The men of the 10th Battalion, raised in South Australia, were among the first ashore at the dawn landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The unit fought at Anzac throughout the campaign until the evacuation in December 1915. Amongst them were men from Pinnaroo.
In the local museum their photographs are displayed in a frame shaped like Australia, decorated with low-relief sprigs of wattle. The frame was the work of Adelaide picture framer Ernest W Peet and is typical of patriotically inspired items that were popular at the time.
The group photograph was taken in March 1915 at Mena Camp in Egypt. All those depicted were in the 10th Battalion except Fred Chapman, who was a member of the 12th Battalion. By the end of the Gallipoli campaign one man had been evacuated through illness, at least four others had been wounded, and one had died. Private Percy William Venning died of his wounds aboard the hospital ship Galeka on 28 April and was buried at sea.
Two popular young men were the Docking brothers – Franz Albert, aged 26, and Lionel Theodore Claude, aged 23 – who were farewelled at a social in the Rosy Pine Hall when they enlisted in May 1916. A year later they were killed by heavy shell fire at Bullecourt, France.
Local man Lance Corporal Eric Milton Edwards, 10th Battalion, wrote to his parents in Pinnaroo from ‘Somewhere in France’ and related the details of the deaths of the brothers:
The two boys who were always together, were lying side by side, and were killed instantaneously just where they lay ... I was able to see that they were buried, and went last night and marked the grave, so that as soon as we advance it will be properly marked with a cross by the party responsible for this work. I feel it would be some comfort to the parents.
The Advertiser newspaper reported that ‘they were manly young fellows, and entered on their duty with quiet determination to uphold the honor of the country and district’.
Their father, James Docking, was devastated by the deaths of his sons and never fully recovered from the loss.
Another casualty of the Bullecourt action was Lance Corporal Clement Gore, 27th Battalion, who was medically discharged after receiving several serious gunshot wounds to his arms and legs.
Service Record for Private Percy William Venning, No. 965, 10th Battalion: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8397820
Service Record for Private Franz Albert Docking, No. 6236, 10th Battalion: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3510137
Service Record for Private Lionel Theodore Claude Docking, No. 6237, 10th Battalion: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3510142
Heartbreaks and Happiness: the history and family tree of the Docking Family of South Australia, Ridgehaven, 1989.
‘Biographical Particulars: Two Brothers Killed’, The Advertiser ,Tuesday 12 June: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/5593721?searchTerm=docking%20pinnaroo&searchLimits=l-decade=191|||l-year=1917|||sortby=dateAsc
Service Record for Lance Corporal Clement Alfred Gore, No. 2654A, 10th Battalion: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=4774971
Pinnaroo Historical Society
Mallee Tourist & Heritage Centre
Railway Terrace South
Pinnaroo SA 5304
Phone 02 6386 2555