1918 Return to rowing

A meeting was held on Saturday February 9th, 1918 to restart the activities of the club after the war .

This notice appeared in the meetings column of the Ballarat Star:

BALLARAT CITY ROWING CLUB

A meeting of members and intending members of the above club will be held at the boatshed, Wendouree Parade, on Monday evening 11th inst.8.30pm. Business: To discuss financial position; nomination of new members and general.

                                                                                A.A.O’Dea, Acting Secretary.

Most of 1917-18 season had already passed so it wouldn’t be until the following season that training and racing could get fully under way again.

“The club has reason to feel proud that it has been so well represented in the greatest war that the world has ever seen and in recognition of that response an honour board is now approaching completion and will contain nearly fifty names ten of whom made the supreme sacrifice.”

It was the first Annual meeting held for three and a half years. The club had been obliged to close the shed for two years so consequently when everyone returned the shed and equipment were in a very dilapidated condition. Jas Tulloch was the president. He was caretaker during the war and had been involved with the club for 25 years since 1884.

The club started with a credit balance of 5 pounds two and threepence with all old debts from before the war squared up. Ballarat Rowing Club kindly gave the club a practice eight that was worth 25 pounds for a few pounds and the committee set about procuring a new set of oars.

A band of earnest workers made the shed safe and habitable. Messrs. W. Nankervis, J. Frees, G. Eaton, J. Hazelgrove, J. Hodges, Lethborg and club Captain P. Cram gave the old shed a thorough overhaul in their spare time. The old wooden structure was now about 50 years old.

Lt.Col. A.W. Bennett had returned from the war and was re-elected as president. Subscriptions were raised to 1 pound 1 shilling from last season’s amount of 10 shillings. Most metropolitan clubs were charging between 1 pound 10 shillings and 3 pounds 3 shillings. The president said it would cost 10 pounds to put the shed in order. Mr. Tulloch forfeited his debenture.

I am including two brief profiles of members who are listed on the club’s honor board W. Brazenor and J.F.Gear. I would like people to know the stories and the faces behind the names. They were just ordinary men who did extraordinary things. I, for one, would like to keep their memory alive by recording their achievments.

 LIEUTENANT COLONEL WILLIAM BRAZENOR DSO MiD- joined the Australian Imperial Force in March 1915 and in May was allotted to the 23rd Battalion as captain commanding ‘C’ Company. He sailed for Egypt that month, was promoted major in August and, from September until the evacuation, fought with distinction at Gallipoli, particularly Lone Pine. His unit served in the Sinai Desert in early 1916 then, in March, left for France where it saw action on the Somme. Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in December, Brazenor commanded the battalion in all its 1917-18 operations; in 1917 these included the battles of Bullecourt and Ypres and in 1918 Amiens, the Somme, Hamel and Mont St Quentin. Between October 1917 and December 1918 he also temporarily commanded the 6th Brigade on five occasions. His brigade commander spoke of him as a man of ‘very great initiative, coolness and determination’ and ‘a born fighter in the field’. He was mentioned in dispatches three times for outstanding service and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in January 1918. For conspicuous gallantry in the battle of Hamel he received a Bar to this award.

Lieutenant John Foster Gear MC enlisted on the 12th of May, 1915.He was aged 20 and was a student.His father was James Gear. He joined the 24th Battalion. He fought at Gallipoli and in France with great distinction. He was awarded the Military Cross on 31st of July 1918 at Hamel. He was killed by a German sniper on the 12th of October 1918.

He is buried at the Ramiscourt British Cemetary near St. Quentin

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