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3175 Pte. Valentine Sparkes


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#1 joad

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:45 AM

Hi

I have the Aust. Red Cross Enquiry Bureau Files on my Great Uncle Valentine Camps Sparkes.

He was captured at Fleurbaix on July 20, 1916.

I also have a newspaper article he wrote for The (Foster) Mirror newspaper published in Gippsland, Victoria through the month of June 1919 in which he describes his capture, life as a POW and three (!!!) escape attempts. Happy to Share more on that - he was RTA 05 / 03 / 19. I would be grateful for any tips on how I can find out more about him

I am wondering though how his capture at Fleurbaix relates to the battle of Fromelles. They were both concurrent, was Fleurbaix village part of the overall Fromelles objectives?

Thanks

Adam

#2 aley

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 06:44 AM

Adam, Fleurbaix and Fromelles, 19 - 20 July, are the same action.

Try 'Don't Forget Me Cobber: The Battle of Fromelles' by Robin S Corfield, recently re-published.

"I would be grateful for any tips on how I can find out more about him"

A little unsure from your post as to whether you've looked at his service record?:

http://naa12.naa.gov...s...mp;I=1&SE=1

Graeme Hosken's 'Digging for Diggers. A guide to researching an Australian soldier of the Great War 1914-1918' may help.

Argus:

http://newspapers.nl...e Camps Sparkes


David

#3 joad

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:56 PM

David

Thanks for that.

I had tried the NAA and got a record but the record seemed to be unavailable on line, thanks again.

I had not tried the Argus although I have used their records at other times.

I also tried to locate a copy of Graeme Hosken's 'Digging for Diggers. A guide to researching an Australian soldier of the Great War 1914-1918' on the abebooks site but it came back with no results. Is there an ISBN for that book?

I am resident in the Solomon Islands so research can be a challenge, especially when a thorough amateur like me. I am quite interested to get a copy of Graeme Hosken's book.

Val Sparkes article states he was captured about an hour after dawn on July 20. He says a decreasing group of the 55th battalion held part of the German 2nd line all night and about 10 surrendered together. They were marched to Lille then taken by train into Germany.

Adam

#4 liverpool annie

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:47 AM





I found this Adam ...... !

Digging for Diggers

Shortlisted for The Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing for 2003.
This book is the definitive guide to researching the military history of a WW1 Digger. In a step by step approach, author Graeme Hosken provides the researcher with all of the information and tools necessary to complete the task.
80 pages plus cover
ISBN 0-9580273-2-3
Published October 2002
Author Graeme Hosken
Published by ADCC Publications

http://www.anzacday....t_info/d4D.html

#5 aley

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:43 AM

Adam, another from the Argus dated 19th October 1916. Only brief:

http://newspapers.nl...c...m="sparkes"

Regarding Dulmen, Westphalia POW Camps, maybe something of interest/relevant here:

http://1914-1918.inv...showtopic=75109

http://www.1914-1918...andad/camps.htm

AWM collections search type Dulmen and you'll get quite a few images. Here's an example of one:

Attached File  dulmen.jpeg   49.63KB   3 downloads

Corfields book available here:

http://shop.abc.net....roductid=548653

Given the Sparkes family were well known in Foster perhaps the local historical society may have something? Here:

The Secretary,
The Foster and District Historical Society Inc.,
PO Box 231, FOSTER, 3960.

http://www.promaccom.../foster/Museum/


"From palings to pavements : a history of Foster 1870-1995, in three parts" / [written by H. C. Wilson, Rupe Cunningham and Geoff Esler ; compiled by Geoff Esler and Brendon Baker]
Publisher/Date: [Foster, Vic. : South Gippsland Pub., 1995?]

On page 16 of this publication there is an image of Valentines father and mother outside their home "Rose Cottage". The society no doubt has a copy of this publication? Unfortunately there is nothing relating to WW1 in it.

David

#6 joad

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:20 PM

Thanks again David

I checked the links and it seems a lot of the prisoners followed the same path in to captivity and had similar experiences. Uncle Val mentions walking back through the German lines as they were being heavily shelled and some of the prisoners were wounded and an escort killed which resulted in some rough treatment. They were paraded through Lille under the escort of Uhlans and delivered to the station. He writes as being variously held at Dulmen, Sennelager, Staumanese, Gennelager, Duisburg and Munster 1. I will look for references to them on AWM and GWF today.

His first escape attempt was from Munster 1, on November 5, 1917. He was recaptured at Dortmund and returned to Munster 1.

He escaped again from Munster 1 and was recaptured four days later at Datteln. He arrived back at Munster 1 Strafe barrack on December 23, 1917.

Third escape was on March 21, 1918 from Munster 1 and traveled Hamburg, Neakirk, Nierte and was recaptured crossing a bridge about 10 kms from the Dutch border. He was taken to Straelen and then esccorted to Friedrichfeld Lager then to a strafe kommando near Essen.

I have been looking through the AWM photographic collection of the photoes taken and sent to Miss M. E. Chalmers of the Aust. Red Cross. A great archive that one.

I have found that Val Sparkes had a twin brother William Hamilton Sparkes, who served with the 31 battalion and was gassed at Messines. He RTA and both brothers farmed at Foster.

I do have two of Robin Corfields books, Hold Hard Cobbers and Dont forget me Cobber. Unfortunately the tropics are not a good place to bring books you want to keep so I get to read them once generally and then send them back to go into storage with the rest of our household effects. We have been in the Solomons and PNG for over 10 years now so I face the problem of not having reference books to hand.

So what I mean to say David is thanks for the leads

Adam