Seager, Alexandrine

In business before the war, Mrs Alexandrine Seager had the administrative and organisational skill required for running the Cheer Up Society, which she founded in, after visiting Morphettville camp to see her son in the Australian Imperial Force in November 1914. With the support of the editor of Adelaide newspaper, The Register, she appealed to South Australian women to join the Society, which aimed to provide 'general comfort, welfare, and entertainment' for soldiers. Initially, they visited camps, arranged entertainments, such as concerts and sent comforts to the front. As the wounded began returning from Gallipoli, they provided comfort and care. From 1915 they were based in a large tent behind the Adelaide Railway Station, which was replaced by the Cheer-Up Hut in nearby Elder Park (opened on 14 November, 1915). The Society had eighty country branches, and a key aspect of their fundraising was the annual Violet Day Appeal (first held on 2 July 1915). She was also instrumental in the foundation of the South Australian Returned Soldiers’ Association. For further information, visit History SA's online resource, Adelaidia

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Cheer-Up Society

The South Australian Cheer-Up Society was founded by Alexandrina Seager. Its object was to support the soldiers as well as to bring them into contact with the 'highest type of womanhood'. They visited the soldiers at camp before they embarked for the trenches and provided them with supper, concerts and conversation.

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Major General William Bridges

When war broke out, William Bridges was charged with creating the first expeditionary force, the AIF. He was promoted to the rank of Major General. He landed with the troops at Gallipoli, and despite the risks, undertook a daily inspection of the front lines until 15 May, when he was shot by a Turkish sniper. He was evacuated to a hospital ship, but died from the wounds.

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10th Battalion

The 10th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. The battalion was recruited in South Australia, and together with the 9th, 11th and 12th Battalions, formed the 3rd Brigade. The battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked for overseas just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving in early December.

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Avery, Louis Willyama

Louis Willyama Avery was born on July 15, 1891, and moved to Adelaide from Broken Hill for his education. He attended St Peter’s College and later the SA School of Mines, where he studied Engineering. He was working in Broken Hill when war was declared, and he decided to enlist for service in August 1914. He was a member of the 3rd Field Engineers, A.I.F, 1st Australian Division, 3rd Brigade, and landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. Later in the war he fought in Europe, being awarded a Military Medal in 1917. Following his time in the Dardanelles, Avery was hospitalised suffering from typhoid fever, and letters from his father to military administration show how difficult it was for families in Australia to find out information about the health of soldiers overseas.

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Terrell, Frederick Leopold

After working as an iron moulder, 25 year old Frederick Leopold (Leo) Terrell was frustrated by the lack of work in South Australia and, enlisted for service for the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train at Keswick on 27 March, 1915. After several months of training, Terrell embarked from Australia on 3 June 1915 and served with the AIF at Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay. He later served with the 12th Field Artillery Battery on the Western front in Europe.

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Smith, Ross

Ross Smith spent part of his childhood growing up on Mutooroo Station, near Broken Hill. He and his bother Keith were educated in Adelaide, and in 1910, Ross joined the Australian Mounted Cadets and was selected to represent South Australia in an international tour. He enlisted in August 1914, joining the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and served in the Dardanelles and later at Romani. In 1917 he joined the Australian Flying Corps. After the war, Ross and Keith took up the Australian government's challenge to flying from England to Australia in less than 30 days. They were successful in the challenge, and were knighted for their efforts. Sadly, Ross Smith died in a flying accident in England in 1922, testing an aircraft the brothers were planning to use to fly around the world.

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3rd Light Horse Regiment

The 3rd Light Horse Regiment was raised in Adelaide on 17 August 1914. Although most of its recruits were enlisted in South Australia, one of the regiment’s three squadrons was composed of Tasmanians and was raised and trained in Hobart. The two components sailed from their home ports in late October 1914 and arrived in Egypt in the second week of December. Here, they joined the 1st and 2nd Regiments to form the 1st Light Horse Brigade.

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Robert Barr Smith

Barr Smith was known a wealthy pastoralist known also for his philanthropy. Prior to the war he donated significant funds to the University of Adelaide towards a Library (which now bears his name) and to St Peter’s Cathedral. During the war, he offered his home, Torrens Park (now part of Scotch College) as a convalescent home for injured soldiers. (for further information see http://adelaidia.sa.gov.au/people/robert-barr-smith)

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Empire Day

Empire Day (promoted by the Australian Natives Association) was celebrated in Australia on the anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria (24 May).

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Cooper, Ethel

Caroline Ethel Cooper (1871-1961) was something of an eccentric – for starters, she had a pet crocodile called Cheops which she kept in her apartment, and lived a very independent lifestyle. A proficient musician, she formed her own Women’s Orchestra in Adelaide before the outbreak of the war. A regular visitor to Germany, she was living in Leipzig when the war broke out. She remained in Germany for the duration of the war, writing a letter each week to her sister Emmie in Adelaide. Although these letters could not be posted during the war, the first 52 were smuggled to Switzerland and posted from Interlaken and the remainder were hidden and sent from England in 1918. Although her premises were often raided by police and she was forbidden from leaving several times during the war, she was not detained and had a pass that stated her presence was ‘agreeable to the military authorities’. She returned to Adelaide for a few years after the war, but returned to Europe where she participated in relief work. She settled in Adelaide in 1936, with her then-widowed sister.

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Sinking of the Lusitania

On 7 May 1915, the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine, sinking off the coast of Ireland. More than 1000 people lost their lives, including more than 100 American civilians. America had declared neutrality in the First World War, and although it took another two years for America to enter the war, this event is considered a factor in the American Government’s decision to join on the side of Britain and France.

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Second Battle of Ypres

The Second Battle of Ypres took place between 22 April and 25 May 1915 and is notable particularly for the first mass use of gas by the German Army.

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