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Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


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The Distinguished Service Order has been added to the honours already won by Brigade-Commander H. E. Elliott. He received the D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry. He was in command of an advanced guard division, and during the advance succeeded, in a long period of almost continuous fighting, in capturing several villages. The slightness of the losses as compared with those of the enemy was largely due to Brigadier Elliott's able leadership, energy and courage. This officer was in charge of the Essendon Rifles when war broke out.


ROLL OF HONOR. (1917, July 26). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning. Retrieved May 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74603247


For meritorious service during the war, Lieut.-Colonel H. B. Elliott, C.M.G., D.S.O., of the 58th Infantry (Essendon Rifles) has been promoted to be Brevet Colonel.


ROLL OF HONOUR. (1918, January 17). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Morning. Retrieved June 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74604842






Brigadier-General H. E. Elliott, C.M.G., D.S.O., who has been made a Commander of the Bath for service rendered in France and Flanders, has been christened "Pompey" by his men, who show their appreciation of their leader by telling many excellent stories, all to his credit.


When he was with the 7th Battalion on Gallipoli "Pompey" always insisted on moving about in the most dangerous places at night to see how the troops were faring, and he has repeated the practice in France wherever possible. One of Elliott's soldiers--a boy who went to the war before he was 18, and has been invalided--has reason to remember the Brigadier-General. The battalion was making a long march to a certain town. Ten miles away from the town the lad began to tire. Brigadier-General Elliott, riding by with the staff noticed it; he returned, dismounted, let the troops go a little ahead, then put the tired boy in the saddle, and walked beside him for ten miles. Just before reaching the town, he swung into the saddle again, and galloped away to lead his staff.


It is related, also, that, incensed at the action of certain military police in arresting Australians when they came to London on leave with the dirt and mud of the trenches on them, he deliberately made himself as muddy as possible and appeared among his fellow officers in that attire, much to their dismay. The lesson was learned, however, and there were no more arrests of men who did the journey across the channel with the trench dirt thick upon them in order to have a few hours' additional leave. 


OUR SOLDIERS. (1918, June 13). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: Morning. Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74606235





Prior to the outbreak of War, Lt. Col. now Bdg.-Gen. H. E. Elliott was Officer Commanding the 58th Battalion--Essendon Rifles.


When our Empire gave the call to arms, amongst the first to heed

The war drums' sullen rumble--the call for man and steed -

The first to note the danger-the first to point, the way

Was one whom we had learned to love, to honour and obey;

We knew him in the office, and on the mimic field,

Where Australia's youthful legions their weapons learned to wield.

He'd already tasted danger, and was not unknown to fame,

But we called him "Pompey Elliott - the man who plays the game."


And he mustered round him hundreds of the best we had to give,

Our gallant sons and brothers, who died that we might live.

We gathered in our thousands to cheer them on their way,

But little knew that August morn the part they were to play -

Those sons of the youngest nation--in the art of War unskilled-

Who fought for British freedom, their hearts with valour filled.

They were the mighty Anzacs, who made Australia's name,

Who were taught by Pompey Elliott to always play the game.


And he called to him the mothers who had reared this valiant brood,

And he pledged a soldier's honour, as a gallant soldier should,

While he asked them to be patient--to kneel them down and pray-

That he would be a father to those boys he led away.

And his words were not forgotten in the old Town Hall that night-

When across the billowed ocean flashed the story of the fight

That they had fought for Britain--where they gained immortal fame

While led by Pompey Elliott, the man who played the game.


Yes, he took those loose-knit striplings, and he turned them into men

Of mighty brawn and muscle, fit to beard a lion's den.

And for half a year he trained them on Egypt's burning sand,

Till the "Seventh" was the model for all that Austral band;

And they loved him like a father, and they gloried in their work

As they waited for the orders to be led against the Turk;

For they knew when that would happen they would not be led to shame

By Colonel Pompey Elliott, the man who knew his game.


By the Pyramids of Egypt--on Anzac's famous shore--

On the bloody fields of Flanders-in the stunt at Bullecourt-

'Gainst bomb or shell or bullet-or hidden German mine-

Whether raiding German trenches - or straightening out the line

Wherever there was fighting and duty to be done

And Australian soldiers followed Australia's noble son

He was still the same old Pompey--giant heart in giant frame-

Our dear old Pompey Elliott, who always played the game.

