Australia's Involvement
in World War 1

Forty WW1 Clyde Volunteers

World War 1 Roll of Honor

Honor Roll - Former Scholars

Honor Roll - Residents

Honor Roll - Nurses

Clyde Men Who Never Came Home

ANZAC Stan Allars' Story

War Casualties


Military Awards

Community Recognition












World War 1 Casualties

Claude Pitcher (22)
An Unknown Nurse Helps a Young Clyde Soldier

Claude Pitcher.
Photo courtesy of Pitcher family

This is not a romantic love story, but about courage, respect and genuine concern for another

Claude William Leonard Pitcher, 21, the eldest of six children enlisted in the Australian Army along with 40 recruits from Clyde and Clyde North. His three younger siblings, Mytle, Stanley and Alva were still primary school students at Clyde 3664 in 1916.

Three months after enlisting Claude was on his way to France with the 58th Battalion. A farmer ‘boy’ who worked for friends on their Lyndhurst farm now faced life threatening challenges.
Arthur Ryland 21, from Clyde, was next on the roll in the same group.

Dark haired with blue-grey eyes, a slightly built man just over 60 kg, Claude showed leadership abilities in being appointed as a corporal.

During his time in France he suffered trench fever and a shrapnel wound to his shoulder. It was his next injury that would affect him for the rest of his life.

Claude was shipped to England, admitted to Norwich Hospital, north east from London on the coast, to have his hand operated on after it was mutilated by gunshot at Villers Bretonneux France. He had been carrying water along a railway cutting when attacked.

The doctor was going to amputate all of his fingers and only leave Claude with a thumb on his right hand. A nurse pleaded with the doctor to try and save his index finger so he would at least have some use of his hand. Thanks to that unknown English nurse, Claude was able to use his thumb and index finger as anyone else would use a hand with a thumb and 4 fingers.  A young nurse, who challenged her superior, rescued Claude from a permanent life long handicap.

Claude returned to Clyde in 1918 welcomed home by his many friends. By that time his family had moved to a home on the corner of Pattersons and Tuckers Road, brother Stanley had finished school, and the youngest one, Alva shifted to Clyde North School.

His grand daughter Julia--Anne added
“People did get a surprise when he put out his hand to shake hands!! As kids we never took too much notice, as we had only ever known Pa with his hand that way. He lived to 93, which is pretty fantastic. As I got older, I always wondered how he managed during the war as he was a very gentle and sincere Christian. As children we were told that one of the oak trees in Cranbourne's Avenue of Honour was planted in Pa's honour. We never knew which one though”

Left: Certificate Awarded to Claude Pitcher by Cranbourne Shire, November 1919

Above: Gold Medal awarded to Claude Pitcher by Cranbourne Patriotic Association
(Photos courtesy of the Pitcher Family)

Vernon Mullin (21)
A casualty of war: blinded at Pozieres
One of the few Clyde men to serve both in Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Born in Northcote 1893, youngest son of Isaac and Susan Mullin, Vernon was less than a year old when his father died. The following year a time of financial depression in Australia hit hard on the Mullin family then based in Malvern. They still owned land rented out on the eastern corner of Ballarto and Tuckers Road.

Eventually in 1908 Mrs Susan Mullin and children needed to return from Malvern to their Clyde farm. The Mullin family became an integral part of the growing Methodist Church community. Vernon was member of the local Methodist Church even after his mother moved back to the city. Vernon stayed on in Clyde working for Mr John Sykes, Tucker Road, Clyde Borth until he enlisted at 20 years of age for overseas military service.

He travelled to the Middle East aboard the “Wandilla” in June 1916, a journey he shared with another former Clyde North scholar, Richard Talbot who later was killed in combat.

Initially he was wounded in Gallipoli, later transported to England for further medical help and later reassigned to serve in France. At 22 years of age tragedy seriously damaged Vernon’s life for ever. He was permanently blinded in both eyes when a bomb landed in his trench during the battle of Mouquet Farm. The Australians refered to this place as Moo Cow Farm.
Typical of Vernon's modesty, was his explanation as to what actually caused him to be wounded. During the fighting a German 'Broomstick' grenade had been thrown into the trench where Vernon was positioned with an officer. In order to protect the officer, Vernon picked up the grenade intending to throw it back however it exploded in his face before he could do so.

2013 Mullin home in Clyde facing west.
Corner of Tuckers and Ballarto Road.

(Photo copyright: Ray Tonkin)
        Captured by the Germans his eyes were removed by their medical staff. Due to his injuries Vernon was chosen to be involved in a prisoner of war exchange negotiated by the Dutch and Vernon came to England for rehabilitation. St Dunstone’s Lodge in Regents Park, England provided 23 year old Vernon with skills in using a Braille typewriter and operating a manual telephone exchange.
  from his letters it seems that Vernon responded well in learning Braille, learning to type and training as a telephonist.

