Comrades of WW1

Firefighters and Union members lost in World War 1

June 28, 1914: It started with a gun shot. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated by pro-Serb nationalist student Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

July 31, 1914: Australia prepared to join the war when Labor leader Andrew Fisher declared that Australians will defend Britain “to our last man and our last shilling” in bi-lateral support of Joseph Cook’s government.

August 4, 1914: The Allies stood together, Britain declared war on Germany and joined France and Russia in a group known as the Allies. The British declaration of war signalled a major turning point in World War I, with many expecting a quick end to the war. It remains the most deadly conflict Australia has taken part in.

And so, while personally (like most people) I detest war, and the way the ruling class always seems happy to send the working class to battle to defend their wealth, today marks the start of important memorials commemorating the centenary of World War I.
I thought it was relevant to remember the 31 known serving firefighters of NSW Fire Brigades, including members the Fire Brigade Employees Union and other unions, who left Australia for World War I, never to return. Lest We Forget.

Fireman / Date of Death

William Hoskin Gibson / 11th Mar 1917

Ernest Gordon / 15th Apr 1917

George William Martin King / 20th Apr 1917

Leonard Pittet / 9th Aug 1916

Arthur John Smith / 19th May 1915

John Stuntz / 3rd May 1917

Percy Clarence Tuck / 1st May 1915

George Young / 3rd May 1918

A Baker / Unknown

Roland Mansfield Carr / 21st Nov 1915

Thomas George Roy Champion / 27th Apr 1915

William Conway / 30th Aug 1916

Harold Henry Curtois / 14th Dec 1917

Robert Thomas Reginald Foster / 11th Apr 1917

Percy Ormond Griffiths / 8th Aug 1918

George Hardy / 3rd Aug 1916

Alexander Joseph Hearn / 8th Aug 1915

Walter Hewitt / 23rd Sep 1917

William John Kembrey / 21st Jul 1917

Felix Kennerley / 5th Oct 1917

Ernest Augustine Markham / 4th Jan 1917

Herbert Norman May / 9th May 1915

William Edward McLaren / 11th Mar 1918

Alfred Gordon Murray / 29th Sep 1917

Frederick John Oldfield / 3rd May 1917

John Patrick O’Neill / 6th Jan 1917

Leslie Harold Raward / 17th Jul 1916

Bert Garnet Redding / 2nd Oct 1918

Edward Francis Sharkey / 26th Nov 1917

Raymond Samuel Stutchbury / 18th Aug 1917

Leslie James West / 4th Apr 1918

[Photo: William Stuart Kilpatrick MM – William worked as a labourer before joining the NSWFB in March 1911. He was stationed at Headquarters, George St West, Marrickville and Granville Stations, attaining the rank of First Class Fireman before resigning in August 1914 to join the Army. William served in New Guinea, Gallipoli and Palestine, winning a Military Medal for bravery with the 6th Light Horse in Palestine in 1918. He also served in New Guinea during World War 2. Source]

[Thanks to fellow firefighter and union member Ian Grimwood for passing on the names]

See also: 

100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today.

History of the FBEU

About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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