Now they've made of him a General, with honours by the score,

In addition to the ones he gained whilst fighting Brother Boer,

And gallant little Serbia and Russia and the rest

Have handed him some baubles to pin upon his breast.

They may make of him a Marshal, and cover him with stars;

Give all the medals they can mould, with twice as many bars;

They may deck his breast with ribbons, and add letters to his name -

But he's still our dear old Pompey, who always plays the game.


J F. HENDERSON. July, 1918.


POMPEY. (1918, October 17). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: Morning. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74607405


It is thought that Pompey Elliott gained his nickname from an earlier champion Carlton footballer, Fred 'Pompey' Elliott



Brigadier-General Elliott.


The Argus Monday 30 June 1919

Among those who returned by the S.S. Orontes on Saturday was Brigadier-General Elliott, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., D.CM. (South Africa), Order of St. Anne of Russia, and the Queen's (four clasps) and King's (two clasps) South African medals, who is regarded as one of the most popular of Australian officers. He was met at the ship's side by the State commandant (Brigadier General Brand), Captain Wright, and Mrs. Elliott, and was driven direct to his home at Surrey Hills.

In spite of the lateness of the hour - it was half-past 8 p.m. before the troops were disembarked - the general's motor car was stopped at the junction of St. Kilda road and Alexandra avenue by several hundred citizens of Essendon and members of the South African, 15th Brigade, and 7th Battalion Association, and he was warmly cheered. An address of welcome was presented by Mr. Henderson, an ex-mayor of Essendon. In acknowledging the welcome Brigadier-General Elliott said that he would take the earliest opportunity of renewing his acquaintance with his friends of Essendon, and his comrades of the various associations.

When interviewed later Brigadier-General Elliott, was disinclined to recount his experiences on  Gallipoli and in France. "You already know my opinion of the Australian as a comrade and a fighting man," he said. "When I say that they quite held their own in the firing line with the best of the Allied troops that expresses everything."

The repatriation of the Australian troops under the direction of Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash was, Brigadier-General Elliott stated, proceeding satisfactorily. He added that he had certain  suggestions to make regarding the organisation of the Citizen Forces, which he did not desire to make public until he had presented his report to the Acting Minister for Defence.

Brigadier-General Elliott. who had previously seen service in South Africa, where he gained the  Distinguished Conduct Medal and Queen's and King's Medals, enlisted for active service in 1914, and was given command of the 3rd (Victorian) Battalion. He distinguished himself on Gallipoli and in France, being mentioned in despatches on four occasions. It was while in Egypt that he gained the sobriquet of "Pompey," and he has ever since been affectionately known to the men under him by that nickname.

In March, 1916, Brigadier-General Elliott was appointed to the command of the 15th infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force. He is a well-known Melbourne solicitor,  and prior to enlistment was in command of the 58th Infantry Regiment, Essendon.

The Argus Monday 30 June 1919
Cite: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1483638


NOTES FOR SOLDIERS. (1919, July 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 6. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4711441



A popular figure with the people of Essendon, Pompey Elliott was asked on numerous occasions to unveil war memorials and honour boards all over the district:


6 Aug 1919     Essendon Town Hall

19 Apr 1920    Holy Trinity Church of England Kensington

8 May 1920     Christ Church Essendon

15 Sep 1920    Ascot-Vale-Presbyterian-Church

23 Oct 1920    Aberfeldie Bowling Club

23 Apr 1921    Moonee Ponds West State School

22 Aug 1921   Essendon High School

30 Apr 1922    Maribyrnong-Bagotville Hill Memorial

25 Apr 1929    Essendon Memorial, Queen's Park



Mentioned in correspondence:

Garner G L Sgt 411  Elliott wrote to Henderson about George Garner after he was wounded in action.

McArthur A J Pte 475  Elliott wrote about the death of Alex McArthur.

Barker H A Pte 43   Letter mentions Colonel's return to Peninsual 9 Sep 1915

McGregor F R Pte 444 Letter mentions Colonel telling them he would never send them where he would not go.


