They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Quite a few of the Heneker boys went away to war, however at this stage I have only been able to find one World War 1 soldier, he being Robert James Heneker, 1890 – 1964. Robert James was the son of James Heneker (jnr) 1850-1926, son of James Heneker, 1826-1917.
Robert James married Doris Ethel Reeves on 16 November 1912 at Norwood, South Australia
On the 7 August 1916 Robert James enlisted into the Australian Imperial Forces.
The 32nd Battalion was raised as part of the 8th Brigade at Mitcham, on the outskirts of Adelaide, on 9 August 1915. Only two companies were raised from South Australian enlistees – another two were formed in Western Australia and joined the battalion at the end of September. The battalion sailed from Adelaide on 18 November 1915.
The 8th Brigade joined the newly raised 5th Australian Division in Egypt, and proceeded to France, destined for the Western Front, in June 1916. The 32nd Battalion fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19 July 1916, having only entered the front-line trenches 3 days previously. The attack was a disastrous introduction to battle for the 32nd -‘ it suffered 718 casualties, almost 75 per cent of the battalion’s total strength, but closer to 90 per cent of its actual fighting strength. Although it still spent periods in the front line, the 32nd played no major offensive role for the rest of the year.
In early 1917, the German Army withdrew to the Hindenburg Line allowing the British front to be advanced and the 32nd Battalion participated in the follow-up operations. The battalion subsequently missed the heavy fighting to breach the Hindenburg Line during the second battle of Bullecourt as the 8th Brigade was deployed to protect the division’s flank. The only large battle in 1917 in which the 32nd Battalion played a major role was Polygon Wood, fought in the Ypres sector in Belgium on 26 September.
Unlike some AIF battalions, the 32nd had a relatively quiet time during the German Spring Offensive of 1918 as the 5th Division was largely kept in reserve. The Allies launched their own offensive with the battle of Amiens on 8 August, in which the 32nd Battalion participated. It was subsequently involved in the operations that continued to press the retreating Germans through August and into September. The 32nd fought its last major action of the war between 29 September and 1 October when the 5th and 3rd Australian Divisions and two American divisions attacked the Hindenburg Line across the top of the 6-kilometre-long St Quentin Canal tunnel; the canal was a major obstacle in the German defensive scheme.
The 32nd was resting and retraining out of the line when the war ended on 11 November 1918. On 8 March 1919, after the gradual repatriation of men to Australia, the remnants of the 32nd Battalion were merged with the 30th Battalion.
https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51472/ – Australian War Memorial
Robert had 2 children listed on his Enlistment form of 7 August 1916.
Robert James and Doris Ethel were parents to Jean and Robert Reginald James at the time he went to war.
Robert James Heneker came back from the war and lived on until he was 74 years of age, passing away on 13 September 1964.
World War II
Henry Tremelling Heneker
Born on the 23 June 1920 in Hawker, South Australia Henry enlisted at Wayville, South Australia on the 5 July 1943. Henry’s parents were Joseph Charles Heneker and Maureen Sharam. Joseph Charles Heneker was the son of Joseph Heneker, son of James Heneker, therefore Henry was a great grandson of James Heneker 1826-1917.
Henry married Maureen Sharam of Port Augusta on 21 February 1947 at Port Augusta.
At the time of Henry’s enlistment in 1943 he was aged 23 years old.
A photograph of Henry about this time although there is no date.
The South Australian Commonwealth Electoral Rolls, 1939-1943 list Henry as being a Station Hand at Kingooyna. His mother was listed at the same place as “home duties” and his father as a “fettler”.
Henry Tremelling Heneker : Service Number – SX19927
Enlistment date: 5 July 1943
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/43rd Infantry Battalion
Henry died on 14th April 2001 at Port Augusta, South Australia.
2nd/43 Infantry Battalion
The 2nd/43rd Infantry Battalion was formed on 17 July 1940 at Woodside camp, in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The battalion was initially raised as part of the 8th Division’s 24th Brigade.
The 24th Brigade was transferred to the newly formed 9th Division in December. The 2nd/43rd left South Australia at the end of December and moved to Melbourne, where it embarked for the Middle East.
The battalion arrived at Egypt at the end of January 1941. The 24th Brigade disembarked at Suez and entrained for Palestine. The 2nd/43rd went into camp at Khassa, north of Gaza.
