Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Faces from the past Friday - the last cousin

Well, here is the story of the final cousin, Guy Sydney Connor, who perished in the Great War. Guy was my second cousin once removed.

Guy Sydney Connor was born in Manly (a suburb of Sydney), New South Wales in 1897 to Angus Connor &  Christina Charlotte Simpkins. Guy was the youngest son of seven children, five girls and two boys. Angus Connor died on 12th August 1905.

Guy enlisted on the 4th September 1916 with the occupation of Shop Assistant. On enlistment the following was recorded: Age 21 years 10 months; Height 5' 10"; Weight 150 lbs; Chest 36 - 38 inches; Complexion Fresh; Eyes Blue; Hair Light Brown; Religion Church of England; he had no distinguishing marks. So this is how we can form a mental picture of Guy.

He was posted to the 1st ANZAC Battalion, No. 2 Company Imperial Camel Brigade. Guy embarked at Sydney per A7 "Medic" on 9 December 1916 and embarked at Melbourne per A44 "Vestalia"on 12 December 1916. He was taken on strength at Abbassia (Cairo, Egypt) on 24 February 1917.

The Imperial Camel Corps (ICC) was formed in January 1916 in order to deal with the revolt of pro-Turkish Senussi tribesmen in Egypt’s Western Desert. The first four companies were recruited from Australian infantry battalions recuperating after Gallipoli. Four battalions were eventually formed. The 1st and 3rd were entirely Australian, the 2nd was British, and the 4th was a mix of Australians and New Zealanders. The ICC also had its own machine gun unit, and a battery of light artillery recruited in Hong Kong and Singapore (AWM)

The Battle of Gaza
The second battle of Gaza took place three weeks later, beginning on 17 April 1917. In the interim the Turks had extended and improved their defences. Dobell launched another frontal assault on the Turkish defences, which was supported by six tanks and gas shells. The tanks and the gas were both dismal failures and the attacking forces could make little headway against well-sited Turkish redoubts. After three days of fighting the attack was called off, having not gained any significant ground. (AWM)

Guy was killed in action on the 19th day of April 1917, seven months after his enlistment. He was not able to be buried. He is remembered in the Jerusalem War Memorial Cemetery - stone panel inscription.
Lest we forget ...

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