Councillor Plowman announces his resignation


OWING to his professional duties necessitating his constant absence from the district, especially on the dates of meetings of the Shire Council; Councillor Plowman has definitely announced his intention to resign his seat on the North Riding which he has filled with satisfaction to the ratepayers and credit to himself for a long period.

His loss will be greatly felt, for although he has had leave of absence for some time, he has been anything but inactive in other directions in looking after the affairs of the whole shire at the Metropolitan end and many other directions a fact which is very little known, and it is hoped that when his duties are relieved or modified he may at some future time offer his services to the ratepayers.

As advertised elsewhere, Mr W. P. Mason announces that he will contest the seat rendered vacant by Councillor Plowman’s retirement.

Mr Mason’s long association with the district together with his many preambulations over its highways, combined with his accredited business abilities should qualify him as a worthy successor.

As Councillor Oates’ term expires by effluxion of time in August next there will be two seats to fill at the next election, but so far there is no mention of any one opposing him.


MR S S. Gault will hold his fortnightly sale at Somerville, on Thursday, July 19th.


PRIZES are offered for the best dressed, best sustained character, and most original costume, at the Plain and Fancy dress ball on July 25th.


A CHEQUE for £20 was received by the “Wattle” Club on Monday last, from Mr and Mrs A. H. Sargood, to be used for carrying on the work of entertaining soldiers.


MRS Haymansen and Mr Ryan are presenting prizes for the euchre tournament, to be held next Thursday evening. Leading scores for the continuous euchre, will also be made known.


AT a meeting of the Somerville Presbyterian Ladies Guild held on Saturday July 7th Mrs Chas. Grant was elected President. Mrs Grant is an energetic worker and with the support of the members, the Guild should greatly benefit.

Mrs Grant is well up in her work being President of the Fruitgrowers Ladies’ Guild and was for 12 months President of the Somerville Red Cross Society.

We wish her every success.


Echoes from the Front.


The following letter has been received form Pte W. G Connal, dated 29/4/17:

I am writing one letter to all at home to give you my version of the torpedoing of the “Ballarat”.

I will not give you what I have heard but my own experiences up to leaving here.

I was below writing home when I saw men coming hurriedly down the stairs and thought there was something wrong, those coming down said nothing for a few seconds, when one said, “there is a torpedo coming” and the following moments were dumbfoundering, waiting for her to hit, when she did it was like a dull thud, in fact we did not know whether we were hit or our own gun being fired.

I picked up my letter and made for the stairs, which it was impossible to get up on account of men coming down, so you can imagine by that, that they took things pretty easily.

By the time I got to the top most men were on their stations, which had been previously alloted to different parties. I was on the raft. There was no credit to be given to the submarine on her achievement as the ship could only do 10 knots per hour and on seeing the torpedo coming the old skipper maneuvered the ship round to such an extent that she was hit only on the starboard propeller which was lost and left a hole in its place through which the water flowed and along the shaft tunnel.

Within a very short time the men in the engine room were in water almost to their waists.

Eight volunteers were asked for to go down the stoke hole. There was a rush for the job but before they got there the water had reached the stoke hole, so they were not required.

When I reached the foredeck, the ship had sunk a lot by the stern. Some of our boats were lowered and had put off but as the ship seemed to be stationary, they were recalled. Before half an hour after the hit, smoke was seen on the horizon in different directions, also a seaplane which looked fine.

As I told you before when writing that I camped on deck always and had my kit with me so I was more lucky than others.

The destroyer that was with us knew nothing until we were hit. When they started flying round my word they do shift. The sub showed up where our boats were but the destroyer could not get a shot on account of the danger our own men ran, however we have since heard that the submarine was sunk at 10.30pm by a destroyer aided by a Seaplane the same night.

If that is true and I have reason to believe it is, the German victory was very small. When they found the ship was in a sinking condition, the boats were all put off again and the destroyer came alongside and took about 750 men on board.

I threw my kit on to her, but it burst through coming in contact with a mine sweeper which was on the stern. I never got on myself, but a trawler was alongside afterwards.

There were only 83 of our unit left on board, I amongst them. We were put on the trawler then transferred to life boats, then again the destroyer.

When we made straight to Devenport. The destroyers go through the water about 80 knots an hour. It was 2.50p.m. on Anzac day when we were hit and about 4 p.m we were all off and arrived in Devenport about 10pm.

We were put up at the Naval Barracks then, but will not mention what I saw or heard. You at home have no idea what our Navy is.

Civilians or soldiers are not allowed in the barracks so you can understand why I will not detail anything that is inside.

Be satisfied and thankful to know that we were treated with the utmost consideration and kindness by all concerned. We stayed all night in the barracks and in the morning tested the Devonshire cider which is not too bad. All the lads who took to it went as red as lobsters.

We left the barracks for Keyham station at about 4 p.m. Thursday and entrained for our destination which is here. I was never one to write much about scenery, but the trip through Devenshire is most beautiful. All hills and green fields which are separated by turf fences, with hedges on top. Plenty of rabbits and partridges browsing about.

We arrived at Borden about 2.30 a.m. on Friday. There is no town much, but plenty of soldiers. We are about 40 miles from London, have to pay our own fares, no leave at all except our embarkation leave which is four days but I heard we are to get survivors leave on account of losing our ship.

We were almost lucky enough to dodge the torpedo, but more lucky in getting our S.O.S. out as soon after the wireless system broke down, but was fixed later.

The shock astern unseated our gun and before the boat went down it fell overboard. So you see we would have been unable to defend ourselves against the submarine only for the destroyer.


From the pages of the Mornington Standard, 14 July 1917

As published in the Mornington News – 11 July 2017


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