By early 1941 the British advance in the Western Desert had reached El Agheila. In March the 9th Division was brought to Libya, to garrison the area east of Tobruk. The division did not have enough vehicles to bring all its units forward towards Benghazi. Consequently, the 24th Brigade (comprising the 2nd/43rd, 2nd/28th, and 2nd/32nd Battalions) consolidated and stayed in Tobruk.
The situation quickly changed in April. The German Afrika Korps, leading the Axis counter-attack, pushed the British from El Agheila and the rest of the 9th Division withdrew back into the Garrison of Tobruk. The 9th Division and the 18th Brigade (including the 10th Battalion) defended the “fortress” for the next six months, becoming famous as the “Rats of Tobruk” in the process.
The 2nd/43rd evacuated Tobruk in the early hours of 17 October, as part of the general extraction of the Australian forces. They sailed to Alexandria, from where they were transferred to a camp in Palestine and later to Syria and Lebanon for rest, training, and garrison duties.
By July 1942 the war in North Africa had become critical for the British forces. The Germans and Italians had reached El Alamein in Egypt, about seventy miles from Alexandra. Consequently, the 9th Division was rushed to reinforce the Alamein “box” where they held the northern sector for almost four months as the 8th Army reinforced and re-grouped for a new offensive.
The 2nd/43rd reached the Alamein front on 5 July and two days later conducted a highly successful night raid. The 9th Division attacked on the 15th. On 17 July the 2nd/43rd and 2nd/32nd (comprising the 24th Brigade) moved inland, fighting to Ruin Ridge. The 2nd/32nd led the attack, advancing to the Qattara Track. The 2nd/43rd then followed towards Ruin Ridge, which was later briefly captured by the ill-fated 2/28th later that month. The 2/28th was overrrun at Ruin Ridge by German armour, with many killed or captured.
During the general Allied offensive from 23 October to 4 November, the 24th Brigade was in reserve. Its task was to deceive the Axis forces by carrying out a diversionary operation. The 2nd/43rd and 2nd/28th raided enemy positions, while the 2nd/32nd directed a smokescreen and created dummy positions in no man’s land. The 24th Brigade did not take part in the main fighting until the night of 31 October, when it relieved the 26th Brigade and moved up to the ‘Blockhouse’ . On 1 November the 2nd/43rd suffered over a hundred casualties in just one day, its worst day to that point.
Alamein was a triumph for the Allies although at great cost. By 6 November Axis forces were retreating, further compromised by failing logistics. But by then it had been decided that the 9th Division was to return to Australia. In December the 2nd/43rd went to Gaza, participating in the 9th Division parade on 22 December reviewed by General Alexander. In January 1943 the Division left for the Suez Canal and boarded troopships for Australia. The battalion reached Sydney on 27 February.
Alfred Clifton Heneker – Born: 5 September 1914 in Quorn, South Australia
Parents: Alfred James and Florence Minnie (nee Rogers) Heneker. Father to Alfred James was Thomas Heneker 1860-1942). Alfred was the great grandson of James Heneker 1826-1917
Service Number: S31395 Last Rank: 1941: Last Rank: Corporal:
In 1883 the South Australian Almanac and Directory 1883 by Josiah Boothy was published.
The 1883 Almanac lists the following information for the township of Beltana, South Australia.
County: Frome, Electoral Distric of Flinders; 398 miles N. Population: 391; Houses, 70 Post, Telegraph, and Money Order Offices – Postmaster, T. Bee. Local Court– J.P. Buttfield, S.M.; Clerk, H.L. Bullen; Bailiff, John Dann. Full and limited jurisdiction last Thursday in every alternate month. Hotel – Beltana (Samuel Gason); Royal Victoria (George Gates). Communication with Adelaide – Train every alternate day.
