|Four McGhie brothers, Arnold, John, George
and William (see below) all served in WWI and WWII. All survived except
for George, who died due to infection in Singapore. William McGhie is
my grand father.
As reported in the Western Mail for May 1941
The note below is from my great grand father, James McGhie, allowing his son, William McGhie, aged 19, to go to war in 1915. This was required if you were under 21.
My grand father, William Mcghie, joined the army on March 12 1915 at Geralton, Western Australia. Service number 1109. He was aged 19 years and 6 months and was a labourer in civilian life. His war records show he had 10 weeks "H" Coy (company) service in the 88th division prior to joining the army. He embarked from Fremantle on the Kanowna on the 30 of June 1915, arriving at Gallipoli on the 25th of October 1915. His stay on the Gallipoli peninsular was of only 2 months, as I gather horses were not of much use with the steep hilly terrain, departing Gallipoli on the 25th of October 1915 for Alexandria North Africa, arriving on the 26th of December 1915. Attached to the 3rd Light Horse, the 10th Light Horse and the 3rd machine gun squadron, he served in many areas of North Africa, Heliopolis, Tel-El, Kebir, Bally Bunion, Hod-Elfatir, Et Maler, El Burg and Masaid.
There is no mention in his service records of being wounded but suffered many of the typical illnesses such as, Dysentery, Bronchitis, Gastritus, Diarrhoea and a nasty blood parasite called Bilharizosis, caught most likely swimming in a river, perhaps the Nile. He was invalided to Port Darwin Australia arriving on the 15th of November 1918 still suffering from Bilharizosis, of which there was no cure until the 1980's.
During his time in North Africa he became a successful boxer in the army and on his return to Australia boxed professionally in Geraldton for several years. He married Margaret Reynardson.
He appears to not have received his WWI medals, as they were posted to his parents address, but they had long moved and they were returned. Yet to track them down.
An Article in the "listening Post" for June 1959, a eulogy for my grand father by a WWI mate.
Vale, Billy McGhie!
I've just received a note to say another pal has passed away.
An old mate I will ne'er forget in memory still I see him yet.
One of the 10th, and 3rd M.G. was known to all, young Billie McGhie
On early morning's first parade was always last to make the grade.
Boots unlaced, and trousers too, a shock of thick black hair he grew.
A harder case you'd seldom see, popular too, young Billie McGhie.
A dinkum lad, and a devil may care, a bit of a snag in the hempen square.
He'd never bully, he'd never bluff, he'd take them on tho' big and tough.
Would tip the scales at 11st. 3 - of fine physique, was Billie McGhie.
He had no time for guns and war, and never liked the Provost Corps.
With him one time on Cairo leave, a chap with M.P. on his sleeve was taking a lad to Kast-el-nil. Bill said: "Yes, like hell you will; Leave him here, he's jake with me." (I guess he'd heard of Billie McGhie).
On long night rides 'cross Sinai (where many of our cobbers lie).
At Gaza, on that April morn, they opened fire at crack of dawn.
Some sound advice, he gave to me, calm, and cool, young Billie McGhie.
He transferred to the "Divvy train" and aften scrounged a bag of grain.
Scran was scarce for man and beast (a tough old joint that Middle East).
He often brought our troop "buckshee" - a generous lad was Billie McGhie.
When at last the job was done (they told us, then, the war we'd won).
We "handed in" our horse and pack, talked of home when we got back.
Before we got back to Tripoli, I said "Goodbye" to Billie McGhie.
Later on in '24, I met old Bill McGhie once more.
He went back West, then I was told, Wiluna way in quest of gold.
Then later on in '43, back to war went Bill McGhie.
He told me this, two years ago, when to the West I chanced to go.
A lot of my mates I saw, "remnants" of the '14 war;
Old boys of the 3rd M.G., and on parade old Bill McGhie.
Not quite the Bill I used to know; his steep was halt, his movement slow;
Eyes, no longer keen and bright, his jet black hair was streaked with white;
Not half the man he used to be, but time, alas, was running out.
And when I gripped him by the hand, and bade farewell to Groper Land, little did I guess 'twould be my last "Goodbye" to Billie McGhie.
As the days and nights pass on, we think of those old mates who've gone.
Old Tony, Vid, Jack and Ted, Howard Smith, old Alf and Fred.
In the great VALHALLA, they will be, to answer REVEILLE with Bill McGhie.
My grand father after WWI had many jobs. He was a professional boxer, flour miller, and gold miner. He joined the army on the 7th of April 1940 in Kalgoorlie. He lied about his age, giving his date of birth as 1905, when it actually was 1896, as he was too old to join up. His service number was WX 1977. He sailed from Sydney on the 30th of August 1940 and disembarked at Palestine on the 30th of September 1940. His records show it was a short stay, as he returned to Australia on the Queen Mary on the 27th of May 1941, for "special duty", no mention on his records as to what that was. On returning to Perth via train he was hospitalised with a peptic ulcer and eventually discharged on the 20th September 1941.