#52 ancestors 52 weeks: week 44

Edward Waller Loades 683A enlisted at Keswick Barracks on July 14 1915[2]. He was single, 26 years and 8 months old, 5 feet five and a quarter inches tall, a labourer with brown hair and grey eyes[3] Edward commonly called Ted was born 16th September 1889, the youngest of six children to Edward Waller Loades and Margaret Ann Reed[4]. Whether Ted enlisted for patriotic reasons, to have an adventure overseas, or because of the reduction in the minimum height for soldiers in June 1915 are a matter for speculation [5] [6]. On wonders if on arrival in France and at the Somme whether life became frightening.

Mitcham Camp [7]

On enlistment in 1915 Ted like many others in South Australia ended up at the Mitcham training camp. This soon changed when he was transferred to A Coy on 9 Aug, for pay purposes 16th August 1915 [8]. The Battalion diaries also not his appointment as a driver fro headquarters first line transport. It was as a driver that Ted was shipped out to the Middle East. The 32nd battalion arrived in Egypt around the time the 4th Battalion was being formed. In April of 1916 Ted moved to the 48th Battalion as a driver and was then taken on strength as a private in the 4th Australian Pioneers.


Communication Trench [9]
On arrival in France the 4th Pioneers arrived in the Somme just before the Battle of Pozieres began. The role of the pioneers was to ensure that communication trenches were built, railways and roads built, as well as dugouts and trenches for war fare. The battalion diaries reflect the work of the Pioneers as that stated by Westerman, they worked on building and repairing communication trenches, duckwalks, roads, railways, reinforcing tunnels and improving camps sites[10] [11]. As a driver within the 4th Pioneers one of Ted’s roles would be to move the materials for the jobs to be undertaken and salvaging materials[13]. Conditions were harsh and often uncomfortable, with rain, snow and hail impacting on their work. Certainly, it was not the great adventure that many thought they would have when they sailed to the other side of the world. It certainly would have been frightening for ted and his mates, none of them would have experienced anything like this in the life. While always maintaining a calm exterior.

Burying the enemy war dead [14]
The diaries of the 4th Pioneers resonate with the place names and battles of the Western Front including Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres, Polygon Wood, The Somme, Villers Bretonneux, and Passchendaele [15]. Ted’s service records suggest that he was there for all the major battles from June 1916 when they landed in France from Cairo until August 1918 when he was on leave until mid-September[16]. One can only imagine that the world of war was a frightening place and to be there for nearly 4 years would impact on how you viewed the world.

Edward Waller (Ted) Loades [17]


[1] Australian War Memorial (1917). H16999 Ypres, Belgium. 1917. AIF Pioneers building a light railway (or tramway) line. (Purchased from C. Wadeson). Item copyright: Copyright expired – public domain

[2] Service Record of Edward Waller Loades, p. 1, B2455, National Archives of Australia

[3] Service Record of Edward Waller Loades, p. 3.

[4] Birth Certificate of Edward Waller Loades, born 16 September 1889, South Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Adelaide 445/407.

[5] Australian War Memorial, Encyclopedia Enlistment Standards Accessed 22 April 2017.

[6] Philip Payton, Australia in the Great War, London, Robert Hale, 2015 p.19.

[7] Australian War Memorial Swith, W. S (circa 1915) H16174 Adelaide, South Australia. A march past of AIF trainees at Mitcham Camp. (Donor A.W. Bazley). Copyright expired – public domain

[8] AWM4 Subclass 23/49 – 32nd Infantry Battalion

[9] Australian War Memorial (1916). Ernest Brooks EZ0100 The field of battle, seen from the communication trench known as Centre Way and looking towards Mouquet Farm. In the distance three shells are bursting within the German lines. Two soldiers wearing steel helmets are crouching in a trench on the far right. In the foreground are some sandbags. Between 23 July and early September 1916, as part of the Somme Offensive, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions between them launched 19 attacks on German positions in and around the ruins of Pozieres. Copyright expired – public domain

[10] Westerman, ‘The Handy Man of the Division”, p. 51

[11] Australian War Memorial, ‘AWM4 Subclass 14/16  4th Pioneers Battalion’.

[12] Australian War Memorial, ‘AWM4 Subclass 14/16  4th Pioneers Battalion’.

[13] Australian War Memorial, ‘AWM4 Subclass 14/16  4th Pioneers Battalion’.

[14] Australian War Memorial (1918) A01925 Burying fallen enemy soldiers after the Battle of Amiens which took place on 8 August 1918.

[15] Australian War Memorial, ‘AWM4 Subclass 14/16  4th Pioneers Battalion’.

[16] Service Record of Edward Waller Loades, p. 3.

[17] Photograph of Edward Waller LOADES in the possession of the author.






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