Bee, T., post and telegraph master, Hantke, T.J.C. , storekeeper, Pearce, T., storekeeper, Bralla, C. Lineman (telegraph) Hantke, V., storekeeper, Phillipson, N.E. manager Beltana station, Bullen, H.L., clerk local court , Heneker, J. gardener, Heneker, J., jun., miner, Powell, J.H., medical practitioner, Charlton, Geo., miner, Rogers, W., mining captain, Dann, J., sergeant police, Hill, W., miner, Rooney, R., butcher, Doig, J.J. blacksmith, James, H., fruiterer, Rowe, W., blacksmith, Eisfelder, W., saddler, Johnston, W., teamster , Slade, H., teamster, Gason, Saml., Beltana Hotel, Key, Alfred, teamster, Turner, H., Govt. school teacher, Gates, G., Royal Victoria Hotel, Klisser, C.L., storekeeper, Windmill, W.H. telegraph operator, Glynn, Mrs J., McDermott, J., mining prospector, Witherley, A.E., overseer Beltana station, Gunter, W., butcher, Morgan, W.H., mining prospector, O’Brien, T., railway inspector
As can be seen by the entry in the directory for 1883, James Heneker is noted as a gardener. This may seem strange considering that James has always been reported in the media of the day as a Bullock Cart Driver and other roles. However by 1883 James was 57 years of age, and perhaps he had slowed down some? It was told to me via family that James had a love of gardening, as I believe did his father Thomas Heneker. So it may be that this was his main occupation at the time. I am sure that at 57, James still had many good years in him, as he did not die until 1971 at the age of 91. However he had already lived a harsh life, albeit a very active and pioneering life. His son, James Heneker is listed as a miner. James was born in 1850, being 33 years of age in 1883. Some interesting points to consider are as shown in the list of the residents of the town, P. Doig, (Peter Doig) the town’s blacksmith and fellow helper in trying to save members of the Johnson family from the terrible fire that occurred on 15 December 1881. Also mentioned as a resident is W Johnson, a teamster whose family suffered in that tragic event. As well as being neighbours, I wonder if Mr Johnson and James Heneker worked together, both being teamsters. And of course they would have both known Peter Doig the Blacksmith well, when visiting him to care for his horses. The details shown in this almanac help us today to see how such a small township would have been affected by any tragedy that occurred. (see “The Terrible Fire” posted on 18 April 2014)
South Australian Almanac and Directory, by Josiah Boothby, 1883, page 139
I am adding the above photograph of James Heneker, which has an unknown date, as I am hoping someone who reads this may know whether it is James Heneker senior born 1826, or James Heneker Junior, born 1850. I have looked for some time to try to date the clothing, however, it is difficult to find much detail. I am tending towards it being James Heneker Junior, only because of the clothing, and that the man looks in his 30’s to me, perhaps even younger? and I tend to think James would have been older by the time a photographer took any photographs. Considering the only photograph’s that exists of James Heneker senior are of both him and Mary Ann Heneker in their elderly years, it again leads me to believe this could be his son James Heneker. I would appreciate any feedback if any reader out there has any idea.
I have been meaning to post this photograph for some time. I came across it quite a few years ago now, whilst searching the State Library of South Australia photographic collection online. The interesting thing is that I used to work at the State Library, and at the time, in what was the Archives. The State Archives has now been relocated to an outer suburban area, but I wonder if this photograph was there all the time. It is part of a collection by a photographer called Robert Mitchell, who took a series of photographs of the Beltana area, and included some amazing photographs of the Afgan cameelers, who lived in the area and worked with camels, used at the time due to their ability to withstand the heat and lack of water. I will write a further post about their role in the building of the north of South Australia. Back to the photograph of James and Mary Ann. I ordered this to be printed and when I collected it, there was a beautiful A4 size black and white photograph, with so much detail, and the first real photograph I had seen of my great great grandparents that showed me who they were and how they had lived. Having been to Beltana a number of times, with my father, and when I was younger, my memories of that hot barren landscape swept over me, and once again I wondered, how did these people from the green country areas of England manage to not only exist, but flourish, and live long healthy lives in our harsh environment.
James and Mary-Ann Heneker at Beltana, South Australia 1897, Robert Mitchell, Photographer, Pictorial Collection B 47483 ONLINE, State Library of South Australia, accessed by Vicki Lovell on 09 April 2015
Unfortunately the above photograph doesn’t replicate as well when cut and pasted into this blog, however it hopefully still gives a good idea of the bare and isolated land that my great great grandparents emigrated to and thrived in.
The same house in 1951 (photographer unknown). The trees sadly have gone, which must have made the property much hotter in the middle of a hot Australian summer.
A story that was handed down to me, has been that James Heneker had a love of gardening. The story continued that in the creek that runs somewhere through or around Beltana, was a place where James planted a tree. And the tree became known as the Heneker Tree. I am not sure where he would have planted the tree, as outback creeks are prone to “flash floods”, and usually the way you can tell there is water around (when in the outback) is to look for a line of trees, as it will mean a creek bed. Whether there is water in the creek is another thing of course!
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