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Lawyers mark Gallipoli centenary

News

Cite as: July 2015 89 (7) LIJ, p.30

Members of the profession gathered for a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 24 April 2015 to mark the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli. Among the speakers was LIV president Katie Miller. This is an edited version of her address. 

On hundred and fifty nine solicitors and 88 law students served their country and empire during the First World War. Overall, it is estimated that a quarter of the legal sector – the solicitors, managing law clerks, articled clerks and law students – served.

For many, this service was the last service given because, like so many members of the Australian community who volunteered in the armed forces, they did not return.

For those who did return, they continued to serve Victoria and justice through their work as barristers and solicitors of this Court.

For eight solicitors in particular, service to country and empire and service to justice and law were not the end of their commitment. Those eight solicitors also served the legal profession by serving in the role I now hold as president of the LIV.

Today I will share the stories of six of the solicitors who served. Clearly, they represent only a small part of the overall contribution of solicitors to the war effort. Of course it is not possible to share today the stories of all 159 – and so I encourage all present to honour at least one of the 159 by reading their story on the Stories from the Memorial Board website.

Harold “Pompey” Elliott was admitted to practice in 1906, having shared in the Supreme Court Prize. He established the firm HE Elliot & Co.

At the Gallipoli landing, Mr Elliot commanded the 7th Battalion. On the day of the landing, Mr Elliot was wounded and evacuated to hospital. He had already served in the South African war in the 4th Victorian (Imperial) Contingent and had interrupted his law studies to do so. In that war, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the oak leaf for having been mentioned in despatches.

Following the campaign at Gallipoli, Mr Elliott was promoted to Brigadier-General and commanded an Australian brigade in France.

On his return to Australia, he was elected as a senator for Victoria. He maintained his legal practice and served as president of the LIV. He also continued his military career and was promoted to Major-General, and he worked tirelessly for the welfare of returned soldiers.

His survival of the Gallipoli campaign and the First World War generally and his subsequent achievements serve to highlight further the tragedy of the end of Mr Elliot’s life, when in 1931, he suicided. Given what we now know of the psychological effects of war service, one can only hypothesise whether Mr Elliot’s war service contributed to his suicide.

Another story is that of William Slater, who after the war, founded Slater and Gordon.

Mr Slater was an avowed socialist who, like many at the time, “regarded World War I as an inevitable outcome of capitalist imperialism and refused to join . . . in volunteering for active service”.

However, he was so appalled by the death toll at Gallipoli, that he enlisted and served with the 10th Field Ambulance in France and Belgium. During this time, he kept a diary to record “the hellishness of war”. He inhaled mustard gas at Tissage and in 1917 was wounded in the leg.

Like “Pompey” Elliot, Mr Slater was elected to parliament and as president of the LIV. His election to parliament occurred when he was still serving overseas. On his journey home to take up his seat, he spoke at a public meeting in Perth in support of John Cain and, for doing so, was arrested by military police. He was released upon promising to return promptly to Melbourne.

Another president was Francis Plumley Derham, who was admitted to practice in 1906, and commissioned in the Australian Field Artillery in 1907.

In January 1915, he was promoted to Major and, in October, he transferred to the AIF.

Mr Derham served on the Western Front as a battery commander. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and, as a lieutenant-colonel, commanded the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Like many solicitors who served in the First World War, Mr Derham served again in World War II. In 1940, he was promoted to Temporary Major-General and he commanded first the 4th Division, then the 1st Division, which functioned purely in a training role in New South Wales.

In 1944 he was appointed a Military Companion of the Order of the Bath.

William Molesworth had a thriving practice as a solicitor in Warrnambool from shortly after his admission to practice in 1894 until his enlistment in August 1915 when he was around 42 years old.

Mr Molesworth arrived in France in June 1916 and saw action at Armentières, Pozières,Ypres and Delville Wood – mainly in light mortar artillery.

He wrote in a letter published in the Warrnambool Standard: “What can I write of the war? Imagine every conceivable device for killing and causing pain – every instrument invented by mankind for terrifying, suffocating, seeing and directing aim and no mercy, and you have war”.

By mid-1917, it was stated in his medical report that the 44-year old Molesworth “looks tired out”. With age and rheumatism, he was declared permanently unfit for service. He returned to his solicitor’s practice but his health failed and he died aged 50.

As the war ended, the solicitors who served returned to their practices to continue working and serving their communities.

Many had varying degrees of disabilities due to their war service. Many continued to practise and in doing so were trailblazers for demonstrating that disability is not a barrier to legal practice. One of those solicitors was Dudley Tregent, who is believed to be the first blind solicitor in practice in Victoria, having been blinded after being shot shortly before Armistice Day.

