by Dawn Goldney
Woodville Business Association members, Trevor Jew and Chris Hannaford, recently discovered they share a special connection stretching back 100 years. Their grandfathers, Victor (Vic) Goldney and Ted Jew, were good friends, both serving in the 32nd Battalion of the AIF in WWI.
Vic Goldney, from South Australia’s Old Dry Creek, and Trevor Jew, from Lucknow in country Victoria first met at Brighton’s Methodist Training Home. In mid-1915, with the permission of Church authorities, they left their ministry training and enlisted in the AIF.
Vic and Ted joined the 32nd Battalion, first at the Mitcham Camp and then Woodville’s Cheltenham Racecourse for initial training. In November 1915 they sailed for Egypt. There, they endured the heat and constant exercises, but also enjoyed a brief respite to visit the pyramids where they shared a camel ride. They became separated when Vic joined the machine gun unit, while Ted remained with the infantry division; however they kept in touch as often as possible.
The 32nd Battalion joined the front lines in France in June 1916, in time for some of the worst battles of the war. Days of marching with full gear left Vic hospitalised with badly chafed legs. As a result he missed July’s Battle of Fromelles, one of Australia’s costliest WWI battles. Ted, however, found himself in the thick of the fight:
“The never to be forgotten day of July 19th, our first bayonet charge. At day break on the 20th we were ordered to fix bayonets again. Another charge. I might say we lost heavily. The carnage is a sight one would like to wipe out of one’s mind. The morning of the 20th I lost many great friends and right before my eyes”. Ted Jew, letter to home, 31 December 1916.
Adelaide’s The Advertiser newspaper saw the horrendous event as a “holocaust”. Most of the 32nd Battalion soldiers had no army experience but, as many were farmers or country boys, they did have experience with rifles. One German report mentioned their great capacity to shoot and proceed fearlessly into battle even though they were surrounded by dead or dying comrades.
During 1916, Vic and Ted enjoyed leave in England at different times but on one occasion were reunited. “Just fancy in London we met up,” wrote Ted. “One would not think it possible.” They went to church together on the following Sunday morning.
Vic and Ted survived the war and their friendship continued. They returned to their ministerial training and were ordained together as Methodist Ministers in March 1920. Vic Goldney was the minister at the Woodville Methodist Church on Woodville Road from 1937-1941.
Ted and Vic’s grandsons, Trevor Jew and Chris Hannaford, both work within 500m of the Church today.
For more information on the Battle of Fromelles: https://www.awm.gov.au/military-event/E159/
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