Cemetery list sparks seach for soldier who served in both world wars
OVER the past few years efforts have been made to index all those from our area who were attached to the armed services, especially those who fought overseas.
Included are those who were born here, lived or enlisted here, or had some other connection with the area.
Some time ago a listing in the Alstonville Cemetery index gave us the name of Cyril Ernest Connors who died in 1942.
Listed in one war only
At first glance he would appear to be a Second World War soldier.
Searches for his record however revealed he was born at Berry in 1890 which means he would have been 52 when he died. This would not cause surprise had he been an officer, or even an NCO but he was listed only as a private.
He was not listed in our local First World War file.
A search of the Army records shows that he did enlist in the First World War but not in this area.
He rose to the rank of Warrant Officer, Class 2 but his record was not on file as it had been combined with his Second World War record.
Searching his Army number in the Embarkation File provided nothing – he is not listed there. The Nominal Roll does however list him as a member of the 6th Light Horse Regiment and states that he enlisted at Adamstown on October 1, 1914.
Went to Gallipoli
This date of enlistment suggested he probably went to Gallipoli and further searches revealed quite a lot about Cyril Ernest Connors, though no explanation as to why he is not listed as having embarked.
He went to Gallipoli with the 6th Light Horse but became ill with influenza in October 1915 and was evacuated to Malta.
He spent six months there and then returned to Egypt where he joined the Imperial Camel Corps and rose to the rank of Company Quarter Master Sergeant.
This unit saw some heavy fighting. He was wounded several times.
In 1918 the Camel Corps was disbanded and he transferred back to the Light Horse.
He returned to Australia on leave in November 1918 just as the war was ending.
Life outside of war
Apparently prior to enlisting in 1914 he was employed as a horse-breaker and he was a member of the Berry Lancers Militia Regiment.
After the war he worked at Camden on the Macarthur-Onslow property as stud master. He later worked at the Government experimental farm at Wollongbar but on enlistment in the Second World War was working in the Hunter Valley.
He must however have been in our area for some time as he married Vera A. Coleman at Murwillumbah in 1922.
Cyril and Vera had at least two daughters but one died aged only eight months. She is also buried at Alstonville.
His wife’s family has a strong association with this area through the Ainsworths as well as the Colemans.
Cyril enlisted in the Second World War in January 1942 and was attached to the Camp Staff at Raymond Terrace.
He had been involved with recruit training in Egypt during the First World War so possibly this is what he was doing in the Second.
However, he died of a heart attack in June 1942 and was brought home to Alstonville for burial.
At least one of his seven brothers was also in our area while another, Eric Connors, enlisted in the First World War but was killed in France in 1916.