The returned soldiers brought to their practices and their contributions to the LIV strength, understanding and resolve – in many cases, organisational and management abilities from all they had experienced.

Many solicitors gave free legal advice to returned soldiers and their families.

In 1923, Melbourne Legacy was established to look after the families and descendants of those who had died in, and as a result of, their war service.

A solicitor, Harold Cohen, of Pavey Wilson and Cohen, was the first president of Legacy. Mr Cohen had served in the Field Artillery in the Middle East, England and France from 1915 to 1919. Twice wounded and twice mentioned in despatches, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

And like so many of his generation, he served again in the Second World War, reaching the rank of Brigadier-General.

The LIV is proud of, and acknowledges, those solicitors who have served in the armed and defence forces in times of war and peace. The LIV joins with the Victorian Bar in our gratitude to your Honour the Chief Justice, and to the Court, for holding this ceremonial sitting to mark, not only the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli, but also the deep and ongoing commitment of the legal profession to the service of our nation and its people.

Memorial board updated

A new World War I memorial will include all victorian lawyers who served following the discovery of 87 lawyers missing from the original Supreme Court memorial board.
Memorial board names

A’Beckett, Gilbert Michie

Aitken, Philip Lewis

Anderson, Wilbur Straun

Baillieu, Clive Latham

Baird, Matthew

Ball, Wallace John

Beard, John Ulton Brice

Belcher, Charles Frederic

Best, Francis Maxwell

Book, Clifford Henry

Borrowman, James Kirk

Bowen, Clarence Edward

Braham, Algernon Charles

Broughton, George

Browne, Herbert W

Bullivant, Hugh Edward

Burchill, Gilbert Anderson

Cain, Robert Cobbold

Calder, James Bennett

Campbell, James Lewis Maitland

Candy, Norman Edgar

Carse, Franc Samuel

Carstairs, Harold Grafton

Clarke, Cyril Wilberforce St. John

Cohen, Harold Edward

Connelly, Clive Emerson

Connelly, Eric Winfield

Cook, Ramsay Burns

Courtney, Richard

Crispin, Gideon Jervis

Crocker, Robert

Crouch, Richard Armstrong

Cussen, Maurice

Davies, Cecil Harwood

Davies, Ernest Edgar

Davies, George Forrest

Davies, Henry Maurice

Davis, Charles Herbert

Davis, Clayton Edginton

Deans, Geoffrey Matthews

Derham, Francis Plumley

Dickinson, Cuthbert Rivers

Dickson, Selwyn

Dickson, Thomas Meiklejohn

Dobson, Arthur Frank Stanley

Douglas, Osborne

Downing, Walter Herbert

Duffy, Charles Leonard Gavan

Duffy, Desmond Gavan

Duffy, Frank Brendan Gavan

Duffy, John Leo Gavan

Duigan, Harry McLeod

Dunstan, John Roberts

Eggleston, Frederick William

Elliott, Harold Edward (Pompey)

