their family and their country. Letters held within the records of these four young men between the Army and the McGuire parents show the loyalty and tolerance that was felt in such hard times. Mary McGuire in a letter to the Army notes that not only a son , but a nephew died in the first landing at Gallipoli.It is as a grateful researcher that I am thankful for the projects that are retaining so many of these historical records, and for the occasional treasure found among relatives that reveal more of the lives of our ancestors.
Comments
    • McGuireSA
    • Sunday, 11 October 2015

    Interesting to know which family letters and records are available for research. What was the name of Mary's nephew?