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Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 1 year, 6 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918



Latchford in the 6th AIR 1907-1910
Training-for-Instructional-staff Albury 1910
 Area Officers Instructional Camp, Langwarrin, 1913
Area Office 58B Ascot-Vale-1914   Latchford-E-W-Light-Horse-Depot, circa 1915 


"Mr. Ernest Latchford, son of Mrs. Latchford, of High-street, Echuca, and formerly a junior member of the "Riverine Herald" staff,   who recently passed the examination of candidates for positions on the military instructional staff, has left his situation at Cole's Book Arcade, Melbourne, and has gone to the camp at Mildura. Prior to his departure from the big book depot, Mr, Latchford, who was rapidly advancing on the Arcade staff, was presented with a travelling bag and an autograph album". 
Personal. (1910, August 19). Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114913106


Albury Camp, 1910


The Defence Department advertised for men to be promoted to serve as non-commissioned officers on the Instructional Staff. The successful candidates are named in the previous link.  They could come from the present armed services, or from other employment.  While nearly 1300 men applied for the 200 positions, a careful sifting of the candidates by physical and educational examination was made.  In the end 216 passed all the tests, and they were all ordered into Albury Camp in August 1910, reporting to report Colonel Lee.



Ernest William Latchford was among the youngest to be selected.  The following postcards and messages were written by Ern while he was at the Albury Camp.




Dear Harry,

I received your note also the clothes for which please accept my grateful thanks. I received them Saturday morning at 12.30 and was wearing them at 1.30 and felt real clean and stylish. Thanks very much for Peanuts and the Nips Letter, though I can’t make out the meaning of “Tindish”.




“Flooded Albury August 1910”  

The Tents have been cleared off this patch owing to flooded ground



You will have to excuse me sending these cards, as I thought you might like to have them as a souvenir of us. It was taken one day when we shifted tents to let the ground dry, and if you put them in a row with No. 1 on the right and fit the others on, you can get a good idea of the joint. The boys in this Photo are acting the goat. They followed the Photographers around all over the place to get in each one and they succeeded O’Grady is one of them. You no doubt are getting sick of these Camp Photos but there is nothing else to send you at present We are very busy getting finished up here, but we have no idea where we are to go to, judging by things around us, we are going to get it in the neck.



This is another view of the Camp showing the Wash House of “A” Company and another shower bath in course of construction. Where you see the smoke in the trees, is the Incinerator where we burn all the rubbish, it is made of a pit dug about 5 ft deep by 15 ft round lined with stones. They build a long fire and when the stones get red hot they put the rubbish on top and it soon burns. Taking it all round this is the best camp ever held in Australia as far as cleanliness and comfort go, so they all reckon. They even have lines for us to dry our clothes on and to hang our blankets out to air on.


We are having pretty dry weather up here now and the grass is nice and dry for a bush fire. Albury Races was on last week and some of the boys made some pots. Teague from the R.A.A. won about 50 pounds and others won sum from 10 pounds upwards, but I never had a bet. An R.C. Bazaar was in Albury last week and they coined money. They are terrible hustlers. One of the Boys here was kicked today by a Horse and he is in hospital pretty badly hurt, not dangerous. They are a tricky lot, one reared up with me and nearly outed with its hoops.


On this photo, I am sitting down near the X with a straw decker on. Jack was too tired and lay down on my bed near the mark ---.


This series of photos seems to show the camp in some disarray after getting flooded - blankets are

drying on top of the tents, boots being dried in the sun, bedding being aired.  Courtesy of Mark Latchford.


I received the Nip’s photos alright and they look very fine. Eric is growing a big fellow now. He will soon be big enough for the Cadets or Boy Scouts. I got a letter from Miss Hellwig at Coles and she said Charlie W. must have got over his bad time and he as going with another girl so he has recovered. 


This view is not of much use only to fill up the set. How are all the folks in Auburn getting on? If I get a chance I will come down and see you all, but I can’t say for certain. Give my regards to all old friends and best love to all of you at “Dalkeith”. Have you seen Charlie lately?  I got a letter last week from him. Well Harry, I must now close so goodbye and thank you very much. Your nephew. Ern



(Undated, 1910), Albury

I am starting on the Light Horse work tomorrow, so we ought to have some fun. We have 2 cricket clubs, 1 tennis club, 1 rifle club, at present in Camp, so there is plenty of sport if one wants it. I went rabbiting last Sunday and got a good bag with a Winchester Rifle 32. This view is looking towards the Bogong Mountains which are nearly always covered in snow. Yours sincerely, Ern.


The boys in their tunics displaying their new stripes. Ern is in the back row, far right.


12.12.1910 . Albury    

Dear Harry,

Your welcome letter to hand, but I have been very lazy and tired with the heat, so have not felt like writing. We have been allotted to our Areas and there has been a great time in Camp. I struck Toorak for mine. What do you think of it as an area? I would rather have got a country area, but will not make a fuss now. Some of the Victorians went to SA and NSW. We only get three days at Xmas, so I will not be able to come down but we are coming down on the 7th Jan, so will look you up. This Photo [above] is one of our fellows taken with new tunics on, but they were all condemned so we are as far off as ever on getting our tunics. We are having a concert in Albury tomorrow and it promises to be very funny. Will you tell you all about it next time. I suppose it is just as hot in Auburn as it is here, so goodbye. Yours sincerely, Ern. 



Mr Eric Thake, Auburn, Victoria

Dear Eric,

I did not have any other cards, so will send you this one. It is some of the ‘boys’ pretending to chop another man’s head off. Don’t you think it is funny? I am in the back with a pipe in my mouth. Well goodbye old boy, for a while, with love from Ern.


(Eric Thake was a first cousin of Ern Latchford. Their mothers were sisters. Eric was about 6  at this time but later became a well- known Australian artist with a number of works held by the Memorial).

Eric Thake - Australian Dictionary of Biography



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