Fenton, John Wentworth

Fielding, George Arkwright

Fink, Gordon

Fogarty, Thomas Bernard

Fraser, Douglas

Freeman, Neil MacKenzie

Gorman, Eugene J

Gray, Benjamin Walter

Gregory, Charles

Gregory, Robert Henry

Hain, Reginald Eric

Ham, Wilbur Lincoln

Hamilton, Charles

Hamilton, Edward James

Hamilton-Smith, Norman H

Hanby, John James

Hancock, James McRae

Harper, Harold

Hayes, Reginald Howarth

Hearder, Dixon

Hennessy, Lindley Holmes

Herring, John Fetherstonhaugh

Higgins, Charles William

Higgins, Mervyn Bournes

Hodges, Edward

Hogan, Gerald George

Houghton, William Sherwood

Hurry, Geoffrey

Hutchison, Harry Stuart

Hyett, Alan

Kirby, Harold Wilmer

Krcrouse, Frederick Thomas

Lachal, Gustav Celeste

Latham, John Greig

Lawrence, George Douglas

Levi, Rupert Nathaniel

Levinson, Bertram Arthur

Levy, Leopold

Living, Richard Meudell

Luth, Harold Christopher

Lynch, Percival Blake Ridley

MacDonald, John George

MacIndoe, Hugh Campbell George

Mackay, Murdoch Nish

Mackinnon, Duncan

Madden, Guy Ross

Major, John Gilbert

Mann, Francis De Courcy

Martin, Fred Russell Beauchamp

McCay, James Whiteside

Meagher, Leo Carden

Menzies, Frank Gladstone

Miller, Norman Albert

Molesworth, William Farnham

Morrow, Hugh Gordon

Murphy, Francis Hugh

Murphy, John Joseph

Murphy, Robert Leontine Scott

Nevett, Harold Oscar

O’Bryan, Norman John Gerard

Officer, Frank Keith

Ogilvie, Thomas Alexander

Osborne, Ernest Charles

Pearce, William Bastion

Phillips, Frederick Beaumont

Pitcher, George Frederich

Ramsay, Robert Andrew

Reynolds, Edward Russell Thomas

Riggall, Harold William

Robertson, David Claude

Rolland, Robert Monteith

Ross-Soden, Harry

Rowan, John Stanislaus

Russell, Frank

Sandiford, Norman William West

Sawers, John Buchanan

Skinner, Evelyn Bruce

Snowden, William Thomas

Sproule, Walter St. George

Stephen, Kenneth Travers

Stewart, Charles William

Stillman, Leonard Robert

Stodart, Charles Merton

Sutherland, Dallas

Templeton, Charles Lachlan MacKinnon

Templeton, Thomas Harvey

Trebilcock, Richard Ernest

Tunnock, David Bruce

Turnbull, John

Turner, Esmond

Turner, Lindsay Robert

Upton, Ralph Eldridge Roebuck

Wanliss, David Sydney

Warnock, Sherrard Roy

Waters, Arthur James

Wettenhall, Alexander Llewllyn

Whitehead, Vernon Joseph

Whiting, Henry Joseph

Williams, Clive Morrice

Williams, H.E.

Wilmoth, Reginald Joseph

Wood, Arthur Dennistoun

Woods, Frederick George

Young, Samuel

Discovered names

Adam, John Paterson

Adams, William Ronald Lowson

Anderson, Nairne Elder

Armstrong, John Henry Brian

Asche, Eric Thomas

Bingeman, Percy John

Birch, Herbert Ralph

Bodycomb, Bedlington Leslie

Buesst, Tristan N.M.

Butler, Edward Lionel

Coghill, Eustace Halley

Coppel, Elias Godfrey

Cussen, Allen Francis

Cussen, John Bevan

Davis, Geoffrey Edginton

Dean, Arthur

Dethbridge, Alan Bowden

Dooley, Norval Henry

Duffy, Charles Diarmaid Gavan

Dunkley, Henry Leo

Eggington, Henry Tunstall

Ellis, Alexander Donaldson

Field, Arthur Edgar William

Fink, Thorold

Flint, Arthur Loftus Christopher

Fullagar, Wilfred Kelsham

Garden, Alan Frederick

Gardiner, Reginald Scott

Gibson, Robert Reginald

Hall, James Geoffrey

Hall, Ronald Fox

Hardman, James Gordon

Hart, Arthur Clifford

Hayes, Frederick James

Heatley, Robert Clive

Herring, Edmund

Hill, Claude Channon

Hillard, Robert Irvine

Hollyhoke, Alexander David

Holroyd-Sergeant, Walter

Hudson, Cedric Livington

Hyett, Reginald Francis

Knell, Clive Thomas Burrows

Knight, Frederick Falkiner

Legatt, William Watt

Legg, Louis Thomas

Little, Leo P

Lynch, Joseph Ignatius

Maling, Gerald Abbott

Mann, Leonard

Matthews, MT

Mayman, George Lawton

McCallum, Peter

McLennan, Alan Neil

Middleton, Albert Edward

Moore, James Henry

Morris, Trevor

Neylon, John Lindsay

Normand, Robert Casley

Nunan, Paul Cornell

O’Collins, Patrick Francis

O’Keefe, James Raymond Augustine

Oliver, Louis Lucas

Pearson, Charles William Kelvey

Phillips, Philip David

Piesse, Edmund

Powell, David Rowley Sinclair

Quinlivan, Claude Leslie

Rasmussen, Alfred Ernest

Richards, Willie Ross

Ritchie, Douglas Stuart

Roberts, William Joseph

Rowan, Justin Fitzgerald

Slater, William

Smith, Struan Wright

Stedman, James Colin

Sterling, John Harold

Stewart, Edgar Lindsay

Strachan, James Ford

Tait, James

Tregent, Dudley Ackerley

Trumble, Tom

Warner, Robert Meredith

Waters, Edward Needham

Watt, Thomas James Sutherland

Webster, Clarence Wilham Willoughby

Wilson, Percy James

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