Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day - Donald Tuke

Today is Anzac day in Australia and New Zealand so I thought it appropriate to post the information I have on Donald Tuke.

There was only one D Tuke listed in the CWGC. At first I thought it was the wrong man as he was Australian but I checked it out with the australian archives (excellent, loads of ww1 records freely available online) and found that he was born in Liverpool! I think this is the right person :)

Donald Tuke

Donald Tuke was born 17th August 1895 in Pudsey, Yorkshire and was baptised in a non-conformist church.
 As shown below in the 1901 census return, his family were living in West Hartlepool and his father was the manager of a boot shop.


In the 1911 census return (below) his father was still the manager of a boot (& shoe) shop but the family were now in Liverpool.

Donald then emigrated to New South Wales, Australia where he worked as a salesman.
On the 12th May 1917 he enlisted and put his place of birth as Liverpool.
Source: National Archives of Australia
His papers show he wasn't the model soldier:
Source: National Archives of Australia

Donald went AWOL a few times during his training in England, was caught out of bounds without a pass and failed to obey an order. Nothing too serious (or not to us civilians anyway!)

He arrived in France 14th May 1918 and was killed in action on 9th August 1918.
The 18th Battalion were involved in the Battle of Amiens which began on 8th August in the first phase of the '100 days offensive' which ended the war.

There are some interesting records in Donald Tuke's file, including an insight into the paperwork involved, one shows that his mother enlisted the Australian Department of Defense to help track down Donald's belongings which he left behind in Australia, and his savings bank also got in touch requesting proof of his death.
Source: National Archives of Australia

There is also correspondence with a Miss F Warden of Clarence River, New South Wales who wanted to know Donald's service number so she could write to him. Sadly her letter was dated 16th August 1918, after his death. Was she his sweetheart?
Source: National Archives of Australia
 Finally, some information about what happened to his body: "This soldier was killed by shell fire on 9th Aug 1918 during attack on FRAMERVILLE.    His body was left with two others in a gun pit about 200 yards West of La FL OILMILL [?] There is no record of burial."
Source: National Archives of Australia
There is also this record of his body being exhumed and buried in the cemetery North of Harbonnieres as is recorded on his CWGC record.
Source: National Archives of Australia


Anonymous said...

Thanks Amanda. Donald is commemorated on the Pudsey Cenotaph too. I have been researching the background of all our soldiers and your information has been of huge benefit. Pudsey used to have a large shoe factory located on Lidgett Hill, it would have had an outlet shop too. Also the Crimbles where Donald was born is located next to the old Lowtown train station.
All the best, Damon (Pudsey&Farsley RBL).

Amanda said...

I'm glad you've found the site useful and thanks for the information about Pudsey.