The Conscription Referendum Heats Up and a Report About Pte Raymond Charles Bishop at Fromelle
Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of 21 October 1916, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:
REFERENDUM VOTING – Persons voting at the Referendum on the 28th for or against Conscription, are advised to read the Commonwealth Electoral Registrars’ advertisement on our inside sheet setting forth the various polling places throughout the Eden-Monaro Electorate.
COMMITTED – The twelve I.W.W. men, who had been arrested in Sydney and Broken Hill on a charge of treason, were committed for trial in the General Criminal Court on 20th November. Bail was refused.
(Note-IWW represents the International Workers of the World movement}
AGAINST CONSCRIPTION – One of the largest open-air meetings we have ever seen in Moruya was held on Wednesday night at the corner of Queen and Vulcan Streets, where Messrs. Webster, Lestrange and Guest delivered addresses against Compulsory Service Abroad. A wagon was drawn up on the vacant allotment near Irwin’s shop, and from an elevated position upon it the various speakers were heard right to the outside of the large crowd.
MILITARY SERVICE – About 103 eligibles reported themselves for medical examination and fitness at the local Depot during Wednesday and Thursday. All those passed, who did not apply for an exemption, will leave by car for Kiama camp on Thursday next.
PRIVATE RAY C. BISHOP – Some three weeks ago we published a letter from Quarter Master Sergeant Bishop, a son of Mrs. W. Bishop, of Eurobodalla, who was fighting in the big battle of Armentieres. In the same battle his brother, Pte. Ray C. Bishop was wounded.
In a letter received from Pte. Bert Bishop, of Milton, 55th Batt., who was in the same engagement as Ray described how he fell and was in the retirement early in the morning on the 20th July he and another had volunteered to try and shift a party of German bombers near their gun (machine gun) who were giving a lot of trouble, and so give the gun a better chance of getting away. Each took a load of bombs and made for the Germans.
Ray’s mate was killed before he had gone three yards and Ray himself was down before he had got half-way. He fell and then crawled on his hands and knees but before he got far the Germans, who were now coming on in scores, cut him off. It was impossible for his mates to do anything for him, it was all they could do to get their gun back. Bert did not see this himself, but the other men on the same gun told him of it afterward.
His comrades considered it a splendid action and said he deserved a V.C. for it. Of course, they all consider he was taken prisoner. His wound was in the thigh and they thought it was a slight one. Willie Bishop, a son of Edwin Bishop of Casino, died of wounds received in the same engagement, and a second son, Walter, has been wounded in France.
Bert says that all the old Gallipoli men say that there was nothing on the peninsula to equal the fighting, not even the landing. He himself escaped without a scratch.
Editor’s Note: Raymond Charles Bishop’s remains were discovered in 2010 buried in a mass grave. They were formally identified through DNA analysis. Pvt Bishop is now buried in The Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, Fromelles.
TOWN TALK –
– That the poor old pensioner, Gibson did not last long after being bumped over the rough roads from Nerrigundah to the Moruya Cottage Hospital; and
– That our charitable residents won’t realise the great necessity that exists for the establishment in this district of an Ambulance until a few more unfortunate creatures have been jolted out of this world by our present day charitable conveyances.
– That the whole district looks a perfect picture with its mantle of green.
– That our Devil can see nothing very dreadful in enlisting; and
– That if he was eligible he would have he would have been off to the front long ago.
– That camp drill makes men of the raw recruit, and the experience a young man gets through travel and the war is worth far more than the risks he takes of being bombed into Paradise, as the percentage of these who throw No 7 is only 4.
– That it is pleasing to know that the authorities do not intend now to conscript our primary producers or those in necessary industries; and
– That Mr James Turner has had an ingrowing toenail removed under chloroform in the Moruya Hospital by Dr Quilter.
Seventeen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1915 are available ($5 ea) from the Society’s rooms. Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the Society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Museum in Campbell St. Moruya (www.mdhs.org.au).