St Dunstans' founder, Sir Arthur Pearson, former journalist and newspaper owner, blinded by glaucoma, confidently knew that blindness need not be a hinderance to a happy and useful life. This confidence was an inspiration for young Vernon whose world had unexpectedly and tragically collapsed by war. The inscription on the St Dunstans badge states: St Dunstans stands for Victory over Blindness.

In 1918 at 24 years of age he returned to Australia, obtained employment in a Melbourne suburban telephone exchange and two years later married Miss Adelaide Kelly, a faithful life time companion. He died in 1972 aged 78

Vernon Mullin sometime after the War,

Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954),
Wednesday 30 May 1928, page 3


Although Vernon Mullin, a young Australian soldier, was robbed of his eyesight as a result of war service, he is a skilled telephone exchange operator, an ardent stamp collector, a successful builder of wireless sets, and a keen gardener.

The picture shows Mr. Mullin on the switchboard at the
Repatriation Department Building in Melbourne.

Brailee typewriter
Medal from St Dunstans
Vernon's Braille watch

James Thomas Francis (23
Member of the famous 4th Lighthorse Regiment in the Middle East

Resident of Clyde assumed to be living with the Lineham’s, relatives of the Dorling family.
Twenty-three year old James enlisted for military service in 1915. His father had died of tuberculosis 1899 when Jim was 7, and his Uncle George Dorling, of Korrumburra, was nominated as being his nearest of kin.
His mother Mrs C Francis lived at Mornington.

His father’s sister was married to George Dorling who was related to the Lineham family. It is possible that he was working as a farm labourer on one of the Lineham farms. At 5ft 8 in (172.7 cm) slightly above the average height for Clyde men, Jim Francis was one of 500 men picked for special duty in Egypt as a part of the 4th Light Horse Regiment.

Jim Francis, a member of the 4th Light Horse Regiment, is believed to have taken part in the famous assault on Beersheba in October 1917. Was this the time while on service, his horse was shot from under him, and he was pinned to the desert for several hours before he was discovered by the ambulance party?

The assault and overthrow of Beersheba began a series of defeats for the Ottoman Empire which was in league with Germany against Britain. A former Clyde man, Jim Francis is believed to be a part of this unit that stormed Beersheba.

While suffering with pneumonia he returned to Australia disembarking at Melbourne on 26 August 1919. As a result of war time experiences he had contracted tuberculosis and died the following year.
Aged 28, 17 June 1920 he died of tuberculosis followed by heart failure, in the 11 Australian General Hospital, Caulfield.
He is buried in the Mornington Cemetery.

Memorial and Awards:

1. Honor Roll, Clyde North State School No 118 and District; now in Clyde Primary School, Oroya Grove Clyde Vic 3978

2. Post humously awarded Cranbourne Patriotic Association Certificate,
Fri Nov 29, 1918.

3. Memorial Plaque and Scroll given to his mother.

4. A military grave stone in Mornington Cemetery

Re-enactment of Beersheba assault in 2017
Local significance of 4th Light Horse Brigade.
The colors of this regiment has significance for the + 80 students from Clyde who attended Dandenong High School.

Percy Langford also a member of the 4th Light Horse brigade became the first principal of the newly formed Dandenong High School in 1919. The school colors, uniform, badges were taken from those of the 4th Light Horse, Dark Blue, Light Blue and Red.
Inspiration from this battle was used in a school song to challenge pupils to overcome difficulties.

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The AIF Project Basic summary of each soldier's WW 1 military record
Military Record Search Individual military records
Army - World War 1: 1914-18 Army personnel military records
Virtual War Memorial Australia Basic individual military history with details added in by volunteers
Monuments and Memorials Plaques, memorials to individual military personnel in Australia
Victorian War Heritage Inventory Find a name on a Roll of Honor
TROVE digitised newspaper accounts Newspaper accounts of events, news items, adverisements, family news
Victorian. Registry Office, Family History Family history search
Ryerson Index of Newspaper Death notices Death notices in Australian newspapers
Public Records Office, Victoria Family history section: Wills, Travel- interstate and international
Casey Cardinia Commemoriates Our War Year Local historian, Heather Arnold, explores military history & stories
12 (subscription account) Electoral Rolls, Military History, Births Death Marriages, Travel & Immigration
Cranbourne RSL Archives  
Cranbourne Shire Rate Books 1863-1947  
Schools' Register of Clyde children 1910-1980  
Cemetery Records - Deceased Search online Mornington Cemetery
Relevant Historical Societies Mornington District Historical Society
Family History Researchers Pitcher family (photos and details)
Mullins families (Nephew Fred Johnston, Niece Margaret Johnston)
DIGGER Magazine Issue 24, Sept 2008 Box Hill newspaper "The Reporter:, 20 July 1917
Digger History
Ray Tonkin photo Photo of Mullins House " Clyde Creek Precinct Structure Plan. Heritage Assesment"
World War One in 100 Stories Bruce Scates (Author),  Laura James (Author
Note: Internet site addresses frequently change.