One Thousand Days with the AIF


Mentioned in these publications:

'Pompey' Elliott, by Ross McMullen

For Empire

Trooping to the Middle East, by Marilyn Kenny

Gallipoli Diaries,

Bandsman Vosti's Diaries: War and Peace in Essendon 1917-1920

White Ghurkas, The: the Australians at the Second Battle of Krithia, Gallipoli, by Ron Austin.  pp 31 & 34.

Fair Dinkums, The. Glenn McFarlane. 


War Service Commemorated

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour Wounded

Supreme Court Memorial Board

“Send off to the Essendon Boys”

Patriotic Concert, Essendon Town Hall, 1914

Supreme Court Memorial Board


"Presented to the City by the Essendon Citizens Military Association to the Honor of

Brig Gen H E Elliott, CB, CMG, DSO, DCM, OC 7th Battalion, AIF, formerly OC

58th Bn CMF (Essendon Rifles) in recognition of gallant servicesrendered to his

King and Country in the Great European War, 1914-1919". 

This honour board hung in the old Essendon Town Hall, but is now in the

keeping of the Essendon Historical Society.





"First of all I must thank you for associating my mother and my wife with my welcome home," said Brigadier General H. E. E. Elliott, C.B., C.M.G, D.S.O., D.C.M., in acknowledging a presentation made to him last Thursday on behalf of the Essendon Citizens' Military Association. "In honoring my mother and my wife I feel sure you in tend to pay homage to all those mothers, sisters, and wives who so loyally gave their dear ones, and through the long years of the war worked for them, prayed for them, and waited heroically for them to come back. A great-deal of the success—so far as my military career may be termed a success—is due to my mother. (Applause.) From her I learned conceptions of fairness, justice, equality, and right, which through out my association with the military forces I have endeavored to apply to the men under my command. She, like many other mothers, shared the sorrow and pride of the war, for her youngest son fell at Polygon Wood. If through-out this war I have been able to wear before my men a cheerful countenance and to keep up their spirits in the darkest and most dangerous hours, that has been in a great measure due to my wife. (Applause.) Her letters were rays of sunshine penetrating the darkest clouds we ever experienced. Mothers', wives',  and sisters' letters brought to we men in the field glimpses of home, and kept us firm and steadfast in the resolve that no enemy foot should ever be placed in this fair land of ours.'' (Cheers.)

At a farewell gathering at Essendon, Brigadier-General Elliott proceeded, he asked that the mothers who had entrusted sons to his care might give him the blessings of their prayers. They could draw their own conclusions from facts, but out of 12 battalion commanders who left with the first division he was the only one spared to go right through the war. The others had been killed or invalided home. He would ever remember the day when, on H.M.8. Queen Elizabeth, General Sir Ian Hamilton pointed out to senior officers where they were to land on Gallipoli, and said, "Gentlemen, we are now about to at tempt something the like of which has not been accomplished since the battle of Hastings. We are to land on a hostile coast, under the eyes of an expectant army. If we fail we cannot escape appalling disaster. If we succeed we shall achieve a greater glory than was achieved by the army of Wolfe at Quebec." A few days later the Australians made the attempt, and succeeded. (Cheers).

After recounting numerous deeds of bravery accomplished by Essendon soldiers, Brigadier-General Elliott made an appeal to everybody to be patient with men who had gone through so much. Government help could, after all, be only temporary, and if all the returned men were to be absorbed into ordinary   life the task would rest largely with, the private employer. "No one could be more down on lawlessness, even among these men, than I am," he said. "We must, at all costs, maintain respect for law and order. Given that, we must make all possible allowances for these men, and try to realise how much they have done for us." (Applause.)

SOLDIER'S TRIBUTE TO HIS WOMENFOLK. (1919, August 2). Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 - 1948), p. 4. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98196482


Col Elliott's sword on display at the National Anzac Centre in Albany.  Photo courtesy of Rod Martin, 2015.


Col. Elliott's binoculars on display at the National Anzac Centre in Albany.  Photo courtesy of Rod Martin, 2015.


The statue of Ataturk, located at the neck between King George Sound and the inner Princess Royal Harbour.  The neck is named the Ataturk Entrance.  Photo courtesy of Rod Martin, 2015.




The memorial stone for Senator Major-General Harold Edward "Pompey" Elliott at Burwood Cemetery. 

(Photos courtesy of:  Rod Martin, 2011)


Detail from the memorial.


Detail from the memorial.

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