Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victims of War

Today is Anzac Day in Australia.

Although I have grown up knowing the significance of Anzac Day, I hate to admit that I really didn't appreciate the sacrifices of our young men until I started family history research.

Every Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, I research a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice.  They did not get the opportunity to have children or grandchildren to remember them, so I now feel a duty to do so.

Today I pay tribute to Albert George "Bertie" Warner, who was born 23rd January 1892 in the small farming community of Winiam, Victoria.

Bertie's mother, Sophia, died shortly before his second birthday from "Acute Mania & Exhaustion".  Her death was soon followed by the death of Bertie's four year old sister, Jane, and his baby brother, Robert.

My first cousins (3 times removed)
Caroline (Carrie), Albert (Bertie)
and Maria (Ria) Warner
It is hard to imagine the grief that would have been felt by their father, George Warner, who had lost his young wife and two children within a month of each other.  He was unable to care for his three remaining children (Ria, Carrie and Bertie) and they went to live with their Aunty and Uncle, James and Mary Ann Pilgrim (my Great Great Grandparents), who had 10 other children living at home.

George stayed living in the area but died  in 1902 when Bertie was 10 years old.

Bertie attended the Winiam State School and was a "prominent member" of the Winiam community.  Similar to many other family members he was a member of the Cricket and Rifle Clubs and played football with the Imperial Football Club.

After leaving school, Bertie became a farmer, like his father and many other family members.

On the 4th March 1916, at age 24, he joined the 38th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces.  On the 26th June 1916 he was aboard the HMAT Runic, on his way to fight in many notable conflicts, including at Messines, Ypres, Polygon Wood and the Somme.

HMAT Runic
Albert George "Bertie" Warner was 26 years old when he died on 29th September 1918.  He was "killed while taking the Hindenburg Line in France".   He is buried at Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, France.

Albert George (Bertie)Warner
Circa 1916

Albert George (Bertie Warner)
Circa 1917

Winiam State School Honor Roll
Includes the name of three family members
who lost their lives in World War 1
Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, France

Lest we Forget

You can listen to the Last Post here (advert is only 10 secs before you hear it)

You can also read about other family members who fought in World War 1
Valiant Victims

Click for more "V" posts


  1. As my relations are Irish I don't have any who died in either conflict though when I look at local war memorials I notice peoples names I recognise.

    1. Do you have any luck tracing your Irish ancestors? I have a few Irish ancestors and they are all brick walls.

  2. Having just finished a book on WWI, your post sent chills down my spine. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I admire you Denise. That would have been very difficult, especially if it related some of the personal misfortunes of the soldiers.

  3. Sharon, this is a wonderful tribute to Bertie. He and my great great uncle George Fullerton may have known each other as they were both in the 38th Battalion. George died during the battle of Messines in June 1917.

    1. I got a shiver reading this Aillin. 6 degrees of separation! I can just picture the two young men on the boat together having a cigarette and talking about what the future may hold. Then fighting together in such horror, with neither coming home.

      I read your posts about George with interest.

      The connection has inspired a new project, which you will read more about in future :)

  4. I am grateful for our service men and women and the great sacrifices they make. Our losses are felt heavily. They will be remembered though.

    1. Yes they will be remembered and their efforts appreciated.

  5. I love what you have done here to honor one of your ancestors. Your family will remember Bertie all the more. A dashing young man in his uniform!