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Lest we forget: Gallipoli, 100 years

David Burtenshaw  April 24, 2015 12:00 PM

Philip Robin, George Beames, Thomas Storey and Brunel Nash all farewelled Norwood in August, 1914 to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force

Philip Robin, George Beames, Thomas Storey and Brunel Nash all farewelled Norwood in August, 1914 to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force

Four young men, from one South Australian football club, were photographed together ready for war.

Philip Robin, George Beames, Thomas Storey and Brunel Nash all farewelled Norwood in August 1914, joining teammates and thousands of others to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force soon after Great Britain declared war on Germany.

The 10th Battalion, recruited in South Australia, arrived in Egypt in early December and these men played football for their battalion at their camp in view of the pyramids.

While in Egypt, they sent a letter home to the Norwood Football Club: “As everything points to an early departure from Egypt for the 3rd Brigade this may be our last opportunity at wishing our old club every success for the coming season and a brilliant climb to the position of premiers 1915.”

Soon after, on April 25 1915, they were among the first of 15,000 Australian troops to land at Gallipoli.

Two of the four in this photo were killed in the first few days of the ill-fated battle.

Robin represented South Australia in its successful 1911 national carnival and the wingman won Norwood’s best and fairest that same season. A bank teller, he was granted permission to marry army nurse Nellie Honeywill, in Cairo, early in 1915. But after advancing further into the Gallipoli hills alongside scout Arthur Blackburn further than anyone else would manage in the campaign, he was killed. There were some reports he was killed on the first day, others say it was April 28. Blackburn would later become first South Australian to receive the Victoria Cross.

Nash, who played 12 league games for Norwood, disappeared on the first day and then confirmed as being killed on May 2. One of the witnesses was Beames, who was wounded on May 19 and then again in France more than a year later. But he recovered and returned to Adelaide at the end of the war, playing some more league games with Norwood in 1919.

Storey was also twice wounded in action, first in Gallipoli in September 1915 and then in France less than a year later. He was discharged and returned to Adelaide after the war.

Robin, Beames, Storey and Nash were four of 82 Norwood league or reserves players who left for the war and all are profiled in a new book – World War I, the Norwood men who served - now available at the Norwood Football Club.

Dozens of other South Australian footballers were also among the 35,000 who enlisted from this State and many were among the 60,000 Australians who died in World War I, including 1912 Magarey Medallist Dave Low, who played for West Torrens.

South Australia’s first triple Magarey Medallist, Tommy MacKenzie, was badly wounded by shellfire in France in 1916.

But the SANFL has no official count of its war veterans and its history committee is now seeking help to build a list of all SA players who served in World War I.

Lest we forget.